Kevin Love was in Boston last weekend, which naturally set off a firestorm of speculation that the Timberwolves star power forward would wind up with the Celtics. It's certainly no secret that the Celtics are making a play for Love, and they have some nice assets to dangle in a potential deal, including the No. 6 and No. 17 picks in the upcoming draft.
However, the Celtics are a bit lacking in terms of enticing NBA talent to trade outside of Rajon Rondo, and the whole point of getting Love would be to pair him with Rondo. Because of this (and other reasons), the Wolves aren't too enamored with making a deal with the Celtics, according to Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston.
MacMullan goes even further, saying the Wolves have fielded better offers from other teams. One of those teams...is your Chicago Bulls:
The Timberwolves privately maintain they already have fielded better offers from other teams, among them the Chicago Bulls, who can offer draft picks and some combination of Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson along with Carlos Boozer, whose bloated $16.8 million contract expires next summer and represents the kind of cap space rebuilding teams crave.
Bulls fans have been throwing around Love's name as a target for quite some time, and now that it looks like he might be available, it would be a good time to pounce. Love has reportedly named the Bulls as an "intriguing" destination, and there are a number of other teams that will likely be a part of the bidding. Teams such as the Rockets, Warriors, Lakers, Suns, Knicks and Kings, in addition to the Celtics. MacMullan also reports that the Cavaliers, who own the No. 1 pick, have interest, but "the feeling isn't mutual."
Love is an obvious fit with the Bulls, as he's a 25-year-old star who would be a terror running pick-and-pop with a healthy Derrick Rose. Love and Joakim Noah would immediately become the best frontcourt duo in the league, and I'm sure the Wolves star would appreciate having a true rim protector alongside him to help clean up defensive mistakes. You'd also have to imagine Tom Thibodeau could mold Love into a decent defender.
There's some debate over whether the Bulls would be better served acquiring Love or Carmelo Anthony. Obviously getting either one would be phenomenal, so I wouldn't complain either way. Anthony probably better fits the Bulls' need of a "pure" scorer, a guy whom you can just give the ball to and get out of the way. It would also likely require less assets to steal Anthony away from New York.
Because let's be clear, it will take a ton to pry Love away from Minnesota. The Wolves won't agree to any deal, especially now, just to agree to a deal. There also likely won't be any trade until a new coach is hired, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. That new coach will try and convince Love to stay, but if he doesn't budge, then perhaps things move quickly on a trade.
[UPDATE by your friendly BullsBlogger, 06/05/14 10:37 AM CDT: It was just confirmed that Flip Saunders's coaching search led to...himself. This could mean all sorts of things, for one a sign to Love that Flip couldn't get him a coach, but also a sign that Saunders as a GM is making this desperate move to at least keep Love until the deadline.]
So as MacMullan says, Boozer, Gibson, Butler and draft picks (the two firsts this year and possibly future ones) are likely on the table. I would have to imagine Nikola Mirotic would be a part of negotiations as well, as he has the potential to be a stretch 4 replacement for Love. The Wolves could also look to send back one of their less desirable contracts, whether that be a player like Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer or J.J. Barea. Getting Martin to play the 2 wouldn't be a bad look, although finding a wing defender to play the 3 in Butler's likely absence would be a must for Chicago.
Personally, I would prefer Love over Anthony despite the high price of doing business. The age is a huge factor, and I just love (pun intended) the fit of Love with Rose and Noah. Love has gotten kind of a bad rap for not being able to win as "The Guy" in Minnesota, and while some of the criticisms are legitimate, the dude is still a bona fide star player. And with a hopefully healthy Rose and Noah alongside him, Love wouldn't necessarily have to be "The Guy." There would be some depth concerns after the trade, but I feel like the Bulls would do a good job filling out the roster around three stars. Again, get the stars first, worry about the depth later.
Of course, I caution about getting any hopes up, because acquiring Love remains a long shot. But it's certainly nice to see that the Bulls are supposedly trying to make something happen in this summer of flexibility.