MINNEAPOLIS — Kevin Love provided something depressing for the Lakers, and it went beyond the Minnesota Timberwolves handing them a 143-107 loss Friday at Target Center with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, his second triple double of the season.
He also poured cold water on the Lakers’ hope that they could acquire him as a free agent in the 2015 offseason.
So much for being born in Santa Monica, playing at UCLA and spending his summers in Los Angeles that entails the beach volleyball circuit.
“You know, my parents live there and they had me there. It’s not my fault,” Love said. “So, I don’t really care about that right now. I just go out there and play and don’t think about it.”
The Lakers are sure thinking about it as they are about to miss the playoffs for only the fifth time in franchise history. The Lakers (24-48) are also in danger of becoming the franchise’s worst team, a mark the 1974-75 squad currently holds with a 30-52 record. Incidentally, Love’s dad, Stan, played on that Lakers team.
“It would be like the Spurs coming out and having a bad year,” Love said. “Stuff like that doesn’t happen. So, yeah, I guess it’s a little weird.”
The Lakers have downplayed going after the 2014 free agents. Lebron James seems unlikely to opt out of his contract and leave Miami. The Lakers do not feel interested in Carmelo Anthony should he opt out of his deal with the New York Knicks. With plenty of purchasing power, the Lakers will surely pursue Love in the 2015 offseason unless they somehow land him in a trade earlier that could involve conceding their coveted first-round pick.
That’s why it’s hardly surprising that, thanks to yours truly, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni fielded more questions before the game about Love than his actual team. With the 6-foot-10 Love averaging 26.3 points, 12.6 rebounds and 2.5 three-pointers, it appear he represents the perfect stretch power forward in D’Antoni’s system.
“I would rephrase that and say everybody wants something like that,” D’Antoni said. “When you’re talking about one of the best players in the league, yeah it makes sense.”
D’Antoni would know. He served as one of the assistant coaches on the U.S. team that won the gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics. Love ranked fifth in scoring (11.6 points) behind Kevin Durant (19.5 points), Anthony (16.3 points), LeBron James (13.3 points) and Kobe Bryant (12.1 points).
“I just remember being on the bench, we couldn’t wait to get him in the game,” D’Antoni said. “He was complementary just because of the names out there but he played as well as anybody. He was as instrumental in winning the gold medal as anybody. He’s a little atypical where he can go out on threes and he can do so much that it puts a lot of pressure on the defense.”
D’Antoni then ticked off the litany of areas that make Love such a threat.
“He’s got a great outlet pass, he rebounds the ball, knows great position,” D’Antoni said. “He’s relentless on the boards, he’s relentless in attacking you. There’s just a number of things that makes him great.”
Hence, why the Lakers want him. But at this point, it’s too early to tell if Love will have mutual feelings.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org