Will the Wolves trade Kevin Love before the draft?

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Wolves are reportedly exploring the possibility of moving Love by draft night.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are laying the groundwork for a potential Kevin Love trade prior to the 2014 NBA Draft, or on the night of the draft itself, according to Sean Deveney of the Sporting News.

The Wolves have publicly said they expect Love to be on the roster next season, but the team is reportedly starting to gauge what kind of offers could be on the table over the next few weeks. Love is expected to opt out of his contract after next season, and the belief is he has no intention of re-signing in Minnesota.

With multiple teams likely to be in on the bidding for a young star of Love's caliber, the Wolves' asking price is said to be very high. To start, Minnesota would like a high pick in the upcoming draft to go along with a young player with star potential.

Not surprisingly, the Wolves have been underwhelmed by the early returns on a possible Love trade. But it's still very early in the process, and as the draft gets closer, better offers will likely shape up.

Why this makes sense

There are a few reasons why Minnesota may want to just get a Love deal over with by the draft. The Wolves may not want to put up with the constant distraction of a possible trade looming over their head, and they may feel they won't get as many good offers if they wait.

In addition, making a trade prior to the draft would ensure that Minnesota could actually use the picks acquired in a Love trade themselves, rather than dealing for players they didn't choose. The Boston Celtics have been rumored as a destination, especially after Love spent the weekend in Boston, and they could offer up the No. 6 and No. 17 picks in the draft.

It also makes perfect sense that the Wolves would ask for the world in a Love trade. Star players don't grow on trees, and if a team faces the prospect of having to deal one, they should demand a lot in return. This is especially the case when there's a bidding war.

Why this doesn't make sense

Minnesota doesn't have to rush into a deal if they don't feel it's necessary. While it would be nice to have the picks in this loaded draft, a team like the Celtics doesn't exactly have much to offer in terms of young players with high ceilings. Players like Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk are nice pieces, but the Wolves would like a player with more upside.

If they don't feel like they can get a good deal by draft night, Minnesota may be willing to just keep Love and see if the team can improve next year. That's what the Portland Trail Blazers did when trade rumors were swirling around LaMarcus Aldridge last summer, and the Blazers wound up making the playoffs. The Wolves may have been just 40-42 last year, but some of that was due to injuries and bad luck.

Minnesota could risk getting a lesser return by holding on to Love, but that risk may be worth the gamble on a good season that potentially could change the power forward's mind about his future.

Likelihood

A trade of Love at some point over the next year or so seems almost inevitable, but it would be somewhat surprising if the Wolves pull the trigger on a deal in the next few weeks unless there's a monster offer they can't refuse. It's tough to see where that offer comes from at the moment, so it wouldn't be a shock if Love is still with Minnesota at the start of next year. After all, getting stars to Minnesota isn't exactly the easiest thing to do, so giving up one would be a tough pill to swallow.

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