After being told the Cleveland Cavaliers had the best offer for forward Kevin Love, the Chicago Bulls reacted on Wednesday by putting Taj Gibson, rookie Doug McDermott and other assets on the table for the Timberwolves power forward, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The source told the Sun-Times that the deal will be "heavily considered" by Minnesota.
Forward Nikola Mirotic may be included in the deal, but the newspaper couldn't confirm that.
McDermott signed his rookie deal with the Bulls on Tuesday, and any trade couldn't go through until a month has passed. The teams could agree on a deal in principle, but first the Timberwolves and president Flip Saunders would have to go over his options.
Why this could make sense
The Bulls arguably would be the Eastern Conference favorites if they could add Love to a core without giving up Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose or the recently signed Pau Gasol. According to the Sun-Times, the Bulls have done their homework and have used "backchannels" to determine that Love might be willing to sign in Chicago for the long term. Love would need to feel like joining the Bulls would be a solid alternative to heading to Cleveland, where he would team with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
For the teams, this may make sense depending on the school of thought. The Sun-Times reports that Minnesota and Saunders feel the pressure to win sooner rather than later, and the Chicago trade package arguably would help them sooner than the Cavs' reported offer of Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. Both Wiggins and Bennett would need some grooming.
Why it doesn't make sense
Minnesota would be taking a big risk by accepting Gibson and McDermott rather than taking a swing on Bennett and Wiggins, the latter of whom has quite a bit of star potential.
Meanwhile, Chicago would be losing depth by shipping two, maybe three forwards (if Mirotic is included) off for one -- though a Gasol-Love-Noah threesome isn't too shabby by any means. McDermott and Mirotic are also shooters who could help open up the floor for whom the Bulls already have. Chicago could be good as is and also would have a more flexible future without a big trade.
What is the likelihood?
It's hard to determine what the thinking of Minnesota might be. The Cavs' trade package still looks like the most impressive one, depending on what else might be included when other teams get involved in what could become a complex deal. At this point, Saunders will mull over his options. With the Cavs still having the ability to up their offer and with James apparently pushing for a deal to get done, give this just a 3 of 10 shot of going in the Bulls' favor.