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Updated: May 18th, 2014 4:50pm
Mackey: What history says Wolves can get in return for Kevin Love

Mackey: What history says Wolves can get in return for Kevin Love

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com

According to multiple reports, Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders is as open as ever to the idea of trading star forward Kevin Love.

In reality, the ball is mostly in Love's court, as he holds the ultimate hammer - the power to opt out of his current contract during the summer of 2015. Knowing this, the Wolves basically have two options: Make a run at the franchise's first playoff appearance in 10 years and hope that's enough to lure Love into sticking around long-term. Or pick your spot at some point over the next calendar year and unload Love to an interested contender with assets.

Tuesday's NBA draft lottery will help shape those various assets, so business is sure to pick up very soon in the Love trade rumor department.

If the Wolves do decide to trade Love, what can they get in return?

Each superstar's situation is different, so it's difficult to compare directly to some of the previous blockbuster examples, but the following list of seven mega-trades from the past decade will help put the various returns on investment into perspective. I've also included each player's win share totals (per Basketball-Reference) for better context.

Worth noting: Just because a team "broke even" or better in terms of win shares, that doesn't mean they won the trade. One player worth, say, 8 win shares in a season is likely more valuable to a team than two players who add up to 8 win shares.

Dwight Howard, traded from Orlando to Lakers on Aug. 10, 2012

In this four-team trade, the Magic received the following:

- Three future first round picks
- SG Arron Afflalo (7.3 win shares since the trade)... Decent complementary player who averaged 18 points on 43% shooting from downtown last season
- C Nikola Vucevic (10.1)... Averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds in his age 23 season last year
- SF Maurice Harkless (5.2)... 21 years old, role player at best to this point
- F Al Harrington (0)... Waived after one year
- Christian Eyenga (0)... Waived two months later
- F Josh McRoberts (0.7)... Traded to Charlotte last year
- A 2013 second round pick (Romero Osby)

Total win shares since the trade:
Dwight Howard (15.6)
Assets in return (23.3)

Chris Paul, traded from New Orleans to the Clippers on Dec. 14, 2011 (before lockout-shortened season began)

In this trade, the Hornets received the following:

- No. 10 overall pick, which turned out to be Austin Rivers (-0.5 win shares since the trade)
- SF Al-Farooq Aminu (7.6)... Role player big man who averaged 7.2 points and 6.2 rebounds last year
- SG Eric Gordon (4.3)... Defense-optional shooting guard who scores between 15 and 20 per game
- C Chris Kaman (0.7)... Spent one year in New Orleans, averaging 13 points and 8 rebounds

Total win shares since the trade:
Chris Paul (38.8)
Assets in return (12.1)

A Paul-to-Lakers trade was nixed earlier that offseason. And as it turned out, the Hornets (now the Pelicans) received almost nothing in return for one of the best players in the NBA. Gordon can score a little bit, but he's no centerpiece.

Deron Williams, traded from Utah to New Jersey on Feb. 23, 2011

In this trade, the Jazz received the following:

- PF Derrick Favors (13.5 win shares since the trade)... A decent, 22-year-old big man who averaged 13 points and 8.7 rebounds last year... Former No. 3 overall pick
- PG Devin Harris (5.0)... Traded to Atlanta in 2012 for Marvin Williams
- A first round pick that wound up being center Enes Kanter (6.2)
- An additional first round pick that was eventually traded to the Timberwolves in order to move up and draft Trey Burke

Total win shares since the trade:
Deron Williams (21.0)
Assets in return (24.7)

Carmelo Anthony, traded from Denver to New York on Feb. 22, 2011

In this trade, the Nuggets received the following:

- SF Danilo Gallinari (12.3 win shares since the trade)... Knee surgery knocked him out all of this past year, but a very good shooter and scorer
- C Kosta Koufos (9.5)... Former Timberwolf-turned-solid-role-player. The Nuggets traded him to Memphis last summer for Darrell Arthur.
- SF Wilson Chandler (6.6)
- PG Raymond Felton (1.3)... Traded to Portland five months later
- C Timofey Mozgov (6.5)
- A future first round pick
- Two second round picks, one that wound up being Quincy Miller (0)

Total win shares since the trade:
Carmelo Anthony (29.6)
Assets in return (36.2)

This is really the only true example of a team, Denver, getting better after its superstar left for another city. The Nuggets haven't had playoff success, but until this year they've regularly been one of the better teams in the Western Conference regular season picture after 'Melo's departure.

Pau Gasol, traded from Memphis to the Lakers on Feb. 1, 2008

In this trade, Memphis received the following:

- C Kwame Brown (0.1 win shares in Memphis)
- C Marc Gasol (48.0)... Has become one of the best big men in the NBA
- SG Javaris Crittenton (0)... Out of the league after 2009
- A 2008 first round pick, Donte Green, who was traded for Darrell Arthur before ever donning a Memphis uniform
- A 2010 first round pick that wound up being Greivis Vasquez (0.5), who played one season in Memphis
- Aaron McKie (0)... Waived a few months later

Total win shares since the trade:
Pau Gasol (59.2 + two titles)
Assets in return (48.6)

This trade looked lopsided at first, and considering how good the Lakers became with Pau, it probably was. However, the emergence of Marc Gasol in recent years has cushioned the blow.

Kevin Garnett, traded from Minnesota to Boston on July 31, 2007

In this trade, the Wolves received the following:

- PF Al Jefferson (17.2 win shares in Minnesota)
- SF Ryan Gomes (9.8)
- SG Gerald Green (-0.4)... Has now found his place as a 16-point-per-game, 40% three-point-shooter in Phoenix
- C Theo Ratliff (0.3)
- PG Sebastian Telfair (1.7)
- A second round pick - Wayne Ellington (1.5)
- A first round pick - Jonny Flynn (-1.2)

Total win shares since the trade:
KG in Boston (48.8 + a title)
Assets in return (28.9)

We'd have a different feeling about this trade if David Kahn had selected Steph Curry instead of Jonny Flynn...

Shaquille O'Neal, traded from the Lakers to Miami on July 14, 2004

In this trade, the Lakers received the following:

- F Lamar Odom (53.0 win shares with the Lakers)... He was one of the main pieces to the Kobe-led titles a few years later
- SF Caron Butler (5.3)
- C Brian Grant (1.6)
- A 2006 first round pick -- Jordan Farmar (9.2)
- A 2007 second round pick -- Renaldas Seibutis (0)

Total win shares since the trade:
Shaq in Miami (21.1 + a title)
Assets in return (69.1)

Considering Shaq's age at the time (32), and considering how valuable Odom was on future Lakers title teams, this trade - which looked terrible at the time - wound up laying groundwork for more rings. 

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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