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Report: Minnesota to offer Kevin Love max extension. Or Not.

Jan 24, 2012, 10:13 AM EDT

Kevin Love Getty Images

This is not rocket science, but the Timberwolves are finding a way to screw it up.

Minnesota has until Wednesday to reach a deal on a rookie contract extension with Kevin Love. Love is an All-Star, soon to be Olympian, double-double machine (39 and 12 Monday night) and the face of the franchise’s marketing efforts — he is exactly what a max contract guy should be (five years, near $80 million). Early reports said the Timberwolves were lowballing him with an offer just above what other teams could give (four years, $61 million).

Now comes a conflicted report from Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.

One team source told me tonight that the Wolves are closing in on a five-year maximum contract deal that would pay him more than $78 million and despite such a forthcoming deal, David Kahn hasn’t won any brownie points with Love in this negotiation.

Another said that as of Monday afternoon, the team still hadn’t moved off its four-year, $61 million offer.

So far only Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook have gotten max extensions from this draft class. Rose got a “Derrick Rose rule” super max at five years, $94 million, while Westbrook shunned that to get five years, $80 million, leaving the Thunder some cap room.

Love should be in that group, but the Wolves are dragging this out and maybe holding out for whatever reason.

If a deal is not reached by Wednesday, Love will be a restricted free agent next summer and Minnesota could — and would — match any offer he gets. So Love would have to take the $60 million or play next season for just $6.1 million by signing the qualifying offer — but then become an unrestricted free agent. He’d take less money that way, but if you don’t think players would take less money to leave if their ego were sufficiently offended you kid yourself.

Coach Rick Adelman is frustrated with this lack of a deal getting done. But if he thinks it’s a distraction now, wait to see what happens this summer and beyond if this doesn’t get done.

  1. aboogy123456 - Jan 24, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    Can you go into more detail as why you think love “should” be in the same group with Westbrook and Rose? I don’t think it’s as obvious as you make it sound, you’re comparing Love to two of the top 10 players in the game.

    • Josh - Jan 24, 2012 at 10:35 AM

      How about putting up 39/12 while sick last night?

      • aboogy123456 - Jan 24, 2012 at 11:00 AM

        Derrick Rose pisses 39 points.

    • therealhtj - Jan 24, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      I’m with aboogy. Love is a nice player. A good complimentary piece. But a max guy? Sure if you consider Joe Johnson a max guy, Love is one too. Not in a class with Rose, not even close. Westbrook? Maybe a little closer, but Westbrook’s been great every year and is a defensive stud – Love got in the best shape of his life for his contract year and that seems to end badly for the team tendering up that max offer. Westbrook didn’t deserve the max offer either IMO, and I’m pretty sure he’ll be out of OKC before they face a big luxury tax bill.

      As big a bonehead as Kahn has been made out to be, he’s making the right move here. Love, like most guys coming up on their first big extension sees the big dollar signs and his agent convinces him he deserves nothing less than max money. Love will likely be an all-star this year and will be eligible for a “Rose Rule” extension. Does anyone actually think he deserves 5/94? His agent sure will. By offering him 4/61, Kahn basically gives him more than he can fetch on the open market. Kevin Love will then have the option of being set for life with that deal, signing an offer sheet with another team for 4/60, or playing out the 6.1 mil QO to become unrestricted. There’s a .01% chance he risks taking the QO. One unlucky injury and he can kiss that big payday goodbye.

      Minny will still win in the deal regardless. They can get him on the cheap for another year. They’ll get him to resign for less while preserving cap space for their other pieces, have more to offer him as an unrestricted free agent than any other team could possibly give, and still be able to sign-and-trade him if he’s determined to leave over hurt feelings.

      Kudos to you David Kahn, you’re finally showing folks you’re not the moron everyone tried to make you out to be. More GMs should be bold enough to take this position, and not bid against themselves. Max money should be reserved for franchise cornerstones like a Derrick Rose or Kevin Durant, and it’ll be a much better league when teams stick with that philosophy.

