The League’s most marketable white American, the bound for California boy, he’s been embraced by the national media since his departure from UCLA. Why would the NBA’s best power forward be traded before his team’s vault to relevance this season?
On last spring’s chilly Minnesota Memorial Day Weekend some out-of-town friends visited a semi-regular crew of locals around a bonfire on St. Paul’s East Side. After sharing a few tales of work, politics and newborns, the conversation turned to Wolves. For this particular local, the bruising 2012-2013 season was still a little too tender to be examined, and the build to draft day hyper-optimism seemed too far off from the gloom and doom of an especially — even by Wolvesian standards — shipwrecked season.
I wasn’t ready to engage in any bummer banter on the brink of another hope filled summer.
But I was struck when the expats in attendance expressed in harmony what they assumed we local yokels already knew: the Wolves should trade Kevin Love now.
This wasn’t a Utah Jazz-style, move Deron Williams before he Carmelo Anthony’s or Dwight Howard’s us, a pro-active, shrewd bargaining move before the opt-out noise began. It was a logical, cut your losses thought based on the idea that Love had had an injury-riddled season before he was even 25, and was now a bill of Greg Oden or Brandon Roy snake-bitten damaged goods. It was best to move on, bottom out and do it right, secure a draft pick — blah blah blah again?
There are few things I can’t wrap my head around or at least sympathetically understand. Where the kernel of a thought and the accumulative volume of alcohol could meet to birth such a dilapidated construction of reasoning that could survive the fall from multiple mouths and sit like a pile of excrement with a candle or a fart in an elevator before a group of weary, sad or distracted attendees — I couldn’t help but stop, turn to examine each of my compatriots before asking what we were actually talking about.
It’s because it’s not microfracture knee surgery in the 90’s, an A.C.L. or a lack of meniscus. It’s a knuckle push-up. Arguably the definition of a freak injury. Basing any pre-emptive moves against the opt-out Love has after this season on last year is worse than depending on Ricky Rubio’s jumper.
There are bigger concerns for this season, and we’ll muster the bluster to confront them before the season begins next week, but there are no concerns bigger than keeping Love in Minnesota. The bonfire reasoning behind moving Love may be off, but the possibility needs to be acknowledged, if not embraced: if the promise of improvement this new and improved squad holds isn’t kept, this could be the Love’s final season in Minnesota.