Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves is the hot topic of conversation around the NBA at the moment. The one-time best power forward in the league appears to have had his fill of mediocrity with his current team, and is eager to join a contender elsewhere. Many teams have been posited as potential destinations, and many more will make their case should Love engineer a move away from Minnesota before he can opt out of his contract next summer and walk away for nothing. While going after Love himself and convincing him Orlando is the place to win titles has such a slim chance of happening, perhaps being involved in where he may eventually end up could help this team a lot more than many realize?
First a quick word on why a trade for Love cannot and will not happen, because believe it or not there are some out there in the crazy place known as the Internet who think making a run at this guy could end well for all parties. Love can opt out of his current contract in 2015, so even if the Magic packaged together a deal of picks and young players, he would still walk away next summer to join a contender. Ironically, Orlando actually have a lot of tradeable assets and pieces that the Timberwolves would at least have to consider. They will have a high first-round pick in this summer’s talent-crazy draft, and have a whole host of young and upcoming players still on their friendly rookie contracts that teams love to have around since the introduction of the new collective bargaining agreement. But just renting Love for a season, which is all it would be, would only send the team back to the base of another rebuild again, which this team is finally getting away from. It makes no sense and will not happen.
However, Orlando were to act as some sort of partner in a multiple-team deal, then something positive could come from an unlikely situation that didn’t figure to help this team. Most thought that during the four-team Dwight Howard trade that the Magic got shafted, and in many ways they did. The two other big players in the deal, former All-Stars Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bynum, left their respective teams at the time and neither landed in Orlando. We know now this was a blessing in disguise of course, with Iguodala not staying with the team he was sent to (Denver Nuggets) and Bynum being well, Bynum. (As a side note, what a massive waste of talent that is, he was scary good when on his game.) The Magic are a great partner though for the reasons already outlined above. They can throw in young players with small contracts, while also being able to absorb the bigger contracts of teams looking to dump them to make room for a player like Love with his massive contract.
We’ve spoken here before about Carlos Boozer of the Chicago Bulls being somebody the Magic should look at, so let’s use him as an example in this hypothetical situation. If the Bulls could trade for Love, sending pieces their way in return, they could also give Boozer to the Magic, who in turn would also give draft picks to Minnesota. Automatically Orlando gets even a bit better, and everybody appears to be happy, with the Timberwolves at least getting something in return for their unsettled star. This is just a basic example, but you can quickly see the important role a team like Orlando can play in this situation. Maybe the Houston Rockets thing Love is the missing piece to their title push, but need to shed themselves of the ‘poison pill’ contracts of Omer Asik or even Jeremy Lin. The Magic could take these loaded one year remaining contracts on, with a view to getting better immediately and also potentially renegotiating with those players next summer.
Most people are excited by what the Magic will do in this summer’s talented draft, and that is understandable. There are many potential stars in that particular group. However there comes a time for a team when going to the draft, with all of it’s youthful potential that is as exciting as it is a gamble, needs to be put to an end and veterans need to come in. Perhaps this draft isn’t the time to do that, but Orlando is plenty young as it is. Looking at teams like the Washington Wizards, who with the addition of some useful veterans like Drew Gooden and Andre Miller were able to make a splash in the playoffs, Orlando must realize that going young needs to stop eventually. This is what makes them such a trade partner in a potential blockbuster deal, and why they also might end up getting some great pieces for themselves in what could be the trade of the summer.