Just because Minnesota should trade Love doesn't mean it will.
Nabbing a playoff berth this season, or remaining in contention next year, may prompt them to stand pat, hoping to sell Love on the extra money it can offer and auspicious foundation it laid. Or he could be traded elsewhere. Or he could be in Los Angeles, where the Lakers must try to extend him upon arrival or re-sign him during the offseason.
Either way, they must be prepared to sell him on their future come summer 2015.
Bryant is no longer a selling point by now. He'll be more of a detriment thanks to his lucrative extension.
That doesn't mean Love won't be swayed by the possibility of spending one year (or more) playing alongside a living legend, but it does mean the Lakers must shed clarity on their future plans, on how they will contend for years to come.
The best place to start? Kevin Durant.
We're absolutely getting ahead ourselves, but only because we have to.
Stars don't win alone anymore. Once Bryant retires—or even before he hangs it up—Love will be alone, the only superstar for a Lakers team resting on past laurels to carry their future reputation. That is, unless they have a bigger, better plan.
Once Bryant's contract runs out in 2016, the Lakers, assuming they haven't been cavalier with their finances, will have more cap space to work with. Not a moment too soon, either.
Durant is slated to hit free agency in summer 2016, and he's not alone. Depending how his contract situation plays out, Kyrie Irving could be available. James, if he opts into the latter two years of his deal with Miami, could be available. There could be a lot of players on the market, making 2016 what 2014 was once thought to be: a free-agency lagoon teeming with star power.
And the Lakers, provided they play their cards right, could be at the center of it all, with Love as the superstar who delivers even more superstars.