The chances of All-Star power forward Kevin Love leaving the Timberwolves through free agency in 2015 seem to be growing. Late Thursday night, Pro Basketball Talk offered up the frightening possibility that Love could bolt for Los Angeles after the 2014 season.
The speculation was stimulated by a report from CBSSports.com's Ken Berger, who spoke with an Eastern Conference executive, who gave a piece of advice to the Timberwolves.
“They should trade him,” one Eastern Conference executive said. “No one thinks he’s staying. Everyone knows he wants to go to the Lakers.”
Love, who grew up in Oregon, played his college basketball at UCLA. According to the unnamed executive, Love's love for Los Angeles and the Lakers' ability to give him a max-contract in 2015 are two huge reasons why the Wolves may want do whatever they can to avoid losing Love in free agency without getting anything back in return.
Love also has the option to opt-in to the final year of his 30 percent max deal he signed during the 2011-12 season. Minnesota has three options, really. They could do what the Jazz did with point guard Deron Williams and trade him before he can hit free agency, or let him play out his contract and risk losing him for nothing. Love could also decide to sign an extension to stay in Minnesota.
But Los Angeles isn't the only team that might be willing to throw a max deal at Love in 2015. Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported in November of last year that the New York Knicks are already devising a plan to bring Love to New York in 2015. Wojnarowski wrote:
Almost assuredly, Love will exercise his early termination option in two years and take a strong look at where the free-agent landscape stands with the T'wolves. He could re-sign a longer, richer deal with Minnesota, or chase big-market platforms in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and perhaps elsewhere.
Love is having a tremendous season for the Wolves, despite a disappointing team record of 17-18. He's third in the NBA in scoring (26.1 per game) and second in rebounding (13.2 per game), and he will likely add to those totals against the Bobcats on Friday night.