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Kevin Love calls out teammates after close home loss to Suns

Jan 9, 2014, 10:14 AM EDT

Kevin Love AP

The Timberwolves lost a tough one at home to the Suns on Wednesday, which is nothing really to be ashamed of. Phoenix has been one of the league’s nicer surprises in the first half of the season, and now sits at seventh in the West with a 21-13 overall record.

Minnesota has struggled, and the loss dropped them a game below .500, which is below expectations for the way the season would play out.

It’s beginning to frustrate Kevin Love, who lashed out at teammates after the loss for showing a lack of personal investment on the sidelines.

From Nate Sandel of

“We can’t have two guys sitting at the end of the bench, who play good minutes, just sitting there and not getting up at timeouts,” Love said. “We all need to be in this together. That kind of pisses me off. We’re supposed to be a team.”

Although Love did not use specific names in the interview, based on the fourth quarter scene on the bench all indications were that his frustrations were aimed at J.J. Barea and Dante Cunningham. …

“It’s to a point that where those two guys, if and when I did that last year when maybe I didn’t sit out for the game for 48 minutes and so on and so forth, they would have killed me,” Love said. “They would have aired me out. It’s two guys we expect more from them, and I think they expect more from themselves.”

This may not end well for the Timberwolves, but they have plenty of time to turn things around.

Love can opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent after next season. There’s already a bit of tension between Love and the front office for the way his last contract was negotiated, and if he feels his teammates aren’t the right ones to get the franchise into regular postseason contention, his decision to leave will be made that much easier.

This is the second time this week a team has come undone after getting beaten by the Suns. The Bucks similarly expressed postgame, inner-team frustration after losing in Phoenix, to the point where a public argument broke out in the locker room in front of reporters that involved Gary Neal and Larry Sanders.

  1. fanofevilempire - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    he will be going to the original Minnesota NBA franchise, the Lakers.

    • somekat - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:36 AM

      Doubtful, he’s going to want to go to a team that can compete for a title from day 1. Best case scenario, it’s going to take the Lakers a few years to build it back up.. There’s going to be a dozen teams with cap space next year, and most of them have a better looking roster than the Lakers do

      • fanofevilempire - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:47 AM

        are you kidding, how many players turn down the Lakers?
        how many of the other teams hang 16 banners?
        how many markets are bigger then LA?
        and the chicks?

      • somekat - Jan 9, 2014 at 11:41 AM

        Where is Dwight? (Not LA)

        Past banner are irrelevant. They don’t help you get one now

        Chicks? Seriously? These guys are NBA player, they get tail thrown at them at every turn. The city the play in matter less than those moth ball smelling banners

      • somekat - Jan 9, 2014 at 11:44 AM

        Also, as far as market, the Clip are stealing some of it. They are the better team right now, and LA fans are notorious front runners.

        As far as market size goes, LA isn’t any better than Chicago, NY, Mia (which for all intents is FLA) or Houston (you know, where Dwight went). LA is a notoriously fickle market, that’s why the NFL wants no parts of it anymore

      • zerole00 - Jan 9, 2014 at 11:33 AM

        You’re right regarding LA’s leverage in the market share argument, but the 16 banners argument no longer applies.

        Remember, they’re under the management of a new Buss.

      • kopy - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:30 PM

        Funny thing about the 16 banners is that 5 of them are from Minneapolis.

      • musician0785 - Jan 9, 2014 at 9:20 PM

        “LA is a notoriously fickle market, that’s why the NFL wants no parts of it anymore.”

        Sounds like a guy with LA envy who lives NOWHERE NEAR the city, but is the authority on the sports climate and the passion, what a joke. For the record the NFL left LA because the 2 owners that had teams in the city (Al Davis and Georgia Frontiere) were certifiably insane…..If you’re gonna hate, at least have your facts together

    • pbtunpaidwriter - Jan 9, 2014 at 4:13 PM

      Rubio = Overrated

      spread the word

  2. RavenzGunnerz - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    Too much to bear I suppose. Too many close losses.

  3. lakerprideko - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    Hey Kevin why don’t you decide to lash out on teammates on a night where you don’t shoot 4 of 20 from the field on your All-Star promo night at home… Maybe take the blame like a true leader and just say I let my team down tonight and played like crap rather than being mad 2 guys weren’t in the TO huddle…

    • cheathamhouse1 - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      Now that’s real talk. Plus…why talk about the guys to the media. Be a leader and take some blame and pull these guys aside privately and tell them about their actions…man-to-man. That’s how you gain respect…not by putting them on front street. Punk-move.

