Report: Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors Appeal to Kevin Love in Trade

Grant HughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 18, 2014

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 14: Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots a free throw against the Golden State Warriors on April 14, 2014 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Does the idea of Stephen Curry and Kevin Love destroying opponents with the deadliest pick-and-pop combination in history interest you? How about Love giving Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and the Chicago Bulls the offensive punch they've lacked for years?

Thought so.

Per ESPN's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne, those potential scenarios—once little more than pipe dreams—are suddenly more possible than ever.

They have become options because Love is pressing the issue of an exit from the Minnesota Timberwolves, and, "Sources told that the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls are among the potential trade destinations that intrigue Love."

The 2015-16 season is the final one in Love's four-year deal, and it's a player option. That means the upcoming 2014-15 season is effectively the big man's last in Minnesota. Knowing Love's history of dissatisfaction with the team's management and overall direction, it seems highly likely he'll simply walk away after next year.

Oh, and whatever doubt might have existed about that eventuality disappeared when Love reportedly laid down his plans, per Stein and Shelburne:

Kevin Love has made it clear to the Timberwolves that he intends to become an unrestricted free agent after next season and has no interest in a contract extension this summer to stay in Minnesota, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

I'd say that settles it.

No wonder, then, that team president Flip Saunders is changing the team's typical standoffish approach to Love's position. 

"For the first time, [Saunders] sounds like looking at deals for [Love] is an option," one rival executive told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

As for which of Love's two preferred destinations seems likeliest, there are a few things to consider.

There's no doubt the Bulls could use his scoring, and amnestying Carlos Boozer could free up nearly all of the space necessary to fit Love's salary under the cap. But the Bulls don't have much in the way of tradable assets to complete a package the Wolves would want.

Anyone would love to have Taj Gibson, but he makes just $8 million in 2014-15, far less than Love's $15.7 million for next season, which means Chicago would have to sweeten the pot significantly.

Trading Noah or Rose seems out of the question, though a first-round pick or the rights to Nikola Mirotic, currently of the Spanish ACB League, could make things interesting. But the contract dollars prospectively changing hands would still be way out of whack, so it's hard to envision the Bulls coming up with a decent offer.

The Warriors are a different story, as they've got David Lee's $15 million salary in 2014-15 to match almost perfectly with Love's. And with the ability to toss in Klay Thompson on a rookie-scale contract, it's much easier to see the Dubs pulling off a deal.

And Golden State has been pretty bold in its moves since Joe Lacob bought the team, swapping Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut two years ago, and signing Andre Iguodala to a big deal this past summer. The Dubs aren't afraid to mix it up in the trade market, and the front office knows the team needs another star.

We've only just begun what should be a long, rumor-laden summer for Love and the Wolves. It seems a deal is on the horizon, and if Love likes the idea of playing in Golden State or Chicago now, just wait until the prospect of another year in Minnesota—with an as yet unnamed head coach—draws nearer.

Forget "intrigued." Love is going to get positively desperate to jump ship.