This is Love’s world, 366 days out


VIDEO: The NBA TV crew analyzes the Wolves’ draftees and the instability surrounding Kevin Love

Three hundred sixty-six days.

That’s all that stands right now between Carmelo Anthony, the darling of Day 1 of NBA Free Agency 2014, and Kevin Love, the presumptive No. 1 target a year from now.

On Tuesday, Anthony was the guy getting the VIP red-carpet treatment – along with the Photoshopped marquee images and multiple king-sized shout-outs plastered on the building – when he visited Chicago’s United Center. Anthony’s free-agent smoochfest tour was due to continue with stops in Dallas and Houston on Wednesday and Los Angeles on Thursday, no doubt with similar grandiose greetings in store, varying by budget and technology.

Love, meanwhile, was about as off-the-radar as he has been in months. His dissatisfaction in Minnesota, the leverage he holds in the form of an opt-out clause next summer, the many trade packages that teams could offer to pry him loose a year early, his high-profile getaway weekend in Boston – all of that reached a crescendo a few days before last week’s Draft.

Since then, almost nothing.

Love hasn’t Tweeted since June 26, as of midday Tuesday. He hasn’t updated his blog since Feb. 1. He was in the Philippines in June and has been making the rounds for his sponsors. But he’s not trending, not the hot topic he had been previously.

Not even in Minnesota, where the Timberwolves drafted a couple of prospects, Zach LaVine and Glenn Robinson III, and now are prepping for their Summer League entry. Even if the Wolves weren’t staying up late to field and concoct Love trade scenarios, you might expect them to be scrambling in the free-agent marketplace to find and sign players to perhaps convince the All-Star power forward to stay. But no. Quiet there, too.

“Are we going to be very active in free agency? Probably not,” Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders told Twin Cities reporters the other day. “I feel very comfortable where our roster is at right now.”

Minnesota has 14 players with guaranteed contracts, counting LaVine and Robinson. Already capped out, the team hasn’t made a priority of the mid-level exception either. “Right now, there are not a lot of guys who are out there,” is how Saunders put it. “If there are not guys out there who are better than guys on our team, we’re not just going to spend it because we have it. If someone pops down and we think it’s worth it, we’ll do it.”

This is, of course, calm-before-the-storm stuff. Something is going to happen with Love, the Wolves and the proper dance partner once identified and properly motivated. It might happen as soon as these door-buster days to start free agency calm down. It could come before Love heads to training camp with Team USA in Las Vegas and faces a barrage of media again at the end of the month.

Ideally it will happen before the Wolves open camp in October and everyone is forced to lie about the good vibrations they’ll manage. That awkward situation would turn sour quickly, with fans venting nightly from Target Center’s cheap seats and the media poking and prodding right up to the February trade deadline.

Sooner than later, hopefully, Saunders will accept the best offer he can find – maybe Houston, maybe the Lakers, maybe Boston, maybe Golden State (in some talked-about combination of Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, David Lee, Steve Blake, the unloading of Kevin Martin‘s contract and draft picks) – and move forward. Both teary goodbyes and good-riddances naturally will follow. Love either will opt-in, Chris Paul-style, through 2015-16 so his new team will feel better about what it gives up, or he’ll keep his cards close and maintain maximum leverage for next summer.

Love at least can put this time of limited pestering to good use by taking notes. Does he really want a grand tour, a là Melo? Would he rather land with his preferred team sooner and commit without much fanfare? Which teams should he rule out? Which clubs figure to be top contenders not just in 2016 but for another five years beyond that? How much money would he need in balancing current roster against dredged cap space?

Quiet or not over the past 24, 72 or 128 hours, Love’s and the Wolves’ yesterdays are done. Their todays are dwindling. This is all about tomorrows, 366 days out.

21 Comments

  1. Aljur nic says:

    I think love is the missing pieces in Miami.

  2. TROLLKING says:

    Love (no pun intended) most of the comments & remarks being made here and the proposed idea of a swap with Houston (heck even the idea of a trade with Cleveland got me thinking a bit) is quite interesting to imagine, but sure this is only a comments section following an article but OMG to the fact that there’s so much improper spelling! Or the comment towards the bottom with a peiod after almost every word, yikes!

  3. Ed says:

    “I feel very comfortable where our roster is at right now.” If I owned the Wolves, that statement right there would convince me to fire Saunders.

  4. rasalan says:

    haha it’s not “a là Melo” it would be “à la Melo”…don’t try and act cultured when you aren’t Steve Aschburner, you could just write “Does he really want a grand tour, LIKE Melo?” face palm

  5. Bird33 says:

    Here’s hoping he lands in Boston!

  6. imissthethunder says:

    For his sake, I hope Kevin Love is not suited up in a Timberwolves uniform this fall. He’s being held hostage by the howling Timberwolves. Set him free.

    • em says:

      isn’t it the other way around. he’s holding the wolves hostage. perhaps the wolves should just develop their young players as they should. if love doesn’t want to be in minnesota, then don’t play him until he’s traded. at least that way, they can start playing and developing players as they would by the time he’s gone

  7. Klay Forewood says:

    I’m a fan of Twolves since KG days.
    I want the best for the team and IMHO, Love has never been an anchor player for the team. We need someone like KG in his prime.
    Also, even though KG is an ahole, he’s really an awesome player. He can lead. He made Spree (another AHole) look better. If frustrated, KG preferred initiating fight against players from opposing teams. Love, on the other hand, would rather yell at his teammates, JJ, Corey, etc.
    Love is not a leader. A franchise player, yes. But as someone who could lead a team further, I doubt.
    To me, he’s just a stat machine.

    I would love to see…
    Harden-Parsons for Love-Martin
    Deng-Wiggins for Love-Brewer

  8. nickyt says:

    the numbers dont lie. love is top 5 best players in the league hands down. dominant rebounder and a jump shot that gets better every year. saying he is not a franchise player makes you look like you have no idea what your talking about.

  9. kobeballhog says:

    they are better off with adam levine lol

  10. israel says:

    LOVE should be traded to the cavs for WIGGENS, and then the cavs will be interesting for LEBRON. he will have the chance of going home and to play with IRVING AND LOVE . that’s what i want to see .

    • jake s. says:

      Cavs is probably the best landing spot for Love in a best money/win now scenario. If he only had not said he did not want to go back to the Cavs.

  11. jake s. says:

    I would like to see both Love and ‘Melo stay put. Consistency wins. Just look at the top 3 tenured coaches in the NBA right now. With Jackson at GM in NY and Saunders having led the Wolves to the playoffs in the past, they should just stay and rebuild their teams’ identity.

  12. Max says:

    Love? LAL (Home) UCLA graduate!!!

  13. whynot says:

    if Timberwolves have cap space, why not sign Melo/Bron

    Hey! they wanted to be in the same team?
    ***Why not in this Amazing city,Northern Winds Freezing weather, *******

  14. twolf says:

    I was talking about Zach Lavine

  15. twolf says:

    Hopefully he starts off better then Alexi Shved

  16. Patty says:

    Love is NO franchise player.

    • jay says:

      who is? lebron, kobe, and durant. the buck stops there

    • herald.guerrero says:

      Why.would.the.T-wolves.build.on.him.If.he.is.not.a.franchise.player?That.reason.alone.makes.him.a.franchise.player.that.he.is….

      • Dan says:

        He didnt get a franchise player type of contract, they gave that to rubio, bad move on their part. Now Love will pay back by leaving the team.