Feb 15, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; 2014 Western Conference All-Stars forward Kevin Love (Timberwolves) (42) reacts during the practice session at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
The Kevin Love trade machine won’t stop running until the NBA deadline in February. So here is a look at the top suitors for his services.
Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett
By far the most favored team to land Love in a trade scenario is the Cleveland Cavaliers. Part of that is because rumors hinted the team was now entertaining the idea of making 2014 #1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins part of the talks. The idea would be for the Cavs to package Wiggins, 2013 first round pick Anthony Bennett and a first round pick in 2015 for the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Kevin Love. They would then form a formidable trio with Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. In return the Timberwolves get two potential franchise talents to build around for the future and an extra first rounder for later.
Warriors: Klay Thompson and David Lee
Next in line for Kevin Love and still very much a factor are the Golden State Warriors. They have the good fortune of being a California team, which appeals to the All-Star forward who is a native. However, the true source of their appeal rests in the package they can put together. Initially it was believed the Warriors would try to swing a deal involving draft picks and veteran forward David Lee. That clearly wasn’t adequate enough for the Timberwolves, who seem to have greater desire for young sharpshooter Klay Thompson. By pairing him with Lee, Golden State would have a much greater chance at landing Love. The problem is the front office is not willing to make Thompson available. Until that changes the Warriors are not a legitimate player.
Bulls: Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler
Any NBA fan who thinks the Chicago Bulls took themselves out of the Kevin Love pursuit when they signed Pau Gasol isn’t seeing the big picture. Most likely it is true the team will suspend that avenue, but it doesn’t mean Chicago can’t get right back in it if they want. The Bulls had a strong trade package for Love earlier in the off-season with two first round picks, solid young defender Jimmy Butler and rising forward Taj Gibson. That didn’t prove enough, but with Gasol in house the Bulls suddenly could have the green light to up the ante.
One player Minnesota was hinted at having a strong desire for was center Joakim Noah. The 28-year old finished 2013-2014 as Defensive Player of the Year. He is a renowned leader on the floor, something the Timberwolves need. Chicago could package him with Butler and some other assets and make a run. Gasol would then move to center while Love joins him and Derrick Rose in the starting lineup, not to mention still having Gibson coming off the bench to help on defense.
Each of the above NBA teams have their merits in regards to both wanting Kevin Love and having something to offer him and the Timberwolves. It’s just a question of which one will go all in.