With no more on-court action to occupy the minds of NBA fans and journalists, all anybody can talk about is the off-court action—namely the draft and where the biggest offseason prizes will land.
Depending on your perspective, summers in the NBA are either becoming the most exciting or most interminable parts of the season. Between the influx of new prospects, like Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins, and possibility of stars on the move, like Kevin Love, the league's landscape could shift in the coming months.
That doesn't come without weeks upon weeks of rumors and subterfuge, though.
Below are updates on some of the biggest stories to monitor this summer.
The Kevin Love rumors know no end, and there will be no respite until he's on his way out of Minneapolis. The Minnesota Timberwolves star has no shortage of suitors, and with the draft approaching, the team may give more consideration to potential trade offers.
Basketball Insiders' Steve Kyler reported that the Boston Celtics might be willing to mortgage their draft future in order to land Love:
Word is Boston would do both of their picks this year and a possible future picks for Kevin Love... they have roster players too— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) June 17, 2014
Kyler added that the interest in the three-time All-Star has transitioned from speculative to concrete:
It will be interesting to see if the Wolves, hold their "we're not trading him" line. There are real offers out there.— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) June 17, 2014
Joe Kotoch of Sheridan Hoops reported that Boston has plenty of competition:
Same GM thinks Chicago, LA, Houston, Boston, Golden State & Cleveland will be the teams actively trying to make a deal for Love.— Probasketballdraft (@Probballdraft) June 14, 2014
None of this is a major surprise. Players like Love don't often hit the trade market, especially when they're 25 years old and in the prime of their career.
Some have criticized Love for never having taken the Timberwolves to the postseason to this point. The criticism is a bit unfair, though, considering both the quality of the Western Conference and the number of first-round picks that the franchise botched over the years, stunting the organization's potential.
Kevin Garnett never had a great supporting cast in Minnesota, but those teams look like the 1990s Chicago Bulls in comparison to the T-Wolves' last few iterations.
The chance that the Timberwolves can do enough between now and next year to entice Love to stay seems remote. They don't have a great draft position—13th—and he's been given the hard sell on the "This time we have a plan" pitch.
Love is almost certainly gone, so the team should work to get whatever they can from a trade before he leaves next summer for nothing.
The Chicago Bulls will apparently do everything it takes to make a huge splash in free agency. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the team is willing to part with many of its current pieces if it means strengthening the chances of landing LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony or another marquee star:
According to several NBA sources Sunday, the Bulls have been actively looking to improve the starting lineup at almost any cost, with Derrick Rose the only untouchable player—and not by choice.
“They are looking to exhaust as many assets as it will take,’’ one source said of general manager Gar Forman and head of basketball operations John Paxson.
Cowley cited the Bulls' free-agent failures in 2010 as the main motivation for their dogged pursuit this time around. Instead of getting James, Bosh or Dwyane Wade, they settled for Carlos Boozer, and his salary has since become an albatross on the team's books.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that Chicago will hope to work a sign-and-trade that sends Boozer the other way:
Bulls' ideal remains sign-and-trade involving Boozer. Keeps them capped and allows use of exceptions.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) June 14, 2014
The Bulls have one of the more attractive setups among those hoping to lure in one of this summer's biggest catches.
If they can land LeBron or Carmelo, they immediately become the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. Somebody like James or Anthony is the kind of volume scorer who can take Chicago to the next level.