It is common knowledge that Kevin Love is fed up with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The most recent rumors out of Minnesota now indicate potential destinations for the perennial All-Star. The Los Angeles Lakers have long been rumored to be the frontrunners for Love’s services but one thing is certain — they should not trade their 2014 draft pick to acquire him.
When asked about trading their draft pick for Love, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak maintained his stance saying he is open to anything according to Los Angeles Daily News’ Mark Medina:
“Yet, [Mitch] Kupchak maintained his stance from last month’s exit meetings that the Lakers are open toward trading their current first-round pick should they find a suitable offer.
‘It may be a factor,’ he said. ‘You can only trade a pick if you have a trading partner, too. So their willingness and what they would be willing to give up would be dependent on the pick.”
The Lakers find themselves in a very interesting situation due to the possibility of securing, at worse, a top-six pick in what has been called the best draft class since 2003. What is even more intriguing for the Lakers is that due to the Draft Lottery there is a chance, albeit a slight one, that they sneak into the top three picks. If this is the case, the Lakers should remain patient and wait for Love to be a free agent next summer.
Love has an early termination offer in his current contract which means that he can decide where he would like to play at the end of next season. If the Timberwolves trade Love to any team that he is not happy with, he can just simply just pack up when the season is over and join whatever team he wants. The Lakers are very familiar with this process seeing how Dwight Howard left them last summer for the Houston Rockets.
The Lakers currently have Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre under contract for next season. This means for Mitch Kupchak will probably have to fill the roster with NBA journeymen and older veterans similar to what he did this year, which did not end well for the Lakers.
Bryant is coming off achilles and knee injuries and there is no telling what the team will get out of Nash. The odds of the Lakers making the playoffs in an already tough Western Conference are slim to none, so it does not make sense for them to trade a lottery pick and jeopardize their future.
Let’s say the Lakers get a top-three pick and are able to draft Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins. A team with Parker/Wiggins, Bryant and Love sounds much better than a team with only an aging Bryant and Love.
The Lakers do not have the same appeal that they had a few years ago and it is something that Kupchak must consider. Trading a high draft pick to Minnesota to acquire Love just to see him spurn the Lakers in the end may be a blow that the Lakers do not recover from.
As for the Lakers and Kupchak, one more year of mediocrity will not hurt if it means landing Love and keeping the draft pick. Patience is a virtue.
Related Links: Los Angeles Lakers Draft Options