The Free Press, Mankato, MN


June 24, 2014

Trade talk for Kevin Love is at 'feeding frenzy'

Saunders says phone hasn't stopped ringing

MINNEAPOLIS — With the NBA draft only two days away and Kevin Love there to be had for the right offer, Minnesota Timberwolves President Flip Saunders was asked if things are starting to get interesting.

"They've been interesting for four weeks," Saunders said Tuesday.

Such is life for Saunders and the Timberwolves, who find themselves in a position of power as Thursday night's draft approaches. With the three-time All-Star Love set to opt out of his contract at the end of next season, a 25-year-old power forward that rebounds as well as anyone in the league and can hit the 3-pointer like a shooting guard, is available.

Saunders said his phone hasn't stopped ringing with offers for Love and other players on a young roster that went 40-42 last season. He declined to discuss specific offers, but teams like Cleveland, Boston and Chicago could offer packages involving draft picks while Golden State is known to be involved with a package of established players.

"We're fielding stuff every day," Saunders said. "When I came down here just now I had three calls about our players. There is not going to be a cooling down period. It's like catfish, when you feed 'em. It becomes a feeding frenzy the closer, when they can see those (food) pellets."

The Cavaliers have the No. 1 pick, the Celtics have No. 6 and 17 and the Bulls Nos. 16 and 19 in a deep draft that could all be dangled as the prime bait in trade packages. But Saunders reiterated that he views draft night as an artificial deadline. Once the draft is completed and free agency opens July 1, a whole new market figures to open up for Love.

The Timberwolves have had conversations with the Warriors, who have to decide if they want to part with shooting guard Klay Thompson in a package that would also include forward David Lee. Golden State does not have a first-round draft choice this year, which means any deal involving the Warriors can wait until after July 1.

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