NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Throughout most of last season, Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders and owner Glen Taylor remained steadfast in their stance that they would not consider trading Kevin Love.
They were determined instead to convince the All-Star forward that he should sign an extension to remain after next season.
With the NBA draft lottery coming up this week and an increasing concern that Love will leave for another team after next year, that stance has softened, two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
The Timberwolves are now open to the idea of trading Love if the right deal comes along.
The people requested anonymity because the team has not made any final decisions on Love’s future in Minnesota. A likely asking price would include a high first-round pick in this year’s draft and a solid veteran or two who would come in and contribute right away to a team that is lacking in veteran leadership.
Love “has made it clear” that he’ll opt out and “has no interest” in an extension with Minnesota, according to ESPN.
This could get interesting. The Knicks have long been linked to Love, and team president Phil Jackson is already “plotting” how to get him to Madison Square Garden, the New York Post reported.
The Knicks could dangle the expiring contracts of Tyson Chandler and Iman Shumpert, though the next first-round pick they can trade would be for 2018, the Post reported.
The Los Angeles Lakers are also poised to “make a monster push” for Love, the Post reported. But he’s more intrigued at the moment with Chicago and Golden State, according to ESPN.
If the Wolves do not get an offer they feel is worthy of parting with the second-best player in franchise history, they are content to move forward with a plan to show Love that Minnesota is where he belongs, much the way the Portland Trail Blazers did with LaMarcus Aldridge last offseason.
Love just finished the second year of a four-year deal that includes an option for him to opt-out in the summer of 2015.
Love would likely have to give any team that makes the Wolves an offer some kind of indication that he is open to signing an extension, much the way Chris Paul did when he was dealt from New Orleans to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2011.
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