For the first time, the Minnesota Timberwolves aren't hiding from the rumors. Team owner Glen Taylor told the Pioneer Press's Charley Walters that he expects forward Kevin Love to be traded on Aug. 23 or 24. While Taylor would still like to move forward with Love in Minnesota, that likelihood seems all but lost.
"I'm saying it's most likely because Kevin has made it pretty clear that that's what he wants to do," Taylor told the Pioneer Press.
There are multiple indications the Cleveland Cavaliers are lining up a deal to team Love with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Second-year forward Anthony Bennett was pulled from participating in the Toronto Pro-Am at the request of agent Jeff Schwartz, who also happens to be Love's agent. Love was likewise surprised when he pulled out of USA training camp despite being one of the first veteran players to commit to the national team. Both those decisions indicate they expect to be involved in a trade.
Kevin Love Trade
Kevin Love Trade
The Cavs and T-Wolves can't go through with a trade that's expected to involve 2014 first overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins because he signed his contract with Cleveland on July 23. By rule, he cannot be traded for a month after that date.
If a deal does go through, it will be most interesting to see how quickly T-Wolves president and coach Flip Saunders can retool. Speaking to the Pioneer Press, Taylor even hinted at what was to come following a Love trade.
"I think when you move somebody like Kevin, who's been an all-star, that you've got to get a number of players on your team that have the potential of replacing him," Taylor said. "Flip (Saunders, Wolves president) has looked at this team and offensively, he's got a pretty good team. Defensively, it's got to be better, so I think that's where some of the areas will be replaced."
It's hard to imagine Minnesota pulling off this deal without receiving Wiggins in return, and that certainly would help on the defensive end. The Timberwolves will rely on internal development, and that will likely include a larger role for big man Gorgui Dieng, who came on strong in March and April of his rookie season.
The more chiseled Bennett could also vie for minutes at power forward along with the capable Dante Cunningham and veteran Ronny Turiaf. Though the Timberwolves might be losing their best player, some buy-in from the players and solid coaching from Saunders could keep the team out of the deep end of the lottery pool. Even if they also find a way to ship off J.J. Barea or Corey Brewer in the Love deal, Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Martin and a deep cast of role players will make for an intriguing storyline in Minnesota.