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Report: Minnesota will offer Love four years, $60 million

Jan 18, 2012, 10:18 AM EDT

Kevin Love, Ivan Johnson AP

Minnesota may be about to screw up a good thing.

They are an entertaining and up-and-coming team, one with a future behind Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, Derrick Williams and more. But that comes with a price. The first of those is Love, who is eligible for a contract extension between now and Jan. 25. He can get up to five years, about $80 million (which is the max for him, the exact numbers are not known yet and depend on league revenue) but there comes this report out of the Pioneer Press.

Look for the Timberwolves to offer Kevin Love a $60 million, four-year contract extension within the next eight days.

In money per year, this offer is pretty close to the max (just more than a million short). However, it is one year less, $20 million guaranteed less than the max offer and it likely will not be well received in the Love camp. This is about what other teams could offer Love as a free agent, minus the bonus the Wolves can throw on top as the team with his rights.

If Love doesn’t take the offer he becomes a restricted free agent next summer, which means other teams can make an offer but the Timberwolves have the right to match it. And they would, something that likely limits the offers Love would get.

But here’s the risk: Love could just accept the one year qualifying offer the Wolves have to put on the table — $6.1 million for next season — then after that he could leave as an unrestricted free agent.

Nobody is talking. Not the Timberwolves, not Love who brushed this off as something his agent is dealing with in a recent radio interview.

So far, the only guy out of the 2008 draft to get an extension was Derrick Rose, who got a $94 million, five-year offer under the new “Derrick Rose rule” (he won the MVP so he qualifies to make more than Love). While Love fell to pick No. 5 he has proven to be the second best player out of this class.

And he is the anchor of a revival we are starting to see in Minnesota. One way to screw that up is to go cheap and drive players away. Love deserves a max or near max offer — he is a double-double machine, a big who can rebound and shoot from the outside, a good fit and the face of the team’s marketing efforts. He’s the one guy worth the money you pay him in terms of production and putting butts in the seats.

Pay the man, or you risk ruining what has finally been built there.

  1. The Baseball Gods - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    “But here’s the risk: Love could just accept the one year qualifying offer the Wolves have to put on the table — $6.1 million for next season — then after that he could leave as a restricted free agent.”

    I think you meant; then after he could leave as an UNRESTRICTED free agent.

  2. aboogy123456 - Jan 18, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    I think it’s smart by the T’Wolves to not automatically give him a max contract. Love can be a great player, but if he’s the max contract on your team then you’re not gonna be one of the best in the league. The T’wolves have a lot of young talented guys, who hopefully will improve their play and demand contracts in the next few years. If the wolves want to avoid years of mediocrity, than it would be smart to keep Love, but not at a max contract.

    • stadix093 - Jan 18, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      I politely disagree with your assessment of this situation. He is arguably the best player in the world at his position. That sentence alone makes him a max contract player. The Minnesota Timberwolves are not exactly a premiere destination for free agents, so who the heck are you saving money for? You let Love go and the next superstar you get is your next great draft pick and who knows how long that takes? Plus if he leaves, why the heck would Rubio not follow? They just barely got that kid to come as is. The entire reason there is a max contract is so small market teams have the advantage of offering more to stay ahead of big markets from taking their great picks just like this. If David Khan is too stupid to use the tools provided to him, then this man should be fired. This is the same guy who drafted Johnny Flynn over Stephen Curry and Brandon Jennings though so I guess him doing the smart thing would be the surprise.

    • rooney24 - Jan 18, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      Years of mediocrity would be an improvement compared to the last few years. While Love may not be perfect in every way, he is one of the top players in the league. He has also shown a desire to improve his game, getting in better shape in the offseason and working hard in games. If not a max deal, you at least need to offer max years. And, at that point, is it worth trying to save a couple million to risk alienating him?

      The other thing we don’t know is if Love possibly asked for a shorter deal. Maybe he wants out after 4 years. Doubt it, but possible.

