Apr 13, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) runs up the court after scoring against the Sacramento Kings during the first quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-103. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Obviously it’s premature to take stock in rumors, but in the NBA they have validity for a reason. So which ones could affect the San Antonio Spurs title defense?
Kevin Love trade to the Golden State Warriors
Unlike other prominent names, All-Star forward Kevin Love is under contract to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2014-2015. However, it’s becoming clearer every day that he has no plans to stay once that contract expires. In other words, if the Timberwolves want to get anything back for him, they must trade him. The sooner the better. There is no shortage of teams interested but most lists have narrowed it down to three popular destination. Chicago and Boston come from the Eastern Conference while the Golden State Warriors might be the leading option from the West. The chance to pair one of the best rebounders and perimeter shooters in basketball in Love with scoring machine Stephen Curry and defensive presence Andre Iguodala could give the Warriors a Big Three of their own. That would make Golden State instant favorites in the West and direct challengers to the Spurs.
Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James to the Houston Rockets
Another Western team that has been frantically building their roster aggresively through NBA free agency and trades of late is the Houston Rockets. They snared James Harden from Oklahoma City and then lured Dwight Howard away from L.A. Together with Chandler Parsons they have a solid trio of their own but are in position to go after more if they get creative enough. Two names connected with them are Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, both of whom could be free agents in 2014. Anthony might be the more realistic of the two since he listed Houston as one of his top two destinations to land if he leaves New York. To think the Rockets could pair Melo with Harden for scoring options and then having Howard in the middle for defense is something that is hard to envision stopping, even for an oiled machine like the San Antonio Spurs.
One thing is clear. The NBA rumor mill is just getting started. Still, if either of these big ones come to pass, the Spurs will find their jobs much harder next season.