With a core of players in or near their prime years, young assets and two first-round selections in this year's NBA draft, the Chicago Bulls would like to return to contending status in a Conference with one clear elite team that will be in need of re-tooling this summer.
A healthy Derrick Rose still remains key in the any title pursuits and right now, there's more questions surrounding him than answers.
A player like Minnesota's Kevin Love to pair with Rose and Joakim Noah could only further help the Bulls' title aspirations.
According to ESPN's Jackie MacMullan, the Bulls has been one team that has fielded one of the better offers for Love.
"The Timberwolves privately maintain they already have fielded better offers from other teams, among them the Chicago Bulls, who can offer draft picks and some combination of Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson along with Carlos Boozer, whose bloated $16.8 million contract expires next summer and represents the kind of cap space rebuilding teams crave."
With Love tired of watching his peers compete in postseason play and him having yet to lead consistently inconsistent Minnesota roster's to a playoff berth in his six years in the deep Western Conference, Love has reportedly made his feelings known about not being interested in an extension to remain with the Timberwolves past this season and plans to hit the free agent market next summer.
The Timberwolves appear in no hurry to trade their franchise player, but hold the upper hand, for now, in being able to field offers from teams wanting to acquire a player that's averaged 19.2 points and 12.2 rebounds -- 26.1 and 12.5 last season -- over the course of his career, a career .362 percent shooter from 3-pt range and, oh yeah, just 25 years old.
Love has been linked to the Bulls in the past as he and Rose both spend their summers in Los Angeles and share personal trainer Rob McClanaghan. The two have also spoke privately in the past on playing with one another, according to a source close to both.
The Bulls have several of assets to use in trying to acquire Love, owning the 16th and 19th pick in June's draft. They have Cleveland's 2015 first-round picks as long as the Cavs fall outside the lottery. They also have Jimmy Butler, still on his rookie contract and noted as one of the league's best wing defenders. There's also Taj Gibson, who is owed just over $25 million through 2017. The Bulls still hold the right's to Nikola Mirotic, regarded as the best foreign player and a fellow Spaniard like Minnesota's Ricky Rubio. There's also Carlos Boozer's expiring contract along with a top-10 protected pick from the Sacramento Kings between 2015 and 2017.
If a deal is agreed upon between Chicago and Minnesota, you can be sure the Bulls brain trust will need assurance from Love that he will sign in Chicago long-term.
The Bulls also remain poised to make a run at New York's Carmelo Anthony if the All-Star small forward tests the free agent market this summer. However, a deal for Anthony would be tricky as well as the Bulls don't really want to relent Gibson and it remains to be seen if Anthony would be willing to take significant pay cut to for a chance to play deeper into the postseason.
It's still early and Minnesota holds all the leverage, but it appears to be the start of an "active summer" for the Bulls as general manager Gar Forman indicated during the team's exit meetings at the end of April.