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While the Minnesota Timberwolves have yet to officially put Love on the market, the writing is on the wall there and it has been for some time. They have to move him because the likelihood of him staying after testing the open market is slim. Love has developed into an All-Star and one of the league’s best power forwards in Minnesota, but the franchise hasn’t exactly grown with him. He’s still yet to experience the playoffs and seems eager for a change of scenery because of that.
There are few teams in the league who wouldn’t be willing to trade for Love given his abilities. He’s arguably the best power forward in the league, or at least deserving of being mentioned in the conversation.
The Kings, if anything since being taken over by new ownership and management, have proved to be extremely aggressive and willing to take high-risk moves – even if that means taking on guys who could potentially leave in free agency. They did so with Rudy Gay, who has yet to decide whether to pick up his $19 million option for next season or decline it and secure a long-term deal instead. They also took Derrick Williams off of the Timberwolves’ hand. Their potential package for Love is somewhat intriguing despite assuming Gay and Cousins are off the table. They could offer Ben McLemore, the No. 8 pick in this year’s draft, Carl Landry and Jason Terry, whose contract is expiring. It’s not a homerun deal for the Timberwolves that pushes them any closer towards contention, but it saves them some money, especially if Terry is willing to take a buyout to play for a contender, gets them two top ten picks and a starting caliber power forward in Landry with a nice face up game to compliment Nikola Pekovic. It certainly beats getting nothing at all like they would if he walks next summer. They’d probably prefer to wait until closer to the trading deadline to accept a deal like that, since it’d give them more time to evaluate McLemore and the rookie.
Like the Kings, there’s little chance of the Timberwolves being able to pry away any of their top players. John Wall and Brad Beal are going to be off the board. If the deal depended on it, they’d probably include a re-signed Marcin Gortat, but he would be an awkward fit next to Pekovic, so that’s unlikely. In the perfect world a Love swap would be centered around Nene. However, even with Otto Porter as a sweetener, it’s unlikely the Timberwolves bite, even around the deadline. Nene is a fine big man in his own right. He’s coming off of 14 point, 5.5 rebound, 2.9 assist season this past year, but he’s owed $26 million over the next two seasons and has struggled with injuries throughout his career. He’s missed 159 of 312 regular season games since 2011 and is just not the kind of risk the Timberwolves need to take on in the post-Love era.
Unless offers better than these two teams can offer surface before the start of the season begins, expect the Timberwolves to let this play out a bit. They’re still in a position where they can go about the offseason without addressing this and try to improve his supporting cast as much as possible. If Flip Saunders can hire a head coach who forms a good bond with Love and the team is firmly in the playoff picture, there’s no reason to accept anything other than a deal that they walk away as a clear winner of until closer to the deadline. If Love walks away they go into free agency in 2015, a strong class, with just over $25 million in guaranteed contracts on the books – not bad enough of a worst-case scenario to accept a less than favorable deal.
Gentry is the third known candidate to interview for the Lakers’ position, along with Byron Scott and Mike Dunleavy Sr. He replaced D’Antoni in Phoenix and earned stellar reviews initially, but was eventually let go in 2013 after starting the season 13-28. He has also been the head coach of the Mimai HEAT, Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Clippers, who he is now the associate head coach of under Doc Rivers.
Gentry’s stock is quite hot these days, as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz have also shown serious interest in him for their respective head coaching vacancies. With three potential suitors and two other openings outside of them, Gentry looks like a strong bet to become a head coach again soon. However, he can afford to be a little picky considering where he is. If the situation doesn’t feel right, he can continue working under Rivers with the emerging Clippers, a role he has clearly excelled in.Cavaliers not offering Irving the max?
Contrary 2 report, reason Cavs won't offer Kyrie max extension: because they know he wouldn't accept & don't want 2 look bad#goinggoinggone
— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) May 26, 2014
The Cavaliers have until October 31 to sign Irving to an extension. Right now, with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and only $36 million in guaranteed contracts with the projected salary cap being $63 million, the Cavaliers’ top focus has to be improving the roster as much as possible. They have a lot of the leverage in negotiations with Irving. He has to accept a qualifying offer of $9 million for the 2015-16 season and pass on almost $100 million in guaranteed money just to become an unrestricted free agency. He may not be happy in Cleveland right now, but with the right coaching hire, free agent signings, trades and nearly $100 million other reasons, Irving could be a lot more open to extension talks than he currently is.
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