The Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves have been in no rush to hammer out a Kevin Love trade to this point. But now that the Chicago Bulls have entered the conversation, those trade talks might just be heating up once again.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Bulls are making a late push to acquire the three-time All-Star to their already impressive frontcourt that added Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic over the summer. Chicago’s deal would likely revolve around the promising Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler, a young two-way player.
With the Bulls entering the conversation, the Cavaliers are still confident they have the best deal for the Timberwolves, which is absolutely true since the Golden State Warriors still won’t include Klay Thompson in a Kevin Love trade. Cleveland would more than likely have to give up their last two No. 1 draft picks, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, in addition to a future pick and a few other pieces to make the salaries work, and that package is better than the Dubs’ even if Thompson were included.
Cavs know it’ll cost Wiggins/Bennett/future first to get Love. If Wolves insist on moving Kevin Martin with Love, more pieces must be added
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 22, 2014
Only a few months ago, ESPN reported the the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls were the two teams Love would be most interested in playing for if he were to be traded in the offseason. But with LeBron James heading back to the Cavs to join Kyrie Irving, it’s safe to say that any time the world’s greatest player reaches out to you to join his team, Cleveland suddenly becomes a decent trade destination.
Even if the Cavs have to give up two promising young pieces (and yes, even though he had a rough rookie season, it’s too early to write off Bennett just yet), a trio of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love might be enough to make Cleveland the favorite in a wide open Eastern Conference. Cleveland still needs a little more defense, particularly in a rim protector, but offensively the Cavaliers would be extremely difficult to stop.
If the Bulls were able to somehow win the Kevin Love Trade Sweepstakes, a frontcourt of Joakim Noah and Kevin Love would be the league’s best duo of bigs. Sacrificing Gibson’s defense and improving role with the offense, not to mention Jimmy Butler’s perimeter defense and all-around potential, would be tough to swallow for Chicago, but they have the pieces to stay competitive.
The Bulls would be short at the shooting guard position, which means Kevin Martin might be included in a deal here. Tony Snell played great in the NBA Summer League, but he’d probably have to be ready to step into a starting role with Butler’s departure. Another question that would have to be answered is who starts between Love, Noah and the recently acquired Pau Gasol. Gasol and Mirotic would be a remarkable backup frontcourt tandem, but it’s also still unclear what exact trade package Chicago would be putting together for Love.
The Timberwolves have wisely remained patient in fielding offers for Love and Flip Saunders really doesn’t have to pull the trigger on a deal until the February trade deadline in order to avoid losing Love for nothing. But with the Bulls and Cavaliers in hot pursuit, it’s starting to feel like (a trade for) Love is in the air.