      • lunasceiling - Jan 9, 2014 at 3:19 PM

        ^ this

        Maybe that happened and we don’t know about it, but if not, you DON’T call out teammates before having a talk with them, one-on-one, in private. You expect better from a leader.

    • somekat - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      all-star promo night? That is a night that is supposed to matter?

      Maybe the 4-20 was at least partially because he was distracted by the fact that 2 of his teammates couldn’t trouble themselves to get off their seats to hear what the plan was? It’s not like 4-20 is a normal thing for him.

    • philtration - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      I see what you are saying but maybe he is tired of carrying that team by himself and that is what pissed him off.
      He already has a good relationship with Derrick Rose and I would love to see him in a Bulls uniform.
      At least the players here don’t roll over and quit when someone has a bad night or a guy is missing.

    • aboogy123456 - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:52 PM

      This is not new, Love has always been a me-first player, both on and off the court, and him lashing out on teammates is expected. Just because he’s the best player on the team doesn’t give him the right to be a jerk. There’s calling out your teammates to motivate them, then there is what kevin love is doing.

    • rodyaugu - Jan 10, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      The Wolves aint going nowhere until their best player stop blaming and take some leadership responsibility.

  4. mickdamill - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    We’d love to have you here in PHX.

    • somekat - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      They’d love to have him in (insert any city that has an NBA franchise here)

  5. stayhigh_247 - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    K Love, D Rose, Taj, Noah, sounds good to me.

    • sportsfan18 - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:58 AM

      Me too. A few summers back, Kevin Love, D Rose and Russel Westbrook spent the summer together working out in Calif with a trainer.

      The Bulls could amnesty Boozer, they now have money from trading Deng and if they wait for Love to be a free agent, they don’t have to give up anything to get him.

      It could work out, don’t know the odds but it isn’t like it’s dead on arrival.

      Love would be the offensive addition that the Bulls have been lacking, even with Rose on the court.

      Their defense with Thibs as the coach and with Noah underneath would still be good even though Love isn’t a great defender (as the team and Thibs still prioritize it).

      I’d like to see it happen.

      • somekat - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:11 PM

        no it couldn’t work (although if a miracle happened, Love would be an awesome compliment to Rose. Can bury jumpers when Rose drives and kicks, and can rebound his misses when Rose isn’t on)

        Only way it works is if Love takes a highly discounted contract to come to Chicago. Even if they amnesty Boozer, they will only have about 10 million to spend, nowhere near the max. If you are already over the cap, and you get under, you can only spend up to the cap on an outside player. you can’t just hand him Boozer’s contract

        That, and you would have to convince Rose that it’s a great idea to waste another year without a good enough team around him, for the CHANCE that Love will leave a fortune on the table to come and play in Chicago.

        As I’ve posted above, there are going to be a lot of teams with cap space next year, everyone knows what kind of class it’s shaping up to be. If you don’t have the money for a full max player, AND an attractive roster, you wont be getting one of the top guys next year.

  6. vikesdynasty - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    Don’t hear much about how crappy the refs have been?? It’s really becoming a joke especially when were at home good lord.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      the refs are the worst, I saw Shumpert of the Knickerbockers go up at the basket and block a shot, all ball, guess who called the foul on Shumpert, the ref at half court,the ref saw a mysterious foul from half court but the ref under the basket didn’t blow his whistle because there was NO foul. Shumpert had to leave mid-way thru the 1st qtr., the second knickerbocker to leave the game at that point.

      • cheathamhouse1 - Jan 9, 2014 at 11:02 AM

        Really? There are people who actually say “Knickerbockers”? Sounds like old footage from NB80’s

    • antistratfordian - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      Minnesota shot 12 more free throws than Phoenix. The Suns were called for 12 more fouls than the Wolves. What else do you want from the refs?

      It may have helped if Wolves didn’t shoot 39% from the field or if Love could’ve managed to shoot above 20%.

  7. lordtecmo - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    Kevin, try playing defense every once in a while instead of worrying about your stat line.

