Published June 18, 2014
(SportsNetwork.com) - What is Flip Saunders to do with Kevin Love?
The All-NBA forward wants to play for a contender and won't stay with the Timberwolves after his contract runs out, following this upcoming regular season.
Love has never made the playoffs in his career. With just this season left on his contract, Love is an incredibly hot commodity, although his next team will want assurances he will stay long-term. (Technically not true since the Sacramento Kings seem willing to chance it.)
Draft day might be a prime time to trade Love. The Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers line up as logical suitors. Boston and Cleveland have very high picks to dangle in any sort of deal.
But, Saunders named himself head coach in a move that stunned no one. He wants Love to stay for obvious reasons, but he's greasing the skids for a potential move by saying the All-Star has no right to be frustrated.
The Wolves are a frustrating group. There's plenty of talent with Love, center Nikola Pekovic, point guard Ricky Rubio and shooting guard Kevin Martin. Minny's problems over recent times is that the Wolves can't field a healthy lineup for longer than a week.
Another part of the problem was Rubio's regression. He has no scoring, or shooting instincts, but he's a dynamic passer and play-maker.
Assume that Love remains with the Timberwolves, at No. 13, the team desperately needs shooters. Michigan's Nick Stauskas, Kentucky's James Young, Duke's Rodney Hood, or maybe, if Creighton's Doug McDermott all could be in the mix.
Keep your eye on Michigan State forward Adreian Payne.
If the Wolves move Love on draft day, or prior, there will definitely be picks involved. A power forward to replace Love will be in order and both point guards, Rubio and J.J. Barea are free agents after the season.
Under Contract: F Kevin Love; C Nikola Pekovic; G Kevin Martin; F Chase Budinger; G J.J. Barea; F Luc Mbah a Moute; F Corey Brewer; G Ricky Rubio; G Alexey Shved; F Shabazz Muhammad; F Ronny Turiaf; C Gorgui Dieng
Free Agents: F Dante Cunningham; F Robbie Hummel
Recent Draft History: 2013: Trey Burke (9), Andre Roberson (26), Lorenzo Brown (52), Bojan Dubljevic (59)
2012: Robbie Hummel (58)
2011: Derrick Williams (2), Donatas Motiejunas (20)
2010: Wesley Johnson (4), Luke Babbit (16), Trevor Booker (23), Paulo Prestes (45), Hamady Ndiaye (56)
2009: Ricky Rubio (5), Jonny Flynn (6), Ty Lawson (18), Wayne Ellington (28), Nick Calathes (45), Henk Norel (47)