There's an army of elephants in the room, folks. We don't need Bill Simmons to remind us that Kevin Love wants to win. We also don't need Bill Simmons to remind us that there is plenty of room for Love on a couple West coast squads that would kill to bring him "home". However, wolves fans react to Simmons and other pundits with angst and cries of "big market bias". It should be no surprise that we're at risk of losing our guy, the second homegrown superstar in team history. Bill Simmons isn't giving the Lakers (or the Wolves for that matter) any ideas they wouldn't have already had on their own. So, my lupine brethren, let's go over a couple scenarios that could effect Love's decision and the franchise's future.
Rubio's "Leap Year"
We're all watching Ricky to see if he can start scoring at a respectably efficient clip this year. Should this happen, how much better do the Wolves really get? It remains to be seen, and depends on what sort of leap in efficiency happens this year. Would a better Rubio convince Love that this team can contend? It certainly can't hurt, but I tend to think it's not enough on it's own.
How does this current team fit together?
Personally, I think the Wolves chances of retaining Kevin revolve around this year's performance. If the wolves are out of the playoff race by the all-star break (god forbid), the trade rumors will start flying. So what level of success keeps him in a Wolves uni? I tend to think an 8th seed and a quick first round exit will impress Kevin about as much as he was impressed by our old friend David Kahn. This means we need a playoff upset over a top dog, or a seeding in the 4-6 range to keep him optimistic. This will be tough to get to.
What can the Wolves do to improve our chances?
- Strike gold with someone currently on the roster (not happening, but "potential" candidates include Shved, Lion, or possibly a pissed off Chase Budinger should his athleticism be intact after a year and a half of knee rehabbing)
- Trade D Will, Bazz, or another some other "asset" for something of positive value (not likely, but if D Will somehow shows significant improvement that would make Flip's life easier)
- Strike gold in next year's draft through trade up, or a talented guy falling down the board (somehow this seems more likely than the other two in my eyes)
The odds are obviously stacked against Flip and the rest of the Wolves front office. I'd like to believe Love would give us some heads up that he isn't signing here so we could work a trade instead of letting him walk for nothing. Were that the case, it's hard to see what kind of value he would fetch when the wolves have no leverage in keeping him. We would arguably get the most value if we traded him this year before the media shitstorm reaches maximum capacity next season. However, it would be lunacy for us to give up on such a talent and sink back into the dregs of the conference once again.
There is a lot resting on this season. It's this kind of drama that makes sports so fun to watch, so buckle up CH, we've got quite the ride ahead of us.