Are all Philadelphia 76ers fans as excited as I am?
Think about it. In less than a month, the Sixers have the 3rd and 10th picks in an NBA Draft that is simply littered with all kinds of great talent. We can speculate about what direction the team is going to go in. Are they going to build from the outside in with either Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins or Duke’s Jabari Parker? Will they build essentially “Memphis East” by taking Kentucky’s Julius Randle and pair him with Nerlens Noel?
One thing is certain. The Sixers are going to sit back and watch this whole thing play out and look towards the future with their two top-10 picks and their dump truck full of salary cap space. Not one thing can come in the way of that.
… (Wait for it, Adio.) …
“Kevin Love reportedly wants out of Minnesota and the Timberwolves are shopping him around.”
So much for a news-less month of June leading up to the draft. I guess the rumor mills have been swirling about the possibility of the Sixers packaging some of their assets for the All-Star power forward that’s been idling in obscurity at the Target Center in Minneapolis. It’s absolutely understandable why teams in positions like the Sixers may take a run at a guy like Love who’s a dominant big man and the second best power forward in the NBA. (LaMarcus Aldridge is the best pure power forward in the game. Let’s get that straight right now.)
Kevin Love has been a double-double machine since his second year in the NBA after being a standout rookie in 2008. For his career, Love averages 19.2 ppg and 12.2 rebounds. He’s only 25, so you can only assume his dominance is only going to get more pronounced. Love will be entering his prime years, so any team that gets him will definitely have to strike while the iron is hot.
That’s where the problem lies if Love comes to the Sixers. This team is nowhere near competing for a championship. They don’t have the shooters to space the floor. Who knows what year two of Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams is going to look like? Can Kevin Love and Nerlens Noel work together as a viable tandem? Those are a lot of questions when you’re taking a chance on a guy that’s never been to the playoffs. The most important detail worth mentioning centers around whether or not Love would stay in Philadelphia past next season.
Love has made it absolutely clear that he wants to test free agency in the 2015 offseason. His value on the open market would be max-contract caliber. There’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t get that. Unless Love signs that all important extension, you’d only be getting him for one year. As bright as the Sixers future is, it would be hard to convince Love to stay past one year in Philly given this is a team that’s still in rebuilding mode.
Don’t get me wrong. I would love the opportunity to see Kevin Love walk around the city of Philadelphia dressed as “Wes” from the Uncle Drew commercials. He would easily become the best power forward in the Eastern Conference and someone to build around. The price has to be ABSOLUTELY right, though. The deal can’t be one of the trades some yahoo suggested on 97.5 The Fanatic the other day:
“We should trade the #3, #10 picks and Thaddeus Young to get Kevin Love.”
Needless to say, we should all be thankful this gentleman is not the general manager. I would personally call for his head if he were and made this deal. You don’t fleece what could become an epic young core to take a chance on a guy (All-Star caliber or not) whose best record with the team he’s supposed to be leading to the promised land is 40 wins. The Sixers have two top-ten picks with millions (AND MILLIONS!) of dollars in cap space. With that, you could potentially field a team (if the cards fell right) of MCW, Wiggins, Aaron Gordon, Nerlens, etc. and go to war with that instead of doing what the Timberwolves have done for the last six seasons: Kevin Love, three “Joe Dudes”, and Ricky Rubio.
Can Kevin Love lead a team to a championship? He has been to the All-Star game three times, so the talent is absolutely there. He has missed 69 games in two years stemming from a break in his shooting hand two seasons ago. Love isn’t an injury risk, per se, but if healthy for an 82-game season, can he be the number one guy on a championship team. He certainly hasn’t been in Minnesota. I get it. Some of Love’s failure falls on the general manager who was in charge of building the team around him. David Kahn easily goes on the list of “worst GMs in the history of the NBA”. He has officially taken the title away from former Sixers GM Billy King.
In 2009, Kahn passed on both Steph Curry AND DeMar Derozan in favor of getting Ricky Rubio (meh) and Johnny Flynn — who is now playing basketball in Australia. He passed on Boogie Cousins in 2010. (Imagine that front court. Sheesh.) The year after that, Kahn took Derrick Williams out of Arizona basically by default because there was no other pick to be made, and in Kahn’s final GM year, he didn’t even have a first round pick as a result of a 2005 trade involving Sam Cassell. (Yeah. THAT Sam Cassell.)
Don’t even look at Kahn’s track record bringing in free agents. The list isn’t all that impressive. Michael Beasley is the most notable name on that list, and he was brought in via trade. Beasley went on to do less than nothing for the Timberwolves, and he’s back with the Miami Heat making a playoff run.
If Love comes to Philadelphia, he won’t have that problem. Sam Hinkie is a well-respected GM, and he’ll probably win Executive of the Year at some point in the future. Bank that. There is a bright future here for the Sixers, but if it happens, it’ll be because we have love for the players that we’ve drafted and groomed in this draft. It won’t be because we used those assets to try and embrace a Love that has provided nothing but disappointment to Minnesotans.