Number V: Kevin Love
Imagine if the Minnesota Timberwolves were able to line up Karl-Anthony Towns and Kevin Love on the same basketball court wearing the same journeys? It just so happened that the two elite NBA players missed one another by just two seasons. Oh, what might have been?
Actually, it very likely was the aftershocks of the trade that sent PF Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers that set the wheels in motion that cause the Timberwolves from a record of 40-42 in his final season to a dismal record of 16-66 the following season. But it was the struggles of that 2014-15 season that positioned the Timberwolves for the top overall pick and brought Karl-Anthony Towns to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The trade took place at the direction of LeBron James, who announced that he was opting out of returning to the Miami Heat and would return to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. But that came with conditions that required the Cavaliers to assemble a ‘Big 3,’ a term applied to NBA veterans who compete among the top 10 percent at their position in the NBA.
While the Timberwolves ran a risk (as it seems they often do) by trading away a star player in Kevin Love, their return was a pretty significant haul. Not only did the Timberwolves land the top player in the draft Andrew Wiggins, but they also landed a reclamation project in the 2013 NBA Draft’s top pick Anthony Bennett and a productive veteran in Thaddeus Young.
Love has gone on to play 10 more seasons, nine with the Cavaliers, and finally has landed with the Miami Heat to finish out the 2022-23 NBA season. While he would never replicate the 2013-14 season that he put up for the Minnesota Timberwolves, his steady production, and long-range marksmanship remain a tough loss for the Timberwolves’ roster.