12:45pm: The Wolves contacted the Bulls within the last 24 hours to tell them that Cleveland’s proposal was their favorite but that it wasn’t enough to convince them to trade Love just yet, a source tells Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. The Bulls responded with their offer, Cowley adds, having heard that Chicago put Gibson, McDermott and a few other assets on the table for the Wolves. Cowley’s source couldn’t confirm whether Mirotic was part of the offer, but regardless, the Wolves are giving the proposal strong consideration, the Sun-Times scribe writes. The Bulls are confident, after reaching out to Love through backchannels, that he will commit to staying in Chicago for the long term, Cowley adds.
11:32am: The Bulls are offering a package of Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott for Kevin Love, as a source confirms to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (on Twitter). Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com was the first to report the offer. Sheridan hears the Wolves like Chicago’s package best among those on the table, but Wolfson contends that Minnesota would prefer a deal that nets them Andrew Wiggins from the Cavs (Twitter link).
Still, there’s confusion around the league about why the Wolves haven’t agreed to a deal with the Cavs if Wiggins is truly available, Grantland’s Zach Lowe tweets. Some close to the situation said prior to the report of Chicago’s offer that Love would likely wind up with the Bulls, according to USA Today’s Sam Amick (on Twitter).
The general belief has been that the Wolves would seek Gibson, Jimmy Butler and other assets from the Bulls, as Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reported Tuesday, and Wolfson noted at the time that the Wolves are high on McDermott, too. Neither McDermott nor Mirotic can officially be traded until the middle of next month, since both signed their rookie contracts in the past few days. That’s true of Mirotic even though he didn’t sign a rookie scale contract. The same complication will exist regarding Wiggins once Cleveland signs him, as expected.
Amick heard yesterday from the Cleveland camp that the Wolves still weren’t showing urgency to complete a deal for Love (Twitter link). In the same vein, the Bulls have continually told Gibson not to worry about trade rumors, as Gibson told reporters today, including K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Mirotic, while in the midst of finalizing a buyout from Real Madrid of Spain before he signed with Chicago, reportedly sought assurances from the Bulls that they wouldn’t trade him, but it’s unclear if Chicago made any such promise. The Warriors and Nuggets also reportedly remain in the mix for the All-Star power forward as the Wolves seek the involvement of a third team and clubs line up to help make any Love swap a multiteam transaction.