This has become the new, passive-aggressive method for stars to demand trades: If they had the foresight to negotiate an early out in their deal, they will drop the implication that their current team has no chance of re-signing them so it's better off moving them before they walk. In the past few seasons, we've seen it happen with Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. Now Love joins that illustrious list, and Minnesota can either be stubborn or accept its fate and make lemonade out of lemons.
Here's a primer of every team's chances of being a player in the "Summer of Love," including top trade chips, likelihood of landing him and potential pitch to the All-Star big and the Wolves.
These teams have the assets to get a deal done and the potential to be contenders after the deal (a key component to Love agreeing to sign an extension or re-sign with the team).
Pitch: Chicago can offer Minnesota a deal prior to the 2014 draft or wait until July 1, whichever is more convenient. Gibson would be the centerpiece of the talent moving to Minnesota, as an elite defensive big, while Boozer represents an expiring contract and Snell is a young wing with potential to be a very good defensive player and 3-point shooter. Meanwhile, the Bulls can alleviate some of the Wolves' cap-clogging deals by taking back some of their longer contracts.
As far as picks go, the Bulls have all their own first-rounders moving forward as well as Charlotte's 2014 first-round pick, a protected 2015 first-rounder from Sacramento, a 2015 pick swap with Cleveland and two future second-rounders from Portland.