The San Antonio Spurs wrapped up their fifth NBA championship of the Gregg Popovich era in thoroughly impressive fashion Sunday night, and now the attention turns toward the offseason.
For the Spurs and Miami Heat, there isn't a whole lot of time to switch gears. The NBA draft is June 26, and free agency starts up just five days later.
The rest of the league has had plenty of time to weigh their summer options, though, and whether it comes to the draft, free agency or superstars on the trading block, there is a whole lot of speculation and gossip swirling throughout the Association.
Let's take a look at some of the most recent rumors now that the offseason has officially begun.
Kevin Love Traded By Draft Night?
It feels like the Kevin Love trade rumors are going to bleed long into the summer, but one general manager, via ProBasketballDraft on Twitter, believes the Minnesota Timberwolves will soon be dealing their All-Star power forward:
As for potential suitors, take your pick.
“We probably have 16 teams that have called us,” T-Wolves head coach and President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders said, regarding interest in Love around the league. “We haven’t called anybody.”
The Houston Rockets have long thought to be one of the teams high on that list of suitors, but according to USA Today's Sam Amick, Darryl Morey and Co. are being realistic about their chances:
OK, so we're down to 15 teams.
Take your pick, and they've probably been rumored to be involved in the summer of Love. The Cleveland Cavaliers have the No. 1 pick, and Love himself has called the rumors not "outlandish." The Boston Celtics have the No. 6 pick, and Love is basically best friends with Rajon Rondo. The Phoenix Suns have three first-round picks, Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and plenty of interest.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
It's going to be a wild battle for the bruising double-double machine, and with so many teams interested, the speculation isn't likely to stop anytime soon. Trade or no trade, this will be one of the biggest stories on draft day.
Carmelo Anthony Leaving New York?
It's something we've all assumed was going to happen, but talk of Carmelo Anthony opting out of the final year of his contract and entering unrestricted free agency on July 1 continues to heat up.
This time, it's NBA sage Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports with the rumor, so you can basically chalk it up as a done deal:
New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony is leaning toward leaving in pursuit of immediate championship contention, and awaits the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets to clear the necessary salary-cap space to sign him in free agency, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
As re-signing with the Knicks continues to fade as his priority, Chicago and Houston have emerged as the clear frontrunners to acquire Anthony, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Knicks, coming off a 37-45 season with zero draft picks, are surely headed for rebuild mode. Anthony doesn't sound interested in sticking around for that, but he also isn't likely to leave money on the table.
With the Bulls, he would link up with Derrick Rose, one of the most dangerous point guards in the league when healthy, the Defensive Player of the Year in Joakim Noah and one of the best coaches in the Association in Tom Thibodeau.
Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy recently made the argument for Chicago:
With the Rockets, he would help create one of the most unstoppable offensive trios in the league with James Harden and Dwight Howard. According to Woj, taking slightly less money could also ensure Chandler Parsons, Patrick Beverly and Terrence Jones stay on the roster.
It's a difficult choice, but one thing seems almost certain at this point: Anthony will be on the market.
Joel Embiid: Healthy or Not?
As always, there are lots of rumors surrounding the draft. Currently, though, the most compelling are those regarding Joel Embiid and his recovery from a March back injury.
The big man recently had a workout and physical with the Cavs, which everyone can agree on. But there are conflicting reports about how it went, via FOX Sports' Sam Amico and Cleveland radio host Tony Rizzo:
Welcome to the days leading up the draft. Gossip runs wild and teams continually throw up smokescreens.
Ultimately, if I were to guess, I would say Cleveland takes Embiid at No. 1. Injury problems with seven-footers are no joke, but Amico is a reputable source and the former Kansas star has already put together an impressive post-injury workout:
If he's healthy—and that's what I'm banking on—then the Cavs can't afford to pass him up. Players with his blend of size and skill on both ends of the court are a rarity. His potential as a franchise player isn't overstated.
Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker are also studs, but Embiid comes at a more talent-deficient position.
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