It was precisely five weeks ago Monday that Warriors CEO Joe Lacob sat courtside at Oracle Arena and spent 12 minutes trying to submerge his imagination.
Kevin Love, so close yet so far away, was torturing Lacob's Warriors.
The Timberwolves All-Star power forward drilled three consecutive 3-pointers in 81 seconds, forcing a Warriors timeout. He scored 22 points in the quarter, making all four of his 3-point shots and 7-of-11 overall. He owned Warriors power forward David Lee and anybody else pretending to defend him. Love stunned the house.
And if we know Lacob like we think we do, he undoubtedly was dismayed, surely was mesmerized and certainly dreamed of Love in a Warriors jersey.
Which brings us to fresh reports out of Los Angeles, where Love played college ball at UCLA. Love can opt out of his contract next summer and become an unrestricted free agent, and reportedly has informed the Timberwolves he plans to do exactly that.
Moreover, Love is interested in joining the Warriors or the Bulls, sources told ESPN over the weekend.
Think this might fire up Stephen Curry's imagination?
Is there a way to bring Love to Oakland? Yes. Is it likely? No. But it's no more inconceivable than the events of a last summer, when the Warriors found a way to dump the grotesquely bloated salaries of Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson and somehow come away with Andre Iguodala.
And if Love has in fact made it clear he'll opt out, it only makes sense for the Timberwolves to listen to offers they once ignored.
The deal constantly proposed by Warriors fans and playing about the minds of certain team executives – Harrison Barnes and Lee to Minny for Lee – could provide a workable framework. Love is scheduled to make about $15.72 million next season, with Lee scheduled to pick up $15.01. Barnes is scheduled to make a little over $3 million. The Warriors may have to pick up a Shabazz Muhammad or an Alexey Shved in return.
And if Minny likes Klay Thompson more than Barnes, well, Thompson's salary is a just a few dollars north of Barnes. Thompson, for the record, can be a restricted free agent next summer. And the Warriors, rightfully, would hate to part with Thompson.
Yet the idea of Love as a Warrior is enough to stimulate the senses of general manager Bob Myers, executive board member Jerry West and Lacob. And new coach Steve Kerr, too, for that matter.
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Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor repeatedly has turned away, with good reason, from the possibility of trading Love. He's one of the 10 most valuable commodities in the NBA and Taylor had hoped, against odds, Love would re-up with Minnesota.
The T-Wolves now face the possibility of losing Love without compensation. That, my friends, is unthinkable. Love, 25, is a "stretch four" capable of punishing teams in the paint. He's a top-five scorer and rebounder. He's destined to be a perennial All-Star.
In a conference with such power forwards as Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Zach Randolph, Serge Ibaka, Dirk Nowitzki and the great Tim Duncan, nobody under 30 is more complete than Love.
He'd be even better with Curry as a teammate.
Lacob once thought Lee could hold his own among such company. That's why he signed Lee to $80 million contract in the summer of 2010.
Lacob now knows otherwise, and this reality played out before his impressed eyes last month at Oracle. His heart fluttered and his mind raced as he dreamed of Love in a Warriors jersey.
Love finished with game-highs in points (40) and rebounds (14), adding nine assists. Lee recovered to submit 25 points and nine rebounds, as the Warriors came back for a 130-120 win.
Lacob may have forgotten the victory. Any doubt he remembers getting a first-hand look at a player that could make the Warriors a serious championship contender?