This means the Timberwolves have two options: call Love’s bluff, and risk him leaving for nothing at the end of next season, or trade the all star for a package that the team believes it can build around.
Love is said to be interested in the Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors, and if Minnesota decides to trade Love those two teams could put together some intriguing packages. After the best season of his career, Taj Gibson would be at the center of any offer Chicago presents to Minnesota.
If the Bulls bring over Nikola Mirotic and the 6-foot-10 stretch four shows himself to be a promising young prospect, he would also be part of the trade proposal. The Bulls would have to include the expiring contract of Mike Dunleavy to make any deal work, but that would probably not be enough.
Ricky Rubio’s career averages of 10 points and eight assists leave much to be desired of a top-five pick. Couple that with the fact that his poor jump shot and subpar on-ball defense make him a liability in the fourth quarter, and it starts to become clear why Minnesota lost so many close games this season.
Shabazz Napier and Tyler Ennis could be on the board when Chicago picks at 16 in the upcoming draft. NBA executives are always intrigued by the unknown, and neither one of those players will see much time in Tom Thibodeau’s system if selected by the Bulls. That could keep them from being exposed as rookies, and keep their trade value high.
Minnesota could avoid giving Rubio a max contract next season, and start rebuilding around Gibson, Mirotic, a young point guard prospect and maybe another player not named Derrick Rose or Joakim Noah.
That deal sounds a lot better than losing Love for nothing, and having Rubio left as the main building block of the future.