Kevin Love Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz and Speculation Surrounding Timberwolves PF

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2014

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Updates from Tuesday, July 22

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski provides updates on different trade rumors and potential scenarios involving Kevin Love:

The Cleveland Cavaliers are pursuing trade components to include as part of a package with Minnesota to acquire All-Star forward Kevin Love, league sources told Yahoo Sports.Cleveland's discussions with Minnesota have escalated with the Cavaliers' willingness to include No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins in the deal, sources said.

Without Wiggins, there's no other combination of Cleveland players and picks that would interest Minnesota.


The Denver Nuggets have remained a strong contender for Love, offering a package that sources said has been the most appealing to Minnesota outside of the Cavaliers and a possible Golden State deal including Klay Thompson. So far, the Warriors have kept Thompson out of their offer to Minnesota.

Updates from Wednesday, July 16

Steve Kyler of and Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated provide insight on a potential Kevin Love trade:

Updates from Tuesday, July 15

ESPN's Marc Stein reports that the Warriors and the Timberwolves have different players in mind for the deal:

The Timberwolves and Warriors have continued to discuss a Kevin Love trade, but the teams remain unable to agree on the framework of a deal, with Golden State still unwilling to includeKlay Thompson, according to sources close to the process.

Sources told that Wolves owner Glen Taylor and Warriors counterpart Joe Lacob have maintained a level of dialogue on a potential trade of Love to Golden State, which sources insist would have been clinched by now had the Warriors -- at the behest of new coach Steve Kerr -- relented on their refusal to part with Thompson.

The Warriors have been unwilling to offer the Timberwolves more than a combination of former All-Star forwardDavid Lee and 2012 lottery pick Harrison Barnes -- likely packaged with a future first-round pick -- in exchange for Love and swingman Kevin Martin, according to sources.

Jon Krawczynsk of The Associated Press reports that trade talks for Kevin Love have heated up again:

Updates from Friday, July 11

ESPN's Marc Stein reports the latest on Love's potential move to Cleveland:

CBS Sports' Ken Berger reports Andrew Wiggins could be available:

Updates from Wednesday, July 9

Sam Amick of USA Today provides an update on the potential scenario that would send Kevin Love to Cleveland:

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported on what would set off a Love trade:

Wojnarowski reports more on Minnesota's position with a Love trade:

Updates from Tuesday, July 8

Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the Minnesota Timberwolves aren't impressed with what the Boston Celtics have to offer for Kevin Love:

The club is still trying to land its most desired prize, Kevin Love, but according to two NBA sources, the Celts and Timberwolves have not spoken in more than a week. What was reported here before the draft when what little discussion there was between the teams broke down is still the case: the only way the talks get revived is if Minnesota changes its stance on what it will accept for Love, or if the Wolves believe the Celtics can get them the players they want in a separate deal.

Beyond that, at least as of yesterday, all points connecting the two sides were moot.

"Minnesota didn’t want anything Boston had two weeks ago, and it’s crazy to think that’s changed this fast," said one league source. "They may change their mind at some point, but I still think that’s going to take some time."

Updates from Monday, July 7

Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher provides his take on the Golden State Warriors' pursuit of Kevin Love:

Updates from Wednesday, July 2

Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News reports on the one player Golden State must take if it is to complete a trade for Kevin Love:

Updates from Friday, June 27

Bleacher Report's Howard Beck weighs in on the trade saga surrounding Kevin Love:

Updates from Thursday, June 26

ESPN's Chris Broussard reports what it would take for Kevin Love to stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers long-term, if he were to be traded there:

Updates from Wednesday, June 24

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported on another team who made a push to land Kevin Love:

Sam Amick of USA Today has an update on the Warriors' potential push for Love:

Updates from Monday, June 23

Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report reported on the state of negotiations between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors:

Updates from Sunday, June 22

Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News reports whom Derrick Rose would prefer to play with between Kevin Love and Carmelo Anthony:

According to sources close to Kevin Love, Rose’s preference is for the Bulls to work out a deal as soon as possible for Minnesota’s All-Star forward because he sees Love as more of a team player than Anthony. Chicago is in the mix with Golden State for Love, with Boston and Denver considered long shots. If it makes any difference to Melo, Rose has no plans to recruit Love, who is free next summer, either. But the Bulls already know whom he’d really prefer to play with in the future.

Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports on the state of trade talks between the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves:

What’s become clear is that for the Celtics to have a chance at dealing for Love, one of two things has to happen — and maybe both. The Celtics have to change their offer, last stated as the Nos. 6 and 17 picks next Thursday, Kelly Olynyk and one of their own future first-rounders, or Saunders has to change what he’s looking for.

