May 22, 2013, 8:45 AM EDT
NEW YORK – Kevin Love and Flip Saunders shared lunch yesterday, as both were headed to the NBA Draft lottery that night. They talk about the same issues that dominate their bi-daily conversations – leadership, expectations, workouts and, as Saunders put it, “more than anything, just about the vision that we have and how we feel we’ve got to get there to reach that vision.”
For the Timberwolves to reach any vision, Saunders will need Love on board. So far, the team’s new general manager has that.
“He’s very hopeful that I’ll be part of the team, a big part of the team, for many years to come,” Love said. “And I don’t see why he should think otherwise.”
An inability to foster that type of relationship with Love was a large part of previous general manager David Kahn’s undoing. Whereas Kahn frustrated Love by saving the Timberwolves’ five-year extension for Ricky Rubio, Saunders understands which player makes Minnesota go.
“He’s the only player that’s been an All-Star on that team since Kevin Garnett,” Saunders said. “So, because of that, what you want to do is you want make sure that he’s part of your foundation. And I’ve talked a lot with Ricky, but Ricky, of course, is overseas, is not quite as easy.”
Saunders said he’d meet with Rubio early next month, proving that not only is he directing his primary attention to the right Minnesota star, Saunders isn’t making the Kahn-like mistake of alienating the other.
Now, Love is optimistic, even using some of the wacky math many use at the lottery to show much.
“I never expected that I was going to have two broken hands,” Love said. “But they always say two negative make a positive, so maybe that will be the case in my regard, but more importantly, our team.”