NBA PM: Suns Make Late Push for Love

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Basketball Insiders’ Joel Brigham and Cinesport’s Justin Shackil discuss the Kevin Love trade and what it means for Cleveland, Minnesota and Philadelphia.

Suns Make Last-Ditch Push for Love

Saturday is the first day that Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Andrew Wiggins can be traded after signing his deal 29 days ago, and everybody has long known and accepted the fact that Wiggins is heading to the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of an exchange for Kevin Love.

Everybody, that is, except for Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough, who according to’s Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne, reached out to Minnesota on Friday in an attempt to make one last-ditch effort to acquire Love.

The Cavaliers and Timberwolves have reportedly already agreed to their blockbuster trade (which may also include the Philadelphia 76ers), but that didn’t stop McDonough from making the call.

The Suns were offering their rising star point guard Eric Bledsoe in a sign-and-trade deal. Bledsoe remains unsigned and has few options at this point as a restricted free agent.

Phoenix’s desire to move Bledsoe isn’t a huge surprise considering everything that he’s been through with the organization this summer. Not only did the Suns make point guard Isaiah Thomas their highest-profile free agency acquisition of the offseason, but they also offered Bledsoe considerably less than the maximum-level contract he felt he was due.

The Suns reportedly put a four-year, $48 million offer on the table (which is the same contract that Kyle Lowry signed with the Toronto Raptors this summer), but Bledsoe believes he deserves a maximum contract. The talks haven’t progressed.

Now, Bledsoe is staring at the possibility of taking a qualifying offer and risking injury this season to test the unrestricted waters next July, all while being stuck in a three-pronged point guard rotation that features him, Thomas and 2014’s Most Improved Player, Goran Dragic.

It’s not hard to understand why reports out of Phoenix are intimating that Bledsoe isn’t particularly happy with his current employer.

Of course, McDonough isn’t going to trade an asset as valuable as Bledsoe for just anybody, even if at this point it seems as though a trade might be in everyone’s best long-term interests. Love would be a natural fit with the Suns and would catapult them into the Western Conference’s upper echelon, but Love has his heart set on playing in Cleveland with LeBron James and it seems like he wants to remain there long-term, despite his impending free agency next summer. Love has never indicated that he’d make a similar declaration about sticking around long-term in the desert with the Suns, but then again, what’s the risk if Phoenix feels like they may lose Bledsoe anyway?

Frankly, the haul from Cleveland is just flat-out more impressive, with a young stud-in-training like Wiggins headed north along with another former No. 1 overall pick in Anthony Bennett and Sixers forward Thaddeus Young. That’s quite a haul for a player who was going to leave in 2015, anyway. Bledsoe is much more expensive and has a worse injury history, which, despite his talent, makes him a less desirable asset for the Wolves.

Call it sneaky if you will, but despite the fact that the Minnesota/Cleveland trade has been “done” for weeks, it can’t officially be “done” until Saturday. Credit McDonough for making one last push to bring in a franchise-altering talent, even if his Bledsoe offer didn’t quite come close enough to make Flip Saunders change his mind in Minneapolis.

Thunder Hire New D-League Head Coach

The Oklahoma City Thunder named Mark Daigneault as the new head coach of its D-League team, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Mark has placed a high value on development throughout his career and we feel that he is well aligned with the goals of our organization,” said Presti. “His experience at Florida under Coach Donovan has provided him the platform to apply his intelligence and relationship skills to help strengthen the program. We are excited about Mark joining the organization and continuing his professional growth.”

Daigneault joins the Thunder organization after spending the past four years working under Billy Donovan at the University of Florida, where he most recently held the position of Assistant to the Head Coach. Last season, the Gators became the first SEC team to go 18-0 in conference play, and during Daigneault’s four years at Florida, the program posted a 120-30 record (.800) while advancing to the Elite Eight each season.

“Mark has been a valuable member of our staff the past four seasons, and I’m very happy to see him get this opportunity with a great organization,” said University of Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan. “We all wish him the best of luck and know he’ll do a tremendous job.”

Prior to arriving at Florida, he spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Holy Cross.

“I have had a great deal of respect for the Thunder organization throughout my career, and I’m excited to immerse myself in the culture there, and focus on the continued development of the program,” said Daigneault.  “The University of Florida, Coach Donovan, the Florida basketball staff and players that I had the privilege of working with contributed to my personal and professional growth, and for that I am grateful as I embark on this opportunity with the Thunder organization.”

Daigneault, who holds a master’s degree in Sports Management from the University of Florida, will replace Darko Rajakovic as head coach of the Thunder’s D-League affiliate. Rajakovic was the third straight head coach of the Thunder’s D-League affiliate to make the move to an NBA bench, after he accepted an assistant coaching position on Scott Brooks’ staff last month.

One on One With Tracy McGrady

Basketball Insiders talks with Tracy McGrady at the 2014 adidas Nations. McGrady discusses his retirement and looks back on his career in this exclusive interview: