Kevin Love’s future with the Minnesota Timberwolves has been the source of constant speculation, fueled by the team’s lack of success and his option to opt out of his contract after the 2014-2015 season. Things ramped up over the weekend, with multiple reports that Love has no interest in re-signing with Minnesota, so a trade now looks closer than ever.
The trade market for Love looks likely to ramp up after this week’s draft lottery, as teams that wind up with a top-five pick add an asset that would appeal to vice president of basketball operations Flip Saunders. A few playoff teams, like the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls, have proven players that may interest the Timberwolves as well even without the possibility of adding a lottery pick for this year.
Love has proven he’s willing to vent his frustrations to national media members, so he could become a big distraction if this potential trade request is not honored quickly. Love and the previous front office had a strained relationship, so one of Saunders’ main jobs since taking over nearly a year ago has surely been repairing any past damage to Love’s ego.
Saunders is now reportedly open to dealing Love, and a formal trade request is not shocking if one has indeed come. But for once the Timberwolves, even with potentially reduced trade leverage based on this weekend’s news, are in a position of strength with multiple trade offers likely to come from a wide range of teams.
An ultimatum of “trade me or get nothing for me when I leave” may have been issued as well, which would fit with Love’s history and frankly his public personality even if that declaration technically came from his agent. I expect Saunders to act quickly, and Love should be elsewhere by draft night on June 26. Otherwise, I think he’ll be a major distraction for a franchise that is trying to get back on the right track and end a lengthy playoff drought.