Kevin Love's days with the Minnesota Timberwolves appear numbered, but a potential trade is long enough away to fill many more days with trade chatter.
The star power forward has one year remaining on his contract before hitting free agency, where he will reportedly leave to pursue greener pastures. In his six years in Minnesota, the team has failed to make a single playoff appearance despite Love's significant contributions as a three-time All-Star.
A myriad of teams would love to clench their claws around Love, who posted averages of 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game last season. Let's break down some of the latest buzz around the big man.
A Crown for Love?
An unlikely suitor has worked its way to the forefront of the Love sweepstakes. According to Fox Sports' Sam Amico, the Sacramento Kings are making a strong push to obtain his services.
With DeMarcus Cousins off limits, that leaves Isaiah Thomas and Ben McLemore as their two biggest trade chips. Thomas scored 20.3 points per game during a breakthrough third season. Although McLemore posted a 37.6 shooting percentage during an uninspiring rookie campaign, the 21-year-old still boasts promise as a dangerous scorer.
Rudy Gay's expiring contract could also enter the picture, but the forward can choose to opt out of his contract this offseason and hit the open market. The Kings also hold the No. 8 pick in this year's draft.
A team that lost 54 games this season hardly feels like the ideal landing spot for Love. Combing two of the game's premier offensive big men would be an interesting experiment, and Love's superb outside game would allow them to share the court amicably.
But Sacramento would be foolish not to worry about him parting ways in a year. He's not enough to transform the team into an immediate contender.
Here Come the Suns?
Like the T-Wolves, the Phoenix Suns missed the playoffs in an overcrowded Western Conference. Finishing at 48-34, however, the Suns have the more legitimate gripe.
The team wildly outperformed expectations, but it's looking to move up the NBA ladder. According to Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears, the Suns could put together a massive package in exchange for Love.
The proposed scenario would be a major move that makes little sense for everybody involved. While Ricky Rubio has not progressed into a star, he's still Minnesota's biggest asset outside of Love. Dealing the power forward for two more point guards creates a clutter there and a void everywhere else.
As for Phoenix, it's paying a king's ransom by trading the two biggest components to its unexpected success. Goran Dragic scored 20.3 points per contest on an incredibly efficient 50.5 percent shooting. His 21.43 player efficiency rating ranked 20th in the NBA and sixth among all guards.
When healthy, Eric Bledsoe is one of the game's brightest two-way point guards. He netted averages of 17.7 points, 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds while adding 1.6 steals with air-tight defense.
It essentially would leave Phoenix with Love, which hasn't worked too well for Minnesota.
Don't Rule out Cleveland
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been represented as a long shot to snag Love, but they're not entirely out of the race.
When asked by The Big Lead's Jason McIntyre about his reported lack of interest in the Cavaliers, Love kept the door open.
"I don’t think the Cleveland [trade rumors] are outlandish at all," Love said. "They have a great young foundation."
He's not wrong. They have their face of the franchise in Kyrie Irving and another potential superstar coming after winning the draft lottery. While they'd struggle to assemble a worthwhile package without Irving and the No. 1 pick, they have 22-year-old Dion Waiters.
A Love-Irving pairing would certainly create some excitement in Cleveland, which hasn't reached the postseason since losing LeBron James four years ago. If the Cavs could somehow find a way to acquire Love, that drought would could come to an end.
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