The 2014 NBA offseason has been as wild as predicted, but the latest trade rumors surrounding names like Minnesota power forward Kevin Love and Phoenix guard Eric Bledsoe could indicate more blockbuster deals to come.
While several teams have thrown their hat into the mix as possible destinations for Love, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls have emerged as front-runners. On the other hand, it appears the Suns are focused on not letting restricted free agent Bledsoe leave.
Here are all the latest trade rumors from around the NBA.
Cleveland Leading Kevin Love Trade Race?
The biggest news of the week regarding Love was his withdrawal from Team USA as he awaits his fate in the NBA, per Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press (h/t ABCNews.com). With Minnesota clearly looking to make a deal, Love is focusing on the potential trade and what it will mean for his future.
While Love focuses on what's next, the Cleveland Cavaliers have emerged as favorite to land the double-double machine. After reportedly adding No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins to the proposed offer, this is a trade that would benefit both franchises.
According to Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, though, the Cavaliers will have to wait before making the potential deal due to the rules surrounding rookie contracts:
The Cleveland Cavaliers cannot officially trade Andrew Wiggins before Aug. 23, but they remain the front-runner in the trade sweepstakes for the Minnesota Timberwolves' Kevin Love, according to sources close to the process.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Wolves, at present, are higher on a Cleveland trade package centered on Wiggins than any other offer on the table for Love.
ESPN.com reported Tuesday that the Cavaliers, meanwhile, are increasingly confident about their chances of landing Love and firmly believe they are progressing toward a trade framework that the Timberwolves will accept in exchange for the All-Star power forward, which would enable Cleveland to pair him with Olympic teammate LeBron James.
Cleveland has looked like the front-runners since adding LeBron James via free agency, but there were questions as to why the deal hadn’t come to fruition yet if the Cavaliers had added Wiggins to the blockbuster trade.
Rookies can't be traded until 30 days after signing their NBA contracts. While this has put the reported trade on hold, it helps the Cavaliers avoid being outbid by a team like the Bulls, who also must wait to make a deal since they're offering rookies as well.
It could be several weeks before a move comes to fruition, but the rookie rules look to be only prolonging a foregone conclusion.
Chicago Also Looking to Acquire Love?
Cleveland may be closer to landing Love, but the Bulls are looking to make an offer for the talented power forward and entice the Timberwolves into dealing him to Chicago in a huge deal of their own.
In a report from Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com, the Bulls have put together a package that could intrigue the Timberwolves and challenge the Cavaliers’ offer:
The Chicago Bulls have offered a package of Taj Gibson and rookies Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic to the Minnesota Timberwolves for All-Star forward Kevin Love, a league source told SheridanHoops.com on Wednesday.
The package is extremely intriguing to the Timberwolves, but there is a catch; it cannot be completed for another 29 days because McDermott and Mirotic signed their rookie contracts Tuesday. NBA rules prohibit rookies from being traded within the first 30 days of inking their rookie deals.
Wiggins is still the top prospect on the board as a potential trade piece, but the idea that Minnesota could add Gibson, McDermott and Nikola Mirotic from the Bulls will challenge anything Cleveland has to offer.
Chicago has developed an offer that should be enough to make the Timberwolves think twice about pulling the trigger with the Cavaliers, but Minnesota must do what is best for the future, which would be to add Wiggins and other valuable pieces.
If the Bulls sweeten the pot before the 30 days are up, there is still a chance they can acquire Love.
Phoenix Not Letting Eric Bledsoe Go?
The Phoenix Suns are stacked at the guard positions, but the franchise has no intention of letting restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe leave the team this offseason.
According to The Arizona Republic's Bob Young, Phoenix will match any offer for the 24-year-old, but the market has shrunk since many of the top free agents and draft picks have already been signed:
Bledsoe reportedly is seeking a maximum contract of $80 million over five seasons, which only the Suns can offer. Other teams can go as high as $63 million over four years, but only Philadelphia remains among teams with salary-cap room to pay it.
By all accounts the Suns will match such a deal if necessary, even if it limits what they can do in the future. There also appears to be little interest on behalf of the Suns in working sign-and-trade deals involving Bledsoe because the two-playmaker system worked so well last season.
Bledsoe may be young, but he is already the real deal. After racking up 17.7 points, 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game, it is clear that the versatile guard should be a keystone that the franchise can build around for years to come.
With few teams showing much interest anymore, the Suns are now in the driver's seat. When the season begins, the team and the player will be looking to hammer out a long-term deal, but the lack of interest this offseason has Phoenix in an ideal negotiating position.
Despite the Suns already boasting talented guards like Goran Dragic, Archie Goodwin, Tyler Ennis and Isaiah Thomas, Bledsoe is still the best guard on the team and the most promising overall player on the roster.
Bledsoe isn’t going anywhere as long as Phoenix can help it.
*Stats via NBA.com.