The power forward will hit the open market in 2015, but who can tempt the Timberwolves into an early trade?
With Kevin Love informing the Minnesota Timberwolves that he will opt out of his contract in 2015 and test free agency, the market has suddenly come alive with possible trades for the all-star. Love is believed to favour a move to the Golden State Warriors or Chicago Bulls, with the Houston Rockets also monitoring the situation. Here are their chances at signing the big man, along with a couple of teams with an outside shot.
Golden State Warriors
New Warriors coach Steve Kerr will look to get his team over the hump after crashing out of the playoffs in the first round, and signing Love would be a huge step towards contending for the title. Golden State have a unique blend of young talent and proven veterans to offer, and a package of Harrison Barnes, David Lee and a first-round draft pick would test the Timberwolves' resolve. Throwing in Klay Thompson would make for an offer that Minnesota surely could not refuse.
The Rockets are in a similar position to the Warriors – they appear to have reached their ceiling with their current roster. However, they do not have the same level of talent to offer as Golden State. Chandler Parsons would likely be at the centre of any package they can put together, along with the expiring contracts of Jeremy Lin or Omer Asik, but a third team may be needed to sweeten the deal. Love's friendship with coach Kevin McHale may also come into play if the power forward decides to force a move.
If Derrick Rose manages to stay healthy for an entire season, the Bulls have the most title-ready roster of Love's possible destinations, and they have the assets to make an enticing offer to the Timberwolves. With a combination of Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Euroleague MVP Nikola Mirotic and Carlos Boozer's expiring contract, there is plenty of potential for Chicago to bring in Love and pair him with Joakim Noah, forming one of the NBA's best frontcourts.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are in no position to make the playoffs with their current roster. However, they have perhaps the most enticing asset that any team can offer the Timberwolves – a lottery pick in one of the most loaded drafts in recent years. The prospect of turning Love into Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid or Jabari Parker will certainly make Minnesota think. Although Love did not name the Lakers as one of his preferred destinations, the lure of Hollywood will surely play a part in his decision if he does hit free agency.
The Celtics have emerged as a potential destination for Love, and pairing the big man with point guard Rajon Rondo is a mouthwatering prospect. The Celtics were in complete rebuilding mode lasst season, and as a result they now have all the pieces needed to pull of a blockbuster trade. Boston will have a high draft pick and young assets such as Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger that could persuade the Timberwolves to part with their star man.