Kevin Love wants to leave Minnesota, from what I’ve heard, and it sounds like the Timberwolves are trying to ramp up his value or are completely in denial and are saying that they don’t intend to trade him. To me, it seems more like a logic puzzle than a basketball issue, and I love logic problems, especially when it comes to roster management.
Minnesota isn’t the largest market in the world, and as many of my posts have inferred, we have a perception issue for people who aren’t from the Twin Cities. The Timberwolves won’t buy buying their way into contention. They aren’t going to get the three superstars like Miami did and the Knicks and Rockets tried to do. This means they need to build through the draft and augment with role players in free agency. Sitting in the middle of the first round, they are only able to draft more role players where there isn’t enough talent for Minnesota to take it to the next level. Free agency will likely only continue to yield more role players.
As long as Kevin Love is still on the roster, the Timberwolves will continue to be competitive, but not enough to make the playoffs, or even if they do, not competitive enough to make a significant impact in the post season. Of course, they won’t make any strides, because they can’t draft the top talent, and as we mentioned, not many players want to come to Minnesota because it isn’t a premier team and it isn’t a desirable market.
So Love should definitely be traded, likely for the highest picks available. Some of those picks should be turned into future picks, or combined with other picks to move up higher in the draft. Nikola Pekovic should be moved for picks htis year and next year. Anyone that can bring back higher draft picks, and if the team can move up they should do so, especially in this year’s deep class. The way to relevance for the Timberwolves will be to have multiple high draft picks, preferably in one year but possibly over the course of a couple of years.
NBA roster sizes are too small not to try to win with elite talent, and it’s needed at more than one position. In a smaller market, it needs to come up at the same time so there is immediate success, and players are more compelled to stay there, which in turn means free agents will want to sign there. It’s the way that Seattle/Oklahoma City came to be, and why they have been able to sustain their success. They drafted well, and they got good quickly. The Wolves are in a position to help them get to a point where they can blossom swiftly as well, but it’s going to take some painful decisions in the short term. Of course, moving on from Kevin Love should be fairly easy at this point.