No, the writer is not crazy Minnesota fans. And no, there is no indication that the Wolves have secretly found a blockbuster trade to bring in Kevin Durant or LeBron James. Nonetheless, the team and all its fans should look reality in the eye. They will have to think rationally and answer to this question: Should Kevin Love be traded? Let’s break down.
Love is currently recording one of the best seasons of his career in the NBA. Following a 2012-2013 season, when the sharpshooting big-man missed its biggest chunk due to an injury, Love came back to prove that he can still be a dominant superstar. He can still be a double-double machine and the face of the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise. So what’s all that trade discussion about?
Love is clearly not happy with the current situation in the team. The Wolves have a good roster, one of the best since Love entered the league and they still are way below .500 and also the playoff seeds. Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic all seem to be nice complementary pieces around Love, but the team is still not able to approach the eighth seed in the West. The Timberwolves have the second best offense in the league, with 106.4 points per game but they are also allowing points on the other end, with almost the same rate they score. Minnesota ranks 19th in the league in points allowed, 101.7 per game.
Kevin Love, aged 25, will certainly want to at least make it to the playoffs in the near future. All superstars want to be parts of title contending teams. In fact, Love has hinted his will several times with his statements. The 6’10” forward still has three seasons in his contract, including the 2013-2014 one. But Love has an early termination option, which means that he can become an unrestricted free-agent in the summer of 2015. And there will be a bunch of reasons for him to do so.
First of all, several teams around the league, even potential title contenders are interesting in landing him, making him their next superstar or parting him with their current stars. The Los Angeles Lakers are one of them and the New York Knicks are another. LA wants to bring in Love, allow him to play a few seasons together with Kobe Bryant and then introduce him as the next big thing in the City of Angeles. On the other hand, the Knicks want Love to play alongside Carmelo Anthony and finally give the team that chance to seriously contend for a championship.
If the Wolves decide to trade Kevin Love in the near future, they will get the most out of the trade. His value is at its top at the moment and as time passes, Minnesota is risking seeing it go down. The closer the summer of 2015 gets, the easier for Love’s suitors will be to push the price down. After all, they could get him for free once he becomes a free agent.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have to take the right decision. It’s been proven that even with Love at his full speed, they can’t make it to the playoffs. Would it be worth the risk retaining Kevin Love for this season and the next one and then watch him walking out of the exit door?