Top 5 Destinations for Kevin Love in 2015

Kevin LoveTop 5 Destinations for Kevin Love in 2015

Kevin Love could become one of the hottest commodities in the 2015 NBA free agency class. With still over a season before that actually happens, everyone is guessing where the Minnesota Timberwolves forward will be in 2015.

Here are 5 possibilities:

NEW YORK KNICKS

The Knicks have pressed the panic button and have called upon Phil Jackson to save the franchise from ruins. With Carmelo Anthony still undecided, the Knicks need to make him stay as much as they need the fans to. Anthony has expressed his intention to take a pay cut, should it be what is necessary to get the other pieces around him.

The Knicks are cash strapped until 2015, which makes the rebuilding a process, but getting Jackson first will bridge the gap between this year’s disaster and unloading around $50M in salaries by 2015: Amar’e Stoudemire’s $23.4M, Andrea Bargnani’s $12M and Tyson Chandler’s 14.6M.

Chandler may already be having premonitions of this imminent occurrence. The NY Daily News reported that:

“Tyson Chandler, who has one year remaining on his contract at $14.6 million, admitted after Monday’s game that he’s unsure what his future holds with the organization”

Kevin Love may be an important part of the Knicks puzzle. He’s a big man who can shoot, rebound and pass. Yes he can pass! In fact, Love’s current season average of 4.4 assists per game is higher than the total average of Stoudemire, Chandler and Bargnani combined.

The impending arrival of Phil Jackson will entice Love to go to New York. Jackson’s triangle offense will benefit Love because he can shoot and pass. Carmelo will have another star on his side, while Love will have an opportunity to contend with Anthony and possibly lure another elite free agent. Of course, Jackson will be there to oversee the team.

And yes, if they keep the player formerly known as Ron Artest until 2015, the Knick would have a distinction of having Love and Peace in New York.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS

A lot of teams were busy shopping for Kevin Love in February prior to the trade deadline. The Lakers were one of them.

The Lakers tried to dangle the disgruntled Pau Gasol as bait. It’s been a tough season for the big Spaniard, and he’s taken on Coach Mike D’Antoni a couple of times.

CBS Sports’ Ken Berger revealed that one Eastern Conference executive said of Love:

“They should trade him. No one thinks he’s staying. Everyone knows he wants to go to the Lakers.”

However, when the trade deadline was over, Gasol remained a Laker, and the Timberwolves kept their man.

But it’s true that Love is painted purple and gold: He was born in Santa Monica, California. His father, Stan, played for the Lakers. Love went to UCLA in college. If those are not enough, he also played high school ball with the Lake Oswego Lakers.

After the 2014-15 season, only Kobe Bryant’s $25.M and Robert Sacre’s $981K salaries will be on the Lakers’ payroll. The Lakers can even add one more marquee player to bolster their line-up.

According to Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times:

“They do like Cleveland forward Luol Deng, but don’t want to overpay for him this summer, meaning their eyes are firmly on Kevin Love in July 2015 and Kevin Durant in 2016.”

The Lakers have made it known that they will go for Durant in 2016. Who knows if they’ll go for both. While the possibility of Durant may not be as real, Love has definitely been in the LA air since this February.

CHICAGO BULLS

Veteran columnist Sam Smith of bulls.com said that the Bulls front office will “test their luck on the upcoming Kevin Love Sweepstakes.”

Love has shown disappointment over the Wolves’ inability to be a contender. He even called out some of his teammates to play harder and step up their game. This frustration is one of the causes why Love wants out of Minnesota.

The Bulls currently sit as the fourth seed in the east with a record of 35-28. The Bulls’ resiliency this season, after losing Derrick Rose to injury again and the trading of Luol Deng, is clearly a sign of work ethic and determination. Maybe this is the kind of winning attitude that Love wants from his Wolves. And with a healthy D. Rose, Chicago will be a formidable contender for at least the next five years. If Love is added to that mix, they will even be a better squad.

In the offseason of 2015, the bulk of the payroll would be going to Rose, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson. Financially, that trio would have a combined salary of around $42M. In order to land Love, they must make some moves if they want to have Rose, Noah and Love, but that is mathematically possible

Derrick Rose is good friends with Kevin Love. They even worked out together in the offseason.

Love and Rose are related words in romance. This gives us a reason to believe that a basketball romance may be budding in Chicago.

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

It’s no secret that the Cavs will take one big shot at reclaiming the King. We all know the reason he left Cleveland was because he wanted a ring. Now that LeBron James has more than one, and still counting, there is motivation for him to go back to Cleveland, let alone that he is from Akron, Ohio.

King James knows he hurt a lot of people when he left Cleveland, but a return in 2015 would more than make it up to the Cavs’ fans. Lebron James attended Big Z’s number retirement ceremony in Cleveland. That appearance has created theories that the prodigal son is now willing to return home.

The Cavs will only have around $22.4M of payroll in the offseason of 2015. That would be enough to entice LeBron James financially. That would also be financially enough to get another All-Star. Throw in   star Kyrie Irving, and the Cavs have an immediate contender. The Akron Beacon Journal disclosed that:

“If either the Minnesota Timberwolves or Portland Trail Blazers come to the conclusion they can’t re-sign their stars, this summer is the time to move them, and the Cavs will be at the front of the line stocked with young players and future draft picks.”

Cleveland does have a lot of players who can be used as trade bait to get Kevin Love.  The Cavs need to get Love to get James, but if James doesn’t come, the combination of Love and Irving wouldn’t be that bad either.

MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES

“People think it’s so far-fetched that I would stay in Minnesota. And I’m not putting down the Lakers, but we have the better team, the better foundation. I’m having fun.” – Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves, speaking to Steve Mash of GQ.

The Wolves do have the better team: Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, Chase Budinger and Dante Cunningham, amongst others. That team should’ve been deep enough to contend. But what’s wrong?

First, the West is the tougher conference in the NBA. Put that 31-31 record in the East, and the Wolves are easily ahead of the seventh placed Charlotte Bobcats. But that does not mean they couldn’t do better.  They’ve got an above average line up, but they’re not winning.  For Love to stay in Minnesota, the team’s got to move in another direction next season.

Rick Adelman’s missed the playoffs in his first two seasons with the Wolves. The third one’s falling into that same trap. Perhaps it’s time to hear another voice. Sometimes all it takes is that to turn a franchise around. Sometimes all it takes is that to inspire the under achieving players. Maybe they should trade people and get Love an All-Star partner in 2015. They’ve got the pieces to move.

If the Wolves start winning next season, Love might decide to stay. After all, he’s talked about the better foundation. When you talk of foundations, you want to build something. It may not be a dynasty that Kevin Love wants, but a winning attitude.

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