Let's not let Carmelo Anthony have all the fun this offseason.
Just as intriguing as the "Carmelo to _____" rumors will be in the coming weeks, Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love is also hot on the radar of many NBA teams. Love's desire to leave Minnesota has been well documented, and all signs point to the Timberwolves trading their star power forward before next week's NBA Draft.
Various reports across national outlets have reported on rumors the past few weeks, and the time is nearing for the Timberwolves to make a deal or risk losing out on draft picks in next week's NBA Draft. Here's a look on the latest Love rumors, by team:
The Celtics have long been considered one of the top destinations for Love, who reportedly has interest in the team and even visited Boston and took in a Red Sox game at Fenway Park - and met up with Rajon Rondo - earlier this month. The Celtics reportedly offered a deal including young forwards Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger, Jeff Green and multiple first-round picks - they hold the No. 6 and 17 picks - but the Timberwolves were not blown away by the offer, believing they can receive more in a deal elsewhere.
The Bulls have been connected to Love for awhile, and Baxter Holmes' report noted that they are considered one of the frontrunners, with a potential package including Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. Other assets the Bulls have to offer include Nikola Mirotic, as well as the No. 16 and 19 picks in next week's draft. Bill Simmons tweeted Wednesday that the Bulls have focused their efforts on signing impending free agent Carmelo Anthony. Of the teams on this list, the Bulls are the closest to competing for a championship (assuming Derrick Rose's health), considering the weaker Eastern Conference.
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A year ago the Cavaliers offered the Timberwolves the No. 1 overall pick, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson for Love. Now Cleveland has the top pick again in a much deeper draft and has interest in acquiring the All-Pro. That No. 1 pick won't be the struggling Anthony Bennett; it'll be one of Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins, three potential franchise players. Love has been linked to Cleveland, and he told The Big Lead earlier in the week that reports of him not wanting to go there were not true, saying, "I don’t think the Cleveland [trade rumors] are outlandish at all. They have a great young foundation." This certainly would be the biggest blockbuster move of any, considering what the Cavaliers would be surrendering by trading the top pick in a loaded class.
A bit of a surprise team came to light late Wednesday night when Holmes listed the Nuggets as one of the frontrunners. According to Holmes, Denver would ship Wilson Chandler and Kenneth Faried to Minnesota in exchange for Love. The Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett added that Denver would also try and trade for Magic shooting guard Aaron Afflalo and then include him in the deal. No reports of draft picks were mentioned, but it's worth noting that the Nuggets hold the No. 11 pick in next week's NBA Draft.
Golden State Warriors
When Love trade talks first began, it was reported that 16 teams had inquired about the All-Star forward. The Warriors joined that group in the media Thursday when Holmes reported that the Warriors were one of the frontrunners for Love's services, speculating that a package for him could center around Klay Thompson and David Lee. The Warriors do not have any draft picks in 2014, but Thompson and Lee are both plus players the Timberwolves could build around. Bill Simmons tweeted Wednesday that the Warriors won't discuss letting go of the 24-year-old Thompson.
The Rockets, which are also hard after Carmelo Anthony, were thought to be actively trying to make a deal for Kevin Love. But USA Today's Sam Amick was told the Rockets "are pretty sure they're outgunned in terms of having the assets that Minnesota wants." Those assets likely include Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik and Terrence Jones, three players who don't leave much room for growth in Minnesota, even if draft picks are involved - Houston has the No. 25 pick in next week's NBA Draft. They're also considered a frontrunner for Anthony, according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have made their desire for Love known for quite some time, but they simply don't have the assets. Their best chance to land the Santa Monica, Calif., native would be for him to land somewhere and become a free agent in the 2015 class, though it seems unlikely he'll stay in Minnesota or that a team would trade for Love without a commitment that he'd re-sign after his contract expires. They've got to be on this list because of how badly they want a second star beside Kobe Bryant as his championship window closes, but the Lakers don't have a package that could match up with other teams on this list.
Marc Spears tweeted two weeks ago that the Suns have interest in Love, with perhaps the best assets of any team to land him. Those players include guards Goran Dragic and restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe, who could command the full maximum to retain (Spears was not reporting that the Suns were offering those two players; they're simply the Suns' best assets). They also hold three first-round draft picks (No. 14, 18 and 27), so if they are willing to deal their talented backcourt and perhaps a draft pick or two, it could be Love's landing spot.