Lakers Rumors: Kevin Love Should Look Before He Leaps to LA as 2015 Free Agent

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIJanuary 30, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 8:  Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves stands on the court against the Phoenix Suns on January 8, 2014 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most renowned franchises in the NBA—and in all of sports, for that matter. So it makes sense that Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love is reportedly set on heading to LA in the summer of 2015.'s Chris Broussard (subscription required) reports on Thursday, Jan. 30 that "most executives" are of the belief that Love will rock the purple and gold as a member of the Lake Show when he's free to flee.

"That's a 100 percent certainty,'' said one GM to Broussard.

Strong testimony indeed, but should outsiders buy it? It's unclear as to whether or not this is even a good move for Love, and there are so many factors to weigh.

As much history and tradition the Lakers have established over the years, the organization's current situation and roster should give Love cause to pause. Before setting his sights on LA as his free-agency destination of choice, Love should look before he makes that type of career-altering leap.

He should look at what the Lakers have in place for the future, look at his own situation in Minnesota and at what other sure-to-be-eager suitors have to offer.

The nucleus the Timberwolves have in place is actually pretty promising. Between center Nikola Pekovic, flashy 23-year-old point guard Ricky Rubio, volume shooter Kevin Martin and versatile role player Corey Brewer, Minnesota might be a strong player away from being a true force.

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: Kevin Martin #23, Corey Brewer #13, Ricky Rubio #9, Kevin Love #42, and Nikola Pekovic #14 of the Minnesota Timberwolves walk on court during the game against the New York Knicks on November 3, 2013 at Madison Square Garden in
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Plus, all of those players are under contract through at least 2016, with Rubio having a qualifying offer clause, meaning the Timberwolves can match any amount another team offers for him. Love has the option of staying an extra year.

It's at least worth checking out, depending on how the season-and-a-half goes. But even if the Wolves match Rubio alone, it will give them $52,557,948 million in total salaries for that season.

With that money, the front office could even afford another prized asset to aid Love and Co.'s efforts to make a serious title push in the competitive Western Conference, along with a decent first-round pick in the fold by then.

Even this year, the postseason is a possibility as Minnesota sits just above .500 at 23-22. Love, 25, has been named an All-Star starter and is averaging 25 points, 12.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.

With the continued growth, chemistry and development that Love, Rubio, Pekovic and Martin should undergo in the meantime, the Timberwolves don't seem so ominous—even though the team hasn't made the playoffs in approximately a decade.

Now, take the Lakers, for instance, who will have a ton of cap room in the summer of 2015 but plenty of uncertainty to go with it. Superstar shooting guard Kobe Bryant will be entering the last year of his current deal making $25 million in salary, and only center Robert Sacre is even on the books up to then, with a less than $1 million team option.

While that does open the door to retool Bryant's team with a ton of star power, it's also quite a wild card. Bryant has dealt with injuries of varying severity over the past two seasons and may have little left in the tank by the time the 2015-16 campaign rolls around.

The romantic reunion between Love and California, where he played his college ball at UCLA, is compelling, as is this scenario brought forth by's Arash Markazi:

Los Angeles is intriguing because of its cap space, but whether there's enough draw there in the first place remains to be seen.

Is Love really "100 percent" set on teaming with Bryant—and, um, whoever else is striving to restore glory to a squad currently in turmoil? If so, he should take a step back, evaluate his own current destination and even think of the other teams that will offer him a maximum contract and have better foundations in place.

Current Salary Cap Situations for 2015-16 NBA Season
Los Angeles LakersSalary (Stipulations)
Kobe Bryant, G$25,000,000
Robert Sacre, C$981,358 (Team option)
Minnesota TimberwolvesSalary (Stipulations)
Kevin Love, F$16,744,219 (can opt out)
Nikola Pekovic, C$12,100,000
Kevin Martin, G$7,085,000
Ricky Rubio, G$6,723,729 (Qualifying offer)
Chase Budinger, F$5,000,000 (Player option)
Corey Brewer, F$4,905,000
Alexey Shved, G$3,998,408 (Qualifying offer)
Shabazz Muhammad, F$2,056,920 (Team option)
Gorgui Dieng, C$2,348,782 (Team option)
New York KnicksSalary (Stipulations)
JR Smith, G$6,399,750 (Player option)
Raymond Felton, G$4,540,000 (Player option
Iman Shumpert, G/F$3,898,691 (Qualifying offer)
Pablo Prigioni, G$1,734,572
Tim Hardaway Jr., G$1,304,520 (Team option)

One team Broussard brought up that has been rumored is the New York Knicks. With at least some pieces in place such as Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert and Carmelo Anthony (if he remains in the Big Apple), that could be a better spot for Love than the Lakers.

Love should be itching to win and compete for NBA championships, but plenty of other dominoes have to fall before Love hits the open market.

Exercising the virtue of patience, evaluating the entire league landscape and examining his current surroundings in the Twin Cities are all he should be doing in the meantime—in addition to continuing his outstanding play.