Jan 18, 2012, 10:18 AM EDT
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.
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