‘Wolves Negotiating Kevin Love Trade Only With Cavs

Various reports over the last week had the Bulls and Warriors as possible landing spots for Kevin Love, but it is now believed — according to Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of ESPN — the Cavs remain the only team the Timberwolves were talking to on Wednesday about a possible Love swap before the end of August, but after the August 23 date when No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins becomes available to involve in the package.

Last week, it was believed the Bulls had entered the fray in the jockeying to acquire the 25-year-old Love, but even with all their assets, some of whom they might not be so keen on giving up, they can’t compete with Cleveland’s purported offer of Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a future first rounder. Even after Wiggins signed his rookie deal, it might only be to make the offer more palatable for the ‘Wolves since the Cavs remain the favorites to land Love.

Here’s ESPN.com on the latest Kevin Love trade development, where Chicago and Golden State appear to have dropped out of the Love sweepstakes altogether:

The Minnesota Timberwolves were engaged in serious Kevin Love trade talks with no teams other than the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, adding to the growing belief around the NBA that Love teaming up with LeBron James is inevitable, according to sources briefed on the situation.

After ESPN.com reported last week that the Cavaliers remain the front-runners to acquire Love in a trade co-headlined by No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins, sources this week have described the Cavs as the only team in contention for Love. Sources say the Chicago Bulls have become increasingly pessimistic about their chances of trumping Cleveland’s offer, while the Golden State Warriors remained unwilling to bend on their longstanding refusal to surrender Klay Thompson in a deal for Love.

Aside from Wednesday’s report from Stein and Windhorst, Anthony Bennett was pulled from a Canadian pro-am by his agent, who also happens to represent Love, furthering speculation he’ll be included in Cleveland’s offer.

Then there was Love’s decision to withdraw from Team USA camp before the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain this summer, stoking the embers surrounding his move to Cleveland. His withdrawal avoids potentially hurting his trade value were he to get injured or underwhelm on the international stage.

Then there were the reports Minnesota was interested in acquiring Thaddeus Young from Philadelphia, a move for a power forward who likely replaces Love’s spot in the Minnesota starting lineup.

Perhaps the only real update, aside from Chicago and Golden State dropping out of the race, involves Love’s contract. He’s now unlikely to sign an extension with the Cavs before next summer when he’ll become an unrestricted free agent. Except, he’s not opting out in order to test the free agency market, he can just sign a larger deal if he opts out and re-signs with Cleveland than he could if he signed an extension before the October 31 deadline this year.

Although Love, 25, is expected to opt for free agency after next season even if he’s dealt to Cleveland, sources say that’s purely because he can secure a far more lucrative contract next summer than he could going the extension route. ESPN.com reported earlier this month that Love is highly intrigued by the idea of playing alongside his Olympic teammate on a full-time basis and is not put off by the fact that James’ new contract with the Cavs spans only two seasons and includes a player option to return to free agency next summer.

The NBA is adamant no deal can transpire involving Wiggins until 30 days have passed since he signed his rookie deal with the Cavs. That 30 day window is up August 23 and it appears more not so much if a Love-to-Cavs deal gets done, but when, with that final week in August as the most likely scenario for a conclusion to this summer-long streak of Love speculation.

Who will the Cavs ultimately give up to acquire Love?

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