With the NBA Draft rapidly approaching, the Kevin Love trade rumors will likely start to reach a fever pitch. There will be some pressure on Flip Saunders to move Love by draft night, and while Saunders may not want to trade Love, he knows he can't lose his star power forward for nothing in free agency.
Trading Love prior to the draft will net the highest potential return for the Wolves, and the package being offered by the Boston Celtics may be the best Saunders can expect, according to ESPN's Chad Ford. The Celtics have the No. 6 and No. 17 picks in the upcoming draft, as well as a stable of future first-rounders that could be used in a deal. Boston also has young players such as Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk to dangle as trade bait.
Why this makes sense
If and when the Wolves trade Love, they'll go into rebuilding mode, although it wouldn't be quite a full rebuild due to some of the existing talent already on the roster. Acquiring the No. 6 pick would give Minnesota a chance to select one of the stud power forwards available in this draft to help replace Love, whether that be Noah Vonleh, Aaron Gordon or Julius Randle. The Wolves also wouldn't necessarily have to limit themselves to a power forward, although it would make sense.
In addition to the No. 6 pick, Minnesota would also have picks No. 13 and No. 17 in a deep draft. There will be quality players available at those slots, so adding three young players in the draft is a good way to accelerate a rebuild. Acquiring some of the Celtics' young talent would help as well.
Why this doesn't make sense
Boston does have an appealing trade package, although the upside of the NBA talent that would be included is somewhat limited. There will be multiple teams in on the bidding for Love that have the potential to offer packages close in value, and it could depend on what exactly Minnesota is looking for in a deal.
Ford lists the Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings as suitors for Love, and other teams could be in the mix as well. ESPN Boston's Jackie MacMullan reported two weeks ago the Bulls had put in a better offer than the Celtics, an offer that could include some combination of the expiring contract of Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic and two first-rounders in this draft.
The Warriors could offer up an already really good player with major upside like Klay Thompson if they so choose, as well as young players like Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green. Needless to say, the Wolves should have a bevy of options.
A Love trade seems inevitable, so the question is where he ends up. Boston seems like a destination high on his list, and the Celtics do have some quality assets to offer Minnesota. An argument can be made that the Celtics are the favorites to land Love, so it would be no surprise at all if he winds up in Boston.