When it rains it pours, and once the initial reports emerged stating that Kevin Love will be looking to leave Minnesota as a free agent following the conclusion of next season, the floodgates opened with speculation of teams Love could end up with should the Timberwolves choose to trade him before that decision can be made.
The Warriors and Bulls are considered the leading destinations for Love if he were to be traded, mainly because he would need to agree to sign a max contract in his new situation in order for teams to give up the types of assets required to obtain his services. The Knicks, Lakers, and Suns are further down the list in some order, and a couple of other teams have come forward as ones that will be sure to take part in the bidding process.
From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
The Boston Celtics have emerged as an increasingly intriguing destination for Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love, and the Celtics’ draft position coming out of Tuesday night’s lottery could be telltale in determining the feasibility of a trade, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
If the lottery percentages hold to form, Boston would draft in the No. 5 slot, which could hold appeal to Minnesota in this talent-rich draft. If Boston moves up and cracks one of the top three spots, general manager Danny Ainge would have a more difficult decision to make on using the pick in a deal for Love. …
The Houston Rockets also plan to make a run at a trade for Love, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Officials believe Love’s close relationship and respect for coach Kevin McHale could give the Rockets an edge.
Let’s start with the Celtics. While a top-five pick in what appears to be a very deep draft is a great place to begin in terms of offers for Love, assuming Rajon Rondo stays (and that’s a huge assumption), is that really going to be perceived as an upgrade, or a better situation in Love’s mind to get him to sign there long-term? It’s tough to envision, at least as that roster is currently constructed.
The Rockets are more intriguing due to the star power already in place with Dwight Howard and James Harden, but the biggest knock on Love has been his defense, and Houston is already awful enough in that area that they were run out of the gym by an athletic Blazers team full of shooters in the first round of the playoffs this season.
Go ahead and add Boston and Houston to the long list of suitors, but neither make a whole lot of sense if Love’s goal is to play for a large market franchise that’s poised to win in the somewhat immediate future.