Minnesota's summer dominated by Kevin Love trade talk

Timberwolves in position Nuggets were four years ago
by Aaron Lopez
Nuggets.com

If anyone can understand how the Minnesota Timberwolves are feeling these days, it’s the Denver Nuggets.

In 2010, former Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony became the center of trade speculation after being non-committal about his future in Denver. Four years later, a similar situation is playing out with All-Star forward Kevin Love in Minneapolis.

As Nuggets.com continues its look at what offseason moves each team in Northwest has made since the season ended last spring, we turn our focus to the Timberwolves.

Background: Led by Love (26.5 ppg, 12.5 rpg), the Timberwolves finished 10th in the NBA in scoring differential last season, but it wasn’t reflected in the win-loss column. Minnesota (40-42) finished 10th in the West and missed the playoffs for the 10th straight year.

Longtime coach Rick Adelman retired after the season, and team president Flip Saunders is returning to the bench.

Summer moves: With rumors about Love’s future swirling in the days and weeks leading up to the 2014 NBA Draft, the Timberwolves added athletic guards Zach Lavine (13th overall) and Glenn Robinson III (40th overall).

Four weeks later, Love remains on the roster but the speculation is heating up again. So far, Minnesota’s only move in free agency has been re-signing second-year forward Robbie Hummel.

Big picture: Love can opt out of his contract at the end of 2014-15, and the Timberwolves do not want to risk losing him for nothing. The Nuggets were in the same situation with Anthony and ended up trading him to the New York Knicks as part of a three-team deal.

Denver was able to acquire several rotation players and future draft picks in return for Anthony, and the Timberwolves undoubtedly will be seeking similar assets in any deal for Love.

Beyond their All-Star big man, the T-Wolves have plenty of talent in center Nikola Pekovic; guards J.J. Barea, Kevin Martin and Ricky Rubio; and forwards Corey Brewer and Luc Mbah a Moute.

Depending on what happens with Love, many of those names could change between now and the February trade deadline (or sooner). The uncertainty makes it impossible to predict how the Timberwolves will fare in the West.

Next Up: Denver Nuggets