One league source said the key for the Celts is getting a more accurate idea of what Minnesota wants from them, while another said the Timberwolves came into this process believing the C’s had nothing they want.

ESPN's Chris Broussard added more details about a potential deal with the Golden State Warriors: 

Updates from Saturday, June 21

Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein of ESPN report on complications in the Warriors and Timberwolves' trade discussions for Kevin Love:

What is being described as an "organizational split" on the willingness to part with prized shooting guard Klay Thompson has led to an impasse in the Golden State Warriors' trade pursuit of All-Star forward Kevin Love, according to sources close to the process.

After it appeared that the Warriors were prepared to part with Thompson in a deal to land Minnesota's Love, sources told that Hall of Fame consultant Jerry West and new Warriors coach Steve Kerr have voiced opposition to surrendering both Thompson and a future first-round pick to the Timberwolves along with former All-Star forward David Lee for Love and Wolves guard Kevin Martin.

Others in the Warriors' organization are said to be willing to surrender Thompson if it means landing Love, who is widely regarded as the marquee name on this offseason's trade market. But sources say the talks, which were gathering momentum in advance of the upcoming NBA Draft, have stalled.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News provides additional details regarding the potential roadblock:

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports a bombshell regarding the Lakers and a potential Kevin Love deal:

The Lakers have been in discussions to acquire Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson for the seventh pick in next week’s draft, The Times has learned.

The deal would be part of a larger three-way trade that sends Minnesota All-Star power forward Kevin Love to the Warriors. The Lakers are interested but the deal has been put on hold because of a difference in opinion within the Warriors’ organization whether or not to keep Thompson while trying to obtain Love.

Updates from Thursday, June 19

Marc Stein of ESPN provided the state of negotiations between the Timberwolves and Warriors:

Chris Broussard of ESPN broke down a potential trade package between the two sides:

Sam Amick of USA Today reveals what may be an issue in the current discussions:

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports had more on the state of negotiations:

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News has a conflicting report on the Warriors' proposal:

Thompson also spoke about his involvement in trade talks (h/t Diamond Leung of Bay Area News Group):

Broussard later reported on a potential Love trade involving the Denver Nuggets:

Updates from Wednesday, June 18

The Denver Nuggets have a plan to trade for Kevin Love, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald

Updates from Tuesday, June 17

Probasketballdraft provides a statement from an anonymous general manager discussing Kevin Love's future with the Timberwolves:

Updates from Wednesday, June 11

As the speculation surrounding Love continues to swirl, he decided to comment about his situation on ESPN's SportsNation (h/t 

My agent is handling everything at this point. ... I'm hoping that everything works out for all parties involved. ...

... No matter what the outcome is, I just want to end up in a great place where I can win. At the end of the day, I've played six years, haven't made the playoffs yet, that burns me and hurts my heart, so I really want to be playing.

Updates from Friday, June 6

Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe has the latest on Love:

On Thursday, Timberwolves president Flip Saunders hired himself to coach the team, a move viewed by many as an effort to prevent Minnesota’s All-Star forward, Kevin Love, from leaving.

“It was the only thing Flip could do to keep Love,” one league source said. “He put all his chips on the table.” ...

... So Saunders’s main issue very likely remains the same: Either trade Love between this offseason and the February trade deadline or risk losing him without receiving any compensation in return.

Under the circumstances, it’s believed that in his expanded role, Saunders, who previously coached the team for 10 seasons, could be more selective about potential deals.

“Flip probably as coach and [general manager] will now only listen to really good trade scenarios that help Minnesota rather than feeling like they need to move him for the best deal prior to the draft or free agency when he was only the GM,” a league source said.

However, Holmes also rules Boston out as a potential destination:

If no deal is completed in the relative short term, league sources suggested that the issue could become a season-long distraction for the Timberwolves, much like in Denver before the Nuggets traded Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks in 2011.

“I think the standard was set in Denver, but no more receiving teams want to get into a mess like New York and New Jersey did for Melo,” one league source said.

“So I think other teams will come with better offers earlier in the process now, rather than get into a bidding war around the deadline.”

But the Timberwolves still have at least some hesitancy about trading another superstar to the Celtics after what happened when they did so with Kevin Garnett in 2007, league sources said. The Celtics immediately became contenders, while the Timberwolves continued their downward slide, having failed to reach the playoffs since 2004.

