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Sports

First and goal: Luv for Love?

By From page A6 | June 13, 2014

Bush Mike

There’s a buzz that the Sacramento Kings should gamble and make a move to land All-Star Minnesota Timberwolves’ center Kevin Love.

But should the Kings try to land Love prior to, if not the day of the NBA Draft, which is Thursday, June 26? Would Gene Simmons of Kiss turn down an opportunity to making more money? The answer is an overwhelming no!

Sure, Love averaged 26.1 points per game last season, while Kings center DeMarcus Cousins averaged 20.7 points. Last summer, new Kings owner Vivek Ranadive gave Cousins a contract extension. If Love comes to the Kings, what kind of message would that send to Cousins?

Wouldn’t three or more Kings players averaging 16-to-18 points per game but winning more games (than this past season’s 28-54 record) be more important than someone averaging nearly 30 points a game?

Love is expected to make $15.7 million this upcoming season, money that could be invested toward keeping guard Isaiah Thomas and/or forward Rudy Gay, if not incoming rookies of this year’s draft. Aaron Gordon, Marcus Smart and Noah Vonleh could be on the clock for the Kings, who have the No. 8 pick.

The fact that Love can opt out of his contract after the 2014-15 season makes the gamble to grab him risky. But that’s what happened in 1998 when forward Chris Webber was traded to the Kings, and after they landed center Vlade Divac, forward Peja Stojakovic and guard Jason Williams, the quartet helped build a winning path that carried into the mid-2000s.

Would the Kings trade for Love, who could opt out after one season, be worth the gamble?

Let’s say the Kings trade their No. 8 pick, and a current player(s) on their roster to the T-Wolves for Love. What if that player(s) becomes successful, and the Kings finish below .500 again? Again, Love could show no love toward the Kings, and opt out of his final year of his contract next summer.

Sacramento has players with expiring contracts who could be traded for Love. Those current players are Reggie Evans, Travis Outlaw and Derrick Williams, plus Jason Terry, who was traded to the Kings last season, but didn’t play because of injury. There’s also power forwards Jason Thompson and Carl Landry — who was also injured last season — who could be traded to the T-Wolves. Their careers could take a turn for the best that help Minnesota, while Love could continue to produce extraordinary scoring numbers but limited wins for the Kings.

One of the few pluses if Love is sent to the Kings is a potential killer front court of him, Cousins and Gay — should he stay in Sacramento. That front court could help the Kings battle for the Western Conference’s No. 8 playoff seed come next spring. But will that happen is the question.

For now, Kings fans will just have to play the waiting game.

Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.

Mike Bush

Mike Bush has been a Staff Writer at the Mountain Democrat since August 2011. Follow him on Twitter @MBushMtDemo
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