All Bulls need is Kevin Love
BY RICK MORRISSEY email@example.com | @MorrisseyCST May 19, 2014 9:20PM
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 14: Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during a game against the Golden State Warriors on April 14, 2014 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Updated: June 23, 2014 2:36PM
Life just got more interesting for the Bulls and downright dreamy for those of you who fall asleep at night thinking about them.
Kevin Love reportedly doesn’t want to sign a contract extension with the Timberwolves, meaning Minnesota might be forced to trade him. Chicago reportedly is one of the possible landing spots that interest Love.
To recap, that’s two “reportedlys,’’ one “might be’’ and a “possible.’’
Good enough for us! What size is Love’s championship ring finger?
ESPN, citing “sources with knowledge of the situation,’’ recently reported that Love is intrigued by the Bulls and the Warriors, both playoff teams.
For the purposes of a group hug, where can we find these sources with knowledge of the situation?
The thought of Love and a healthy Derrick Rose together is enough to bring many of you to tears of joy and a grumpy columnist to the verge of stoicism. Admittedly, putting the word “healthy” next to the name “Derrick Rose’’ is risky business, perhaps even a fool’s errand. Take that leap of faith, and you might find yourself under the knife for a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
But for our purposes today, let’s assume that Rose comes back whole from his meniscus injury and approaches his old form next season or the year after.
Rose and Love together? Two 25-year-olds ready to take on the world? With Joakim Noah on their side? That’s pretty good. No, that’s very good. That’s when you start thinking about a legitimate chance of challenging the Heat for an NBA title. Let’s face it, before Rose got hurt in November, the thought of the Bulls competing with Miami this season was mostly based on the idea that hustle and hard work could overcome almost anything. I admit getting swept up in that idea at times.
But talent usually wins out, and the Bulls are lacking in that category, especially on offense. Adding Love, who averaged 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds this season, would change the dynamic.
The hard part: Whom would the Bulls have to give up if the Timberwolves decide that they might as well get compensation for losing their best player?
Taj Gibson. Jimmy Butler. A first-round pick. And maybe another veteran to make the salary-cap numbers work.
Too steep a price? Not if the Bulls want to be great.
Love would be what Carlos Boozer thinks he is, but with actual statistical proof.
The thought of Love and Noah owning the boards must bring Tom Thibodeau the closest he can get to heaven. One of Thibs’ strengths, besides ignoring job rumors, is that he gets more out of players than most other coaches do. We’ve seen it with Nate Robinson and D.J. Augustin. The success of Gibson and Butler can be traced in part to Thibodeau. Same with Noah’s Defensive Player of the Year award this season.
Put together the triumvirate of Rose, Love and Noah, and let Thibodeau coach up the supporting cast. Look at Miami. Does Mario Chalmers, the Heat’s point guard, strike fear in your heart? How about any of Miami’s role players? No, you worry about LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Mostly, you worry about LeBron.
Trading for K-Love would give the Bulls two legitimate superstars. Conventional NBA wisdom says that you have to have two of them to win championships, that one superstar can’t carry a team. See Michael Jordan, who needed Scottie Pippen to win championships.
I’d rather have Love than Carmelo Anthony, the other character who keeps showing up in the Bulls’ dreams, but I’d take either. Beggars of offensive help can’t be choosers.
Various reports also link Love to the Lakers, the Knicks and the Suns, although it’s hard to believe he’d be interested in teams that didn’t make the playoffs this season. The Warriors are on the rise, and they’re a West Coast team. Love grew up in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and went to UCLA.
But maybe Phil Jackson has whispered in his ear about owning New York. Or maybe the Lakers’ front office has said the same thing about Los Angeles.
Whether Love really wants to come to Chicago is the biggest question of all. Remember, the Bulls don’t have a very good track record when it comes to luring big-name free agents. We like our city more than star basketball players do.
Or maybe the whole Love story is a negotiating ploy on the part of his representatives.
But who knows? What a delicious question.