Flip Saunders: Minnesota Timberwolves Contacted by 16 Teams About Kevin Love

Ben LeibowitzCorrespondent IIIJune 6, 2014

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 21: President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders and Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves poses for a photo prior to the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery on May 21, 2013 at the Millennium Hotel in New York City. 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 the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Steven Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Steven Freeman/Getty Images

If your favorite NBA team stands to improve toward playoff or championship contention by trading for Kevin Love, chances are it has made a call to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“We probably have 16 teams that have called us,” T-Wolves part-owner, president of basketball operations and newly minted head coach Flip Saunders said, per the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Sid Hartman. “We haven’t called anybody.”

Numerous teams have been tied to the Love saga following a report from ESPN’s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne stating that the three-time All-Star has “no interest” in signing a contract extension to stay with Minnesota. Love has not come out publicly to deny it.

Per the ESPN report, Love’s desired destinations include the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls.

Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets have emerged as noteworthy potential suitors.

NBA.com’s David Aldridge noted that the Washington Wizards “are a stealth candidate” to trade for Love as well.

The Phoenix Suns, meanwhile, have plenty of draft picks and young assets necessary to pull off a blockbuster.

Heck, even the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks—with assets ranging from minimal to none—are interested, per ESPN and the New York Post’s Marc Berman.

Still, all of those varied reports account for just eight different franchises. If Saunders was being genuine with his comment, rather than hyperbolic, more than half the Association has engaged Minnesota to inquire about its frustrated star.

This shouldn’t come as much of a shock, because Love has carved a niche in the league by putting up video game-esque stats. During his six-year career, the 25-year-old has posted averages of 19.2 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. He notched averages of 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds throughout 2013-14.

Apr 14, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) dunks against the Golden State Warriors during the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Despite putting up huge numbers, though, Love’s teams have never made the postseason. The Timberwolves organization as a whole has now missed the playoffs for 10 straight years.

The losing has weighed heavily on Love, but it still seems as if Minny will do everything in its power to keep him long term. The most alluring factor in Minnesota at this point is money.

“We can sign him to a five-year deal, the last year of his contract would be $27.5 million,” Saunders said, per Hartman. He added that the Timberwolves have the option to sign Love to a fifth year in his next contract—a luxury other teams won’t possess.

T-Wolves owner Glen Taylor has already said that he won’t trade Love prior to the 2014 draft, per the Star Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda. Since that would mean missing out on valuable picks to bring in new rookies, it’s logical to believe Minnesota isn’t waving the white flag just yet.

Still, the Timberwolves can’t afford to lose Love for nothing in return. They’ve already missed out on postseason action for 10 straight seasons. That streak would undoubtedly continue if the big man left via free agency for no compensation.

If Taylor, Saunders and Co. eventually decide to pull the trigger on a trade, however, there will be no shortage of suitors lining up to entice them with offers.