Kevin Love: Wish or Swish?
20. Kevin Love
Tough love for Love! He already lost the 2013 Mokeski to David Lee; now he's bungee-jumping 16 picks from last year's lofty no. 4 spot to this year's semi-insulting no. 20 position, which normally wouldn't happen to a 24-year-old franchise star unless he was arrested with two underage girls and three and a half pounds of molly. Just know that he didn't drop 16 spots because of that twice-broken hand. If we're measuring players by trade value, we're really measuring them by the probability that they'd ever be traded. And Kevin Love WILL be traded. It's inevitable. It might happen this summer, it might happen during next season, but it's going to happen.
And here's why: Before the 2011-12 season started, Minnesota could have locked Love up to a five-year max extension that he wanted to sign. Incredibly, the T-Wolves decided it would be dumb to lock up a 23-year-old franchise guy for as long as humanly possible; they wanted to save that "max" extension slot for Ricky Rubio. Love signed a lucrative four-year extension with a player option for Year 4 (after 2014-15) that may as well be called "Kevin Love's Get Out of Jail Free Card." He's been bitter ever since. You would be too.
What should you do if you're Minnesota? If you're smart, you'd build around Rubio (about to get an extension), Pekovic (about to get paid) and whatever you can get for Kevin Love. The blueprint: In February 2011, the Jazz shrewdly dealt Deron Williams 17 months before he could bolt Utah for a high lottery pick (Derrick Favors) and a future lottery pick (that became no. 3 overall: Enes Kanter), maximizing any and all leverage they had. I don't see how the T-Wolves make it through this summer without doing the same. The likeliest suitor? Chicago. The Bulls have big contracts to make the trade work (Luol Deng on the enticing side, Carlos Boozer on the less enticing side); they're loaded with assets like Jimmy Butler (no. 49 on this year's list), the rights to Mirotic (a high lottery pick if he entered this year's draft), and the rights to Charlotte's future no. 1 pick (top-10 protected in 2014, top-eight protected in 2015, unprotected in 2016); and they're a big-market contender with a superstar in house (so they could keep Love for the long haul).
Let's say Chicago calls Minnesota in June and offers them Boozer's contract with Butler, Mirotic AND the Charlotte pick. How could the T-Wolves turn that down? And if you're the Bulls, how would you turn down the chance to (a) dump Boozer's deal, and (b) upend a potential Miami dynasty with a nucleus of Rose, Noah, Love, Deng, Taj Gibson and Tom Thibodeau these next few years? You know, unless your owner was too cheap to make a real run at the Heat? (Cut to every Chicago fan grimacing.) Anyway, I'm dropping Love to 20 only because that Bulls trade made too much damned sense. It just did.
Any chance we can get him?
1) If David Khan gets irritated with Love because of his comments and demeanor, what better way would there be than to throw him to an eastern team who hasnt been to the playoffs in so many years?
Would you do Amir + DD + 1st rounder for Love?
Amir would be a good backup or even play alongside Pecovic, DD as the starting SG and 1st rounder as icing on the cake.