Immediately after the Cavaliers won this year's draft lottery, we heard that the team would be open to fielding trade offers for the first overall pick. But according to Joe Kotoch of SheridanHoops.com, there's one particular the team with whom the Cavs would like to deal: The Timberwolves. Kotoch reports that the No. 1 pick would be available to the T-Wolves if they were willing to part with Kevin Love.
Kotoch's report doesn't come as a huge surprise — Love is a two-time All-Star and was a member of the gold-medal U.S. Olympic team in 2012, so he's a proven commodity, whereas there's no real consensus top pick in this year's draft class. Nerlens Noel, who sits atop many draft boards, is recovering from ACL surgery. As such, it makes sense that the Cavs, who hope to earn a playoff spot next season, would target a veteran who could make an immediate impact.
Love has been mentioned as a potential trade candidate in the past because he and the Timberwolves have had an up-and-down relationship since the team was unwilling to give him the five-year rookie scale extension he was seeking. Still, with former GM David Kahn out of the picture and Flip Saunders now running the show in Minnesota, I'd be shocked if the T-Wolves seriously considered moving Love this summer. Even if he does intent to opt out down the road, Love still has at least two more years remaining on his contract, so there'd be plenty of time for the Wolves to weigh their options.
In addition to the nugget on the Cavs and Love, Kotoch shared a few more draft-related rumors to go along with his latest mock draft. Here are the highlights:
- Kotoch echoes a report by ESPN.com's Chad Ford (Twitter link) suggesting that Giannis Antetokounmpo has been given a first-round guarantee. According to Kotoch, two teams have made such a promise to the so-called "Greek Freak," and Kotoch believes one of them may be the Hawks, who have two first-round picks.
- The Jazz are interested in C.J. McCollum, but would be happy to select Michael Carter-Williams or Dennis Schroeder if McCollum is off the board at No. 14, says Kotoch.
- McCollum also intrigues the Thunder, who pick 12th, though Oklahoma City has been primarily linked to bigs so far.
- The Knicks "really like" Shane Larkin, according to Kotoch.