The four hardest words a man will hear from a girlfriend are these: "we need to talk."
When those words escape the mouth of your girl, our flies through a text message to your cellphone on a lazy Saturday night, you either run away or delete the message ignoring it all along. But the message stays the same, it is already out there, and one day you will have to dance to the music.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are in the same boat. They have an unhappy lover and he wants out. With the approaching NBA Draft, rumours have been gaining a lot of steam.
The all-star forward has publicly shown his displeasure of the organization since previous general manager's helm. David Kahn chose not to give him the five-year deal and security he was asking for and instead the two sides agreed to a four year deal with a player option for the fourth year. This will essentially make Kevin Love a free agent at the end of the 2015 season and can leave the organization without getting anything in return. This scenario has now forced the hands of the Timberwolves, who have not qualified for the playoffs in the six years that Love has been with the team.
The question now is if Kevin Love will indeed leave but rather where he will go.
Let's look at the top teams which are lining up for his services:
3. Golden State Warriors
What can they offer: The Warriors have young players in Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes which will entice the Timberwolves. While they do not have draft and future picks to offer due to their cap clearing effort for Andre Iguodala, the Warriors can be creative and send out David Lee for other pieces they can offer for Love.
Why Love chooses the Warriors: Golden State has progressed in the past years with the emergence of its young and exciting core. They have the three point bomber and All-Star Stephen Curry, defensive specialists Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut and an improving role player in Draymond Green. The Warriors also play a style that will fit the pick and pop/roll game of Kevin Love.
Why not the Warriors: Golden State would have to be creative in dumping David Lee's two-year $30 million dollar deal on somebody else in exchange for expiring contracts or flexible players. The Warriors will also be reluctant to part with Klay Thompson essentially ending the short-lived era of the splash brothers. The health of Andrew Bogut who is expected to mask some of Kevin Love's defensive liabilities will also heavily play in the equation.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
What can they offer: The Cavaliers have the best weapon to offer if they really have their eyes set on the sweet shooting forward: the 2014 No. 1 Pick. This alone can trump any godfather offer from other teams given this can give the Timberwolves an instant reset button and choose from potential superstars, Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, or Jabari Parker to be the new face of the franchise. If they exclude the pick, they can still entice them with the 2015 Memphis pick which may fall on the lottery given the competitive West and a combination of their young talents in Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett, Tyler Zeller, and Tristan Thompson.
Why Love chooses the Cavs: The Cavs also have their own promising point guard in 2014 All-Star game MVP Kyrie Irving. While both Love and Irving have not made the playoffs in their young careers the combination of the two and the hiring of an offensive coach may just turn around the beleaguered franchise. They can also resign Luol Deng to put in more veteran leadership and hope that Anderson Varejao keeps his health and help Love in the defense department. The Cavs may just pull it if they exclude their own 2014 pick and send out youngsters and future picks. And there's always that LeBron James rumour just around the corner to make the scenario more intriguing as it is.
Why not the Cavs: Love may be hesitant to commit long term to an organization that has been unsuccessful after coming from the Khan wreckage. While the duo has appeared in a famous commercial, Love and Irving when paired together may produce defensive problems. There is also uncertainty on the development of its youngsters such as Waiters who has prima donna personality, Bennett with his positional and weight issues and Thompson with his limited ceiling. The Cavs have not also hired a respected coach which is crucial in the success of any NBA team.
1. Chicago Bulls
What can they offer: The Bulls have a pair of 2014 draft picks as well as three more in the upcoming years. They are also expected to get Euroleague MVP Nikola Mirotic, the 23-year old sharpshooter from Montenegro who was selected by the Bulls in 2011. Other from that, they have proven role players and budding stars in Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson who can be included in a package for Love.
Why Love chooses the Bulls: Chicago is a storied organization which has installed a defensive principle that is anchored by Tom Thibodeau. This principle is embodied in the court of 2014 first team selection Joakim Noah who can hide some of Love's defensive deficiencies. And assuming Derrick Rose can go back to form from injury, they could possibly form a new big three or a new big four if the front office is creative. Rumours are also ripe that the Bulls are targeting Carmelo Anthony but how management accomplishes all these will be a challenge. For now, the Bulls offer the package which will be acceptable to the Timberwolves and coaching staff and personnel that will convince Kevin Love to opt in long term.
Why not the Bulls: The draft picks that they can offer in this year's draft are out of the top ten and a high draft pick is presumably one of the conditions of the Timberwolves. They will also have to send out cap clogger Carlos Boozer and his $16.8 salary which the Timberwolves will have to swallow like a bitter pill. There is also no assurance that Mirotic will immediately come over to the NBA.
With the break-up of Love and the Wolves eseentially all a formality, it would be interesting in the days leading up to the draft if these teams step up and make a godfather offer. Other teams in the mix who have expressed their interest include: the Phoenix Suns, the Boston Celtics and lately the Denver Nuggets. The next few days is a wait and see process for most of the teams who are looking to add a versatile player to their roster. In the upcoming days, we will see Love go to another.