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Kevin Love is sorry for where he ripped Timberwolves, not what he said

Dec 12, 2012, 6:49 PM EDT

Kevin Love AP

Traditionally, guys who just signed four-year max deals don’t sit down and bash the team that just gave them a huge payday.

But Kevin Love doesn’t fit your mold, on or off the court. So when he sat down with Adrian Wojnarowski he said what he felt — that him not getting the five-year max (they are saving that for Ricky Rubio) and how the entire thing was handled left a bad taste in his mouth. And in three years, if he’s not happy with where the team is, he might opt out and see who else wants his services.

But Love sat down with the Timberwolves management on Tuesday and told them he wants to make it work here, but he doesn’t regret what he said. He just regrets not talking to them first. From the Star-Tribune when Love spoke to the media at Wednesday’s shootaround:

“I meant what I said, I told David there’s nothing to apologize about,” Love said. “The only thing I was sorry about is that I did in public and if there’s a learning experience from that, it’s not to do that again.

“A lot of athletes these days say the right thing and aren’t outspoken. I happen to be in this article. I’m not going to go forward and say I have anything to apologize about. I said what I felt. I didn’t mean to alienate my team, my coaches, the organization or more importantly the fans…I said a lot of things about the team and were we’re at this point and I’ll continue to say it throughout the year because that’s how I feel.”

Love went to the Olympic Training Camp in Las Vegas and lobbed bombs back to Minnesota saying he wanted to see the roster upgraded. He got his wish.

“I’ve mentioned it this summer, it keeps coming up again. The acquisitions we made this off-season, I’m very happy with. As far as the state of the team, I think we’re fine.”

When asked if wants to be the cornerstone of this franchise long term, he said, “Oh absolutely. One of the big points, I want to be here for five years. I’d love to end my career as a Timberwolf.”

What Love wants is to win. And as a franchise cornerstone player he has the leverage to push the Timberwolves management to get the team in that position or else. What he got with his four-year deal was an opt-out after three years — the same kind of leverage LeBron James, Chris Bosh and others used to hold over their franchises.

It’s simple, if Minnesota builds a team where Love feels respected and thinks he has a shot at a ring, he stays. If not, he looks around. And then finds out the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.

  1. cakemixa - Dec 12, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Inmates continuing to run the asylum. Gotta love the NBA!

    • paleihe - Dec 12, 2012 at 7:02 PM

      Having the ability to decide where you wanna work is considered running the asylum?

    • frankyvito - Dec 12, 2012 at 7:06 PM

      By telling them to get better?

    • dannymac17 - Dec 12, 2012 at 7:36 PM

      If i show up to work tomorrow and say we need to make the work place better, more of the time, they will agree. But hes not demanding anything, hes already signed up for the next 4 years.

      He just wants to be committed, to make sure they are committed, neither party owes either anything other than hard work and money. Get real cakemix.

  2. jeffw - Dec 12, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    “…And then finds out the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.”

    Just because the grass might not be as green in another place, doesn’t mean you stay in a place where it is constantly brown & dead. There are at least 15 other franchises that have a better shot of winning a title before Minnesota ever does.

    • nbascreed - Dec 12, 2012 at 11:09 PM

      That’s true. But I wonder if Kevin Love would be excited if he woke up tomorrow and through some mystical magic powers of CBA wonderment the help he got was in the form of Kyrie Irving and Carmelo Anthony. With those 3 the Wolves would be a western conference contender but Love would be (IMO) the 3rd option.

      He keeps asking for help but he needs to be careful b/c unless he can subjugate his ego, the only way any team he’s on is going to ‘win’ is if he’s the 2nd or 3rd option. Not first. Sorry, I like Love but his offensive impact is limited. And please don’t comp to Dirk, b/c Dirk is a big time shot maker and can handle and play 1:1 with the best of them at his position.

      ktgotgame.com

  3. monkeyhateclean - Dec 12, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    Love is hardly a “cornerstone”. That designation belong to players who don’t merely post impressive boxscores, but to those who make their teams better.

    Certainly, Love would fit in nicely on lots of teams and still get his double-doubles, but with his latest media tantrum, (and every time a call goes against him) he’s shown he’s no leader, and therefore not a cornerstone and definitely not worth the max contract that Rose and Westbrook earned.

    Durant is a cornerstone, Westbrook is a cornerstone, Harden isn’t
    LeBron is a cornerstone, Bosh isn’t
    Kobe is a cornerstone, Howard isn’t
    Rubio is a cornerstone, Love isn’t

    Rubio is why quality free agents (such as AK, Shved, and Budinger) may consider braving the winters in Minny. No one is going to sign with Minny because they want to play with Love.

    • mytthor - Dec 12, 2012 at 10:01 PM

      Howard is the best defensive player and best center in the league. He led a team of mediocre players to the finals.
      If you don’t think Love is a better player than Rubio, you’ve got a very tenuous grip on reality. Love has finished 6th in MVP voting. He’s led the league in rebounding and won the three point contest. His defense sucks, but so does Rubio’s. Rubio isn’t even a top 10 in the league at his position. He’s all hype, the Spanish Jeremy Lin.

      • felisberto - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:58 AM

        are you saying Jeremy Lin =Rick Rubio?

