The Minnesota Timberwolves have retreated from their public stance that they’re comfortable letting Kevin Love become a free agent next summer. Team owner Glen Taylor told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that the stranded superstar will “most likely” be traded by the end of this month.
Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press broke the story. Though a loose September deadline supports the standing assumption that Love will head to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for a package headlined by Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota is reportedly negotiating with other teams, too.
The Timberwolves say now that they expect to trade disgruntled all-star Kevin Love and that a deal is expected Aug. 23 or Aug. 24.
“I’m saying it’s most likely because Kevin has made it pretty clear that that’s what he wants to do,” Wolves owner Glen Taylor told the Pioneer Press.
Taylor’s preference, though, is that Love remain in Minnesota. The August dates for a trade are because that’s when the Cleveland Cavaliers officially can deal their first-round draft pick, Andrew Wiggins, to the Wolves.
Cleveland remains the strong bet for Love to join LeBron James. But the Wolves continue to listen to offers from Chicago and Golden State, with Philadelphia expected to be part of a three-team deal.
A previous report by ESPN said that the ‘Wolves were only talking to the Cavs about a Love trade. And despite the fact that Minny has open lines of communication with the Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors, Taylor’s confirmation Love will likely be traded by the end of this month makes Cleveland appear his most likely destination. Wiggins signed his rookie contract with the Cavs on July 24, prohibiting him from being dealt for 30 days – a restriction that expires on the August 23 date about which Taylor was questioned.
After initial information that indicated otherwise, Minnesota now reportedly prefers a package from the Cavs headlined by Wiggins to one the Bulls may or may not be offering that includes Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, and Nikola Mirotic. Thus, it’s the Warriors that are the real wildcard here.
Golden State has repeatedly denied it will ever renege on its promise to not include Klay Thompson in any deal for Love. Nevertheless, many within league circles – including some of us at Dime – have long assumed the Warriors were playing a long-game with the ‘Wolves and would ultimately part with Thompson if absolutely necessary. Cleveland’s sudden rise to favorite in the Love sweepstakes as a result of signing LeBron James will surely force Golden State to offer Thompson to Minnesota if it is intent on bringing Love to the Bay.
It’s no secret that Timberwolves president and coach Flip Saunders would rather revamp than rebuild as a result of dealing Love. A Warriors offer including Thompson, David Lee, and more could keep Minny competitive in a loaded Western Conference, while opting for the Cavs’ package of Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and a future first-round pick will assure another trip to the lottery next May. However, Taylor and other front office higher-ups have recently warmed to the idea of Wiggins and his superstar potential as the best asset on the market in exchange for Love. Should Golden State relent on Thompson, it will be fascinating to see which deal Minnesota chooses.
It’s officially a matter of when not if Love will be traded. And though Taylor’s late August deadline supports the long-held idea that Cleveland is the easy frontrunner for Love, his insistence that the ‘Wolves remain in contact with other teams makes the Warriors an increasingly viable trade partner, too.
We’ll finally know where Love will be playing next season in a matter of weeks. Stay tuned.
Where will Minnesota trade Love?
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