The Wolves made headlines today by revealing that team president Flip Saunders will take the reigns as head coach and enter into a role similar to the one possessed by the likes of Doc Rivers and Stan Van Gundy. The news wasn’t overly shocking since Saunders had long been rumored as a potential successor to the now retired Rick Adelman, but the move might ignite Kevin Love trade discussions since the team was reportedly going to hold off talks to deal the big man until they hired a coach. A recent report identified the Celtics, Bulls, Warriors, Suns, Lakers and Rockets as the teams poised to make a run at the All-Star. Let’s round up the merits of Love’s suitors:
- Celtics: While Love would reportedly be willing to consider signing a long-term deal with Boston, the Wolves aren’t enamored with what GM Danny Ainge can bring to the table. No matter how appealing of a destination the C’s might be for Love, Minnesota holds final say whether or not he’ll actually wind up there.
- Bulls: The assets Chicago can offer are reportedly more appealing than those of Boston, but it’s up in the air whether Love would consider re-signing long-term for the Bulls, and Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com hears Chicago won’t give up a combination of Jimmy Butler, draft picks and/or Taj Gibson, Carlos Boozer, and Nikola Mirotic unless they know Love will remain a member of the Bulls.
- Warriors: Golden State’s biggest trade chips are likely Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson, but David Lee would need to be part of almost any trade scenario featuring Love in order for such a deal to work financially. It’s tough to see the Warriors parting ways with Thompson, but that might be the only way they could land Love.
- Suns: Phoenix has a multitude of first-round draft picks, including three in this year’s draft, and Love might be the missing piece their roster needs to propel them into becoming serious contenders. Still, it’s tough to see the Suns trading for him without commitment he’d stay long-term.
- Lakers: Love is a Southern California native and played his college ball at UCLA. A move out west makes sense, but the Lakers might not be able to put together an impressive enough package to steal him from Minnesota. If Love is dedicated to finding his way to LA, he might have to wait until he’s free agent eligible in the summer of 2014/15.
- Rockets: Acquiring Love would almost certainly mean Houston would have to part with Chandler Parsons, and it’s still difficult to come up with a trade that benefits both sides while working financially. Still, Rockets GM Daryl Morey has been a creative trade artist in the past, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see Houston make a play.
Other teams have been linked to Love as well, including the Kings and Wizards, and any team would certainly have some level of interest in acquiring the Second Team All-NBA forward. There’s a chance he’ll remain in Minnesota past the summer, but it seems the odds of such a scenario are decreasing daily. Where do you think Love will be playing to open 2014/15? Vote in the poll below, and leave a comment sharing your thoughts!