    • brewdogg - Jan 24, 2012 at 11:33 AM

      I’ll give you Rose, but claiming Westbrook is one of the top 10 players in the game ruins any credibility you might have. I like to compare him to Stephon Marbury….. I suppose Gilbert Arenas is in your top 10 too, isn’t he?

  2. noirad - Jan 24, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    If the Timberwolves organization ruins this, they might as well tell Rubio to return to Spain, and trade Derrick Williams.

  3. mluck14 - Jan 24, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    You would think Kahn knows his job is tied to Love’s contract. Kahn is known for his questionable moves and currently has an entertaining team, but lose Love and they are worse than the Wizards.

  4. Josh - Jan 24, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Overreaction. It will get done.

  5. sbogs3 - Jan 24, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    If they max out Love to a five year $80 (or so) deal, what does that leave them to offer Ricky when his contract is up? Could they be trying to manage it so they can offer both players equally big second contracts to time up their years nicely and not handcuff the team money-wise!?! Opening up the checkbook bigtime and not allowing to pay anyone else hasn’t exactly worked out in the past for Minnesota…they could be outsmarting you..

    • manwithpizza - Jan 24, 2012 at 12:36 PM

      As I understand it, it is the 5 year thing that is the issue. If I understand the league rules correctly, only one 5 year contract is allowed per team, so signing Love means no other players on MN can get the 5 year deal.

      Though this kinda stinks for Rubio 4 years from now (assuming he turns out a great as we think he will), there really is nothing he could do about it. He will be restricted and thus the Wolves could still offer him the best 4 year deal available, they could also match any other teams offer.

  6. somekat - Jan 24, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    Not signing this guy is a joke. Forget the fact that it’s the Wolves, so on principal they have no leverage. Rules to building a winning franchise in the NBA. 1, Find, and secure a superstar (they found one, why BS on securing him?). 2, if you have a quality big man, keep him, and take care of him (why even risk alienating a guy who is without a doubt the best on your team, and arguably the best at his position in the league?).

    I really don’t see how this can not be done already. Unless Love is crazy and things he can get an above max contract, I don’t see how these negotiations lasted more than 30 seconds. The negotations should of been “Hello Kevin, we have a contract offer for you, it is the max we can give you under league rules, have a look”. “OK, where do I sign”

    Negotiation over

  7. manwithpizza - Jan 24, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    “while Westbrook shunned that [the super-max contract] to get five years, $80 million, leaving the Thunder some cap room.”

    not exactly

    Westbrook can’t sign the super-max until the off-season, assuming he makes the all-NBA team this year. Maybe he was taking less for the sake of the franchise, but he was also taking the guaranteed money now. Furthermore, as a restricted free agent, he wouldn’t necessarily have the leverage to get the Rose contract, since other teams can only offer the 4 year/60 mil deal, and OKC could just match and keep him.

    Also, the supposed extra cap room doesn’t actually matter in terms of acquiring players. OKC will be over the cap starting next year until the current run with Durant/Westbrook and friends is over.

  8. stadix093 - Jan 24, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    David Khan was sent from heaven for our entertainment. He drafts and signs players players at positions he already has. He trades FOR Michael Beasley. He compares Darko to Chris Webber, while sitting next to Chris Webber! Now this. This will be the jewel in his crown of stupidity.

    • manwithpizza - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:03 PM

      I realize a lot of people in the media like to make fun of Khan, but look at his record as a whole.

      Other than Johnny Flynn, his drafting has been above average.

      It was the right move to take Rubio, and he took a lot of heat for that.

      Darko is no all-star, but a lot of teams would take him for 4 mil. a year

      Haha, he stockpiles point guards, haha. Look around the NBA. How many PGs are hurt right now? In the current NBA, you need multiple PGs to compete offensively (unless you have LeBron or Kobe). Ridnour, Berea and Rubio all play important roles and major minutes, even when all are healthy.

      Beasley he got for nothing. A legit NBA scorer for nothing. And he was on a team friendly contract ending this year. I don’t see how you can be critical of that.

      Not executive of the decade for sure, but not the laughing stock Bill Simmons makes him out to be.

