The San Antonio Spurs began their reign over the NBA just days ago, but talk is already shifting to the future with so many possibilities for this year's free-agency cycle.
After LeBron James and the Miami Heat lost their second NBA Finals in four years, the door has cracked open for his chances to explore other opportunities with his opt-out clause. Or has it? Two rings may help him choose otherwise.
Another superstar, though much more likely to sever ties with his current team, has been in the spotlight for awhile now. Kevin Love has been checking out options across the league as he looks to settle with a title contender.
Let's take a look at the rumor mill.
Minnesota Timberwolves star forward Kevin Love made it clear earlier with his offseason escapade to Boston that the Celtics are on his radar. Now, it seems they're on the T-Wolves' radar, too.
ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required) reported in his latest mock draft that Minnesota may give in and deal Love, and if they do, Boston is emerging as the best option:
One source close to the Wolves said that while Flip Saunders does not want to trade Love, he realizes the team likely will lose him this summer and the package the Celtics are offering is probably the best he's going to get. Given the strength of the draft, picks 6, 13 and 17 could land them three young starters to help them rebuild their roster quickly.
The Celtics were one of the worst teams in the East last year, but a young coach in Brad Stevens and star point guard Rajon Rondo along with a heap of young talent allows for Boston to be an attractive option for Love—not to mention the prototypical big market.
Plus, they're open to moving both of their first-round picks in this year's draft, per Basketball Insiders' Steve Kyler:
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
Even if Boston can entice Minnesota into a deal, there's still the whole part about selling Love on winning a title. The 25-year-old is hitting his prime and starving to win, and that makes teams like the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets serious bidders as well.
But proving to be a problem on the Rockets' front is assembling assets to make it happen, per USA Today's Sam Amick:
On the Kevin Love front, I'm told the Houston Rockets are pretty sure they're outgunned in terms of having the assets that Minnesota wants.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 11, 2014
A Celtics-Love marriage is awfully enticing to think about if you're a basketball fan. Rondo and Love would be unfair in a half-court offense, and in the weak East, they would only need a few more complementary pieces to make a serious run toward the NBA Finals.
But even if the former UCLA star is sold on the idea, which won't be an easy thing for a team that went 25-57 last season, the T-Wolves still hold the keys to any deal. And with the NBA draft inching closer, time is running out for Love to be moved if 2014 draft picks are the main form of currency.
The best chance at a relatively calm free-agency cycle over the summer of 2014 went out the window along with the Miami Heat's chances of a three-peat. Previously on the cusp of a dynasty, LeBron James is now faced with figuring out how to get back to the top again after his Heat were beaten soundly by the Spurs in the Finals.
James deflected questions on his future after Game 5, unsurprisingly. But he met with Miami's coaching staff for exit interviews on Tuesday and gave an update on his situation, per ESPN's Michael Wallace.
Cue the drumroll.
"There is a conversation that will be had between the three of us -- I think that's only right," James said, per Wallace. "We've earned that for each other. I don't know what Dwyane right now is thinking. I don't know what Chris is thinking right now. We'll see what happens."
SportsCenter added a tidbit from the report:
LeBron James, who can opt out of his contract with Heat, says he will go on vacation with family before deciding on future. #TheLatestDish— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 17, 2014
James has made no secret of his desire to take his time with this type of decision. Any player would when your future and legacy are both on the line. But the last time James listened to a heap of suitors before targeting the place he thought he could win at, they made four Finals in four years and won two. Not too shabby.
Then again, James was just given one of his most crushing defeats ever on that very same team. The Heat were a shell of themselves for all of 2013-14, and none of it had to do with the world's best player—rather, those surrounding him.
The possibilities are endless for James. He can practically have his pick of top teams, most of which would move heaven and earth to make it happen. Just as well, many of the league's top players would jump at an opportunity to join him.
James already has a pretty solid situation in Miami, but his Heat were exposed in embarrassing fashion against the Spurs. And with Tony Parker expecting the same San Antonio roster to return in 2014-15, per ESPN, they can't feel good about their chances of going up against the Spurs with this same squad.
It may not include a change of scenery or an exit from South Beach, but James likely won't go into next season surrounded by quite the same roster that he last left the court with.
From the current state of the league to the future, Andrew Wiggins is seeing his fair share of attention this offseason as well.
Most recently, it's been from the Philadelphia 76ers—who seem dead set on making sure they're the last team he gets said attention from come the June 26 NBA draft.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey, the Sixers hosted Wiggins on a visit "similar to a recruiting trip" and are pulling out all the stops to make sure he's drafted to the City of Brotherly Love.
Of course, there's the very possible scenario in which Wiggins isn't even available when the Sixers are on the clock at No. 3 overall. In that case, they seem prepared as well, as ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required) reported on June 10 that Philadelphia has explored trading up to No. 1 for Wiggins.
Whether Wiggins is available or not, Philly could end up with a stud at the position. If Wiggins happens to go at No. 1 or 2, chances are that Duke's Jabari Parker would be on the board.
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