Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
> You’re Kevin Love’s best friend and closest confidante. When he asks – if he asks – what do you tell him? What’s his best move?
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Something like this: “Yo, Kevin, time to step up. Let Timberwolves prez Flip Saunders and owner Glen Taylor know now, in no uncertain terms, you want a change of scenery after six seasons. Don’t make it about the fifth-year snub in that contract extension — that was driven by bozo David Kahn and he’s gone. Make it about your on-the-clock career and your future, and handle it in a professional manner that benefits all parties. Work with the Wolves in identifying a team or teams you’d consider and agree to opt in for 2015-16 a la Chris Paul when he got the trade that worked so well for him. You’ll get your next deal, all five years, soon enough. The Wolves will get a decent return in trade that way, yet you’ll have a seat at the table to make sure your new team isn’t torn up. Finally, rest and recover this summer because next spring, you had better be on a playoff team or this stuff sticks to you.”
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Sell the parka, throw away the mittens, get rid of the scarf and get out of Minnesota before you get frozen there in mediocrity for more than a decade like Kevin Garnett. If Love wants to be comfortable at home, go to L.A. and become the foundation of the Lakers’ rebuilding project. If he wants to drive himself crazy, go to the Knicks. But if he really wants to join a team on the rise that can compete for a championship right now with him, get on your horse and ride to Houston.
Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: I’d just tell him do what he feels is right for him, but avoid making this a media circus that’s going to tarnish his reputation and turn fans against him. I understand his frustration with the Wolves and the contract he signed, but that was under the old regime. He’s got some good players on that team, let’s see who they hire as coach and go from there. As Kevin Durant said in his MVP speech, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. But some players just have to find out for themselves.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: I tell him the Beach Boys are forever. Then I tell him his best move is to not make a move. Don’t do anything publicly. He clearly doesn’t want to commit to staying, so don’t offer up a lame, phony statement just to make the fans and the organization feel better. And don’t compound the situation, when he may have to begin the season in Minnesota, by saying anything inflammatory to press the front office into a deal. Wait. There is one thing my bud Kevin should do. Go back and look how Dwight Howard handled a similar predicament in Orlando, then do the opposite.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: Look in the mirror, dude. If you’re really a top-10 player, you should be able to lead your team (one that had some pretty sold talent this season) into the playoffs. Instead of dreaming about who can help you get there, figure out how you can help yourself get there. It probably starts with defense, because the only season of your six that the Wolves have been above average on that end of the floor was the one you played only 18 games.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: He won’t ask, because he’s already made his play. His best move is to shove his way out of Minnesota and into a spot on that Golden State Warriors roster alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. I couldn’t think of a better or more skilled big man to balance out the Warriors’ attack. A super-skilled big man who can get up and down the floor and play inside and out and rebound with the best of them, Love could make a seamless transition with the Warriors. And he’ll provide some scoring punch that the Warrior don’t currently posses in their frontcourt rotation. He’d fit well almost anywhere. But he’d be an ideal fit in Oakland.
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com All Ball Blog: Kev, I understand where you’re going here, asking to get out when you have time to transfer your Bird Rights to a new team and get a max deal elsewhere. But I’d be really careful how you handle this. Nobody forced you to sign that deal with the the T-Wolves, so forcing your way out makes it seem at the very least ungrateful. If you want to go, that’s fine, but be as honest and upfront about it as you can. You’re a heckuva scorer, but you’re also a below average defender. Be as transparent as you can be within the NBA’s rules, and tell the fans in Minnesota how you feel. And above all else, if you honestly want to leave, acknowledge that you’re as imperfect as the franchise has been.
Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: I always believed that Kevin Love is the perfect fit for the Lakers. Plus he has had his moments under the sun of California (in UCLA). He is the most versatile big man around and can play in every single style of basketball. So if I was his best friend I would advise him to go to a team that with him on the front-line would become a contender.
Karan Madhok, NBA India: I tell Kevin Love to give the Timberwolves a chance to redeem themselves and build around him at first and wait a few months. The Timberwolves’ roster — on paper, at least, and if health permits — should be good enough for the playoffs. Love, Rubio, Pekovic, and Kevin Martin are all talented players, and Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad could become important pieces for the future. The Timberwolves have ‘only’ the 13 pick, but if they can trade up or if they can pick up a late hidden gem (this is a deep draft class), then this team might finally have what it takes to challenge for the postseason. Finally, now that Rick Adelman has retired, they’ll need to hire the right coach to steer the ship. But if by mid-season it doesn’t seem like the ship is heading the right way, I would suggest that he look for a trade (instead of leaving the team with nothing in return at the end of the season) and hope that the trade sends him to the East where cracking the playoff barrier might be easier.