Would Bulls show Kevin some Love?
The Bulls will begin the final week of the regular season by getting a look at the league's next player-movement obsession -- Minnesota forward Kevin Love.
Sure, Carmelo Anthony's fate will be decided first, but the Timberwolves will have to make a call on Love's future relatively soon because he's likely to leave as a free agent in 2015 otherwise.
Love has quietly delivered an amazing season in Minnesota. He's averaging 26 points, 12.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists. For all the love Joakim Noah has earned this season, Love has him beat in the major stat categories.
Love would be a strong candidate for MVP and All-NBA first team if not for one key factor -- Minnesota will miss the playoffs for the sixth year in a row since Love joined the team in 2008.
That's why most people assume Love will leave Minnesota in 2015 when he can become a free agent. If that's the case, the Timberwolves might want to make a pre-emptive trade, either this summer or before the deadline next season.
Is it Love's fault Minnesota keeps missing the playoffs? Kevin Garnett's Timberwolves lost in the first round seven years in a row, but at least they made it.
Well, it's tough to pin anything on Love when Timberwolves management has Wesley Johnson, Derrick Williams, Jonny Flynn and Marko Jaric in its history.
The first three were top-six draft picks no longer with the team, while the Wolves traded a pick that turned out to be No. 10 in the 2012 draft for Jaric, who hasn't played in an NBA game since 2009. Minnesota also chose Corey Brewer two picks before Noah in 2007.
Love fits all the characteristics of an excellent player who needs a new home. So what would it take to get him to the Bulls?
We've been over this before with Anthony. The Bulls won't have enough cap space to sign a high-priced free agent without getting rid of a couple players.
But if Minnesota is looking to make a trade before Love becomes a free agent, the Bulls could make an interesting offer -- Taj Gibson, the rights to European star Nikola Mirotic and maybe some draft picks.
Whether or not the Timberwolves could get a better offer is unclear. But the Bulls would be in better shape to make a trade than the Los Angeles Lakers or New York, which are hoping to sign Love when he hits the market in 2015.
In theory, it would be an interesting fit, a lineup of Love, Noah, Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler and a shooting guard to be named later. Just as with Anthony, though, a drawback to adding another high-priced player is the Bulls owe Rose more than $20 million in 2015-17.
If that lineup doesn't work or more injuries hit, the high payroll limits the ability to make other moves. One of the Bulls' best assets right now is having quality players at reasonable salaries, like Noah, Butler, Gibson and D.J. Augustin.
On the other hand, when Garnett finally escaped Minnesota, he won a championship his first year in Boston. You win with stars in the NBA.