Bulls’ chances of dealing for Kevin Love not looking good

Written By BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter | By JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter Posted: 07/26/2014, 02:09am

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was leaving this weekend for Las Vegas, ready to serve as an assistant for USA Basketball for the next six-plus weeks.

That will give Thibodeau some time to evaluate Bulls guard Derrick Rose and the health of his knees, provided Rose makes the Team USA squad that will compete in the World Cup of Basketball, which begins late next month in Spain.

And it might be enough time for Thibodeau to get over the Bulls finishing as runners-up in the sweepstakes for Carmelo Anthony and, apparently, Kevin Love.

All the good feelings the Bulls had in the wake of making a ‘‘significant offer’’ to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Love have started to subside amid reports the Cleveland Cavaliers continue to have the lead in acquiring him.

According to a Timberwolves source Friday, the Cavaliers’ offer of No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins, 2013 No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Bennett and future first-round picks is becoming more tempting for coach/president of basketball operations Flip Saunders.

‘‘It gives [Saunders] a chance to mold the team how he wants it,’’ the source said.

It also would give Saunders a longer rope to work with.

The Sun-Times reported the Bulls offered forwards Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott and ‘‘a few other assets’’ for Love. According to the website Sheridanhoops.com, forward Nikola Mirotic also was included in the package, but that was still unconfirmed.

With Mirotic, McDermott and Wiggins all signing their rookie deals in the last week and NBA rules prohibiting teams from trading newly signed rookies for 30 days, Saunders obviously has time to make a decision. But with Wiggins starting to intrigue the Timberwolves more every day and the Cavaliers reportedly looking to get a third team involved to try to sweeten the pot, the Bulls’ chances of acquiring Love aren’t looking good.

Anthony, meanwhile, spoke for the first time since turning down the Bulls and staying with the New York Knicks, telling ESPN.com: ‘‘I was flip-flopping. It was hard. It was Chicago, but then after I met with [the] L.A. [Lakers], it was L.A. But it came back to Chicago and was pretty much always Chicago or New York. That’s a situation where I could have walked in now to an opportunity to compete for the next however many years.’’

Noah’s message

Center Joakim Noah was in Chicago on Friday to unveil his anti-violence campaign and told reporters in attendance that his surgically repaired left knee was completely healed. He also said he was thrilled with the additions the Bulls made this offseason.

Noah was front and center in the recruitment of Anthony and forward Pau Gasol in the last month. Even though the Bulls failed to acquire Anthony, Noah said he was excited about the idea of having an experienced big man such as Gasol to learn from.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @suntimes_hoops

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