Love not a great fit for Bulls
Here’s a link to a story from April covering the chances of Minnesota’s Kevin Love finding his way to the Bulls.
Yahoo and ESPN reported Sunday that Love has made it clear he will opt out of his contract next summer and is interested in finding a new home.
There is nothing new to the story, really. It was already obvious the Timberwolves will have to make a move with Love or risk losing him for nothing in return next year. A trade could happen during the summer or before the February trade deadline.
Love posted remarkable statistics this season (26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists) and would have been in the MVP conversation if Minnesota had finished closer to the top of the Western Conference standings.
The Bulls are being mentioned as a possible destination and they could make a compelling offer with Taj Gibson, the rights to Nikola Mirotic and two first-round draft picks to work with. But here’s the problem: Adding Love will require signing him to a maximum extension, starting at around $17 million per season.
That would commit the Bulls to around $51 million in salary between Love, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah for 2015-16, and Noah will be looking for a raise when his contract expires in 2016. Rose is signed through 2017.
The Bulls already have a solid option at power forward in Gibson and he comes reasonably priced at less than $9 million per season through 2017. What the Bulls need most is another perimeter scorer who can hopefully mesh with a healthy Rose, which is why Carmelo Anthony figures to get the most attention this summer.
By trading for Love and signing him to an extension, the Bulls would likely have only the mid-level exception available to add players.
Even if the Bulls don’t land Anthony this summer, they have a decent Plan B already in place – sign rising European star Nikola Mirotic from Real Madrid, use their two first-round draft picks (Nos. 16 and 19), and still have some cap space left after using the amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer.
As for Love, the Lakers could offer their first-round draft pick, which will be in the top 10. Love spent a year in college at UCLA. Golden State could dangle David Lee, Andrew Bogut or maybe Harrison Barnes as trade bait.
Houston was mentioned as a possibility, but it’s hard to see Minnesota jumping at the chance to trade for Omer Asik, who is owed $15 million this season before becoming a free agent.
Boston is another team that could offer a top 10 pick and the Celtics already have Rajon Rondo in place, with the cap space to add players in the future.
New York would be in great shape to sign Love if he hits the open market in 2015, but with a bunch of expensive, expiring contracts, the Knicks don’t have much to offer in a trade. By next summer, Love will probably have a new home.