Bulls

Bulls Rumors Surrounding Thibodeau, Love Heating Up

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Kevin Love. (Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

Kevin Love. (Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

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(CBS) News that many expected broke Sunday afternoon — Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love would like to be traded to a contender this offseason, and if he isn’t, he intends to opt out of his contract in the summer of 2015, according to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski.

Since that report, it hasn’t taken long for the Bulls to be inserted into the rumor mill.

ESPN’s Bill Simmons tweeted Monday afternoon that if the Grizzlies completely clean house — CEO Jason Levien and assistant general manager Stu Lash were already fired Monday by owner Robert Pera — they will make a run at Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, with the possible compensation being a first-round pick. Thibodeau is under contract through 2017.

The perceived appeal for the Bulls that Simmons referenced would then be another asset to use in an attempt to acquire Love, plus an open coaching position to let former Bull and current Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg fill. With the 16th and 19th overall picks in this year’s draft and the rights to Real Madrid star Nikola Mirotic, the Bulls are one of the few teams positioned to make offers that could match Minnesota’s lofty asking price.

Hoiberg is known to have a close relationship with Bulls general manager Gar Forman, but there are of course (at least) three large hurdles in this. One, the Grizzlies have coach Dave Joerger under contract and could easily just choose to keep him after he had a quality first season in a tough Western Conference. Two, as the Tribune’s K.C. Johnson pointed out, the Bulls made a strong statement in giving Thibodeau a four-year extension worth around $17.5 million during the 2012-’13 season, and he’s set to be around until 2017.

Three, Hoiberg signed an extension with Iowa State this spring, and while it wouldn’t be difficult to get out of that contract, it’s another sign of a great situation that he has in Ames, his hometown and a place he said he loves coaching in.

Thibodeau has previously been linked to garnering interest from the Warriors and Lakers this offseason. Golden State has filled its opening, but Los Angeles hasn’t.

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