Kevin Love made three straight trips to the state championship game playing for Lake Oswego (Ore.) High School. He led UCLA to the Final Four in his only collegiate season. A three-time All-Star in six seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the 6-foot-10 big man has yet to make a playoff appearance.
He is now openly looking to get traded to a winner before he can opt out and become a free agent at the end of next season.
“My people that represent me, it’s in their hands, and I just want to go to a spot — wherever that is, one of 30 teams — where I can win,” Love told Fox Sports last week. “In six years I haven’t been to the playoffs. I think it’s time for people to be watching me…I’d much rather be playing.
“I don’t really have a wish list. I just want to win wherever that may be. Like I mentioned, one of the 30 teams. I want to play for a great coach, great teammates.”
Golden State appears to be a candidate to land Love, who could have to give some indication of signing a long-term deal before any team would trade for him. The Warriors could part with players from a team that made back-to-back playoff appearances if they feel it won’t damage the future success that Love desires. They might not have draft picks for this year to trade at this time, but a $9 million traded player exception could come in handy when doing a deal.
Another possibility is Boston, a city where Love caused a stir by visiting earlier this month. ESPN’s Bill Simmons believes his hometown Celtics are the heavy favorites to get Love because according to him, the Warriors won’t trade Klay Thompson. ESPN’s Chad Ford cited a source that told him Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders realizes the trade Boston, which has two first-round picks, is offering is probably the best he’s going to get.
Celtics beat writers responded by knocking down those reports. The Boston Globe’s Baxter Holmes tweeted after speaking with sources that the Warriors were his top destination ahead of Chicago and Denver for where Love would ultimately go. The Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett reported Golden State and Denver “have both made more intriguing offers,” citing a source.
“I know the Boston Herald just said the opposite — that the Warriors and Nuggets had made better offers,” Ford later wrote in his chat. “But I’m skeptical. The Warriors won’t include Klay Thompson (at least not yet). And the Nuggets? They have the 11th pick. They have Kenneth Faried. But what else?”
There is the chance the Timberwolves keep Love around and make him play out his contract, but appears unlikely.
“They’re in a very awkward situation,” TNT analyst Charles Barkley told 95.7 the Game earlier this month, calling Love the best power forward in the NBA. “I understand why he doesn’t want to stay there. They’re not going to be any good for the next two years.
“They should just try to get the best deal possible because you can’t just let him walk.”
Said Love: “I really want to go to a place that I can win. I know I sound repetitive, but that’s really the truth. So wherever that may be, I hope I’ll end up.”