Drive around Los Angeles these days, and the only song you'll hear blaring from the car radios is "All You Need is Love" by the Beatles.
Okay, I can't verify that—I live on the other coast—but you could hardly blame Los Angeles Lakers fans if all they can think about after a poor season is the possibility of landing superstar Kevin Love in the next two years.
And it sure looks like Love is going to do everything in his power to force a move away from the Minnesota Timberwolves this offseason.
Thus, everything in Los Angeles among the Lakers contingent is what the team might do to bring Love on board, from trading their lottery pick to simply waiting out Love for a year and signing him next offseason.
One thing seems certain—Love seems plenty ready to depart the Minnesota Timberwolves. From Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News:
Kevin Love’s people reiterated to the Timberwolves this past week that they had better trade him or else he’ll leave via free agency when his contract is up after next season. With Love looking to exit, there’s your No. 1 reason the T-wolves have not been able to find a head coach to take over for Rick Adelman. Love wants to play for the Lakers but he’s also open to coming to the Knicks.
And as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports writes, the T-Wolves might finally be entertaining the possibility of moving Love as well:
'For the first time, [Flip Saunders] sounds like looking at deals for [Love] is an option,' one rival executive told Yahoo Sports.
The Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns are among many teams determined to make hard runs at trades for Love, league sources said. Boston and Los Angeles plan to make high-lottery picks in the 2014 NBA draft available in offers for Love, sources said.
No team is likely to trade for Love without an assurance that he'll commit to a five-year, $100 million maximum contract extension. Despite a belief that Love prefers Los Angeles or New York as a potential destination, he's open to deals in other markets where he can be part of an immediate contender, sources said.
So Love is potentially ripe for the picking if a team has the assets to go and get him. The problem for the Lakers, of course, is that they don't have all that many tradable pieces. They do have a lottery pick, of course, but failing to get into the top three of this year's draft makes that pick far less valuable.
And the Lakers know it, via Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report:
Lakers' dream of moving up is over. They drop to No. 7 in the draft. But they do see seven or eight guys they really like.— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) May 21, 2014
At 7, Lakers might wind up with Ok St PG Marcus Smart or Arizona PF Aaron Gordon. Lakers like Exum and Noah Vonleh, but they might be gone.— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) May 21, 2014
Besides, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes, making a trade for a veteran to improve the team is no guarantee that the deal will actually work out:
One team staffer already conceded to ESPNLosAngeles.com late Tuesday night that falling to No. 7 hurts the team's chances for a potential trade, before adding, "but you never know how that might have turned out," no doubt still scarred by the memory of the franchise trading for Dwight Howard only to see him fail to sign an extension.
So where do the Lakers go from here?
If Love is indeed the team's top priority, convincing him to play out his contract with Minnesota and sign with the Lakers a year from now will be the Lakers goal. To that end, drafting a solid player at No. 7 and bringing in another complementary player or two in free agency will be vital.
In essence, the Lakers need to prove to Love that they can build a contender around him.
The issue with that strategy is that part of the reason Love likely wants to be traded this season to one of his preferred destinations is that he could sign a max extension to stay there, rather than staying in Minny for a year and losing money to sign a deal with a new team (since the T-Wolves would be able to sign him to a bigger contract to stay there than he could get signing with a new team).
That could seriously hinder the Lakers odds of bringing Love aboard. A top-three pick would have intrigued Minnesota in a trade, but without it, it's hard to imagine the Lakers offering anything enticing to snag Love.
What may give the Lakers hope is that Love may not be willing to sign a contract extension immediately even if he is traded. Any team moving heaven and earth to land Love will want assurances that he'll sign there long term, something Love might not be willing to guarantee.
If that's the case, Love could stay in Minnesota for one more season simply because the T-Wolves won't get an attractive package in return for him. That could inspire the T-Wolves to take one last shot at building a contender around him to convince him to stay.
That plan might work, or Love may have already decided he wants out. Either way, it's a scenario that should give the Lakers some hope.
Because after the NBA draft lottery, it became pretty apparent the team was going to find it very, very hard to make a major trade this offseason.