In 2008 a kid from UCLA moves across the country to Minnesota. He’s almost 19 years old. He wants to win but his team isn’t that good. This is the same team that had 4 draft picks in the first round and got Ricky Rubio, Jonny Flynn, Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington and traded all of them except Rubio because he went back to Spain. But imagine if instead of Flynn, they do Stephen Curry, I don’t know if we are even having this discussion right now. Their love-hate relationship lasts into the final years of his rookie contract, with Kevin’s desire to win and Minnesota’s desire to lose separating them, except when trade talks begin because that’s when they care about Kevin while he just does what he wants. As of now their pro careers are at a crossroads until they meet again. It’s time for a final game of one-on-one with everything on the table. It’s all or nothing. Either you trade Kevin now and get some valuable assets or you let him walk next year and you get nothing. It’s like the final scene of love and basketball when Sanaa Lathan says I want to play for your heart, deep down Kevin Love is like cool now Imma dunk on their neck and say, “should of left you dead nigga” like the classic Dave Chappelle skit.
So far there are three teams (Cleveland, Golden State and Chicago) are courting Kevin Love like the light skin girl from She’s gotta have it. But in this case, he’s gotta have a chance to win, go to the playoffs possibly contend for a title. Luckily, all three teams pose that option. But it’s not all what it seems. Even though they are interested in him since he would be using his Early Termination Option he could opt out play for one year then still be a free agent. All that means is that you could be renting a luxury piece of land for only a year instead of creating a mortgage for at least 5 and up. Which team has the best chance?
Let’s look at Cleveland who has morphed into contention overnight with the signing of the best player in basketball; LeBron James. I know somebody is going to say Kobe Bryant but get real let LeBron have his turn. You have LeBron and three number one picks from the past 4 years in Kyrie Irving, Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins. This is a young team where LeBron is the elder statesman but at 29 and having 11 years in the league, it’s the role that LeBron needs to take. With him entering the latter part of his career is this team suitable for LeBron. Enter door number 1, a 6’10 260 Power forward who averages 26.1 points a game and 12.5 rebounds a game who also shoots close to 40 percent from the 3 point line. No this isn’t a created player this is Kevin Love. Kevin is the best power forward in the league and if you want a big man that can stretch the floor he is the genesis. In order to get him you must provide a package worthy of consideration. So far the best combination is Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a future 1st round pick. Now, Cleveland has 3 first round picks in the 2015 Draft, they are going to have to throw at least one more pick in there but is it really worth all of that. Will K Love continue to have those numbers if he is with LeBron? What will the chemistry be like with Love? In the short term it sounds like a good idea, what about long term because LeBron only signed a 2 year deal. Quite frankly, LeBron can opt out next year and be a free agent like Love. Cleveland has the money now but in this era where every Big 3 ain’t a Big 3, is the sacrifice of possibly a transcendent player in Wiggins worth it. If you ask Coach K, he would do in a second. A lot of people feel the same way but its obvious Cleveland’s GM doesn’t feel that way. Wiggins has superstar potential. Love has superstar production. With James being back in Cleveland the expectations are at an all-time high. Will Cleveland must use a win-now mentality instead of planning for the future? When a franchise has a legitimate chance to contend for a title right now do you make that trade? Another scary component is that Love is only 25, Kyrie is only 22 and James is 29. If Cleveland can sign Love, their window to win a title will be left open for a long time. To paraphrase Nino Brown, “this is bigger than LeBron James baby, if Cleveland wins a chip, we all win a chip” Imagine the insanity if Cleveland wins a title, would Spike Lee make a movie from it? Could I narrate the ESPN 30 for 30 on that team? Financial flexibility would become an issue with 3 max contracts but that’s what the accountants are for let the players play but if you play that you weigh then you can stay baby. Cleveland is trying to create a package that won’t contain Andrew Wiggins and if Flip takes a deal without Wiggins it will be from another team….Enter door number 2 the Golden State Warriors
Golden State Warriors are an exciting team to watch with the Splash Brothers, high octane offense and the many crossovers from Stephen Curry. To add a player of Love’s caliber you must be willing to part with some heavy pieces. An offer of David Lee, Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson has been sent to Flip Saunders. Consequently, there are conflicting reports about the availability of Klay Thompson. If Klay Thompson is available you do that trade not now but right now. I can understand the mindset of Flip Saunders; he wants veterans’ players with tangible stats not a mock report. David Lee is a double-double machine, Barnes has yet to hit his stride like the hype that has preceded him and Klay can play. Minnesota would gain three starters to join Rubio and Pekovic not to mention bench players like Shved, Levine, Muhammad and others. It may not make the playoffs but it wouldn’t be a rebuilding team. Some reports I have heard is that Minnesota doesn’t value David Lee as much as Golden State does that’s why they insist they include Klay Thompson in this deal. I disagree with Minnesota’s stance with that granted David is a few years older but he has range, he can stretch the floor but when you have the best PF you can make up your own rules. Right now, Golden State has the best offer, a lineup of Bogut, Love, Iggy and Curry would be dangerous, but if Steve Kerr doesn’t win 50+ games and reach Western Conference Finals he should be fired. *Bring Back Mark Jackson* until they decide on whether or not Klay is in on this trade then K to the Bay is dead.
Not so fast Mr. Postman, we have another team that wants to play and they are on their worst behavior. “Hold up, hold my phone
Motherfuckers never loved us….Remember? Remember? Motherfucker Remember? Hold up, hold my phone, they used to never want to hear us Remember? Motherfucker never loved us
Remember? Motherfucker Remember? Worst behavior”. Enter the Chicago Bulls. With a key signing in free agency with Pau Gasol, the draft trade for Doug McDermott and the return of Derrick Rose this team is a force to be reckoned with. Chicago made some great moves this offseason with Gasol, Aaron Brooks, drafting McDermott and Bairstow, not to mention Mirotic a Spanish prospect from overseas coming to the states, and the emergence of Jimmy Butler and Tony Snell could prove to be formidable without a Kevin Love. Mirotic is a 6’10 power forward who can shoot as well so is Kevin Love really a good fit here. Chicago has proposed an offer of McDermott, Mirotic and Gibson for Love. I know its quality over quantity but this Chicago Bulls team is already loaded as is. If you didn’t the last NBA Finals it was about San Antonio’s depth that provided an edge over the superstars of Miami. With a great coach in Thibs, a top 5 defense and now a bunch of shooters this team is still in contention for the title in the East. I can’t be mad at the Bulls for trying to acquire Love but it would destroy Chicago’s balance and it will destroy their identity which is defense. Sure, Kevin Love is arguably a top 5 player in this league but is it worth an identity change to acquire him. I think deep down, Chicago is really playing a chess match with Cleveland making them give up everything so they have a better chance to win instead of Cleveland.
If I was Flip right now, I would wait until I found out for certain Klay Thompson is available because if he is, Kevin Love is going to Golden State not Cleveland. Golden State in my opinion presents the best package plus with the other teams you’re trading a known commodity for the unknown and that only work some of the time in sports but in any other field this wouldn’t even be a thought. May the best GM win.