In the latest edition of the video blogtable, NBA.com writers from California to New Jersey discuss Kevin Love’s injury, the effect it will have on the Timberwolves and the playoff race in the West, Sacramento possibly losing the Kings to Seattle and how much difference a destination like Seattle can make when free agents are shopping around.
On Kevin Love’s injury and what it means to the Timberwolves
Steve Aschburner: If Kevin Love is not available in a tangible way to impact the season, they almost have to commit to a — they almost just need to find out what they have with Derrick Williams in the trade market. I don’t think that both of them can thrive there because of the overlap of positions. It’s probably asking too much [for the Wolves to make the playoffs without Love for two months]. They’ve done well to this point but … c’mon.
Sekou Smith: I don’t know that I’m counting anyone out in that 5-10 range in the West right now. I think it’s too early to throw dirt on anyone … except maybe the Lakers.
John Schuhmann: They basically have to defend like they did in the first couple of months of the season … The other way they get in is the competition for that eighth spot isn’t very good right now. If you assume Golden State and Houston are pretty safe right now … you’re looking at four teams for the eighth spot. Portland, Utah, the Lakers and the Wolves … so I think there’s a shot.
On Sacramento possibly losing its team to Seattle
Scott Howard-Cooper: The biggest hope for the people in Sacramento right now is that the Maloofs have put the brakes on very late in the process before … but obviously things are not looking good for Sacramento keeping the Kings.
I think that [the Maloofs] know that they really don’t have any options … This is really their only way out. Their options are to sell for what has been reported for $500 million — which is a ridiculously large profit — or to stay in Sacramento and keep banging their heads against the wall. If you ask me to put a number on it, I’d say it’s 99 to 1 that they’re going. But there is that 1 percent.
Seattle’s reaction to a possible return to the NBA
Aschburner: There is a sense that having gone through what they did with the Oklahoma City transfer, that it’s a heck of a way to get a team. To swipe someone else’s, basically. There’s some segment of the population up there, the sports population, that wouldn’t feel great about that … I assume the sincerity of that is about like mine when I say, ‘Oh, no, you take the last piece of cake.’ You know it’s gone.
Jeff Caplan: I think it brings a whole corner of the country back into the game. Are Seattle fans going to feel guilty for the way they’re getting this team? I don’t think they should. This should be put on the feet of the Maloofs for losing this team. I think it’s great for the league, to be honest. I’m sorry for Sacramento … but I think some of the happiest people will be some of the players on the current team.
On Seattle being a draw for players, vs. Sacramento and other small markets
Howard-Cooper: This is still all going to be about the same two things, though, and geography isn’t going to be one of them. It’s about who has the money to spend, and is the team going to be a winner. That’s what it’s going to come down to for the players … If your looking at a pick’em … yeah. But if you have a good situation, you will get players and you will keep players.
Smith: Any young guy who hasn’t gotten his money yet is going to follow the money trail. But a veteran, the kind of guy who pushes you over the top into a championship realm, those are the guys where the location of a city, and whether or not it’s the right kind of city, can make a huge difference.