Meet Kevin Love. A 25-year-old playoff virgin who's currently in the process of breaking up with his current franchise, the Minnesota Timberwolves. Love was most recently seen in Boston, fraternizing with Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo at Fenway Park. While the Celtics, Love and Rondo would appear to be a good fit, there also no guarantees that the roster is strong enough for Love to sign an extension or stay behind in free agency after the summer of 2015. It would be deja vu for Boston, which traded K.G. to Minnesota days before the 2007 NBA Draft, but there's no guarantees this time around that Love will be dealt.
The Timberwolves and Love appear to be stuck in a holding pattern publicly, but behind the scenes, team president Flip Saunders is working the phones in a pre-draft telethon to create a package that would satisfy both the organization and presumably land their star power forward with a rising playoff contender. Love has a say in where he ends up because whatever team acquires him will want to be assured he's amenable to re-signing after the season.
The Timberwolves are hosting their own Love Connection this summer, but preferably would like to find a compatible franchise for Love before the draft according to Sporting News' Sean Deveney.
Publicly, the Timberwolves are saying they expect Love to be in training camp with the team next fall. But behind the scenes, as one source put it, the Timberwolves are, “paving the way to make something happen sooner rather than later.” Sooner, of course, would be draft night.
The Timberwolves have put out feelers on what possible offers might be on the table for Love on draft night. Despite their public protestations, around the league, front office executives say that the market for Love is open, but the initial asking price is high. While the Timberwolves would expect lottery draft choices in return for Love—including a high pick in this draft—they also want a young player with star potential, according to a source.
This is about more than just keeping up appearances for Minnesota. The more willing it appears they are to let Love ride out next season, the more likely it is that teams will sweeten the deal to pry him away before he hits the open market. However, if a deal with a team like the Celtics and their seventh overall pick in the draft is going to happen, time is running out to make a Love Connection.