Apr 8, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) shoots in the XXX quarter against the San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner (15) at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Trade Rumors: Flip Saunders open to field trade offers for Kevin Love

Truthfully, the headline should probably read “BREAKING: Kevin Love wants to win basketball games, NBA teams have interest in acquiring top-six player in league”.

But hey, this is where we are. There have been plenty of pieces over the past 24 hours or so that have detailed a variety of alleged things that Love has either said or not said to Saunders regarding his future. Here are the links and summaries of each article.

– It more or less began with this probably erroneous piece from the New York Daily News, in which there is a random couple of sentences that claim that Love has asked to be traded to either the Lakers or the Knicks as he will not be re-signing in Minnesota. This article is what got the rumor mill spinning overnight on Saturday and into Sunday.

– Shortly thereafter, the Star Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda posted an article that primarily focuses on the delay in Saunders’ head coaching search. It reiterates that the draft lottery on Tuesday night is the event that everyone is waiting for, even if there is essentially a 99% chance that the Wolves will stay locked into the #13 selection in the draft on June 28th.

– In the wee hours of Sunday morning the authoritative voice in legitimate NBA rumblings, Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski, posted an article titled: “Sources: Sam Mitchell emerges as Minnesota candidate with Kevin Love’s future undecided”. The piece was mostly focused on just how serious of a coaching candidate Mitchell has become, and less on Love. But Woj does list Boston, Golden State, Phoenix, and the Lakers as teams that are expected to make an offer for Love.

– Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com reiterated much of the information in the Yahoo! column, but takes another step in declaring that Love has indeed informed the Wolves’ front office that he would like to become a free agent and has no interest in a contract extension in Minnesota. The article also mentions the same teams that Wojnarowski listed as suitors for Love while adding in the Chicago Bulls as a possibility.

– And finally, a plugged-in and trusted voice of reason spoke out on Twitter in the form of Minneapolis-based AP reporter Jon Krawchynski. Here’s the string of tweets that seem to be about right:

So there you go. This information seems to make sense, as Love actually requesting a trade seems pointless and unlikely. Why not play out the string and see what happens? Then he’d have the option to go where he wants. If he gets traded, so be it. That would be fine too. But don’t become a villain by openly requesting to be moved.

And to be sure, once we know where the Lakers, Knicks, etc. are drafting, the offers will start coming fast and furious. Saunders may feel forced to take the best offer, whether it’s in the next couple of weeks, the week of the draft, or on draft night itself.

Personally, unless a true Godfather-like offer is made, I would implore Flip to avoid trading Love. One season with a guaranteed superstar, surrounded with the same core of players that he won 40 games with last year and is still forming a chemistry, is far preferable to an unknown number of years without a superstar at all. If the Wolves have a good year and Rubio/Dieng/etc. take another leap and the Wolves win 50+ games, well, you never know. The Wolves are able to offer Love a larger contract than any other club in free agency over the summer, so there would still be a slight chance they could retain him.

There will be plenty of days to have this debate. As it stands, however, there doesn’t appear to be a suitor out there that could offer what the Wolves would be looking for in return.

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