      On to Love. I think Khan will give him the max. But make no mistake, this is a huge decision. By the end of this contract Love will take up over 1/3 of the Wolves’ cap. It makes sense to be wary. I love Kevin (no pun intended), but he isn’t an elite defender, at a position most teams have good defenders, he can’t create his own shot or beat guys off the dribble, and doesn’t have an elite post game either. His elite skills are spot shooting and rebounding. These are great to have for sure, but I don’t think it’s a no-brainer to give him a max contract, and it’s not unfair or insulting for them to offer a contract less than the max.

      • getadealdonealready - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:32 PM

        Well said, and what I can’t figure out is why some of these players can’t see that if they don’t take the max contract they will be on a team with more talent around them.

      • stadix093 - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:52 PM

        I was more referring to forwards and lack shooting guards. They have two points playing in their backcourt at the moment. Don’t get me wrong I really enjoy watching the wolves, I just think they make some confusing decisions and this is one of them.

    • emerson12345 - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:37 PM

      pt he compaired Darko to Vlade…? know what your talking about if your going to talk…

      or you can keep following all these Sports writers that wish they were like kahn and a GM. (simmons who applyed for the GM job and the Wolves turned him down…bitter..i think so)

      • stadix093 - Jan 24, 2012 at 3:18 PM

        I don’t need people to form my opinion. As a player he compared him to vlade, but he did compare his career to Chris. Video is on YouTube so why don’t you go take a look and, know wtf you are taking about my friend. Bill Simmons is nothing but a dirty Celtic homer. Also I’ll stick with my Beasley is awful statement. Black hole and not efficient at all.

      • tkwolves - Jan 24, 2012 at 3:22 PM

        He knows it we do know what we are talking about maybe you shouldnt be so rude watch this and listen he compares both Vladi and webber at the timer 3:30

      • emerson12345 - Jan 24, 2012 at 4:53 PM

        WRONG…. probably on the fact that you dont need people to form your opinion… but FOR SURE wrong on him compairing his career to Webbers..

        if i can remember correct he said something about how he had a hard start to his career something that chris could understand (truthfully i havent seen the clip since the live telecast)

        …then chris acted like a fool and blew up saying a bunch of stupid stuff and acting like a 18 year old ex girl friend

  9. emerson12345 - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    THANK YOU… it is so nice to hear from someone who actually WATCHES the games.

    if you look at LOVE by the box score…like Kurt… he is a MAX player… if you watch the games… he is not. You cant have a MAX player that you cant dump the ball to in the 4th time after time…. LOVE is the worst player on he wolves at getting his own shot… HE IS the best at finishing on open looks that Rubio and others give him.

    IF the wolves MAX him it will cripple the team for 10 years

    thank you MAN WITH PIZZA

    • aboogy123456 - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      I agree, I wanted to say what Man with Pizza was saying but he is a much better writer than me or Kurt.

  10. crnvic847 - Jan 24, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    He’d look good in a Bulls uniform.

  11. rooney24 - Jan 24, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    I can’t argue that Love is not an elite defender (at least not yet). He can’t always create his own shot, but he is improving. But, he is an elite rebounder, and can score, hit the 3, and draw fouls. He has also shown the willingness to work hard at improving. Might he be a MAX deal player in LA or another market? Maybe not. But, after years of being horrible, the Wolves need to lock him up. If that takes the MAX, or close to it, they need to do it. I understand that might make it difficult to retain Rubio, but if you don’t keep Love, you might return to being a horrible team, and in that case will not be able to retain Rubio either.

  12. brewdogg - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    Regardless of whether he is deserving of a max contract or not, the question is: should the wolves give him one? What is he worth to the timberwolves organization? If you have paid attention to him, you know that he is going to work on the weak points in his game, so expect the defense and post game to improve. How much, who knows….. But his ability to shoot from outside pulls a post defender out and opens the paint up for slashers, and good rebounders are always worth it. And in his work ethic and leadership and he may be that valuable….. I’m just glad I don’t have my career riding on that decision.

  13. glink123 - Jan 24, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    So after hearing all these small to mid-market teams complain that they can’t keep their stars from leaving for big-market teams, here is Minnesota essentially pushing their franchise player out the door, over a paltry $15 million. I can’t wait to laugh my ass off when Love is gone after next year.

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