Kings Willing To Trade For Kevin Love Without Assurances He’ll Re-Sign

Kevin Love has informed the Timberwolves he won’t sign an extension and will opt out of his contract next summer to be a free agent, and because a player of Love’s caliber doesn’t become available often, there are a lot of interested suitors. The Sacramento Kings are the latest team to enter the fray, and they’re not concerned with Love’s ability to opt out and become a free agent next summer.

According to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Kings may be willing to mortgage their future for a chance at Love, who is pushing the ‘Wolves to explore any and all trade options before the start of free agency in July:

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.

The Kings know they’d have to gamble on convincing Love to re-sign, given the franchise is rebuilding and Love is looking to play for a contender after never reaching the playoffs with the Timberwolves.

Love’s representatives with Excel Sports have pushed Timberwolves president Flip Saunders to find an acceptable trade prior to the start of free agency in July. Without a trade, Love plans to opt out of his contract in the summer of 2015 and likely leave Minnesota as a free agent.

Assuming Rudy Gay opts in for next season, the trio of Gay, Love and DeMarcus Cousins would be intriguing. But it might sound better on paper than on the court, especially if you think about the lack of offensive spacing with those three on the floor, and the potential concerns on the defensive end.

Trading for a superstar like Love, in what could amount to a one-year rental, is extremely risky. The Lakers took that risk with Dwight Howard, and saw him leave in free agency the year after. The risk is considerably higher here for the Kings.

Whereas the Lakers gave up Andrew Bynum in the deal, you have to think the ‘Wolves will not only ask for Sacramento’s No. 8 pick, but perhaps a couple of the Kings’ promising young players. Point guard Isaiah Thomas is a restricted free agent and would need to be signed before he’s traded. More than likely, Minnesota would want another piece like last year’s lottery pick Ben McLemore.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive is entering his second season with the team and seems determined get Sacramento back to contention as soon as possible. The Kings have not made the playoffs since the 2005-06 season and new owners with deep pockets usually have little patience for rebuilding plans. Acquiring Love would be a shot in the arm for the franchise, but with his contract situation and the uncertainty surrounding Gay, it’s possible the Kings might end up mortgaging a large part of their future for a brief run with Love and Cousins as centerpieces.

These are all issues the Kings will have to consider, but given how difficult it is to recruit and acquire a superstar in the NBA, using a year to convince Love Sacramento fits as a long-term option during his ensuing free agency is a risk the Kings are definitely willing to take at this point.


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