Austin | Dallas | Houston
Kevin Love's Real Houston Lure

Jeremy Lin needs to be a Kevin Love lure: Star is used to Ricky Rubio level point guard not Harden Hero Ball

Enlarge
Slideshow
Kevin Love rebound
Kevin Love might be the ideal Daryl Morey player. He shoots a lot from close range and a lot from three. Basketball 101
Jeremy Lin Memphis
Kevin Love could sure use a point guard like Jeremy Lin to get him the ball if he came to the Houston Rockets. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images
James Harden Thunder
James Harden's days of going 1-on-3 are not about to stop just because Kevin Love joins the team. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Kevin McHale, Jeremy Lin, Rockets, basketball, November 2012
Kevin Love's relationship with Kevin McHale is thought to be a plus to the Houston Rockets. Of course, McHale's relationship with Jeremy Lin is a minus. Houston Rockets/Facebook
Chris Paul All-Star
Whether it's Kevin Love, Chris Paul or Chris Bosh, whenever a high-profile star becomes available, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is interested. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Kevin Love rebound
Jeremy Lin Memphis
James Harden Thunder
Kevin McHale, Jeremy Lin, Rockets, basketball, November 2012
Chris Paul All-Star
News_Chris Baldwin_managing editor_arms crossed

Kevin Love might be the perfect Daryl Morey player. He shoots close to the basket. He shoots threes. And he doesn't believe in defense.

But if Morey who lusts after Love is truly committed to convincing the Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star that he needs to push for the Houston Rockets as his destination in a trade, he needs to highlight the Jeremy Lin factor. (Through backdoor channels of course. Morey cannot officially recruit a player under contract to another franchise.) For it's hard to imagine this multi-skilled forward being thrilled with the idea of standing around and watching James Harden pound the basketball into submission on the perimeter.

Love — who's informed the Timberwolves that he plans to become a free agent after next season rather than signing an extension to stay in Minnesota — is anything but a Hero Ball kind of player.

Love benefited immensely from playing with one of the most skilled passers in the game in Ricky Rubio. For all his other faults (still can't shoot, has trouble finishing at the rim, could only be considered a decent defensive player with the type of myth making that turned Rockets guard Patrick Beverley into a "stopper"), Rubio is a wizard with the basketball. Love's gaudy scoring numbers (26.1 points per game in 2013-14) are helped by the fact that the Timberwolves are always moving the ball with Rubio.

 Morey already has a point guard capable of making Kevin Love very happy on his roster. He just needs to empower Jeremy Lin. 

It's hard to imagine Love eagerly pushing to go to a place where he's only a third option, waiting and waiting for his touches after Harden and Dwight Howard. And the Rockets likely will need Love to lobby for Houston. The most feasible trade scenario is that Minnesota involves Love in the process like the New Orleans Hornets did with Chris Paul and Love agrees to pick up his option for the 2015-16 season for the new team of his approval.

That way the team that trades for Love is guaranteed at least two seasons of his services while the player gets some say in his future.

Morey already has a point guard capable of making Kevin Love very happy on his roster. He just needs to empower Jeremy Lin.

A Rockets offense with Love, Harden, Howard and a true point guard — one where Lin has the ball in his hands, making sure everyone gets their touches — would be deadly. It'd also likely eliminate any concerns Love harbors about being reduced to just another stand-up shooter in Morey World. Lin could guarantee that all of Love's skills are put to great use.

While Lin's not as gifted a natural passer as Rubio is (few in history are), his ability to get to the rim with his speed and break down defenses opens up myriad possibilities.

Oh, all the Lin Only Haters will despise this idea. But Lin's staying around if Kevin Love rolls into town. The Timberwolves already have their young playmaker. Chandler Parsons, Terrence Jones and perhaps Omer Asik are likely to be the price for a Love trade (at least, it's the price Morey has to hope Minnesota will take). 

If the Rockets are lucky enough to get Love, Jeremy Lin becomes even more crucial. They'll be less fake stars to prop up over Lin. (Parsons' limitations will become even more apparent on a losing team like Minnesota). Lin will need to be used more for a revamped Rockets team to reach its potential.

The Jeremy Lin Question

Whether Morey — and even more tellingly, coach Kevin McHale — can stomach no longer limiting Lin is a huge question. It hover over this franchise like the White Walkers hover over the north in Game of Thrones.

Kevin Love's already expressed interest in the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls — two teams where the ball doesn't stick. The Warriors have an elite point guard in Stephen Curry, whose skilled passing (a career-high 8.4 assists per game, second in the entire NBA this season) is bolstered by the threat of the deadliest jumper in basketball. The Chicago Bulls are a historic franchise in desperate need of scoring — one that already possesses one skilled big man passer in Joakim Noah.

 Can you imagine the 6-foot-10 force triggering Rockets fastbreaks with his incredible outlet passes? The ball might never touch the floor. 

The Rockets need to show Love they offer the same type of opportunity. Pitching the willing passing of Jeremy Lin would be a great way to start.

Of course, then Lin would have to start. He'd have to be treated like the player his play often screams he is (a triple double off the bench, scoring half of the Rockets points in a playoff overtime, etc, etc . . .)

Kevin Love would be great with the Rockets. Can you imagine the 6-foot-10 force triggering Rockets fastbreaks with his incredible outlet passes? The ball might never touch the floor. Or Love and Howard fighting each other for the league's rebounding crown in the same front court? The other team might never touch the basketball.

But Love's an old-school type player who sees basketball as a symphony of sharing. He's at his best when the ball is really moving. He needs a Jeremy Lin type point guard to truly take advantage of his gifts.

Will Morey swallow his objections and try and give him one?

It's a fascinating give and take. To get the perfect Daryl Morey player, the GM may have to empower the player he's long discounted and once outright dismissed (on Christmas Eve no less). It's funny how things work out.

How much does Daryl Morey really want Kevin Love? Everyone will soon find out.

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Houston news, views + events

The Dining Report

News you can eat

Insider Offers

Curated experiences at exclusive prices

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address