The Kevin Love trade rumors are continuing through the NBA playoffs and now the Boston Celtics with Rajon Rondo are one of the frontrunners after his visit to the city, while the Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, NY Knicks and Chicago Bulls are other options for the Timberwolves if they are trading away Love this year.
The summer could see a deal and the Timberwolves have continued to say publically that they are not trading Love, but that could just be a smokescreen. The Celtics are a very good option for a deal, as they have some talent to move and on top of that they have first round picks and while the Wolves would love to keep Love, they know he wants to hit free agency so the best move might be to just grab as much as they can for him and move on. Love has been one of the most consistent players in the NBA and he has said the Warriors and Bulls are at the top of his list.
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Love has long been expected to opt out of his contract after next season in the summer of 2015 if he remains with the Timberwolves and is not traded and he has not made it clear that he is not signing an extension with the team. Minnesota convinced Love to sign and extension a couple years ago and gave him the opt out to get it done and now the clock is ticking on a trade. According to ESPN.com, Love likes the Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors the best for a deal, as they are winning situations with talented rosters. The Timberwolves have so far given no indication about what they will actually do, with owner Glen Taylor saying that the team will not trade Love and other reports from ESPN.com and Pro Basketball Talk reporting that the team is open to listneing to offers.
The Bulls are a very interesting option for Love, as they have the players to move that could sway the Timberwolves to deal, with names like Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler and Tony Snell options along with draft picks. The team also is a near-championship ready roster with Derrick Rose coming back and Joakim Noah already there and if the Bulls miss out on Love, they likely will go after Carmelo Anthony as a free agent target from the Knicks. SI.com reported that the Bulls and the Houston Rockets are the two teams to watch other than the Knicks in the Anthony sweepstakes and if both those teams miss out on big trades for Love or Rajon Rondo, they will go hard at swaying Anthony.
The Love situation and what happens with Anthony has some overlap, as whoever signs Anthony likely will not be able to get Love in a trade along with that. The Warriors have some nice pieces in Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes and David Lee to trade if they want to get Love, while teams like the Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns could be wild card teams in the mix with the first round picks they have.
The Timberwolves will have some major questions to consider this offseason, as they have Kevin Love coming into what could be the last year of his contract with his opt out coming next summer in 2015. The Timberwolves likely will wait to see if the team is in contention heading into the trade deadline next season before making any moves with Love, but there's always a chance one team will floor them with a proposal this summer. Love and the Timberwolves are in a similar situation that Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard had with the Nuggets and Magic, as the teams had to weigh whether to trade their stars for something or risk losing them for nothing as free agents.