Kevin Love: 2012-13 Return Uncertain
Wolves fans learned today that All-Star forward Kevin Love may miss the rest of the 2012-13 season.
How big is the loss? It’s hard to say. Love missed the Wolves’ first nine games with a broken hand and the Wolves went 5-4 record. They were 9-9 in games he played after he returned November 21st, and they’re now 1-1 since he exited the lineup January 5th. So in terms of the W-L column, the team has been basically the same with or without him.
But the W-L column aside, one thing is for certain: Kevin Love did not play well in his limited time in the lineup after returning from breaking a bone in his hand while doing knuckle pushups under the supervision of his personal trainer in his downtown Minneapolis condo.
You don’t need stats to describe what was before every observer’s eyes: in his brief foray back, K-Love couldn’t shoot. He couldn’t run the floor. He stopped the ball too often.
Love just wasn’t the same guy we came to like last season. He was out of shape. He was disgusted with the team. He may have been – and may still be – jealous of Ricky Rubio.
Love just never came ready to play after the Olympics. That was definitely his best 2012 moment, unless you count his co-starring role as “Wes” in a great commercial with Kyrie Irving.
On and off the floor, it was pretty much a perfect storm of crappy-ness. This was a wasted season for Love, and one that should have been his time to cement his claim as the game’s best power forward.
Now, there’s another question looming: should the Wolves trade Kevin Love? Possibilities below the fold..
DISCLAIMER: None of the below is Trade Machine tested. Be warned.
So does the new baggage around Kevin Love make a trade more or less likely? I mean, the Wolves may be more willing than ever to deal him – which isn’t to say they’re that interested, just perhaps a bit more than before – but is Love’s unavailability for the rest of this season too costly for potential partners?
It depends. Could the Wolves get Blake Griffin for him? How about Chris Bosh? I assume the answer is “no” to both, because both play for a contender. And who knows if the Clips or Heat would trade either player for Love regardless of Love’s health? We won’t find out this season.
How about the Lakers, presumably as part of a Pau Gasol deal? This could be something to watch for, because even though LAL needs to win now, they also need to shed Gasol’s $19 million Kahntract. And besides, LAL may have to give up on this season by February if they don’t start winning, though, which could make pre-deadline deal more likely.
Apart from possibly the Lakers, the Wolves would probably have to flip Love to a mid or bottom-tier team that could afford to wait for K-Love and his NUMB#RS until next season, in which time that team would tank the shit out of the rest of 2012-13 and pray for ALEX LEN (or some such stud) to pair with Love for the future.
But, of course, Love is on record as saying he wants to win now. How does that impact a potential deal? Which bottom feeders would he be willing to happily play for?
So which teams look like potential partners? Pure speculation here, just for discussion’s sake.
Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks have J-Smoove. They may want to deal him. Would the Wolves give up Love to get him. Umm, unlikely. We’d need back Smoove, plus some change. (Fwiw, can you imagine a Love-Horford frontcourt?(!!!) Neither can I!) Perhaps we’ll still get to live the Anthony Morrow-as-replacement-for-Chase Budinger-dream. Who’s com in’ with me?
Dallas Mavericks: There are murmurs of a Dirk trade. Yep, Dirk. The Mavs aren’t going anywhere, but Mark Cuban and Kevlar would Love each other. Birds of a feather, and all that. Guys seem to like being there in general, and Cubes could maybe promise Love a quick-turn rebuilding process and *lots* of money in the meantime. Probably stock options of some sort as well. Who knows?? Let’s think big. Dirk is getting old. He’s been hurt too. Love may be better than him, right now. What else could we try to get from Dallas? How about OJ Mayo? Another Love-Mayo trade, with Dirk coming our way, would be just too tasty.
New York Knicks: STAT should get traded, as soon as his value creeps up into the Non-Embarrassing Zone. Problem is, I don’t think we’d want him, given his injury history and questionable knack for winning, no matter how many cool dunks he’d get off Rubio & Shved pick and rolls. Plus, Love and Melo would be a horrible pairing – both are too selfish, and their games don’t fit together. Combining players who are good individually but terrible together has never been an issue for NYK, though – see Exhibit A: Francis, Steve and Marbury, Stephon; and Exhibit B: Anthony, Carmelo and Stoudemire, Amare – so a poor fit may not stop the Knicks.
Those are the alternative worlds I’ve been having fun exploring in my imagination this afternoon. What are some others?