The Sacramento Kings are interested in trading for Minnesota Timberwolves star power forward Kevin Love, and the Kings would be willing to make the deal even without any assurance from the big man that he would re-sign, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears.
Love is expected to opt out of his contract after this coming season, and the Wolves may look to trade their star instead of lose him for nothing. There are a host of big market teams expected to make a play for Love, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors.
If Love does get traded, there's a chance that he won't immediately sign an extension with his new team, so that he can get a better contract by opting out next summer and then re-signing with that team in free agency. But Love may be willing to give some teams assurances that he will indeed re-sign. While the Kings may not be one of those teams, it seems they're willing to roll the dice.
Why this makes sense
Sacramento has been floundering for years now, with zero playoff appearances since 2006. Taking a chance on a player like Love could be worthwhile, especially because the team is set to move into a new arena in the next few years. Love and DeMarcus Cousins would be a potent frontcourt offensively, and if Rudy Gay opts in to his $19.3 million player option for next year, the Kings would have themselves a nice trio. If the team enjoyed some success, perhaps Love would be willing to stay in Sacramento long-term.
The Kings do have some nice assets to offer the Wolves, including the No. 8 pick in the upcoming draft. Minnesota could draft a Love replacement with this pick, with big men like Aaron Gordon, Noah Vonleh, Julius Randle and Dario Saric possibly available. Sacramento could also offer up Ben McLemore, the No. 7 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Players like Jason Thompson, Derrick Williams, Travis Outlaw or Jason Terry could be used to help match salaries.
Love Trade Rumors
Why this doesn't make sense
It might not be wise to throw away key parts of the future for what could amount to be a rental. Love wants to play for a contender after missing the playoffs all these years, so it would likely take a playoff berth to convince him to stay in Sacramento. That would be a tall order in the Western Conference, especially considering the massive jump in wins that would be required.
Instead of gambling on Love, the Kings could just bank on improvement from the young guys. The No. 8 pick should be a quality player, and McLemore is still a young pup. Cousins, as good as he is already, still has plenty of room for growth. Sacramento could also try and keep Isaiah Thomas, who's set to become a restricted free agent.
A trade to the Kings seems rather out there, but that may be because they really aren't on Love's radar at the moment. Then again, if Minnesota likes what Sacramento has to offer, it may not matter what Love thinks. At any rate, don't expect Love in Sacramento, but don't completely rule it out.