From the weird injuries to his awful shooting numbers to the reports of his unhappiness to even Minnesota’s slow start, this year must be trying Kevin Love‘s patience. Coming off his best season, as well as his experience at the summer Olympics, pundits picked Love to lead the T’Wolves to one of the best records in the West while building on last season’s averages of 26 points and 13.3 rebounds a night. Yet the grizzled All-Star is shooting just 35 percent through 17 games, and Minnesota is sitting at .500, a lottery team if the playoffs began today.
Most of that can be attributed to injuries – no team has dealt with more – and attention – Love surprised some with his all-around offensive game last year… not so much anymore. But earlier this season, it was the power forward himself who brought up his qualms with management, asking rhetorically if his team had any plan for the future. This isn’t anything new – Love put the pressure on David Kahn to make moves this summer, saying he’s sick of not making the playoffs.
The Love-to-L.A. rumors started long ago, and while we heard about possible Kevin Love/Pau Gasol trade scenarios in the past, no reports indicate Love wants to be in Los Angeles. Taking him at his word, he just wants to win, and if that can happen in Minnesota, great. If not…
ESPN’s Chad Ford was asked during a Wednesday chat about Love’s current situation in Minnesota, and whether he thinks the team will trade him. He responded by writing:
“Probably not. He’s so good, the Wolves want to make a major splash in the playoffs and they couldn’t get equal value in return. However, it’s probably in their best interest to trade him now. He wants out and will likely bolt the team when he can opt out of his contract. The longer the Wolves wait, the harder it is for them to get value in return. That’s been proven over and over again in the NBA.”
From Love’s vantage point, you can feel his anxiety. His contemporaries – Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, James Harden, etc. – are all playing on title contenders or at least teams that look like future playoff squads. Meanwhile, Love is stuck with a general manager who became his own punchline over the years, for a franchise that let its last star power forward (Kevin Garnett) flutter in mediocrity for over a decade. When the topic turned to rings and deep playoff runs with the guys on Team USA this summer, Love was silent. He wants to join that conversation.
But now after a slow start, even Utah’s Derrick Favors is calling Love out, saying he’s overrated and not much different from every other stretch four in the league. So Minnesota’s best player is taking a proactive approach: pushing his career down the right path before he gets stuck in a bad situation that ultimately helps define his time in the NBA.
As DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings bump heads on the future of Sacramento, it’s looking like we have a similar situation developing in Minnesota. Love wants to win with the Wolves, and he’s not afraid to speak out, which leaves the ball in management’s hands.
Should the Wolves move their best player?
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