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Westbrook, Love thinking about making a “Big Three” in Oklahoma City?

Jan 4, 2011, 7:21 PM EDT


We all know that Kevin Love is great. The 22-year old Love is almost indisputably the NBA’s best rebounder, launches threes like a guard and makes 43% of them, knows how to score inside, and is an exceptional passer for a big man. He’s not quite a go-to scorer, and his defense is an issue, but with the right team around him, one can easily imagine Love being the second or third best player on a serious title contender.

However, thanks to Minnesota’s collection of inconsistent swingmen, incompetent defenders, and lottery picks that don’t play for the team, Love is stuck on the 9-26 Minnesota Timberwolves. Love’s rookie contract has been extended to the summer of 2012 and the Wolves almost certainly will extend him one more year beyond that (he can sign an extension this summer, if the two sides can agree), but without a major change one expects that he’ll give going to a different team serious thought.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, other players have thought about Love’s future as well, namely Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook:

Wherever Love goes, he won’t come cheap. The five-year, $60 million extensions signed by Joakim Noah and Al Horford last year will likely be Love’s starting point in negotiations. And his deal could be bigger. When asked what kind of contract Love could be in line for this summer, one league executive’s answer was succinct: Max.

Then there is this: Love told that during last summer’s World Championship in Turkey he had conversations with USA Basketball teammates Russell Westbrook (who played with Love at UCLA) and Derrick Rose about the possibility of someday teaming up in the NBA. Oklahoma City’s Westbrook and Chicago’s Rose are also permitted to sign extensions this summer.

“We all talk about playing together,” Love said. “It’s fun to talk about. When the time comes, we’ll assess the situation and figure it out.”

Well, that’s certainly interesting. Since the Bulls have already committed to Carlos Boozer, it’s unlikely that Love and Rose will play on the same team any time soon.

Love and Westbrook, however, is a distinct possibility. Oklahoma City has Jeff Green coming off the books after this season, and Love would represent a huge upgrade over the versatile but inconsistent Green. Oklahoma also has plenty of cap space, and the prospect of playing with Westbrook and Kevin Durant should be pretty exciting to a player like Love.

Love’s efficient, unselfish style of play would make him a natural fit with Westbrook and Durant. Love wouldn’t improve Oklahoma City’s biggest issue, an inability to defend the rim, but I imagine they’ll have found some way to shore up that weakness by the time Love’s rookie deal runs out and he becomes a restricted free agent.

On paper, Oklahoma City and Love seem like a perfect fit — a young star lighting it up for an irrelevant team and an up-and-coming young team looking for one more good-to-great player to put them over the top. However, as we saw last summer, it’s hard to predict what will happen in free agency before the deals actually get signed, and Love’s free agency is a long way off. We’ll see how this develops over the next few years.

  1. mustbenugs - Jan 4, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    We should just contract the NBA, and put OKC in Denver and I mean, I really wouldn’t care what Love would do in that regard… ship him off to Denver too!

  2. lebronsinsecurity - Jan 4, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    This isn’t even speculation..this is just a straight conspiracy theory. It’s easy to take a small bit of a conversation that happened months ago out of context to fit any angle you please.. Not even comparing the two, but I love how Blake Griffin is the “future” of the Clippers, whereas Love is wasting away in Minny and needs to get out.. Wolves future looks a lot brighter than the Clips, not by much, but brighter

    • jstrizzle - Jan 4, 2011 at 11:34 PM

      Well just remember 2 years ago we all new Lebron was headed to the Knicks. I agree it is all speculation. The reason people jump on Griffen’s nuts so quick (this site especially) is because the amazing things he does jump out at you. Unlike Love who does a lot of little things crazy good. I mean he was 6 rebounds shy of matching the rebound total for boston last night and 1 offensive rebound shy of matching the celtics. Although they went crazy when he had the 30-30 but he still doesn’t get enough respect.

  3. lund0894 - Jan 5, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    Why are we talking about this when its two or three years away? Do you know how much can change in two or three years?! Must be a slow news week.

  4. vikesdynasty - Jan 5, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    wow you guys removed my post? why? because i told you love leaving scott free with minnesota doing nothing to retain him? minnesota wouldn’t match any and every offer he gets? if they did let him go they wouldnt get a mega deal for him? grow up and grow a pair and own up to getting pwned by an everyday sports fan

    • lund0894 - Jan 5, 2011 at 1:12 AM

      Yeah I’ve noticed they don’t let people talk freely here, they blocked my post too when i corrected an error in the article and then they promptly corrected what I pointed out to them.

      • Kurt Helin - Jan 5, 2011 at 1:47 AM

        Posts are blocked here due to language or personal insults of the writers or other commenters. Also, posts are edited but sometimes a while after they go up, so corrections can be up later after comments are made. Trust me, not personal.

        Besides, after this summer, I think the real story is guys talking about teaming up in a few years. It well may not happen, but it’s hard to ignore that kind of thing now.

  5. vikesdynasty - Jan 5, 2011 at 1:11 AM

    RESTRICTED FA NOT UNRESTRICTED FA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  6. dmo84 - Jan 5, 2011 at 9:18 AM

    So what if they talked about teaming up last summer. That was before Michael Beasely(a good friend of Love’s) leading the team in scoring, Wes Johnson stroking silky smooth 3’s(very Ray Allen like), and Darko helping him out in the paint(blocking shots and rebounding). If Love is a max player, Durant’s a max player, and Westbrook would be a max, are they going to be able to afford all three? I’ve noticed that Darko gets ripped a ton on this website. For what he’s making(5 mill a year) he blocks shots, rebounds, and is working on a decent hook shot that soon may be hard to defend. Plus I’ve seen him, at 7′ plus, dive head first for a loose ball. At least he’s trying to earn his paycheck and improve. For what T-Wolves fans have seen at the center position, Darko is no worse than Rasho, Dean Garrett, and Michael Olawa-can’t-be.

  7. vikesdynasty - Jan 5, 2011 at 10:56 PM

    you know what? i changed my mind love and beasly will leave because they’re the only 2 that can do…..the rest of the twolves can go to hell…this team sucks….we lost to bobcat team negative: capt. jack and gerald wallace???? and a nugget team with no melo, no martin, no nene….worthe=less

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