Could the Chicago Bulls Get Kevin Love for Derrick Rose?
Everyone who has followed the Chicago Bulls for any length of time can tell they are a good team with plenty of potential to win a championship. They have suffocating defense and a superstar point guard in Derrick Rose. However, something is still lacking from their arsenal. In the modern NBA era it usually takes a second superstar to make a serious run at a title. While Chicago has a roster of very good players none of them have that "star" edge to them, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Until the Bulls find someone who can do more than one thing great then they will have to hope they can grind their way to through the Eastern Conference. That is why many fans have continued to demand Chicago make a hard push for Kevin Love.
Love and Hate relationship with the Minnesota Timberwolves
The origins of the Love trade hoopla got started about a year ago. At that time the power forward had grown frustrated with the lack of progress his team was making towards becoming a contender in the Western Conference. After all, the franchise has not reached the playoffs in nine seasons. Love is starting to feel a lot of the same emotions Kevin Garnett had in his last days with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Loyalty is great, but basketball players are among the biggest competitors on the planet. They want to win. Love is no different. So he complained, publicly, that if Minnesota didn't do something to get the team on the right track then he would start seeking changes, namely a trade.
Opting out of his contract isn't possible for another two seasons at this point and the Timberwolves didn't get a chance to answer his challenge as the roster endured a number of bad injuries all season. Love himself missed most of the year with hand problems. As players return president Flip Saunders made it his mission to get on the same page with him so the crazy talk of holdouts and trades could stop. According to sources he was successful. Saunders assures the media that Love is buying into what the team is doing and is ready for next season to start. So all the trade rumors and inquiries can stop. Whether that optimism lasts is another story. This rosy outlook is predicated on the condition that Minnesota reaches the playoffs. If they fall apart again, then experts agree Love is fair game in 2014.
Loving the NBA stats
So what makes Love the top flavor target for Chicago? First and foremost he is only 24-years old and already an All-Star player. He's only getting better. Putting him next to Rose would given the Bulls a chance to build around a young star core. Yet the allure goes far deeper than that. Love features many assets in his game that Chicago either needs or wants. He scores 18 points per game at power forward, which is what they like. His 12 rebounds per game rates as the best at his position in the league and third best overall behind Dwight Howard and Anderson Varejao, who are both centers. The most striking and tantalizing part of his game though is a career .352 shooting percentage from 3-point land. Not only does he shoot well but he does it from any range. Those kinds of players are hard to come by, hence the interest from so many teams for a deal.
Nikola Mirotic and Jimmy Butler headline the price
The only question left is what would it take for the Bulls to get such a player on their roster. Well fast-forwarding to 2014, their trade pieces aren't lacking. Luol Deng will be a free agent so he's out. Carlos Boozer could become part of the package if he has another solid season after posting 16 points and 9 rebounds in 2013. Joakim Noah has nagging foot problems but is a rebounding and defensive machine, as evidenced by his All-Star selection. Then there are the young pieces Chicago has waiting in the wings, namely Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic.
Butler caught a lot of people by surprise late in the season, particularly the playoffs where he displayed endurance, athleticism, great defense and an improving repertoire of shots. Bulls fans are very excited about his progress in only the second year of his career. Mirotic is a young European prospect Chicago picked up a few years ago. He has spent his time in the prestigious ACB league in Spain where he recently won the championship and the MVP award. His entrance into the NBA is approaching and figures to have an immediate impact.
A package of two or three of these players and likely a high draft choice would be the asking price by Minnesota for Love. It sounds steep and it is steep. Chicago must think long and hard about such a decision. Is one player worth sacrificing the young core the Bulls have building? If he is, then they can't hesitate. If they aren't sure, then the risk may be too great. Such is the perilous life of trade negotiations.