Apr 8, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) in action in the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs forward Boris Diaw (33) at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
There is no doubt the biggest prize in the NBA at the moment is All-Star forward Kevin Love. Is there a scenario where the San Antonio Spurs could get him?
Imminent retirements of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili may help cap
For the time being all the speculation surrounding Love is in regards to the Minnesota Timberwolves trading him. The two most prominent destinations are the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. Each team has the most attractive packages to offer, something the Spurs cannot match. However, the case could be decidedly different if Love were to somehow not get traded and instead follow through on his plan to enter NBA free agency in 2015. At that point San Antonio could become a very real player in the sweepstakes. Part of the reasoning rests in the fates of two of their most accomplished stars, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. At age 38 and 36 respectively, their pro careers are nearing their ends. The 2014-2015 campaign has the feel of a swan song, with hopes high for gaining that long elusive repeat title. If they do follow through on retirement plans and don’t re-sign, it would keep another $17 million off the salary cap. San Antonio would have more than enough money to offer Love a deal when he becomes available.
Playing under Gregg Popovich with Kawhi Leonard may lure Love
The question then becomes can they form a pitch strong enough to lure him in? If Kevin Love does leave Minnesota as expected there is a sense that he will simply join LeBron James in Cleveland or head to Golden State where he has family and lived when he was younger. However, that overriding need to win may compel the 26-year old to seriously consider other options and the San Antonio Spurs won’t lack the bargaining power. First and foremost will be the presence of head coach Gregg Popovich. No active coach in the NBA has more championships to his credit with five, and he recently signed a new contract so the plans are clear for him to be around for a good deal of time to come. His reputation as a great developer of team chemistry and outstanding individual plays speaks for itself. Ask Kawhi Leonard. The young forward had a number of questions and red flags about him coming out of college. Now he is the reigning Finals MVP and clearly one of the pieces the Spurs have for the future. If Love is looking for a situation with a good mix of player and coach strength, then the San Antonio Spurs make the most sense of any team in the league.