Every day seems to bring us a new team with interest in Kevin Love, and the Phoenix Suns, hoping to build on their surprising season and do a lot more next year, are also trying to get in the game of acquiring the star of the Minnesota Timberwolves via a trade they’re trying to work out.
The moves made by the Timberwolves make it seem like they’ve acknowledged that Love won’t re-sign with them. Flip Saunders has made himself the head coach as well as being part-owner and general manager, and has even spoken somewhat against Love, saying that the player has no right to feel frustrated. A group, a team, might have the right to do so after not being able to succeed, but according to Saunders, Love should look at what he has done to help the situation and not feel like someone trapped in a situation he can’t control.
As you might expect, these don’t sound like the words coming out of the mouth of someone confident he’ll convince his star player to re-sign. Love has one more year on his deal worth $15.7 million before he has the chance to opt out of the contract, not playing in 2015-2016 with the Timberwolves for $16.7 million. There’s no promise he’ll re-sign on any other team instead of opting out, but it feels like the Timberwolves really don’t have anything to offer him, as they basically remain the same team next season with only the ability of making a mid-level exception signing that is above the veteran’s minimum.
The Suns are young and with plenty of cap space, not to mention promise. They nearly made the playoffs, and now that they’re rid of the Emeka Okafor contract, they’ve got almost $30 million in cap space to use. Eric Bledsoe is a free agent and although he’d love to get a max contract, no team is going to pay him around $15 million a season to be their starting or backup point guard. But Bledsoe, along with Goran Dragic, seems to be one of the two assets the Suns have that might interest the Timberwolves.
Minnesota, admitting it or not, are open to a trade, as long as they get a player that can help them now instead of just draft picks and potential contributors in the future. Dragic was an All-Star level player last season, making $7.5 million next season and has a player option for 2015-2016. The Suns obviously won’t trade both Dragic and Bledsoe, but one of them with something else for at least one season of Love? That might happen.
There’s no sure thing in this. Kevin Love is a risk because of his ability to walk away from any team after one season. Even Dwight Howard stared the Lakers in the eyes and decided he doesn’t want to play for them. Still, in the equation of a team like the Timberwolves that might make the playoffs, a star player who thinks he deserves a better franchise and up & comers like the Suns that want to take a next step without changing too much, there’s room to make something work.