Should the New Orleans Pelicans pursue Kevin Love in free agency?

Kevin Love, Miami Heat. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
Kevin Love, Miami Heat. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images) /

NBA Free Agency is quickly approaching, and for the New Orleans Pelicans, this go around will be all about bolstering their team around their nucleus of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum, and Trey Murphy III.

While he’s currently got his hands full with his impending NBA Finals date with the Denver Nuggets, the Miami Heat’s veteran big man Kevin Love is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer (according to Spotrac’s Free Agency Tracker).

It’s funny, just a few months, ago the 34-year-old appeared to be nearing the end of the line after he was bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, he’s proven he still has some gas in the tank during this improbable playoff run with the Heat, starting in 14 of their 18 playoff games thus far.

So, should the Pelicans pursue his services this offseason?

As we did with our posts on Dillon Brooks and Brook Lopez, we won’t really discuss the salary cap ramifications of signing Love. Instead, we will look at the idea of signing him from an on-court perspective.

At this point in time, Love clearly isn’t a significant needle mover. But he does address one of the team’s three major weaknesses: shooting (the other two weaknesses are rim protection and rim pressure outside of Williamson). In the last three seasons, Love has averaged 44% on his wide-open 3-point attempts (per That puts him in the 86th percentile league-wide.

Having someone who can effectively take and make open threes is huge when you have a player like Williamson who can consistently get in the paint, collapse the defense, and spray the ball out to shooters on the perimeter.

The best part about signing someone like Love is you don’t take too much off the table playing him over Jonas Valanciunas at the center. Yes, Love is old and slow, but he’s a big body and a strong rebounder (95th percentile in defensive rebounding for his position, per Cleaning the Glass). That’s not too much different than what Valanciunas offers on that end of the court.

Your rim protection is already poor with Valanciunas as your anchor (they were dead-last in opponent rim accuracy, per Cleaning the Glass), so why not bring in someone who at least improves your shooting/spacing situation around your stars? On top of that, Love’s outlet passing will pair well with Williamson’s explosiveness in the open court.

Overall, while it is far from a permanent fix to their problems, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Pelicans’ to pursue Love as a low-risk, medium-reward off-season acquisition.

dark. Next. Who the scouts think the Pelicans should take at 14