There are rumors everywhere about Kevin Love going to this team or that team, and one of those rumors involves the Denver Nuggets. The Minnesota Timberwolves forward has made it clear to anyone who will listen that he wants out of Minnesota. The question is does a trade for Love make sense for the Nuggets?
When I first heard the rumor, I must admit that I got a little excited about the possibility of Love joining the Nuggets. He’s much better than anyone the Nuggets currently have on the front line and would certainly be a talent upgrade at the power forward position.
Then I took a step back and asked myself are the Nuggets sustainably better with Love on board? There’s no doubt they would be better, maybe even to the point where they sneak into the playoffs next season but then what? Love could pull an Andre Iguodala and opt out of his contract and take his services to a team of his choice, and the Nuggets would be left without Love or the players they traded for him.
Even if the Nuggets did sneak into the playoffs with Love, have they really made any progress? It’s the same issue we discussed a couple of weeks back about the Nuggets being in the NBA’s version of no man’s land. Sure Love improves the team some but if he did sign a long-term contract for big money, then it would severely hinder the Nuggets from doing anything else to get better.
There’s the rub, Love is not a superstar but he wants to be paid like one. Love is a very good basketball player who could be the final piece for a team like the Oklahoma City Thunder. Love is also rumored in a trade involving the Golden State Warriors, and that one makes sense. The Warriors have their star in Stephen Curry and some other very good pieces. Love would be the perfect fit in the Bay area, not sure that can be said about the Mile High City.
Love is a second fiddle and that’s not meant as a negative. Scottie Pippen won six rings as a second fiddle. Love is an excellent rebounder, maybe the best in basketball, an above average defensive player and a decent offensive player. He is not, however, someone who can single handily turn the Nuggets into a contender.
If the Nuggets could add Love without giving up the likes of a Kenneth Faried, then it would make a lot more sense to me. In that case, the Nuggets would feature a very athletic front line with a dynamic point guard in Ty Lawson. In the rumor that I saw, the Nuggets would be sending Faried to the Timberwolves as a part of the deal.
It’s not quite rearranging the decks on the Titanic but the Nuggets just don’t gain enough in that exchange. Especially when you remember that there’s no guarantee that Love will remain with the Nuggets beyond the 2014-15 season. My fear is that Love would view the Nuggets as the ends to a means. They provide a way out of Minnesota and a place to play for a season until he can get to Los Angeles, New York or Chicago.
The interest in Love from the Nuggets is understandable and on one level, should be applauded. They are showing an aggressiveness and a desire to get better that has been missing in recent years. Any excitement from Nuggets’ fans would also be understandable; Love is a national name and would bring a different creditability to the Nuggets.
I get it, I really do, and trading for Love does improve the Nuggets a little but what does that get them? The eighth seed and the chance to be swept by the San Antonio Spurs, excuse me if I want more.