Throughout most of last season, Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders and owner Glen Taylor remained steadfast in their stance that they would not consider trading Kevin Love.
They were determined instead to convince the All-Star forward that he should sign an extension to remain after next season.
With the NBA draft lottery coming up this week and an increasing concern that Love will leave for another team after next year, that stance has softened, two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
The Timberwolves are now open to the idea of trading Love if the right deal comes along.
The people requested anonymity because the team has not made any final decisions on Love’s future in Minnesota.
Love just finished the second year of a four-year deal that includes an option for him to opt-out in the summer of 2015.
The contract terms were the first signs of strife for Love and the organization when former basketball boss David Kahn declined to give him the full five-year maximum deal that Love wanted.
Kahn was fired in 2013 and Saunders has worked tirelessly to try to convince Love that he should stay in Minnesota where he can make about $26.5 million more than he can anywhere else.
But the Wolves have not made the playoffs in 10 years, including all six of Love’s seasons with the team, a lack of success that has one of the best power forwards in the game growing more and more impatient.
Neither Love nor his representatives have gone so far as to ask for a trade, but as the NBA draft lottery approaches on Tuesday, the trade market figures to heat up.
The Timberwolves are slotted to pick 13th in the first round.