Apr 14, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) dunks against the Golden State Warriors during the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Love is in play - could he become a Raptor?

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Jan 17, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry (7) goes past Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Timberwolves 94-89. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

 

There’s lots of chatter showing up from reliable sources about Minnesota Timberwolves’ star power forward Kevin Love. He apparently has had enough of watching playoff games, and wants to play in them instead. Love has been a T’wolf for 6 seasons, and last year piled up some ridiculous stats (more than 26 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists per game, with a PER of 27), but his team has not kept pace. He’s one of the 10 best players in the NBA, but has never been on a playoff team, and wants to find one, preferably in a large market. Love is an unrestricted free agent following next season, so Minnesota is well-advised to swallow hard and move him or lose him.

Can the Toronto Raptors somehow trade for Love, then get him to sign a contract extension? Let’s construct a trade that embattled Minny might accept. A dump of Landry Fields, Chuck Hayes and Tyler Hansbrough works financially, but even if we threw in our 2016 first-rounder, T’wolves GM Flip Saunders would surely say no, due to legitimate concerns about being tarred and feathered by Wolves fans. We have to deliver value to them, so with considerable reluctance, I’d package Amir Johnson, Greivis Vasquez and Steve Novak, plus our first. Not surprisingly, the Trade Machine calculates we win this deal by a large margin.

Why would we ever tear up our core in this fashion? The glib answer is: because Love is worth it. But there’s more – with Kyle Lowry still unsigned, don’t you think the prospect of having Kevin Love to pass to next season might have some appeal? Of course it would, enough to tip the scales in our favour, and bring Kyle back on a 3-year deal. That works the other way as well; if Love enjoys playing with a dynamo like Lowry, and Kevin thinks the playoffs are part of our future for many years, maybe he will sign a 4-year deal. If he doesn’t want to, GM Masai Ujiri can tell him to make a list of teams he’ll like to play for, and move him at the deadline.

The T’Wolves didn’t have much luck at last night’s draft lottery, and will pick 13th. With no prospect of gaining one of the youthful luminaries (Parker, Wiggins, Embiid, etc.) as a teammate, Kevin isn’t going to change his mind about leaving the Twin Cities. I don’t think a trade to our city is going to happen, but if I were advising Masai, I’d tell him to call to Saunders.

Over to you, Raptors Nation. Do you like this deal, or can you build a better one? Please drop a Comment.

 

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Tags: Kevin Love Kyle Lowry Minnesota Timberwolves Toronto Raptors

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