It's no secret that Love can opt out of his contract at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season, and he's already got those California connections. Born and raised on the West Coast—Santa Monica, to be exact—Love attended UCLA before he was drafted by the 'Wolves, with whom he's spent the entirety of his NBA career.
With Minnesota still failing to win and Love presumably tiring of the losing efforts, Los Angeles is appearing as a strong possibility for his future. In fact, an anonymous general manager told ESPN's Chris Broussard (subscription required), "That's a 100 percent certainty," while referring to Love's future joining with the Lakers.
However, the 'Wolves aren't going to give up that easily, and neither are their fans:
Timberwolves fan yells out to Kevin Love: "Don't leave Kevin, don't leave." Another yells out: "We know you love Minnesota!"— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) February 5, 2014
One T-Wolves fan to Kevin Love: "Don't leave Kevin! Don't leave!"— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) February 5, 2014
Minnesota fan screaming to Kevin Love just now: "Don't leave, Kevin! Don't leave!"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 5, 2014
Can you blame these supporters of the downtrodden organization?
It's been a long time since this franchise advanced past the final game of the regular season. In fact, it hasn't done so since 2003-04, when Kevin Garnett, Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell led the 'Wolves into the Western Conference Finals.
Remember who they lost to?
Oh, yeah, the Lakers...
Will Kevin Love end up playing for the Lakers?
Love is—by far—the best player this organization has rostered since K.G. departed for the Boston Celtics. He'll be starting in the All-Star Game for the first time in a few weekends, and he's averaging 25.5 points and 13.1 rebounds per game.
Not too shabby.
It's no wonder he's working up this type of passion from those in attendance at the Target Center.
They can sense what seems inevitable right now, even if Love's free-agency decision hasn't actually been made and won't be determined until quite a few more games have been played.