The Chicago Bulls are among the latest frontrunners to acquire power forward Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Reports are the Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors are now going head-to-head along with a longshot in the Boston Celtics, according to ESPN. Minnesota has decided it would likely be in the team's best interest to put their best play on the trade market after he informed them he was going to test free agency after next season.
The Chicago Bulls have made the top of the list mainly because Love wants to play for a team that is going to compete for a postseason berth right away. That has put the Chicago Bulls ahead of teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks.
Yahoo Sports is reporting that other executives have noticed the clear softening of a stance against trading the Timberwolves' star over the last few months. "For the first time, [Minnesota GM Flip Saunders] sounds like looking at deals for [Love] is an option," one rival executive told the outlet.
The Chicago Bulls have been a team that has garnered mention when talking about future destinations for several of the NBA's biggest stars. Clearly Chicago wants to be a contender in 2014 if at all possible but understands its current roster isn't going to get the Bulls to the NBA Finals.
Earlier reports had the Chicago Bulls taking a long, hard look at making a move to acquire Carmelo Anthony and/or Pau Gasol. The Bulls would likely need assurances from Love that if they traded for him, he would be willing to sign an extension.
This is because any package that Minnesota asked for from a team like Chicago would likely be one that would be quite costly. The front office had been hoping that Love would change his mind and agree to an extension, but so far he's not budging from his insistence that he will go elsewhere.
The need for the Timberwolves to find a new coach seems to play into the Chicago Bulls' favor as well. The franchise has had some problems nailing down candidates for the job, precisely because no coach wants to come into the situation not knowing who will be on his team.
The Chicago Bulls are stepping up pursuit, according to various inside sources because they understand Minnesota has to settle its uncertainty before it can really start planning for 2014-2015.
Even without Love, the Chicago Bulls managed to win 48 games and make the playoffs, but lost to the Washington Wizards in the first round, 4 games to 1.