Getting in on the action
With the Nuggets appearing to be the latest suitor to court Kevin Love, it feels like just about everyone is trying to get in on the action. Love has one year left on his contract, but he has hinted that he doesn’t want to remain in Minnesota. Other teams that seem to be interested are the Celtics, Bulls, Warriors, Lakers and possibly more. Love has been one of the most dominant power forwards in recent years given his ability to spread the floor with his three point shooting, and he is also a fantastic rebounder. He is an average defender, but he more than makes up for that with his hustle and offensive prowess.
Now, it isn’t the fact that the Grizzlies will go after Kevin Love. It’s more of a question of how he would fit in with the team. I admittedly have a bromance with Zach Randolph, so even the thought of not having him on the roster is tough to imagine. Z-Bo would seemingly have to go for salary reasons, and the fact that he and Love play the same position. Regardless, let’s look at how Kevin Love would affect the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies appear to have solid locker room chemistry, and that’s definitely a key component for a winning basketball team. There is plenty of veteran leadership with Z-Bo, Conley, Gasol, and Tony Allen. Would Love be able to slide in and provide similar leadership qualities?
Normally a star player on the team defaults into the role of leader. That being said, some have questioned how Kevin Love has affected his team’s chemistry. The fact that he has more or less requested a change of scenery doesn’t look good in terms of how he feels about his current team. Although reading into that too much might not be a fair evaluation. Love seemed to have a great relationship with teammate Ricky Rubio and he didn’t appear to have any contentious relationships on the team. I think more than anything Love was just fed up with the fact that Minnesota isn’t going anywhere soon and he ultimately just wants a shot at a title.
On the court play
Love is a very talented player. Very talented. He is an elite scorer and rebounder, which is a rare combination for a big man. He can defend, but not necessarily at an elite level. Would Love’s game fit in with the Grizzlies? Absolutely. The Grizzlies need scoring and he could certainly provide that. He would replace the rebounding that’s lost by Z-Bo’s departure. And with multiple defenders on the roster, his defensive deficiencies would be mostly negated.
Kevin Love would honestly be a great fit on any team, but he is an especially good one on the Grizzlies. Whether or not his stats would decline on another squad is yet to be seen, but given the Grizzlies’ scoring situation, odds are they would stay about the same. Overall Love is a hand-in-glove fit for Memphis and would flawlessly transition into the position.
One of the more difficult parts of the Grizzlies keeping Love would be salary. The Grizzlies currently have the 8th highest payroll (yes 8th!) in the league. That is largely from the contracts of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, but Z-Bo’s $16 million would be presumably coming off the books.
He will definitely command a huge contract, but he is only 25, so it would probably be a good investment. The problem is that this would lock the Grizzlies financial situation up for quite a while. Love has also had some injury troubles in the past, so that would have to be considered. Even so, you have to look at what a special talent he is, and figure that he is worth his high price tag.
Is Kevin Love a good fit?
Overall, Love would be a great fit. It would be hard to lose Z-Bo, especially for his leadership qualities, but the pros would ultimately outweigh the cons. The Grizzlies need scoring and improving your rebounding never hurts either. To reiterate, this is just looking at how Kevin Love would look on the Grizzlies, and not assuming that he will come to Memphis. Although nothing is impossible, especially with more teams entering the sweepstakes. The Grizzlies will be looking to improve their roster this off-season, and on paper, Kevin Love looks like a great option.