According to reports from ESPN and Yahoo, Kevin Love‘s future in Minnesota is hanging by a thread as he’s informed ‘Wolves brass he doesn’t play to opt-in for the last year of his deal, and plans to test the free agency market next summer. While not demanding a trade, it makes more sense for Minnesota to deal him — especially after some recent Ricky Rubio comments about Love’s role as Minnesota’s leader.
While he hasn’t demanded a trade, that’s the best-case scenario so the ‘Wolves don’t lose him without compensation next summer. Among those teams who interest him are the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls, because both are already playoff contenders and would become real title contenders depending on what they give up to acquire Love this summer. The former UCLA Bruin, Love has never made the playoffs in his six seasons with Minnesota.
The Phoenix Suns — with loads of cap space and a glut of all-important draft picks — have shown an interest in the all-star forward, though whether Love reciprocates their interest is unknown. Love’s also been linked to big markets in New York and Los Angeles all season long, but wants an opportunity to win more than anything and neither the Lakers or the Knicks appear to be in contention at this point.
Kevin Love has made it clear to the Timberwolves that he intends to become an unrestricted free agent after next season and has no interest in a contract extension this summer to stay in Minnesota, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Although sources say Love has stopped short of demanding a trade, his position could effectively force the Timberwolves to deal the All-Star forward before next season — or before the trade deadline in February 2015 at the latest — if they hope to dodge the risk of losing him without compensation.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls are among the potential trade destinations that intrigue Love.
Meanwhile, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports ‘Wolves GM Flip Saunders is finally starting to relent and listen to offers for the all-star forward while leaning towards hiring Sam Mitchell as their next coach following Rick Adelman‘s resignation once the 2013-14 season ended:
As the Minnesota Timberwolves consider the future of All-Star forward Kevin Love, Sam Mitchell has emerged as a serious candidate for the franchise’s head coaching job, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Mitchell left a good impression with Wolves president Flip Saunders in a recent meeting and has moved himself into consideration for the job, league sources said.
Beyond the coaching search, the Wolves are under pressure to start considering trade scenarios for Love, who’s anxious to exercise his Early Termination Option (ETO) in the summer of 2015 and leave as a free agent, league sources said.
“For the first time, [Saunders] sounds like looking at deals for [Love] is an option,” one rival executive told Yahoo Sports.
On top of all those reports about Love’s possible departure in a trade this summer, comes teammate Ricky Rubio telling BasketAmericano.com maybe Love shouldn’t be Minney’s leader. As translated by reddit (we checked it against Google translate):
“He is a special player, his numbers are unbelievable but maybe our leader must be other player. He is our leader in points and another things but he can’t be or he doesn’t want to be our “voice” leader. Many kind of leaders. Perhaps he shouldn’t have been our leader, perhaps Kevin Martin could have been our leader because he had more experience, perhaps I could take a step ahead to be the definitive leader.”
Combine Kevin Love’s dissatisfaction after all the losing in Minney with Rubio’s comments and we presume he is not long for Minnesota, but where Love winds up — either this summer, or next season before February’s trade deadline — will reverberate around the league. He’s one of the 15 best players in the NBA (some say top 10) and one of the three best power forwards in the game. This doozy of an offseason just got even more interesting.
Where does Kevin Love wind up if he’s traded this summer?
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