Apr 14, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) dunks against the Golden State Warriors during the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Just when people thought they were out, the Chicago Bulls re-entered the fray for Kevin Love. How can they secure his NBA services?
Get Cleveland to blink on Andrew Wiggins
There is a reason the Cleveland Cavaliers are considered the favorites to land Love at this juncture. That reason is named Andrew Wiggins. The #1 overall 2014 draft pick has the talent of a franchise player and tremendous trade allure for a team that could be rebuilding in Minnesota if Love leaves. Having Wiggins and 2013 1st rounder Anthony Bennett as well would make a nice building block for the future. The question at hand is what will Cleveland be losing if they let Wiggins go?
There is no question adding Love next to LeBron James gives the team a three-way offensive punch along with Kyrie Irving. However, it will also significant strangle the salary cap and also do nothing for primary problem for the Cavs, which is defense. That is part of the reason Wiggins was drafted in the first place. He’s already a good defender with the capacity to be a great one. If they took time to think about it Cleveland would know how much harder it would get to improve on that problem if they get Love, who while not terrible on defense isn’t any sort of upgrade. Not to mention Wiggins’ capacity to improve offensively as well, the trick for Chicago is to get their division rival to hesitate.
Offer Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler up front
After all, thanks to an extremely deep roster the Bulls have a variety of packages with which to offer the Timberwolves for Kevin Love. Their first attempt involved top tier defenders Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler along with draft picks. Both players are under 30-years old and still sporting cap-friendly contracts. They represent a balanced bonus for Minnesota in that they can help the team win now and are young enough to help them win in the future. Together with draft picks and perhaps one more player it is a very good deal. Chicago gets a second scorer to pair with Derrick Rose and the Timberwolves get two prominent defenders and trending up talents for the starting lineup.
Keep Joakim Noah option open
The one wild card, or trump card depending on the point of view Chicago possesses in these NBA trade rumor is center Joakim Noah. Not to long ago there were strong hints out of team camp that the only player considered untouchable was Rose, mostly due to his contract. That means Noah was a very real possibility as a trade chip. And why not? He is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and a respected leader on the floor. Many would be angered if the Bulls let him go.
However, there are arguments in favor of the move. His value is higher than Gibson’s, so his pairing with Butler would almost certainly garner more interest from the Timberwolves. He’s also 30-years old, so there’s no telling when Chicago might see a sizeable decline in his impact. By unloading him now when his value is peaking, they will have dealt him for a player that is just entering his prime and can do many of the things he does so well, specifically rebounding.
The fact is NBA fans cannot dismiss the Chicago Bulls as serious players for Kevin Love. They have the pieces and the win-now urgency.