Kevin Love is there for the Taking. Do the Lakers have the Discipline to Wait?

Jan 4, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love (42) looks on during a free throw in the first half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The proverbial phrase, “patience is a virtue”, was never more fitting to a Lakers’ situation. The Los Angeles Lakers franchise in dire need of finding that next star player to showcase in front of their glitzy clientele and demanding fan base got a signal yesterday from someone that might be able to fill that need.

 

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, reported yesterday that the relationship between Kevin Love and the Minnesota franchise is in extreme distress. The most tasty tidbit of the article is a quote he obtained from an unidentified NBA executive.

 

“They should trade him,” one Eastern Conference executive said. “No one thinks he’s staying. Everyone knows he wants to go to the Lakers.”

 

Everybody knows, he says. So by that statement, everybody would include the Los Angeles Lakers brass.

 

Kevin Love is therefore, up for the taking by the Lakers. Well, not quite yet.

 

Kevin Love is under contract for 2 more seasons following the completion of this 2013-2014 campaign. The Los Angeles Lakers will have flexibility with the salary cap following this season as they only have 3 players (possibly 4 with Nick Young if he picks up his player option for next season which is unlikely) under contract. Without getting into the boring particulars of the salary cap, the Lakers will have roughly 25 million dollars to play with this coming off-season. That is a problem as Kevin Love will not be available this coming off-season. Love has the option of opting out of the last year of his contract and becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2015, which means that the Lakers will have to avoid signing any big free agents this year.

 

Knowing (remember, everybody knows) that Kevin Love is up for grabs in 2015 can the Lakers exercise patience to wait one more season?

 

Can they resist the temptation of signing say a Luol Deng if he comes knocking on their door asking for 15 million per and a 4 year deal? What about if it’s a group of second tier players in the same talent class as Deng that come available and want deals that extend beyond next season which will take up that money that could go to Love in 2015. Do the Lakers pass on making their team better in the now for a chance at nabbing the ever elusive star player a year later?

 

Before we try to answer that lets sum up the situation:

 

  • Kevin Love & Minnesota’s relationship is in extreme distress
  • Kevin Love has interest in playing for the Los Angeles Lakers (per unnamed exec)
  • Love has the option to be a free agent in 2015
  • Los Angeles Lakers have the money to offer Love a maximum deal in 2015 (if they exercise discipline and patience in 2014)

 

Well, if you put it in simple terms like that and add some bullet points it makes this decision very easy. You pass on any player not named Lebron James that is asking for more than 1 year this coming off-season and wait for Love.

That’s it! The Lakers are waiting for Love, because up until now, they’ve been looking for Love in all the wrong places. If they can delay early gratification, they will find Love. Yes, all corny and cheap puns but with a last name like Love it’s expected and excusable. The Lakers fan base will surely welcome the nauseating play on words if it meant that the Lakers find Love, all they have to do is wait.

 

You can reach me at the my Twitter handle, @fullcourtfern, or on Instagram @raining3sdotcom, to discuss this article, anything Lakers or NBA related, or if you want to invite me to go grab a beer somewhere in L.A. You’re paying of course.

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  • reno

    I would love to say that the Lakers have the patience, but this is not the same front office that we are used to seeing. Many of the decisions made in recent times (within the last two years) have been questionable, leading to an abysmal season. There are plenty of players the Lakers could pick up in the meantime to at least attain mediocrity until K-Love is available…but like I said, this is not the same front office we are used to seeing and they may in fact make things worse. Anything can happen with these guys…

    • Fern Rea

      Agree. Never had we had to worry about the front office because of Dr. Jerry Buss sitting at the top, but now Jimmy Buss is that unknown quantity.

      • reno

        Super unknown. I honestly have no idea what’s going to happen at the trade deadline either. There are plenty of places where the Lakers are deficient and there are…or at least were…players available in free agency to sign to at least put a band-aid over our wounds, so to speak.

    • Daryl Peek

      Hmm? Jimmy was very patient with Bynum. He was that with Howard also. Just look at this season. They are not budging on the plan of free cap space going forward…

      Think about what Mitch said earlier this season “were not necessarily gonna spend all of our free cap space in 2014.” Whose gonna be free in 2015?

      • reno

        I never said that they couldn’t be patient. I was just questioning their collective moves as an organization because I feel that decisions are being made that I don’t think Jerry Buss would have made. But then again I’m not Dr. Buss.

  • J Taylor

    The problem with the author’s premise is that he assumes that Love will have to be signed as a free agent.
    Love gets control of the situation because he CAN opt out, He can choose to be a free agent, force a trade and play the last year of his contract, or “stall” until 2016 if he chooses.

    Signing a “loul deng” might facilitate a trade in 2015 when the Timberwolves have to trade Love or let him walk. – A player such as Deng on a 3 year deal might be a good consolation prize for the Timberwolves.