Let's jump right in. Here is the Wizards rumor involving Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love from NBA.com's David Aldridge:
Wiz are a stealth candidate for Kevin Love -- his father, Stan, who played for the then-Bullets in the early '70s, gave his son the middle name "Wesley," as in Wes Unseld. And Kevin Love has a soft spot as a result for the franchise. But the trade talk will surely die when the words "Bradley Beal" come out of Flip Saunders' mouth.
Quick digression: Over the weekend, I went looking for a new laptop. As a lifelong Windows consumer, I've been dying to cross over into the Apple side of the aisle. Whether I'm just a sucker for cool marketing or because everyone I know with an Apple product praises their device with pure devotion rarely seen outside of religion, politics or SEC Football, I wanted in.
So, with a budget of under $1,000 (and actually far less), I set out in search of a MacBook. That search ended abruptly when any Apple laptop product that I pondered came with a price tag far exceeding my allocated funds. In other words, regardless of my hopes and dreams, I was never really in the market for a Mac. Therefore, I moved on. I am typing this post on my brand new and lovely Lenovo.
Yes, this analogy ties in with the aforementioned rumor involving Love, who right now is the coolest player likely on the move this off-season. Fan bases thinking their team is one player away from title contention want this All-Star, Olympian and double-double machine. The cost, however, won't be minimal.
No doubt that the Wizards, like me dreaming of a MacBook, would love them some Kevin Love. But if the cost is Bradley Beal, one of the cornerstones of whatever is going to take place going forward with this franchise, then as Aldridge notes, there is no true intent from the locals. So, I guess this is a rumor only if the Wizards, unlike me, are open to expanding their cost of acquisition.
Other factors that would/could prevent a Love-Wizards marriage:
- Any team other than the (desperate?) Sacramento Kings would want Love to agree on a long-term contract before making a trade. Love can opt out of his contract in the summer of 2015. Most reports have the forward interested in the usual big name suspects including the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics along with the Golden State Warriors. Maybe the Wizards can join those teams from an interest standpoint after their playoff run, but that would have to be made clear before making a deal. By the way, our Wizards Insider J. Michael told me that during a previous interview with Love few years back that the big man expressed an interest in playing for the Knicks.
- If the Timberwolves are open to trading Love, one can assume that means they're headed down a rebuild path. If we eliminate Beal and John Wall from any deal, the Wizards don't have much in terms of long-term assets with which to offer. Otto Porter, sure. Because Washington doesn't have a first round pick in 2014, the next first rounder it can trade is in 2016. There are other NBA teams, including the Celtics, with assets that can help Minnesota immediately.
- Not sure what would happen with Nene, but realistically he and Love cannot co-exist defensively. Neither is a center, neither is a rim protector. Unless Minnesota takes Nene - and they won't - then another deal must take place.
One last takeaway and this is a big one: Perception of the Wall-Beal led Wizards is on the rise. Last season -- or any season since the Gilbert Arenas train went off the rails or maybe back to the Webber-Howard days -- such a rumor wouldn't even have been worth mentioning. Again, this one really isn't from a cost standpoint, but it is from a general plausibility angle. If in fact the team had the assets to make such a trade work, it's conceivable Love says yes to Washington. Hell, I'd even buy that premise.