While the Bulls reportedly re-enter the Kevin Love sweepstakes, the Cavaliers countered Tuesday by moving one step closer to acquiring the 25-year-old All-Star.
Utah's trading John Lucas, Malcolm Thomas and Erik Murphy to Cleveland for Carrick Felix, future 2nd and $1M, sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 22, 2014
It doesn't appear to be a blockbuster deal on the surface -- ironically all three players are former Bulls -- but all three players have non-guaranteed deals that the Cavaliers can use to match up contracts in any potential deal -- one that may include Love. Wojnarowski reported that it was a deal the Cavaliers needed to make in order to allow the Timberwolves salary-cap relief in a deal, though Cleveland may have interest in keeping Thomas.
Minnesota also is attempting to gain leverage by including Kevin Martin and J.J. Barea in a deal. Martin has three years and $21.5 million left on his contract, while Barea has an expiring deal of $4.5 million remaining. As Wojnarowski points out for the salary cap-strapped Cavaliers, it won't be easy to pull off.
Minnesota's been determined to unload Kevin Martin and JJ Barea in a Love deal -- no easy task for Cavs to make work without a third team.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 22, 2014
It appears the potential deal, as has been the case all along, revolves around the Cavaliers' inclusion of No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins. According to Wojnarowski, Cleveland has been more willing of late to include the Kansas product. A potential deal could also include 2013 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett and a future No. 1 pick for Love. Those additional contracts acquired from Utah could help if Minnesota is insistent on Martin and/or Barea being involved in the deal.
ESPN's report earlier today that the Bulls had re-entered talks for Love noted that the Cavaliers were still in the lead, and Wojnarowski added in Tuesday evening's report that the Denver Nuggets are quietly flying under the radar in a potential deal for Love. Golden State has been a potential destination for Love, though the Warriors have not included Klay Thompson in a potential deal, according to Wojnoarwski, which would be a requirement for the Timberwolves to consider the deal.
Chris Sheridan tweeted that the Bulls' reported interest may have come from the Timberwolves, trying to get the Cavaliers to expedite the process.
Seems the Wolves are leaking Bulls, Nuggets interest. Trying to drive up bids. #Cavs threat to sign Wiggins on Wed. is deal pusher, too.— Chris Sheridan (@sheridanhoops) July 22, 2014
Wiggins is set to sign his contract with the Cavaliers on Wednesday, which would mean he'd be unable to be traded for 30 days. And if today's Cavs-Jazz trade is any indication, the Timberwolves may have accomplished exactly what they wanted in getting the Cavaliers to get moving on a potential deal for Love.