This is Part Five in a 29-part series that will tour every team in the league with the purpose of exploring any and all trade combinations that would involve Kevin Love being shipped out of Minnesota. Trades are meant to be realistic regarding Love’s trade value and may include three-team trade possibilities. All 29 teams will be examined prior to the June 28 NBA Draft.
The Chicago Bulls are my favorite potential Kevin Love trade partner. Here’s hoping they’re also a favorite of Flip Saunders…
There are current starter-quality players to be acquired (Taj Gibson), current decent-quality players with lots of upside (Jimmy Butler), draft picks, and an overseas superstar with massive potential (Nikola Mirotic).
For the Bulls, Love is a perfect fit beside Joakim Noah. A high-usage point guard in Derrick Rose and the best defensive center in the NBA couldn’t be crafted more perfectly in a lab to play with Love.
The potential match between the two teams is almost too good to be true. The Wolves would even get the added benefit of sending their superstar to the opposite conference. It appears as though this pairing checks all the boxes.
Minnesota receives: Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Mike Dunleavy, rights to Nikola Mirotic, #16 pick, future first round pick
Chicago receives: Kevin Love
It’s a haul, to be sure. The trade could get done without one of the draft picks, too. In order to match salaries and make the trade work, Dunleavy has to be thrown in. The Bulls will surely balk at adding Butler, Gibson, and Mirotic but the Wolves should insist. And if you’ve studied up on Mirotic at all, then you’d understand why.
Yeah, he could legitimately be Dirk Nowitzki. He’s 6′ 10″ with abundant offensive skills and enough athleticism to stick in the NBA. The biggest issue is his sizable buyout with Real Madrid, but maybe Ricky Rubio can put a bug in his countryman’s ear and get the ball rolling.
A starting lineup of Ricky Rubio, Jimmy Butler, Chase Budinger, Taj Gibson, and Nikola Pekovic would be very, very good. Throw in a bench of (Not J.J. Barea), Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and Gorgui Dieng and the Wolves would legitimately have a shot at a playoff spot, provided some additional improvement from Rubio, Butler, and Dieng.
One would like to think that if this deal was on the table from the Bulls, Flip Saunders would accept it immediately. They won’t do better than this, and really any combination of players and picks from Chicago is going to be every bit as good if not better than what a lot of the other rumored suitors (Golden State, Houston, etc.) would have to offer.
Chicago is absolutely a destination to keep an eye on, and with assets like Butler, Gibson, and Mirotic, it should be the perfect match.