Updates from Thursday, June 5

ESPN's Jackie MacMullan has this on Love to Boston:

Love is under contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves for another season, so he's not a free agent, but when the bruising All-Star was spotted lounging in the Fenway stands, hangin' withRajon Rondo and sipping Sam Adams, it led to wildly hopeful speculation that Love would not only welcome a trade to the Boston Celtics, he would be willing to sign an extension that would enable him to roam the parquet alongside Rondo for years to come, the way Kevin Garnett once did.

In fact, team and league sources confirm, that's a scenario that Love is willing to consider. ...

... There's only one problem with all these dizzying (and highly speculative) scenarios: They are meaningless unless the first domino -- Love actually coming to Boston -- falls. According to team and league sources, that isn't happening any time soon because the Timberwolves are less than enamored with what Boston can offer them.

The No. 6 pick isn't quite so sexy. The Celtics can offer only some combination of that pick and the following: the valuable future Brooklyn picks, the 17th pick this year, Jared SullingerKelly OlynykJeff GreenBrandon BassKeith Bogans' expiring $5.05 million contract (if they can do it before July 1).

Fox Sports' Sam Amico has more on Love:

Updates from Wednesday, June 4

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports has the latest information on the Timberwolves' plan for Kevin Love:

Updates from Saturday, May 31

Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe reports that Love is visiting Boston this weekend:

Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe echoed those sentiments:

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe adds more detail about Love's Boston visit:

Updates from Tuesday, May 20

Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press provided a statement from Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor discussing a potential Kevin Love trade:

I should never say never because who knows what might come up? But that's not our plan.

I'm not in a position where you would say absolutely I wouldn't do it, because what if something that I can't even speculate (on) happens? You'd say, "You're nuts, Glen." Maybe some team puts a value on him that's different than we suspect. ...

... At this point, we're not talking to any teams. I haven't heard from Kevin or his agents or anything like that. We're assuming that Kevin will be here next season, and we're working with that scenario. This isn't the time for us to do anything but to prepare for next year.

Marcus Thompson II of the San Jose Mercury News previously reported insight surrounding Love and the Warriors:

Love's only power in a potential trade is deciding whether or not to sign a long-term extension with the team to which he is traded. Most potential suitors would back off a trade with Minnesota if Love makes clear he won't sign an extension. But his indication that he'd like to play for Golden State puts the Warriors on Minnesota's shortlist. ...

... Ideally, the Warriors could pull it off with a package of [David] Lee, forward Harrison Barnes and the 2015 draft pick. That's probably the best the Warriors could offer.

A team source said the Warriors don't want to give up Klay Thompson to land Love. Draymond Green doesn't make enough to impact the trade financially. That leaves Barnes, whom the Warriors stuck by during his sophomore slump.

Updates from Monday, May 19

Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News reports the Knicks will be among the teams interested in trading for Kevin Love this offseason:

The Knicks and Phil Jackson are expected to try to trade for Kevin Love, as the Minnesota All-Star forward wants to leave the Timberwolves and continues to have the Knicks on his list of potential landing spots.

"He wants to go to a big market and play in a winning situation," a league source said on Sunday. "Of course he is interested in the Knicks."

Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune previously provided a statement from Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor discussing the potential of trading Love prior to the draft in June:

The Associated Press, citing two unnamed sources, reported Sunday that, with Tuesday's draft lottery and the June 26 draft approaching, the Wolves are softening their position that they won't trade Love and are open to the idea of doing so for the right deal.

"Not by the draft," Taylor said before Sunday’s Lynx home opener at Target Center about such a possibility.

Taylor said he hasn't discussed that option recently with Flip Saunders, the team's president of basketball operations, and said Love has not asked for or told the team to trade him. Taylor has remained hopeful the team, searching for a coach to replace Rick Adelman, will show enough improvement next season to convince Love his future is with a team that hasn't made the playoffs in a decade.

Zgoda also provided a statement from Flip Saunders discussing Love's status within the organization with WCCO Radio on Sunday:

We’re proceeding the same way, that Kevin is part of our team, that we have. You’re always trying to get your team better. There have been reports we’re actively trying to trade him, which isn’t true. What we’re actively trying to do is get our team better. When you do that, you look to see what’s out there no matter what it is or for anybody. We’re a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in 10 years. We’ve got to get better. 

Original Text

No matter how much Flip Saunders and the Minnesota Timberwolves put on a publicly brave face, the saga surrounding star forward Kevin Love isn't going away. It's only beginning.

