All-Star power forward Kevin Love hasn’t made an appearance in the playoffs in six seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The team has failed to bring in quality teammates that could satisfy Love’s desire to be successful in the NBA.
According to Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com, the 25-year old has told Minnesota that he no intentions to sign an extension following the 2014-15 season, and that he will test the free agent market that summer. Even though owner Glen Taylor refuses to trade Love before the upcoming draft in June, it could be the teams’ only chance to trade him while receiving something in return.
The Timberwolves, at the behest of owner Glen Taylor, have rebuffed all trade interest in Love for months, resisting all trade offers for his franchise player until, as one source put it, he “has no choice.”
Heading into the prime of his career, any franchise that is desperately hoping to acquire Love’s services on the court would benefit from his ability to shoot and rebound the basketball. Love finished this season averaging 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. This will be his fifth straight season in which he finished with a double-double average with Minnesota. Love was also third in player efficiency this season, finishing behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
Stein and Shelburne also wrote that, “Love has stressed to the Timberwolves that he’s desperate to get to a winning situation and that the constant losing has worn on him.”
This why the Chicago Bulls are appealing to Love, who are also interested in bringing in the 6-foot-10, 243-pound superstar.
First, Derrick Rose is set to return next season after having surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee. Having a healthy Rose and Love on the floor at the same time will not be an issue because of the fact that both of them work out together during the offseason with trainer Rob McClanaghan.
Love will also have the opportunity to pair up with Joakim Noah, which will give the Bulls an advantage down low in the paint during fights for offensive and defensive rebounds. Head coach Tom Thibodeau will be given a player that can effectively shoot the basketball, an attribute that Chicago has struggled to find with Rose sitting out for most of the last two seasons.
If Chicago decides to put all of their chips into trading for the three-time All-Star, they’ll have to offer a better a deal than their competitors. Stein and Shelburne reported that the Golden State Warriors are another team that Love has interest in, as well as the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks.
“Sources told ESPN.com that the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls are among the potential trade destinations that intrigue Love.
“The Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks have likewise been mentioned all season as big-market landing spots that would tempt Love, but going to the best situation for immediate contention is said to be the power forward’s priority.
“Sources say that the Phoenix Suns, armed with several draft assets to offer Minnesota, also have strong interest in trading for Love, but the 25-year-old’s interest in joining the Suns is unclear.”
The advantage that the Bulls have in comparison to other interested franchises is that they can offer a reasonable compensation packages to the Timberwolves in exchange for Love. According to Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group, the Warriors do not want to trade Klay Thompson, who would most likely be on Minnesota’s wish list.
Los Angeles acquired the No. 7 pick in the draft through the lottery and that could be the only valuable trade asset the Lakers currently have. In comparison to the Lakers, New York does not have enough in their tool box to give Minnesota for Love. Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal told Bleacher Report that team president Phil Jackson would have to give up the likes of Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert, and even an up-and-coming Tim Hardaway Jr.
In order to acquire Love, the Bulls will have to give up one or even both of their first round draft picks. They have the No. 16 and 19 pick, which would go along great with a select group of valuable assets on Chicago’s roster. That includes giving up Jimmy Butler or Taj Gibson, in addition to Carlos Boozer‘s expiring contract.
Zach Libby covers the Chicago Bulls for HoopsHabit.