- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAS VEGAS -- Derrick Rose says nothing will change for the Chicago Bulls even if Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love lands in Cleveland. Love has been at the forefront of trade speculation for weeks and the growing feeling around the league is that he will eventually land with the Cavaliers since that is the only team Minnesota is currently speaking with in serious talks, according to an ESPN.com report on Wednesday.
"For us, I think it wouldn't change anything," Rose said Thursday after Team USA's practice. "We know that no matter who we play that we have a legit change to beat anyone in the league. But, at the same time, we know it's not going to be easy at all because guys are getting better. You have guys going to different teams and it's going to be tough. But, at the same time, that's why we're in the NBA and that's why we love this game, for the challenge."
If Love were to be traded to Cleveland it would go a long way toward changing the balance of power in the Eastern Conference, especially in the Central Division. Before the latest news regarding Love's future became public, Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George said Tuesday that he believed the Central Division is the best in basketball.
"You got to," he said. "You've got three of the top teams in this league all in the Central division and we're all contenders for a championship, not just reaching the Finals. So all of us got our cards cut out for us. It's just all about getting the job done."
The growth of the Central Division has caught the attention of the basketball world over the last few weeks.
"It's going to be a tough division," Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant said. "Milwaukee's going to be pretty good. Cleveland, Detroit, so it should be a good division, man. They're going to be fighting every night to get that division crown. The Bulls and Cleveland of course are the top two teams, but everybody's going to be fighting."
George echoed those sentiments.
"It's going to be tough," he said. "There's going to be battles. Even in Milwaukee, they've got some young guys there, and adding Jabari (Parker), he's ready to make some noise in the Central division as well. But it's going to be tough. When you've got guys like Derrick, myself, LeBron (James), Kyrie (Irving). We all want that moment and want that competitiveness."
While Rose wouldn't go as far as to say it was the best division in basketball, he did acknowledge that he was looking forward to the competition it would provide night to night.
"I wouldn't say (the Central is) the best in the league, but we have a lot of competition in that division," Rose said. "Playing against them teams every night you got to make sure that you got to come out prepared well and (in) rhythm for a tough game. Because I think everybody's getting prepared right now knowing what we're doing here. Everybody's going in the gym right now just working on their game because they know we get kind of a head start playing in stuff like this."
Love decided not to participate in Team USA's training camp as his future place of employment hangs in the balance, but everyone in Las Vegas knows how his presence in Cleveland would change things in the league.
"It would be great," Washington Wizards guard John Wall said of a potential Love to Cleveland move. "That would be a big three you need, but you've still got to find a way to put that chemistry together. That's where it all starts at. It would be big for the Eastern Conference, but you've got to figure out a way to put it together."
2dMatt Walks, ESPN.com
2dJason McCallum, ESPN Stats & Info