Many basketball fans are focused on the 2014 NBA Finals and the marquee battle between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, but there are already rumors flying about the moves that could come to fruition this offseason.
With top stars like Minnesota’s Kevin Love, Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and Houston’s Chandler Parsons all involved in the latest chatter, basketball fans are excited about the possible moves that could come after the conclusion of the postseason.
Here are the latest rumors surrounding the biggest names in the sport.
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves have one of the best players in the NBA with Kevin Love, but there has been a constant stream of trade rumors surrounding the star power forward.
For most teams, trading away a player who averaged 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game last season would not be an option, but this is Minnesota we’re talking about. Love’s only chance of winning may be with another team.
Marc J. Spears is reporting that the Phoenix Suns are the latest franchise in the mix for a possible trade involving Love:
As NBA insider Warren Shaw said on Twitter, though, a deal between the Timberwolves and Phoenix could be difficult to hammer out:
There is no doubt that Love is one of the top players in the league, and a return in a trade for him could yield Minnesota a huge reward. With Love growing increasingly frustrated with the overall direction of the franchise, now would be the perfect time to add pieces for the future.
Whether it’s the Suns or another franchise in the NBA desperate to add a player as talented as Love, the Timberwolves would likely be looking at a return of high draft picks and potential star players.
Where Love ends up this offseason is the biggest storyline of the year.
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been perennially awful since LeBron James took his talent to South Beach, but the bright spot of the franchise has been point guard Kyrie Irving and the excitement he has brought back to the franchise.
In a report from Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News, Cleveland was reportedly not planning on offering the team’s best player a max deal to keep him on the roster. For many fans and experts, this thought process was baffling.
According to Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer, though, the Cavaliers will absolutely make the effort to re-sign the team’s star player:
My sources tell me that the Cavs have had no doubts about offering Irving the 5-year deal, and will do so. Once July 1 arrives -- the first date that an extension can be offered -- the Cavs will set up a meeting with Irving. They will present their All-Star guard with a contract extension, a 5-year deal in the $90 million range (or whatever is the maximum number).
This could be the biggest no-brainer in NBA history. Even if Irving turns the offer down, Cleveland must do everything in its power to keep the star player there in order to sell tickets to the fans.
If the franchise traded away or even let Irving eventually walk via free agency, there is no way the Cavaliers could honestly tell their fanbase that they were doing what was best for the organization moving forward.
Expect Cleveland to throw the max money at Irving and hope he re-signs.
Chandler Parsons, Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets are building a serious threat in the Western Conference, but there are now questions about whether small forward Chandler Parsons will be a part of the long-term plans for the franchise.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Rockets are playing the strategy game with the long-term handling of Parsons’ contract:
The Houston Rockets plan to decline the fourth-year option on forward Chandler Parsons' contract, freeing him to become a restricted free agent this summer, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Rockets hold a $960,000 option on the fourth and final year of Parsons' contract for the 2014-'15 season, but want to avoid letting Parsons, 25, become an unrestricted free agent next summer. As a restricted free agent in July, the Rockets can match an offer sheet and retain Parsons on a long-term contract.
On the surface, it makes little sense for the Rockets to not re-sign an affordable player who averaged 16.6 points per game during the regular season and 19.3 PPG in the postseason. With that said, Houston would still control his fate as a restricted free agent and would have the necessary cap room to make a run at another free agent.
Houston already has two stars on the team with Dwight Howard and James Harden, but will be looking to test the open market with the idea of luring a third star to the franchise. The Rockets could let Parsons walk if the price isn’t right or involve him in a trade for a player like Love.
Regardless of how it turns out, Houston is playing the contract game to perfection.
*Stats via NBA.com.