Cavaliers Remain Front-Runner in Chase for Kevin Love

There has not been much activity of late regarding to a trade of Minnesota Timberwolves All Star forward Kevin Love; although there have been developments that indicate a trade is still likely before the season begins. As a free agent after the 2014-15 season, Love has made it very clear that he wants out of Minnesota, the sooner the better.

Love’s desire to be traded is quite justified; as the 25-year old has not won more than 40 games in a season since his NBA arrival. The team he signs with next will be Love’s residence for the next several seasons; and a contending team is a top priority.

The first indication that Cleveland was a desired destination was when the game’s best player, LeBron James decided to return home to Ohio; instantly changing the fortunes of the Cavaliers’ franchise. The presence of James now makes Cleveland a place that meets one of Love’s top criteria (contending team). A second indicator of an increasing deal likelihood was a few weeks back. As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, James reached out to Love to encourage him to come to Cleveland. If true, that lobbying effort would trump anything any other team could counter. Wojnarowski (and others) have also reported that Love himself requested a trade to Cleveland.

If more coincidental evidence is needed, look no further than Kevin Love sitting out of the Team USA summer activities. A key cog to future World Championships and Olympics teams, pulling out of competition is as much a sign that preventing a deal killing injury is of paramount importance.

On the opposite side of the ledger, second-year Cavalier forward Anthony Bennett (handled by Jeff Schwartz, the same agent as Love) had his participation in the Toronto Pro-Am tournament cut short this week, adding fuel to the trade fires. With two prominent players in a trade both sitting put of off-season action, the only logical reason to do so is to preserve their trade value.

To make speculation even greater, there is the recent Timberwolves announcement that the team signed scoring point guard (and former Cavalier) Mo Williams; only to include an action photo of Williams and LeBron James wearing Cavalier uniforms. Although the choice of announcement photo could be just a strange coincidence, it was a very poor decision considering the heightened sensitivity with all things Cavs-Timberwolves.

As far as the other interested teams (Golden State, Chicago) are concerned, there has been little to no chatter regarding their interest in sweetening the pot for some Love action.

Should a trade between Cleveland and Minnesota be done it will have to be delayed a few weeks, as a 30-day moratorium on draft choice trades is in place. This past week, overall number one draft pick Andrew Wiggins inked his rookie contract. The added delay should not pose a problem as NBA training camps will not open until September.

For their part, the Timberwolves are trying to curtail the mounting enthusiasm surrounding an impending trade. As the owner responsible for the trade of Kevin Garnett seven years ago, Phil Taylor is keenly aware that the Timberwolves have not had a winning season since the “Big Ticket” was dominating the league on both ends of the floor.

In the end, Kevin Love will find a new address and it will most likely be before training camp begins. Despite their best efforts to keep Love in the Twin Cities, all of the aforementioned circumstances stack the deck in love’s favor. More importantly, if Love did in fact request a trade to Cleveland, the leverage and bargaining power Minnesota did have would quickly disappear.

How much longer will Kevin Love cal Minnesota his home? Weeks is the most logical choice. If fans were not convinced a deal between Cleveland and Minnesota was imminent, perhaps some of the recent developments increase fan confidence that a deal is more a matter of when and not if.

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