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Kevin Love trade to Cleveland changes little for Bulls

Updated: August 7, 2014 11:20PM

Derrick Rose didn’t flinch when told that the Cavaliers had the upper hand in the Kevin Love sweepstakes.

“For us, I don’t think it will change anything,’’ Rose said last week when asked about the Love rumors, which became reality Thursday when the Cavs and Timberwolves reached a deal. “We know that no matter who we play that we have a legit chance to beat anyone in the league, but we know that it’s not going to be easy at all because guys are getting better.

“You have the guys going to different teams, and it’s going to be tough. But that’s why we’re in the NBA, and that’s why we love this game, for the challenge.’’

The Cavaliers already were the big offseason winners when LeBron James decided to return.

James’ new running partner was underachieving point guard Kyrie Irving, but now he has a career double-double machine in Love, a three-time All-Star.

According to Yahoo Sports, No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, 2013 No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett and a protected 2015 first-round pick were sent to Minnesota for Love. The trade cannot be finalized until Aug. 23 because of NBA rules that don’t allow rookies to be dealt for 30 days after signing their contracts.

Love also reportedly has agreed to opt out of his deal after this season to sign with the Cavs for five years and $120 million next summer.

It was also a second swing-and-miss for the Bulls’ front office this offseason after losing out on Carmelo Anthony.

Not that the Bulls are complaining about it.

The addition of Pau Gasol was a great bounce-back move, but a healthy-looking Rose is obviously the biggest addition the Bulls could ask for.

Love averaged 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds last season for the Timberwolves, but the Cavs still have flaws on the defensive end and lack postseason experience.

There’s no denying, however, that the Central Division just became a lot more interesting.

“I wouldn’t say the best in the league, but we have a lot of competition in that division,’’ Rose said. “And playing against those teams every night, you must come out prepared, in a rhythm for a tough game.’’

The good news for the Bulls is there are still seven weeks before training camp, and there’s speculation that they still might try to make a move or two. The bad news is the Cavs have the same amount of time and James on their side.


Twitter: @suntimes_hoops

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