Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love could be the hottest free agent in 2015 - if he isn't traded beforehand. Bill Simmons of Grantland opined on the two most likely scenarios for Love: Minnesota trades him to Boston before the 2014 NBA draft, or Love waits until 2015 to join the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent.
Love, who can opt out of his contract after next season, appears set to leave Minnesota. With LeBron James's infamous "decision" in 2010 serving as a lesson for general managers, the Timberwolves could play it safe and look to trade Love to ensure he doesn't walk for free in 2015.
For a Love trade to happen, the suitor must have two things: the confidence they can re-sign him to a long-term contract and the assets to offer Minnesota.
Keeping the aforementioned "musts" in mind, Simmons predicts two likely scenarios for Love's future. The first is Minnesota trades him in the offseason before the NBA draft. Although Simmons is an admittedly biased Celtics fan, his rationale for Love going to Boston makes sense: Love gets paired with Rajon Rondo and Minnesota gets to choose from the Celtics' bevy of draft picks.
"Let's say the Celtics lose the 2014 lottery and end up with a pick between No. 3 and No. 5," Simmons wrote on Wednesday. "They could send that pick to Minny along with Atlanta's first-rounder (probably ending up in the 13-to-18 range) and their 2015 Clippers pick for Love. And they could throw in Brandon Bass and Keith Bogan's immediately waivable deal to make the contracts work.
"Oh, and if Minnesota were more interested in one or more of those future Brooklyn picks that Boston owns (unprotected in 2016 and 2018, pick swap in 2017), the Celtics could discuss that, too. ... That deal could potentially net the Timberwolves three top-15 picks in a monster draft."
While Boston may be the most likely destination in a trade scenario, Simmons admitted he believes Love will ultimately become a Laker: "My best guess: I think Love rides it out in Minnesota, then jumps to the Lakers in 2015."
Simmons also mentioned the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns as possibilities, albeit highly unlikely to happen.