The 2014 NBA offseason may very well shift the entire power balance of the league.
Superstars like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love could be on the move, the 2014 draft class is loaded and there are a number of veterans who could ride off into the sunset that is retirement.
With so much at stake, there are bound to be rumors circulating for most of the summer. With that in mind, let’s dig into some of the latest about Love and the impending NBA draft.
Cleveland Leaning Toward Joel Embiid?
The Cleveland Cavaliers have the “problem” of deciding between Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid, among others, with the No. 1 pick. Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix passed along some of the news in that regard:
A source familiar with the Cavaliers thinking says the Cavaliers are leaning strongly toward Embiid, who has impressed in private workouts. Embiid's back has not been an issue, but league sources say teams are still evaluating it to determine the long-term risk. Still, Embiid's potential as a dominant two-way player appears to be too good for the Cavs to pass up.
As Mannix said, the talent that comes with taking someone like Embiid is simply too enticing, even with the injury concerns. It is worth mentioning, though, that this was the rumor before it was announced Embiid has to have foot surgery. Whether that changes Cleveland's thinking remains to be seen.
There are so few dominant centers in the NBA today, though, that simply having one on the roster could help Cleveland reach the playoffs next season. Embiid will rebound anything within his vicinity down low, swat shots into the first couple of rows and score in double figures on the low blocks.
At least that’s what Cleveland will be banking on.
Kevin Love Boston Bound?
According to Chad Ford of ESPN, via Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk, the Boston Celtics are making a strong push to land the services of Love:
I continue to get strong signals that the Celtics are trying hard to use pick No. 6 and 17 along with future No. 1s and young players such as Jared Sullinger or Kelly Olynyk to persuade the Minnesota Timberwolves to trade them Kevin Love. One source close to the Wolves said that while Flip Saunders does not want to trade Love, he realizes the team likely will lose him this summer and the package the Celtics are offering is probably the best he’s going to get.
Which player would you rather have, salary aside?
Individually, Sullinger and Olynyk come nowhere near Love’s stature as one of the best players in the league, but if packaged with high picks in the loaded 2014 draft, this becomes interesting. Throw in the potential future picks (2015 looks like another deep and talented class), and Minnesota has something to think about.
From Love’s point of view, this would place him in the wide-open Eastern Conference alongside Rajon Rondo. If nothing else, he would probably finally reach the playoffs, which would be a step in the right direction for his career.
Lakers Holding On To No. 7 Pick?
The Los Angeles Lakers have the No. 7 pick in the 2014 draft, and Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles passed along some of the latest rumors about their plans:
One team source was particularly impressed by Smart, telling ESPNLosAngeles.com that his “tenacity was off the charts” at his first workout with the Lakers. Not to mention, Ford has the Lakers taking Smart at No. 7.
Whether the Lakers end up picking Smart, Randle, or somebody else, the team is leaning towards keeping their No. 7 pick rather than trading down in order to acquire multiple picks, according to a source with knowledge of their thinking.
Interestingly enough, even with the potential interest in Marcus Smart, Los Angeles just brought in Julius Randle for an individual workout. Assuming Pau Gasol is on the way out, the power forward position would be a potential direction for the Purple and Gold to head in the draft.
Randle provided something of an answer for his part to critics who feel he goes left too often and simply tries to power through players, via McMenamin:
I’m very versatile as far as things I can do on both ends of the floor. And I think I can play in many different styles. I don’t think there’s one style that’s going to fit me and what I’m going to do. I think teams are going to see my versatility and know that they can use me in many ways. Whatever way is best for the team.
That has to be encouraging for a rebuilding Lakers squad.
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