Deal for Kevin Love should be a no-brainer for Bulls
BY RICK MORRISSEY Sports Columnist July 23, 2014 10:10PM
FILE - In this April 4, 2014, file photo, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) works the ball as Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (1) defends during an NBA basketball game in Miami, Friday, April 4, 2014. A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that the Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors have restarted trade talks for All-Star forward Kevin Love. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)
Updated: August 25, 2014 5:52PM
Wait. Taj Gibson, an unproven Nikola Mirotic and an unproven Doug McDermott for Kevin Love, who averaged 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds while actually playing in the real, live NBA last season?
Is this a trick question?
Pray that the Timberwolves accept the Bulls’ offer immediately, or if possible, yesterday.
It was hard to fathom some of the blather on sports-talk radio Wednesday. Chicago has been waiting for years for someone other than Derrick Rose who can score, and now that the possibility of getting just that sort of player is here, the handwringers were fretting about a lack of team depth.
I don’t know whether to laugh, cry or go ahead with that head amputation I’ve been putting off.
It appears that coach Tom Thibodeau has finally won. In their sleep, those obsessed with depth chant along with Thibs that “we have more than enough to win.’’
No, you don’t.
The Bulls are in the Love sweepstakes in a big way, offering Gibson, McDermott and Mirotic to the Timberwolves, according to Chris Sheridan, who runs the SheridanHoops.com website. You’d think the T-wolves would like that combination better than the Cavaliers’ offer of 2014 No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, 2013 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett and draft choices.
If Thibs wants to run a Rose-Love-Joakim Noah team into the ground on the way to an NBA championship, well, start running, fellas. The last I heard, the whole idea is to win. Not to pile on the Cubs, but what upsets so many people is their decision to not even make an attempt to win games at the big-league level while growing the farm system. Winning now: kind of important.
So here are the Bulls, going for it all, and people are worried about roster depth. Mercy.
I was very hard on vice president John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman for their inability to land Carmelo Anthony, not to mention any other free agent of note for what has felt like forever. Give the Bulls this: They keep trying to build a powerhouse. They see what most reasonable people see, that the team as constituted can’t win an NBA title.
Gibson has improved his outside shooting, but he’s still not great at it. Love’s offensive skills would immediately make the Bulls the favorites in the Eastern Conference.
The biggest rap against Love is that he hasn’t made it to the playoffs in his six seasons in the league. Does that mean Gibson is the better player because he has made the playoffs all five of his seasons? No, it means that the Timberwolves have stunk, for the most part, and that the Bulls have built a better roster.
If the T-wolves are using the Bulls to put pressure on the Cavs to offer more, at least the Bulls are in the game. Better to be used than to sit there like a sack of potatoes.
As for depth, if we have to talk about it, I’d take my chances with Pau Gasol, Kirk Hinrich, Tony Snell and Aaron Brooks.
Not surprisingly, lots of Bulls fans have fallen in love, sight unseen, with Mirotic, and with McDermott, based on his success at Creighton. Those two might become good NBA players. Might even become great NBA players. Who knows? What we do know is that Love already is great and that he’s only 25. I’ll take an order of that, please.
The Bulls clearly feel that Rose has recovered from his latest knee surgery and that there’s a good chance neither knee will be an issue going forward. It’s hard to see them even contemplating this trade if any doubts about Rose existed. Getting Love would be snapping in the final piece of a championship-contending puzzle.
Thibodeau hasn’t been good about delegating minutes. That’s no secret. With his team as the favorite in the East, he’d have to learn how to ratchet it back with three bona stars in Love, Noah and a recovering Rose, not to mention a 34-year-old Gasol. Wouldn’t he? Maybe? Possibly?
If Love refuses to sign a long-term contract with the Bulls, make the trade anyway. Have enough confidence that he’ll learn to love his teammates, the organization and the city. Make him want to stay. The best way to do that is to win a title, and with him in the lineup, that’s entirely possible.
Usually, there’s lot of room for debate in these trade scenarios. It’s hard to see any here.