      • mytthor - Dec 13, 2012 at 11:51 AM

        No, Rubio’s better, but they’ve both got more hype than game. With Rubio, it’s more about potential, he could be great, but let’s face it: CP3, Deron Williams, Rose, Westbrook, Rondo, Kyrie Irving, Parker, are all DEFINITELY better than Rubio at this point. So he MIGHT be top 10 PG in the league. Love is arguably the best PF in the league – I think it’s hard to make a case that anyone is definitely better than him.

      • monkeyhateclean - Dec 13, 2012 at 10:34 PM

        Howard is a highly average on-ball defender. Yes, he like to go after blocks, but other teams have predicted when he will leave his man, and exploited him. On offense, he can dunk, but has piss-poor instincts on pick and rolls, and embarrasses himself and his team at the FT line. Most importantly, Dwight Howard has never led any team he has been on.

        Comparing Love’s defensive game to Rubio’s is all anyone ever need know about your basketball acumen. Rubio is an excellent on-ball defender. He reaches, he invades passing lanes, he hustles on turnovers. Love doesn’t ever. The worst PF’s in the league routinely outscore him, and that’s
        when he has a good day. The fact that you call Howard the best defensive center is enough evidence that you have never watched a single NBA game. I might as well try to have a shouting contest with Anne Frank.

      • camnellum12 - Dec 14, 2012 at 8:08 AM

        The 2009 Magic were’nt mediocre, your memory isn’t serving you right. That Magic roster had 3 All-Stars in Howard, Jameer Nelson, and Rashard Lewis, plus all those snipers on the perimeter. That Orlando team was damn good.

      • monkeyhateclean - Dec 16, 2012 at 5:45 PM

        You were saying…?

      • mytthor - Dec 16, 2012 at 8:53 PM

        @camnellum12

        Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson made the ASG that year because they were decent players on the east’s best team. Those guys both stink now, and it’s because they don’t play with Howard anymore.

        @monkeyhateclean

        I looked at the numbers, and Rubio is a better defensive player than I had given him credit for. So I’ll give you that. However, your idea that Howard is an average on-ball defender is silly. The fact that he rotates to go for blocks doesn’t mean anything for his on-ball defense. I’ll have to assume you’re talking about defending his assigned man, but that’s more about his teammates not rotating to cover for him. Has nothing to do with how good he defends.

        Also, statistically he’s the most effective pick and roll finisher in the league over the last few years, and he hasn’t been playing with John Stockton or Steve Nash (oh wait, he is, now. Cool!). Kinda kills that argument.

        Too bad every NBA analyst and coach and commentator knows less about basketball than you, since they all call Howard the best defensive center in the league. You sure are smart.

        Hint about Kevin Love, by the way: it’s not possible to be average athletically, not hustle, and average 15 rebounds. It’s not possible.

  4. dcviking - Dec 12, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    I didn’t mean to alienate my team, my coaches, the organization or more importantly the fans…

    ———————————————————————–

    Translation: When I effectively said the GM and the owner were incompetent, I meant that in the nicest way possible.

    The funny part is that by giving him just a four year extension now, it puts Minny in a better position to keep him and Rubio in the future (Rubio gets a max deal, and Minny can pay Love more based on his last contact — think this is right, if not then I guess it’s not so funny).

  5. doorharp11 - Dec 12, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    So a 30-15 isnt a cornerstone? Huh what team wouldnt want that as a cornerstone to build around… Rubio is a cornerstone as well and as a twolves fan im happy we have the two cornerstones! The twolves have not put anyone around him until rubio came back and this is the first legitimate team love has had. They went with 8 years of not producing draft picks and now they have a chance to build something great for the long term if they draft well because love rubio pekovic shved budinger and cunningham have what it takes to build for the future.

    • LPad - Dec 13, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      30 and 15 is a cornerstone but only Wilt did that every single night. Even Shaq fell a bit short of that in his best seasons getting 30 and 14 in his best season. Love is a very good player but he’s not Wilt.

  6. brianratm - Dec 12, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    By the time his deal is done he will be a mid-level exemption player. Meaningless points and meaningless rebounds. Dude thinks he is Malone or Barkley. More like Matt Geiger. Big, slow, and white equals short career

    • mytthor - Dec 13, 2012 at 11:53 AM

      Yeah, I guess Larry Bird did have a fairly short career. You’re right.

      There are no such things as meaningless points or rebounds. Only meaningless message board posts.

  7. doorharp11 - Dec 12, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    You guys bashing love is a joke he would put any player other than lebron and durant to the floor. Hes a great player maybe the best power forward in the game. Im telling you from a fan who has watched the majority of wolves games. Last year with love and rubio they were 19-7 thats a playoff record and this year they added 6 players who make a big difference on this team. This year will tell everyone where they are headed for the next 3 years and this year they will make the playoffs and with this roster in tact for the next 3 years they will be competeing for a championship.

  8. hack0059 - Dec 13, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    Rubio a bad defender? do you guys even watch basketball? love is a bad defender Rubio is an above average defender. Rubio is something to build around, love is a good third option.

  9. rajbais - Dec 13, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    It’s ok. More players need to point out how bad GMs are.

    GMs: The “make or break” employee for almost every franchise.

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