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?

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.


Tags: Kevin Love Kyle Lowry Minnesota Timberwolves Toronto Raptors

  • YAHsaves777 .

    Can’t trade GV that would mess with the team chemistry. His comments off the court have shown his dedication to the team

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Sorry for what seems like a slow reply…I did reply earlier today, but it would appear the comment got “eaten”.
      Anyway, I completely agree with you calling out GV’s chemical importance to the Raps. I like the guy, and hope he sticks around, but if we have a chance to get Kevin Love, Masai has to make the effort.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Jensan

    Brian- trade is Lee and Barnes for Salmons , Hansborough and the stretch 4 Amir Johnson . Kerr receives his one year stretch 4 his payroll declines by 9 million in 2014/2015.
    In 2015/2016 his payroll drops another 7 million and has 18 million dollars to allocate to a Kevin Love signing.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      HI Jensan:
      I’ll try that trade on the Machine later today.

  • http://www.twitter.com/noles506 Noles

    Sounds great, but Minnesota is no rush to trade Love before the season starts, they have him for another year at least..and will want to get the best return possible. I do understand you say it’s unlikely, but stranger things have happened.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Noles:
      You are quite right about Minny being in no hurry. But they shouldn’t overplay their hand as the trade deadline approaches, either, or they might have to make a panic deal.
      And yes, stranger things have happened.
      Thanks for commenting.

    • Ednan Ahmed

      They don’t want a Dwight Howard situation I think they will trade him asap

  • Guy

    Personally, as a Raptor fan, I take a pass on Kevin Love.

    You mention in your article that Love has spent 6 years in the league & hasn’t been to the playoffs. Well, rather than thinking Love is somehow a victim in that, I choose to view him as a contributor to the problem. No question he’s a very good player & he stuffs the stat sheet… but what has that equated to in Minnesota? Answer.. nothing. His leadership skills have even been questioned recently by one of his teammates(Ricky Rubio).

    The Raptors established some legit & genuine chemistry last season & have some significant cap flexibility going forward. You’d have to destroy that to get Love, a guy that’s pretty good, but has otherwise never lead his team to a 500 record.

    As I said in a previous post, the Pistons could be in tear down mode & I’d endorse a pursuit of Greg Monroe. Or, it also appears change could be a coming in Memphis & perhaps Zach Randolph opts out of his deal. I’d endorse a pursuit of him. One of the best low-post scoring threats in the league, an area the Raps need improvement(Love took more 3 balls than any Raptor this season by the way) & a veteran that could be had, in both annual salary & years, for less than Kevin Love. Love is a very good player.. no question… but the Raps don’t need a 4 that spends more time at the arc.

    As always…. Just my opinion.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Guy:
      Love’s inability to lead his team to the playoffs to me says more about who the T’Wolves have surrounded him with.
      I’m thinking about putting together a Greg Monroe trade. Do you have any sense of what kind of a locker-room guy he is? The whole Piston team is questionable to me, but maybe Greg is OK.
      I certainly concur that a Love deal is fraught with risk, and could destroy what we’ve built.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • Guy

        Hey Brian,

        No, I haven’t read or heard anything about what Monroe is like in the locker room. If it turns out he’s been a bit of a problem in that way, I’d definitely re-consider my opinion.

        I’d definitely be more positive about pursuing Kevin Love if Valanciunas was a bit further along in his career. If JV was already that fully established threat in the paint, both offensively & defensively, I think Love would be a nicer fit. It could be 2-3 yrs before JV becomes that guy. But, what do I know….

        I suppose another option would be to try & move up in the draft. Sacramento has apparently made it known their pick(#8) is available. Granted, after sending them Rudy Gay last year & then going on a tear with Vasquez/PP/Hayes/Salmons…Sacramento might not be too keen on dealing with the Raptors/Ujiri again. Perhaps a 3-team deal could be orchestrated. It sure would be sweet if Ujri could somehow get the Raps into the top 10.


        • Newmarket_Brian

          Hi Guy:
          No sweat about Monroe. I’m just leery of the guy. When I’ve seen him play, he never seems to be going at full speed. If he’s got another gear, why isn’t he using it?
          Interesting point about JV and Love co-existing – I’m going to think about it more.
          I’m not opposed in theory to moving up in the draft, but I’d be concerned about giving up too much in team chemistry to do so. I suppose it depends on how wide Masai thinks the skill/talent gap is between #8 & #20.
          I’d be interested in your opinion as to where you think the drop-off point is in the draft. Is everyone after #10 (for instance) just a guy? In 2006, just about everyone picked after #8 Rudy Gay has had at best a mediocre career.

          Cheers to you.

  • Trevor LeSueur

    Would be an interesting deal but Amir and GV are the heart and soul of the Raps. You wouldn’t like to see the Raps empty-handed at the backup point spot again and I don’t see De Colo filling the need. Would they draft Ennis if something like this went down?

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Trevor:
      I like De Colo more than you appear to. He’s versatile enough to play both guard positions, and he’s the most technically sound player we’ve had in the backcourt in a long time. His shooting and passing looks like it’s cribbed from a “How To” video.
      If I were drafting, I wouldn’t look for guard help. We’ve got enough of those guys. We need to find some insurance against big men injuries.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Ednan Ahmed

    I would give them Jonas, Tyler, Novak and 2 1st rounders they need to replace a big man so this might work JV could be great

    Sign a big man to backup Love n Amir done


    If Lowry leaves let’s see if we can get Rubio as well

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Ednan:
      Sorry, you lost me when you said JV. I’m not letting him go. Everything else you propose, I like. Youthful talent like JV and TRoss is cheap and rare. Our championship window is opening. Let’s find other ways to get Kevin in Raptor red.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • Ednan Ahmed

        I love JV but I hate his mental errors like that goaltending call that he almost got in the playoffs not to mention the alcohol charge it could be a bad omen.

        I just think Love will give us less of a project and at 25 he’s still young I don’t think we can work with Love and JV on the same team but I do think JV would play here his entire career if we want him to and that’s worth something

        • Newmarket_Brian

          No argument about either of your concerns; I share them. It’s my hope JV will take his lumps, learn from his on-court and off-court mistakes, and not repeat them.
          I’ve met the guy, and he’s very bright and engaging. Perhaps it’s the good vibe I got from him which leads me to believe he can grow as a player and person.