Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love is already itching to exercise his early-termination option after the 2014-15 season, so team president Flip Saunders understands that he had best consider trading his All-Star, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
A rival NBA executive told Wojnarowski that, for the first time, Saunders is showing signs that he'll consider trade options for the power forward. And there's sure to be interest. While Wojnarowski's sources believe Love would like to land in a big market such as New York or Los Angeles, the Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns are also expected to make serious pushes to acquire Love.
Kevin Love Derby
Kevin Love Derby
Any team that would commit to trading for Love would likely need to have a contract extension in place. And for Love to agree on a long-term commitment, he would need to believe in a team's trajectory and its plan. While the Timberwolves have yet to hire a head coach and will do so with the hope that it would convince Love to remain in Minnesota, the bigger issue for the forward is playing for a team that can be a contender, according to Wojnarowski.
Behind Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Golden State has constructed a winning foundation it will hope to continue building under recently hired coach Steve Kerr, and Phoenix won 48 games behind a similarly successful one-two backcourt punch. While the Warriors have skilled players to work out a trade, the Suns and Celtics have the assets in the form of future draft picks.
The Lakers and Knicks, however, might have the star power to convince Love to join their squads. Kobe Bryant is signed through the 2015-16 season, though the Knicks' pitch will depend heavily on what Carmelo Anthony decides to do this summer in his own free agency.
Minnesota hasn't made the postseason in Love's six NBA seasons. In 2013-14, the Timberwolves finished 40-42 and well out of the competitive Western Conference playoff picture, despite the forward averaging 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists through a relatively healthy 77 games.