3:05pm: The Rockets are also planning an aggressive pursuit of Love, according to Wojnarowski (on Twitter). Kevin McHale has a strong bond with the UCLA product.
10:35am: Love has made it clear to the Wolves that he intends to become an unrestricted free agent after next season and has no interest in a contract extension this summer to stay in Minnesota, write Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. The article also notes that Love has stated his willingness to accept a deal to the Bulls and Warriors. Sources have told ESPN.com that the Warriors have emerged as a top contender for Love should Minnesota relent and decide to trade him. Golden State doesn’t have a stash of draft picks to offer the Wolves like Phoenix or Boston could offer, but the Warriors could assemble a trade package featuring forwards Harrison Barnes and David Lee, according to the article.
8:56am: It appears that the Timberwolves will seriously consider trading Kevin Love, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. “For the first time, [Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders] sounds like looking at deals for [Love] is an option,” a rival executive told Wojnarowski. Love has an early termination option in his contract that he can exercise next summer. This is putting pressure on the Wolves front office to improve the team enough to convince Love to stay, or trade him for assets instead of risking losing him for nothing. This also comes on the heels of the reports that Minnesota was looking at power forwards in the upcoming draft.
The article also notes that the Celtics, Warriors, Lakers, and Suns are all strong candidates to partner with in a trade for Love if the Wolves decide to move him. Boston and Los Angeles plan to make high-lottery picks in the 2014 NBA Draft available in offers for Love, sources told Wojnarowski.
No team is likely to trade for Love without an assurance that he’ll commit to a five-year, $100 million maximum contract extension, notes Wojnarowski. Despite a belief that Love prefers Los Angeles or New York as potential destinations, he’s open to deals in other markets where he can be part of an immediate contender, the article says.
Wojnarowski is also reporting that Sam Mitchell has emerged as a serious candidate for the franchise’s head coaching job. Mitchell reportedly left a good impression with Saunders in a recent meeting. Mitchell has a strong history with Minnesota, where he had two stops as a player, and Mitchell played for Saunders during his second stint.
The Wolves have also contacted several top college coaches, including Florida’s Billy Donovan, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, and Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg, Wojnarowski notes, but those coaches weren’t inclined to seriously consider the position. The general belief that the Wolves will have to trade Love has made coaches leery of the franchise’s future, according to the article.