Earlier in the week a report came out that the New York Knicks would be doing everything possible to lure current Minnesota Timberwolves MVP candidate Kevin Love to New York in 2015. The thinking is that signing Love should be enough of an incentive to get Carmelo Anthony to re-sign. We might be alone in this thinking, but is Kevin Love not the superior player right now?
If the Knicks really are as enamored with Love as they claim to be, the hope would be that securing him would be the focus and the situation for Anthony would be of secondary importance. That is like the Cleveland Cavaliers signing LeBron again in the offseason because they want to make Kyrie Irving happy. But debate of the hierarchy aside, it is noteworthy for the Wolves that this story is coming out at a time when they are flying high for the first time in a while.
Love is playing like an MVP, and his numbers suggest that he has no company in what he is doing right now. His 27 point and 14 rebound averages say enough, but this year it’s his five assists, three more per game than any other season in his career, that are setting him apart. We think a lot of that is due to the additions of Corey Brewer, who is making everything and cutting to the basket where Love can find him multiple times a game, and Kevin Martin, who is playing like a bit of an MVP in his own right. Love’s more well-rounded game is catching the eye of anyone who is paying attention as is the Wolves 6-3 record, uncharted territory for this franchise.
So in a time of deserved enthusiasm for a franchise and its fans, the last thing that anyone needs is a report like this. Now Love has to go out of his way and distance himself from the talk. Teammates hopefully will not have to answer questions about it being a distraction, but we have to assume that something to that effect will be brought up when the euphoria dies down. And fans, the most long suffering of anyone associated with this team, will have to once again, wonder if there is any merit to this story and fret about Love leaving just when things have apparently turned the corner.
There’s no doubt that former GM David Kahn made a mistake by not signing Love to that fifth year when he wanted it. If Kahn were still in charge, it would be impossible to ignore the discontent and such a report would create even more nervous energy in that locker room. But Kahn is gone, and Love’s relationship with new team president is reportedly excellent.
Love says that all he wants to do is win, and that is why this Wolves team seems to be holding all the right cards. They have put together a winning formula and when the starting five is on the court together they are scoring almost at will, with another 37 point first quarter output on Wednesday night. This team will be good. For the first time we can say that there is no question about that. However, we cannot be sure if Love covets a bigger market.
We are not going to speculate and can only concern ourselves with what he says: All he wants to do is win. Will the Lakers have a better team than the Wolves in 2015? The Knicks? The Clippers? Simply looking at the youth and talent of the rosters, one would have to say that the Wolves will be in a better position that most of the glamour markets. The coach will be a question, as there are always questions around how much longer Rick Adelman can do this, but if they are in a search within the next year or two, there is little doubt that Love will have a significant hand in it.
In past years, you could not blame Love for questioning his situation with dismal seasons and laughable lottery picks. But for the first time, there’s optimism in the air with tangible results attached. Unless there is some underlying motivation with Love, a playoff birth and more should be sufficient to seal up his future.