By now LeBron James qualifies as the wise old wizard of free-agent decisions. His was so defining that it was universally spelled with a capital "D."
So surely he can offer some helpful words to Kevin Love as he nears the opportunity to opt out of his current contract in the summer of 2015.
James can probably be pardoned for focusing on his own team's issues. The Miami Heat struggled to an unimpressive 10-8 record in March, somehow backing into the Eastern Conference's first seed in the process. Even if the Indiana Pacers' issues seem more dire than Miami's, chances are Love is the last thing on LeBron's mind.
He's the first thing on the Minnesota Timberwolves' mind, though. The Wolves run the risk of losing Love for nothing come 2015, potentially forcing their hand to trade him in the meantime. Rumors about them doing just that have run rampant, especially with the Los Angeles Lakers eyeing the 25-year-old none-too-subtly.
ESPN's Marc Stein details one possibility:
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.
It's that defiance that's sure to give Love quite the decision. Minnesota knows it isn't easy—if even possible—to replace someone of his caliber, even with a lottery pick to ease the pain. Love is averaging an eye-popping 26 points and 12.6 rebounds this season, giving the Timberwolves a lone bright spot in a season otherwise defined by mediocrity.
For Love's part, he hasn't been pushing his way out of town, at least not publicly. Asked by GQ's Steve Marsh about the possibility of ditching the Timberwolves for Los Angeles, Love didn't bite: "We have the better team, the better foundation. I'm having fun."
We'll see if he still feels the same way a season from now—with or without LeBron James' input.
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