Even though he’s under contract through the 2014-15 season, and has a player option for 2015-16, Kevin Love has turned into the player du jour as we come up on the end of the 2013-14 season. A source familiar with Love’s thinking tells ESPN Los Angeles, it’s not just LA that’s an appealing destination if he were traded , but also Chicago and New York. It seems the small market ‘Wolves don’t hold the appeal of the bigger cities.
Wondering why Love has become the player more GM’s are wheeling and dealing to get in a position to acquire? Zach Lowe at Grantland has an excellent piece on why he’s become a legitimate top-10 player you can build around, a hot commodity in an increasingly frugal post-CBA world.
On Friday night, Love helped his ‘Wolves destroy the visiting Lakers, 143-107, showing Lakers employees what they might get in return for Love when he put up a triple-double of 22 points (6-for-10, including 3-for-5 from deep), 10 rebounds and 10 assists â€” including this amazing outlet to Kevin Martin.
Love was born in Los Angeles and attended college at UCLA, but he’s focused on playing well now, and blamed the Lakers’ speculation â€” including a report from Marc Stein the Lakers would be willing to give up their high first round pick in the heralded 2014 NBA Draft to acquire Love this summer â€” on his upbringing more than anything else.
“You know, my parents live there and they had me there,” Love said of L.A., after his Wolves beat the Lakers for the third time in four tries to win the season series Friday. “It’s not my fault. So, I don’t really care about that right now. I just go out there and play and don’t think about it.”
In a GQ article from February, Love said his team in Minnesota was better than the roster the Lakers have now:
“People think it’s so far-fetched that I would stay in Minnesota. And I’m not s——- on the Lakers, but we have the better team, the better foundation. I’m having fun.”
But McMenamin describes Love’s interest in a bigger market, with both the Lakers and Knicks as possible landing spots in a trade or free agency during the summer of 2015, or even, the Bulls:
A source familiar with Love’s thinking told ESPNLosAngeles.com that it’s not just L.A. that is appealing to Love; he’s enamored with the idea of being “big time in a big city,” and that list of potential places he’d seek includes New York and Chicago, as well.
Sam Smith of Bulls.com heard Love was interested in LA or New York as a possible landing spot when he hits free agency in the summer of 2015, writing back in January: “Love, in the top four this season in scoring and rebounding, is said to be favoring the Lakers or the Knicks in free agency in 2015 when both will have money for perhaps two free agents.”
According to McMenamin’s source, Chicago can be added to that list now; although, the Bulls will have trouble offering Love a max deal in a possible sign-and-trade with Minney â€” even after amnestying the final year of Carlos Boozer‘s contract, which runs through the 2014-15 season.
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, who could very well be a lame-duck coach with so many Lakers seemingly at odds with him during this awful Lakers season, is obviously a big fan of Love’s game, saying after the Lakers thrashing:
“Obviously, he’s one of the best players in the league. He’s inside and out. He rebounds. The guy puts some unbelievable stats up, and he just comes at you. We had him in USA Basketball. He’s just a very great basketball player. And he can beat you all kinds of different ways.”
Whether he stays in Minnesota, and the ‘Wolves risk losing him in the summer of 2015 if he opts out of his deal to try free agency, or if they trade him, so they’re not burned the way the Cavs were when LeBron left, there are a host of big city suitors for Kevin Love’s services. We can add the Bulls to that list, it appears, and Love might even love to land in Chicago in the summer of 2015.
Will Love get traded this summer?
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