The latest trip on the ever-evolving rumor roundup has Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News reporting that Love's "people" recently told Minnesota management to trade the three-time All-Star. Lawrence's report states that Love wants to play for the Los Angeles Lakers or New York Knicks, with the former being his top preference.

Of course, these rumors are far from new. Love has been linked to Los Angeles, where he played his college ball at UCLA, for more than a year.

The Lakers are hoarding their cap space for the summer of 2015, when Love will be a free agent, and there has been no shortage of reports linking the pair. ESPN's Chris Broussard says a rival general manager told him that it is a "100 percent certainty" that Love will sign with the Lakers as a free agent next year.

These rumors can typically be taken with a grain of salt. There are myriad agendas that come with executives nudging Love's name to the forefront. It's theoretically possible that these GMs and sources are attempting to ratchet up the pressure on Saunders to deal one of the league's 10 best players; the sooner the Timberwolves are open to dealing him, the sooner possible suitors can begin the wooing process.

It's worth noting that Lawrence's report specifically says Love's "people" told the Timberwolves to trade him, not Love himself. But given the overwhelming glut of speculation, there has to be at least some smoke to this fire.

"For the first time, [Saunders] sounds like looking at deals for [Love] is an option," an NBA executive told Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.

Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press

Wojnarowski notes that the Lakers, Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns are chief among the teams pushing for a Love trade. Boston, Los Angeles and Phoenix each have lottery picks in the 2014 draft. Golden State traded its pick to Utah but has young players like Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson who could be enticing.

Wojnarowski later added another team to the Love sweepstakes:'s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne highlighted the Chicago Bulls as another destination that "intrigues" Love. They also corroborated Lawrence's insinuation that Love's camp is trying to force Minnesota's hand into trading him by indicating he'll hit unrestricted free agency next summer and won't negotiate an extension this offseason.

Shelburne later clarified her and Stein's report:

Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk gave more insight into the market for Love:

The Timberwolves have failed to make the playoffs in each of Love's six seasons.

Former general manager David Kahn did not help matters by signing Love, an obvious franchise guy, to a contract extension with an early opt-out clause rather than the five-year maximum. Teams are only allowed to sign one five-year max deal with players coming off rookie contracts under the league's collective bargaining agreement. It's thought that Kahn saved that distinction for Ricky Rubio—who is decidedly not a max guy.

This season, Love became the first player since 1975-76 to average at least 26 points, 12 rebounds and four assists, per Basketball-Reference. While he's a minus defensively and is prone to chasing counting stats, Love is one of the three or four most talented offensive players in basketball. He's the quintessential stretch 4.

If paired with an elite rim-protector, a role Nikola Pekovic struggles to fill, Love might hit another level as he reaches his prime, as Love doesn't turn 26 until September. Even though teams would be taking a major risk by trading for him—Love cannot sign an extension, nor does the league's collective bargaining agreement incentivize him to do so—the Timberwolves won't have any shortage of suitors.

In recent seasons, the Lakers and Clippers have rolled the dice in similar situations. Dwight Howard bolted for Houston after only one miserable year playing next to Kobe Bryant. Chris Paul opted into his player option with the Clippers and then re-upped for five more years last summer.

Uncredited/Associated Press

Although the Lakers are in the lottery in part because they risked trading for Howard, it's a move they'd still likely make 10 times out of 10. Superstars are a precious commodity, and individual stars mean more in basketball than in any other major professional sport. Love's ability to be the best player on a championship team is questionable, but his star status is far from it.

The Timberwolves know this. Love's arrival coincided with Minnesota watching as former star Kevin Garnett hoisted his first NBA championship in Boston. The franchise hasn't had a winning season in a decade, and trading Love would merely be the latest detonation of a promising core.

Minnesota's search for a replacement for coach Rick Adelman has also hit a snag as potential suitors await resolution. Wojnarowski's report indicated that Billy Donovan, Tom Izzo and Fred Hoiberg were no longer in consideration.

"Will that be a factor, I don't know," Saunders told the AP (h/t regarding whether the Love saga would affect his coaching search. "I do know anytime you can be in the NBA and have the opportunity to coach at this level, a lot of people would jump at that opportunity."

Saunders is undoubtedly hoping he'll be able to satisfy an unhappy Love with small moves this summer that are designed to put Minnesota in playoff contention. Portland Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey was able to pull that off in 2013-14 with the formerly discontented LaMarcus Aldridge.

Considering the way reports are headed, though, Love's camp may be pushing Saunders to make a move before he even has that chance.


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