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Thoughts Out Loud: Could the Hornets acquire Kevin Love?

With Kevin Love on the trading block and seemingly linked to every team besides the Timberwolves, what offer could the Hornets make in a potential trade negotiation?

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Kevin Love is the most coveted asset league-wide, at the moment, as it seems inevitable that the Minnesota Timberwolves will trade him. As it appears to be clear that he will opt out of his contract following the 2014-15 season, and just about every team has been linked to a Kevin Love trade rumor in some way or another. So let's see what the Hornets could do if they want to pursue a trade for Love.

Before they were gifted the ninth overall pick in this year's draft, I would've said that the Hornets didn't have much of a chance. I still don't think they have much of a chance, but that draft pick could be useful in a package deal for Love. I'd be incredibly skeptical if someone mentioned that it could be the centerpiece of the Hornets' offer for Love, but it might have to be included if Minnesota is to take the offer seriously.

It's unlikely, but the scenario in which Charlotte can trade for Kevin Love would probably include them giving up their top-ten pick and either Al Jefferson or Kemba Walker. It's a high price for one of the NBA's best players, and it's hard to imagine a Hornets team so wildly different from the previous season's surprising playoff squad. Also I'm pretty sure trading Jefferson or Walker would be a pretty controversial decision, even if the Bobcats do net Love in the return.

So what could a trade for Love look like? Here's a couple possibilities I'm running through ESPN's Trade Machine. You can decide how ridiculous or implausible each one might be.

Hornets trade Al Jefferson, Gary Neal and #9 overall pick at the 2014 Draft for Kevin Love and Kevin Martin

If this trade happens between these two teams, I'd have to think that multiple players would be involved on each end. Of course, I've been wrong before. This gives Minnesota a quality player on a team-friendly deal in return, while allowing them to shed some salary by downgrading from Kevin Martin to Gary Neal, in hopes of attracting quality free agents. This may be more than Charlotte is willing to part with in a potential trade, of course.

Hornets trade Cody Zeller, Gerald Henderson, and #24 pick at 2014 Draft for Kevin Love

It's good for the Hornets in that they keep their top pick, Kemba, and Al, but they lose some pieces in the process. It's good for the Timberwolves in that they get up some young players and get another first-round pick. It also might backfire for both teams and not really help either accomplish their current goals, but this is just an exercise in possibilities. I don't know enough about the Minnesota front office to understand what their current plan is, but the loss of Kevin Love means they'd have an opening at the power forward slot (and I don't expect Nikola Pekovic or Gorgui Dieng, though both good players, to be able to fill this role), and Cody Zeller has shown enough potential, to me, that I think he could be a starter next season. And, with both Jefferson and Love, the Hornets wouldn't need Zeller, making it all the more perfect that he could be traded to a top-flight star. Also, I REALLY want Al Jefferson and Kevin Love to start in the same frontcourt again.

Hornets trade Cody Zeller, Gary Neal, Brendan Haywood, and Jeff Taylor for Kevin Love

Okay, so this one won't happen. But it's technically possible, which makes this all the more amazing. Look, I'd be shocked if Kevin Love ended up in Charlotte anyway, so let's just have our fun while we can.