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The Chicago Bulls have a new Big Three with which to contend.
Yahoo Sports reported the Timberwolves and Cavaliers have an agreement in place for All-Star forward Kevin Love to join LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland. The Cavaliers, long considered the front-runner to land Love, can’t trade Andrew Wiggins until Aug. 23 but will send the No. 1 overall pick, last year’s No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett and a protected first-round pick in 2015 to Minnesota.
Having battled the Heat’s Big Three of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh until injuries forced him to miss the last three postseasons, Derrick Rose addressed the possibility of the Cavaliers acquiring Love last week.
“For us, I don’t think it will change anything,” Rose said. “We know that no matter who we play that we have a legit chance to beat anyone in the league. But we also know it’s not going to be easy at all because guys are getting better and guys are going to different teams. That’s why we’re in the NBA and why we love this game, for the challenge.”
The Bulls’ only formal offer to the Timberwolves came before the NBA draft in June when they possessed assets in Carlos Boozer’s expiring contract, two first-round picks and close to $4 million in non-guaranteed deals that they later lost.
Once free agency began, the Bulls’ attention turned to landing Carmelo Anthony and then the plan they succeeded on: filling the roster with depth in Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott, Aaron Brooks and the re-signing of Kirk Hinrich. The Bulls still plan to add a wing and big man via veteran’s minimum exceptions before training camp begins.
The Bulls maintained a dialogue with the Timberwolves throughout the offseason. But when the Cavaliers signaled a willingness to deal Wiggins, management concluded any offer to beat Cleveland’s would necessitate gutting the team it had assembled this offseason.
“We wanted to create a deeper team,” general manager Gar Forman said at Gasol’s and Mirotic’s introduction July 18. “We wanted to increase our skill level and ability to shoot from the perimeter. And of course Derrick’s health was a big part of this offseason. It’s been terrific watching Derrick play the last month or two. He looks good.
“We have a chance to have as deep and as good a frontline as there is in the NBA. Pau is a proven veteran, a professional with championship experience. Nikola and Doug can really shoot it.”
Let the rivalry begin.