To recap recent developments in the Kevin Love saga:
The owner of the Minneapolis Star Tribune leaked to the paper’s prime competitor the news that the star player for the NBA team he owns indeed will be traded, even though the NBA, which has punished the owner before for breaking rules, forbids confirmation of this deal at this point.
Now the Star Tribune and the Timberwolves can commiserate, and agree: It’s good to be in competition with Glen Taylor.
That the Wolves would trade Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers has seemed likely for weeks. Now that we know how the mystery is going to end, we can better guess who the winners and losers will be.
Winner: Kevin Love.
In Minnesota, he was asked to elevate a horrid franchise, and was tainted by its failures.
Loser: Kevin Love.
Playing with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, he no longer will be allowed to act like the put-upon, lonely star. He will be treated like Earnest Byner if he fails to hustle back on defense, or if his bleating to the refs costs his team a basket. If the Cavs fail, it will be Love’s fault.
Winner: David Blatt
He’s a brilliant coach who, in his first year in the NBA, will have a point guard who can break down a defense, a power forward who can shoot three-pointers and lead the league in rebounding, and the best player in the game.
Loser: Flip Saunders
During the season in which he will turn 60, Flip will have to coach a rebuilding team in a league that has left his old offensive philosophies behind.
Winner: Dan Gilbert
The Cavaliers owner benefited from James’ stardom, savagely criticized James’ departure, and now is benefitting from James’ newfound maturity. He has done nothing to earn James’ presence, and yet has it anyway.
Loser: Glen Taylor
When Love departs, Taylor will have lost both of the great players in franchise history, Kevin Garnett and Love, because of his organization’s inability to build competitive teams around them.
Winner: Kyrie Irving
With defenses stretched to cover James and Love, Irving will have an open lane in which to drive. And when he kicks the ball out for a Love or James jumper, his assist totals will skyrocket.