The Phoenix Suns officially entered the Kevin Love rumor mill this May. According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne, "Sources say that the Phoenix Suns, armed with several draft assets to offer Minnesota, also have strong interest in trading for Love, but the 25-year-old's interest in joining the Suns is unclear."
Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears has more recently confirmed the organization's interest.
Suns interested in Love deal w/best assets Dragic, Bledsoe & picks.NBA sources say it will take full max deal to control free agent Bledsoe.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) June 7, 2014
It seems unlikely that Phoenix would package both Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe given the club's need for a top-shelf point guard. Besides, if the Suns were to part ways with all of their best assets, it's hard to see Love wanting to stick around.
Dragic also seems somewhat redundant with Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio, so there reasons to be greater interest in the more versatile Bledsoe. The 24-year-old has the ability to play as more of a combo guard, sliding over to the 2-spot or coming off the bench as a dangerous sixth man.
This season, Bledsoe averaged 17.7 points, 5.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals per contest. He did, however, play in just 43 games due to injury.
Unless he's first locked up with an extension, Bledsoe is set to become a restricted free agent after next season. Phoenix will be well under the salary cap this summer, though, meaning the club could absorb Love's salary without having to match it with outgoing salaries in a trade.
Bledsoe is currently scheduled to make around $3.7 million next season in the event that Phoenix simply makes a qualifying offer, but chances are he's signed to a much larger extension before that. Alternatively, the Suns could match another team's offer if he indeed becomes a restricted free agent in 2015.
Phoenix also has several other impressive young players including swingman Gerald Green and Miles Plumlee. One or both of the Morris twins (Markieff and Marcus) could also potentially be up for grabs. Minnesota might be interested in them given their ability to come in and replace Love at power forward.
The franchise's draft picks could also be attractive to the Timberwolves.
The Suns have three first-round picks this season and could have as many as three next summer as well. The best of the Suns' 2014 first-rounders is the 14th overall selection.
Despite all the Suns have to offer Minnesota, the biggest variable remains whether Love would entertain playing in Phoenix. The franchise boasts a talented young roster that seemingly overachieved this season and nearly made the playoffs.
Nevertheless, Love may not view the Suns as a potential contender. His willingness to sign an extension with another team will likely be crucial to making a deal happen. Few teams would be willing to part ways with significant assets without some assurance that Love would be more than a short-term rental.