With a LeBron James-backed recruitment pitch, the Cleveland Cavaliers are the clear frontrunners in the chase for Kevin Love. One team has joined the fray lately, with the Chicago Bulls showing intention that they want the Minnesota Timberwolves forward to their fold as well.
“Although the full extent of the Bulls' offer wasn't immediately known, it is believed Minnesota would seek a package from Chicago featuring forward Taj Gibson and defensive ace Jimmy Butler in addition to other assets,” reports Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein of ESPN.COM
The Bulls will become the third team in pursuit of Love after the Cavs and the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors unwillingness to include Klay Thompson in any Love deal is one of the culprits why a Golden State-Minnesota exchange haven’t gone down yet.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers have offered different packages—Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett and a future first round pick; and Andrew Wiggins, Bennett and a future first round pick—but has yet to convince the Timberwolves front office to agree.
How the Minnesota-Chicago Trade Works
Using ESPN’s Trade Checker, the Bulls can acquire the T’Wolves franchise player by offering a combination of the mentioned players. As with the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) rules, the salaries have to, more or less, match for a deal to be valid:
Minnesota acquires: Taj Gibson ($8M) + Jimmy Butler ($2M) + Mike Dunleavy ($3.3M)
Chicago acquires: Kevin Love ($15.71M)
Why the Bulls Shouldn’t Gut Out Their Team for Love
Love is a statistically dominant player but his fit with the Bulls squad, which already features big men Joakim Noah ($12.7M), Pau Gasol ($7.12M) and Nikola Mirotic ($5.3M), is highly questionable.
If acquired, Love will most likely take over the power forward starting spot which will push Gasol to a back-up role. They won’t have that same problem with Gibson, who has shown to be an effective back-up 4/5 with the Bulls.
And speaking of Thibs, the coach is known as a defensive guru—an aspect of the game that is not really one of Love’s strengths. In Thibodeau’s scheme of things, Gibson’s tenacity is preferred over Love’s laziness on the defensive end.
Finally, getting Love will mean losing much needed depth in the NBA’s 82-game plus the postseason. Chicago is already worried of Derrick Rose’s injuries and any trade with the Wolves will gut their team, particularly the wings (Butler and Dunleavy’s positions).
In short, the Chicago Bulls are better off rolling with a deeper team rather than a superstar-laden squad—dropping out of the Kevin Love race is a better idea than joining the chase.