Kevin Love has taken over NBA headlines with every move he makes, and every quote out of Minnesota. Last week, Timberwolves president Flip Saunders said that he expects Love to be playing in Minnesota next season. On Tuesday reports said that while talks publicly have Love staying in Minnesota, the team is “privately preparing” for a trade.
“Publicly, the Timberwolves are saying they expect Love to be in training camp with the team next fall. But behind the scenes, as one source put it, the Timberwolves are, paving the way to make something happen sooner rather than later. Sooner, of course, would be draft night,” says Sean Deveney of Sporting News.
The Timberwolves have put out feelers on what possible offers might be on the table for Love on draft night. Despite their public protestations, around the league, front office executives say that the market for Love is open, but the initial asking price is high. While the Timberwolves would expect lottery draft choices in return for Love—including a high pick in this draft—they also want a young player with star potential, according to a source.
The Timberwolves will also need to gauge Love’s reaction to different destinations. Because Love is under contract for next year and can be a free agent in 2015, any team that trades for him would prefer to have an assurance that he would be willing to sign an extension—and with such an assurance, Minnesota can set a higher asking price.
Kevin Love wants out of Minnesota and reports say that if it comes down to the Warriors or Rockets, he’d prefer Golden State.
“There’s an array of teams interested. I can only tell you this, sources tell me that if it’s a choice between the Golden State Warriors or the Houston Rockets, that Love would choose the Warriors. Love could see himself playing pick and roll with Stephen Curry, and would love Andrew Bogut next to him defensively with Klay Thompson as another scoring option,” says Rich Bucher. Bucher said that Love has nothing personal against the Rockets, but would loves the west coast, and enjoys how the Warriors play their brand of basketball.
Now several factors will be included in a potential Love deal, and with all considered, it doesn’t mean teams are running to their phones right away. Deveney quotes one general manager who believes, it’ll happen quickly.
As one general manager put it, “It won’t be until the week before the draft that this thing gets serious. There is no reason to put your cards on the table too early. If it is going to happen on draft night, it will come together quickly.”
So it now seems that Minnesota is doing the smart thing, and gauging interest of Love from teams around the league, especially those in the lottery. A lottery pick definitely seems like one of the key targets for Minnesota in return during a Love trade, which is even more reason to believe a deal could take place on Draft night (June 26).