  8. markofapro - Jan 9, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    Wonder of his teammates call him out for his defense

  9. delusionalcardsfan - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    Come on down to the Valley of the Sun stroke! The Suns are young, motivated, and would be a great fit! GO SUNS!!

  10. a0kalittlema0n - Jan 9, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    Kevin Love and Westbrook to the Lakers, just like Chris Paul and Dwight Howard were supposed to go there. Watch it happen.

  11. pl4tinum514 - Jan 9, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    Suns piss people off because they’re a bunch of young unknown-ish guys playing like a real team and taking names. You lose to them and you wonder “damn, how did we lose to them?” and the simple reason is that they’re the perfect example of the sum being greater than its parts

  12. phillysports1 - Jan 9, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    Minn. destroyed us in Philly ,they were having a good time hitting 3’s and enjoying themselves . But lost the next day to a good team at home and your pointing fingers ? Lol

  13. bleedtwincitiessports - Jan 9, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    And I’m calling out love!! What about those 3 missed free throws the other night that cost us the game against the thunder I believe? Yeah, you love!

  14. zoomy123 - Jan 9, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    The Timberwolves didn’t lose because Kevin Love went 4-20. Minnesota was up by 5 or 6 points with under 2 minutes remaining. They should have won that game. The problem is that Minnesota is 0-10 in games decided by 4 points or less. In other words, they don’t have the ability to consistently execute in the clutch. There’s a chess saying that goes, “The hardest thing to do is win a game that’s already been won.”

    • JHathwell - Jan 9, 2014 at 7:01 PM

      Doesn’t the blame in this scenario have to rest one the shoulders of your franchise player? 0-10 is a pretty damning number.

      • zoomy123 - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:32 PM

        Kevin Love is not the Minnesota Timberwolves. If the blame or praise of an entire basketball team rests on the shoulders of 1 player, then why have 4 other guys on the court? Why not have Love suit up and play 1 vs 5? Teams win because they execute as a TEAM. When the Miami Heat Big 3 got together everybody lost their minds and said they were buying a championship. Then Miami lost to Dallas and everybody regained their sanity and realized that TEAM execution is what wins championships.

      • JHathwell - Jan 10, 2014 at 5:00 PM

        It’s kind of de rigueur for the best player to accept responsibility for the ultimate fate of a team. When you look through Basketball history, you won’t find very many of the elite players on teams with horrible records, nevermind guys who were considered the best at their position, yet had zero winning seasons in six years in the league. Kobe, for example, won 45 games with Smush Parker, Kwame Brown and Chris Mihm and Brian Cook starting all or most of the games. Think about that.

        In fact, that would be a fun research project. Find me another player considered to be as good as Love is, yet hasn’t even come close to going .500 in his first six years in the league.

      • zoomy123 - Jan 11, 2014 at 7:33 PM

        The fact that the best player generally accepts responsibility for the ultimate fate of a team is irrelevant. Such an expectation is neither appropriate nor fair.

  15. jebdamone - Jan 9, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    there are so many things wrong with this pups team. klove is not a good leader, ricky has single handedly lost the last two close games by throwing the ball away in the closing seconds and cannot score at all. rick adleman does not have any consistency with his player rotations or minutes and these guys cannot close out games, primarily because they do not play good defense. we also have no consistency on the offensive end and do not consistently run a good half court offense. last night pek was just starting to get it going in the fourth, was destroying in the paint, fouled out plumlee and what do we do? stop going to him!? i watch every twolves game and have been able to see the slow turmoil begin to boil. we should be a much better team than our record shows and everyone on this team needs to step up, take responsibility for their role on the team and play like a team. this is probably the most frustrating season of pups basketball that i have watched.

  16. sjbrown8 - Jan 9, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    K Love would be the PERFECT fit for the Bulls. His intensity and will to win would definitely match the team culture – he would NEVER have to call anyone out because everybody has too much pride.

    • JHathwell - Jan 9, 2014 at 6:59 PM

      We’re talking about the same guy who has won about 31% of his NBA games in a 6 year career and spent the first two seasons fat and way out of shape? Where is the evidence of this intensity and will to win you speak of? All I see is a guy who has put up fat numbers on losing teams that routinely underachieve and a guy who plays almost no defense.

      I lvoe that everyone is just sure this guy is gonna go contend for titles when there is zero proof of him being anything but an empty numbers guy.

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