If you haven't heard, it appears likely that the Minnesota Timberwolves will trade Kevin Love at some point, as he's reportedly indicated to management that he is going to opt out after next season and test Free Agency. This has drawn heavy speculation that teams like the Rockets, Knicks and Bulls among others would make runs at Love before the season began.
But now we are getting reports like this one from Yahoo!'s Marc Spears, which indicate the Kings want to get into the mix for Love and are willing to do so without any assurances that he will re-sign.
The Sacramento Kings have let the Minnesota Timberwolves know they are interested in trading for All-Star forward Kevin Love - and the Kings would make a deal without any assurance from Love he'd re-sign with them, a league source told Yahoo Sports.
The Kings are willing to give up their eighth overall pick in this year's NBA draft and a combination of players for Love, even though he would not be expected to sign a contract extension before next season - if ever, with the rebuilding, small-market franchise, the source said. Sacramento envisions Love and DeMarcus Cousins playing alongside each other in the front court. Swingman Rudy Gay has a player's option for next season.
(Tip of the hat to kromeace for posting the FanShot)
At first glance, this seems to be a big risk the Kings would take. To acquire Love, the Kings would probably have to trade most of their valuable assets. The only asset that doesn't appear to be on the table is DeMarcus Cousins, something that should please Kings fans who voted overwhelmingly against trading Cousins for Love in Greg's recent poll regarding Love being available.
No doubt some will feel that going after Love and giving up a lot of value will hurt the Kings should Love leave after one year; We aren't a popular venue like Los Angeles that can set themselves up to bounce back after a similar gamble for Dwight Howard because Free Agents will always want to play there. But that's exactly why we DO have to take this risk if we can. This is the only way the Kings can acquire a player who is arguably in the Top 5 or at least Top 10 in the NBA, and those are the kinds of players that make bad teams good and good teams great. That kind of player is never coming to Sacramento of his own volition, and that's just a fact. The biggest name the Kings have ever gotten in Free Agency is Vlade Divac.
Is there a possibility the pick and or young players (McLemore, McCallum) we trade for Love could end up better? I guess, but there's a much, much greater chance that they don't become close to the player he is. Love will be just 26 years old in October and entering the prime of his career. He's an elite shooter, rebounder and passer and has already been named to 3 All-Star teams in 6 years. While he has yet to make the playoffs, he and his teams have gotten better every year, and only freak injuries and poor teammates have really kept him from playing on past mid-April.
Sacramento already took a similar risk with Rudy Gay, although the level of risk was much lower as Rudy was a less valuable target than Love. The most they had to give up there were a couple of expiring contracts and two bad ones. For Love, a much higher price would have to be paid.
Should Sacramento get Love, they'd instantly have one of the best frontcourts in the NBA, if not the best, at least statistically speaking. DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Love together would be a nightmare to match up against, with both being able to pass and score in a variety of ways. Trading for Love also would likely be a huge incentive for Rudy Gay to re-sign with the Kings.
All that being said, I don't think the Kings will be Kevin Love's next destination, although I really would like to be wrong. There are other teams out there who will also be bidding on Love's services, and I think some teams, like Chicago for example, can offer more enticing packages. But it says a lot about the Kings' current management that they're willing to try, and I for one hope they succeed. In the NBA, one player can make a huge difference for a team, and Kevin Love is that kind of guy. Get him if you can and worry about keeping him later.