      • aboogy123456 - Jan 18, 2012 at 11:36 AM

        Yea, a huge improvement and I agree with most of what you’re saying, except maybe that Love is one of the best players in the league. He is a hard worker but I just don’t see how much higher his ceiling can get. He does everything well already, but his lack of athleticism is going to hurt his defense and that’s not something that will just come with hard work.

        As horrible as the wolves have been, this is an extremely important time period for them. They have a lot of great assets, and if they are smart about dishing out the money, they could build themselves a perennial playoff team. They should aim higher than just being mediocre, they’ve spent too much time building these assets. Look at the clippers, they didn’t settle for being mediocre.

    • goforthanddie - Jan 18, 2012 at 4:16 PM

      It’s a bit late to avoid “years of mediocrity” (and that phrase is me being very polite). It’s not too early to go right back to being crap, which they risk if they piss Love off.

  3. buzzman2008 - Jan 18, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    This article is not at all correct on multiple points. First Rose and Love are from the 2008 draft class – not 2004. Next, Rose’s contract was 5 years not 4 years at 94 million. Last – the Wolves can offer Love a four year or five year extension. The five year max would be 80 Million, the 4 year max makes more sense so they can keep Rubio, etc in house and not have another KG contract dilemma.

  4. seanb20124 - Jan 18, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    Markets like Minnesota have to overpay at times.

    • sharp4a9 - Jan 18, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      In markets like Minnesota you cannot EVER overpay. Overpaying for a second-tier star can work in baseball where there’s no salary cap, but in basketball? Doing so only ensures you’ll never go far.

  5. emerson12345 - Jan 18, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    “One way to screw that up is to go cheap and drive players away. Love deserves a max or near max offer” kurt

    on the 4 year 60 mill deal
    “In money per year, this offer is pretty close to the max. However, it is one year less,” kurt

    which is it kurt?

    i may be wrong but if you give him a max i heard that you can not give another player (rubio) a MAX deal… if so i would take rubio

    yes LOVE can hit the open 3…and grab boards…but he shure as hell cant get his own shot or play any D

  6. qwertify - Jan 18, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Wait, D.Rose and K.Love were drafted in 2004?

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 18, 2012 at 12:18 PM

      No, 2008. That has been corrected.

  7. genericcommenter - Jan 18, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Winning the MVP once raises the max $7-8 million per season?

    • manwithpizza - Jan 18, 2012 at 1:26 PM

      Nope. The author made a mistake about Rose’s contract extension. It is 5 years at $94 mil. Love’s 5 year max would be 5 years for about $84 million. So the Rose exception gives Rose a bump of about $2 mil per season on average.

  8. inaccuratevernacular - Jan 18, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    60.8 million is the MAX for 4 years.

    Each team only has one 5-year contract to offer. That’s how you can get to 80 million.

    Please be more careful when you write things like, “He can get up to four years, $80 million (which is the max for him).”

    You made it sound like MN was low-balling him.

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 19, 2012 at 10:00 AM

      We don’t know exactly what the max for four years is. But Love’s camp will tell you he deserves the five-year deal and it’s hard to argue. The four-year deal being offered is basically what other teams can offer.

  9. vongrapenstein - Jan 18, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    If you’ve read enough, you’d realize Love is ASKING for one less year.

    He’s still not sold on Minnesota.

  10. chitownbulls - Jan 18, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    I thought it was a 5-year deal for Rose at $94MM…

  11. dremmel69 - Jan 18, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Was intrigued by this until I saw that the referenced article was by Charlie Walters….. He is the LEAST connected columnist in the Twin Cities. Can’t believe a word he writes.

  12. glink123 - Jan 19, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    this is clearly a mistake. what would be the point in offering the max annual ($14.5 million) for 4 years, but not for 5 years? what is the point in a 4-year $60 mil deal versus a 5-year $75 mil deal? unless Love believes he will be worth way more than $15 mil in that 5th year, and maybe he asked for only 4 years?

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