Update (11:30 p.m. ET, Friday): Love has issued a comment on the report, offering about as much as you'd expect. Via the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan:
Love on Laker fans hoping he signs in '16: "My parents lived there and had me there. It’s not my fault. I don’t care about that right now.”— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) March 29, 2014
The suggestion is already in circulation that the Lakers will attempt to use their forthcoming high lottery pick in June to assemble the sort of trade package that finally convinces the Wolves to part with Love and end the uncertainty that hangs over this franchise even before the 25-year-old enters the final year of his contract. Yet there is just as much defiance emanating from Minnesota, as we speak, about the Wolves' ability to keep Love in town.
Clearly, the Lakers are confident that Love will grow more fond of Hollywood than Dwight Howard did last season. Love's contract expires after the 2014-15 campaign.
Over six years with the T-Wolves, Love's teams have yet to make the playoffs. In what was supposed to be a year that Minny finally turned the corner, it's currently buried in a cutthroat Western Conference at 35-35. Year 6 for Love in Minneapolis, Year 6 of disheartening disappointment.
Love's growing distaste for his current situation has never been more apparent than it was after a double-digit loss to the Grizzlies this week.
"I'm allowed an off game every now and then," he said after he shot just 6-of-18 with seven rebounds in the 17-point hammering. He was still Minnesota's high-scorer for the game with 16. "It's draining to say the least," he concluded.
Enter the Lakers, or more specifically, Kobe Bryant.
Earlier this month, Bryant expressed his dissatisfaction with the team's current sorry state and said that he expects Mitch Kupchak's front office to help right the ship. And in short order. According to ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin, Kobe said:
It’s my job to go out there on the court and perform. No excuses for it. Right? You got to get things done. It’s the same thing with the front office. The same expectations they have of me when I perform on the court is the same expectations I have for them up there. You got to be able to figure out a way to do both.
Regarding the Lakers' projected lottery pick this summer, Bryant tweeted Thursday that he'd have no qualms mentoring Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins—two of this draft's prized prospects.
@DonPEscobar both have great potential. Id mentor either one— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) March 27, 2014
Let's just say that if the Lakers flip the pick in a package to acquire Love, you probably wouldn't find the 35-year-old Kobe complaining.
Until the summer, though, that's a big if. Flip Saunders and Wolves brass have shown no desire to deal Love, but if the power forward expresses sincere desire to bolt in free agency, he may just be able to force his team's hand.