Having told the Minnesota Timberwolves his desire to test free agency and go to a contender, All-Star forward Kevin Love is now the latest NBA superstar to be on the cusp of changing cities. Rather than wondering whether Love will leave Minnesota, the question now becomes when and where the power forward will go. Teams such as the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks have already expressed great interest in Love, but there is no question what team needs Love the most: the Los Angeles Lakers. Uniting the Lake Show with Love is an alliance that would be very beneficial for both him and the Lakers.
First and foremost, Love is a West Coast guy. He grew up on the West Coast and played his college ball in Los Angeles at UCLA, where he helped lead the Bruins as a freshman to the 2008 Final Four. Furthermore, Love has already expressed a great deal of interest in playing for the Lakers someday. Heck, one of his uncles is part of the Beach Boys! In case it is not clear yet, Los Angeles is the perfect fit for Love.
The Lakers will have the money to sign Love in free agency next summer, but it would be more beneficial for Los Angeles to acquire the All-Star via trade this summer. Heading into next season, the Lakers only have three players on the payroll right now: Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Nick Young. As a result, there will be plenty of room to bring on Love.
On the other hand, teams such as the Bulls and Knicks do not have the room right now because of their commitments to some hefty contracts. While the Bulls have a plethora of draft picks to offer Minnesota, the Knicks have literally nothing except for some young talent that would be unwise to part ways with. If Chicago was to bring in Love, it could cause a stir with the Bulls’ already-established frontcourt of Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer. While Noah has been nothing short of great for Chicago, Boozer has been anything but a success. However, moving Boozer to the bench in favor of Love is easier said than done due to the fact that Boozer will be making roughly $17 million next season. If the Lakers were to wait until next summer to sign Love, both Chicago and New York will have much more cap space to go after Love because those big contracts will be going off the books.
However, because the Lakers only have three players returning next season as of now, Los Angeles will all but have to trade away its first-round pick in this summer’s draft if they want Love. The Lakers do not have a second-round pick in this summer’s draft, nor any picks in next year’s draft, so Los Angeles’ first rounder in 2016 might have to go as well. Therefore, the most important piece to this all will be whether Love will commit to a new contract with the Lakers. The Lakers learned from their mistakes when they acquired Dwight Howard and let him walk after one season, so no deal will happen unless Love commits long-term.
Bringing Love to the Lakers not only would add a young superstar to their roster, but it would also re-energize the Lakers’ fanbase. In a time right now when Bryant is in the twilight of his career and the Los Angeles Clippers rule the City of Angels, adding Kevin Love would be a fantastic move for the future of the Lakers.