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Reports: Timberwolves not willing to talk Kevin Love trade. Yet.

Mar 28, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT

Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves Getty Images

Minnesota is now paying the price for David Kahn’s biggest mistake as general manager — refusing to give Kevin Love the full five-year max salary extension. (He was saving it for Ricky Rubio, the guy he drafted.)

What Love ended up with was a four year deal — but he pushed for and got on the ability to opt out after three years. The summer of 2015.

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone around the league who thinks Love stays in Minnesota after 2015 (even if the team has a big turnaround many still think he bolts). Sorry Timberwolves fans.

Yet Minnesota is not yet talking trade with anyone, they are pushing away requests, reports both Marc Stein at ESPN and Zach Lowe at Grantland. Stein summed it up this way:

The suggestion is already in circulation that the Lakers will attempt to use their forthcoming high lottery pick in June to assemble the sort of trade package that finally convinces the Wolves to part with Love and end the uncertainty that hangs over this franchise even before the 25-year-old enters the final year of his contract. Yet there is just as much defiance emanating from ‘Sota, as we speak, about the Wolves’ ability to keep Love in town.

You continue to hear that Wolves owner Glen Taylor remains determined to try to convince Love to stick around and will keep resisting trade offers until, as one insider puts it, he “has no choice.”

To be honest, you can’t blame Taylor or Minnesota for this, as Lowe points out.

A market like Minnesota just isn’t going to attract a top-10 player in free agency unless it already has one heading up a very appealing roster. Those are the most precious commodities in the sport, and Minnesota has one. Surrendering that kind of talent is so painful for a non-glamour team. You never know when or if you’ll ever get one again. Minnesota already knows this, of course; Kevin Garnett won a ring in Boston, and the Wolves haven’t made the playoffs without him.

Even if you move your big star early in a trade, you are in for years of rebuilding — look at Utah in the wake of the Deron Williams (who they moved early). Minnesota knows what’s ahead so they are reluctant to throw in the towel. It’s very understandable.

The hope in Minnesota is to have a team good enough that Love will not leave $30 million guaranteed on the table (mostly in a fifth year the Timberwolves can offer that no other team can). He’s getting national ads like Taco Bell, he can stay and thrive.

Minnesota has tried to do this, it just hasn’t worked out so well. The Timberwolves are a better team than their record indicates — they have the 12th best point differential per 100 possessions in the league (+1.9), which sandwiches them between Dallas and Memphis, ahead of Chicago. The Timberwolves should be fighting for a playoff spot in the West, not playing out the string.

However, the Timberwolves struggle at the end of games and as Lowe notes that’s not a one-year trend, it’s been going on for years. It’s part of the makeup of the players on the roster around Love. It’s not going to change dramatically next year without a roster shakeup (and that would be difficult to pull off).

Love is an elite talent, a franchise cornerstone guy, but you have to surround him with specific kinds of players. You need a rim protecting big — Nikola Pekovic is big but not a great defender in the paint. You need shooters who can space the floor — Ricky Rubio is not that. Even players that seemed like good fits in Minnesota like Chase Budinger have not panned out.

Love is likely moving on an other teams are jockeying for a shot at him. Because of UCLA/LA connections the Lakers are considered the front runner — if they make a trade it would be with their lottery pick from this season and… future picks I guess. They don’t have much else anyone wants on that roster. The Knicks would be interested too but the only asset of interest there is Tim Hardaway Jr. and then some picks that would be years away.

But right now Minnesota isn’t entertaining those or any offers. They want to keep Love. And in the end they may fight to the end to keep him and let him walk rather than take pennies on the dollar back.

  1. fm31970 - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    They’d be better off keeping him, and if he decides to leave, so be it. This whole “you have to get SOMETHING for him” before he leaves is a great idea, but it almost never pans out. What did Orlando get of any serious value in trade for Howard? The Jazz for Williams? OKC for Harden? Not much, and nothing anyone remembers as being significant.

    This is the way the NBA works now, and Love is but the latest example. He’s not going to transform whichever team he goes to into a title contender just by his mere presence anyway. That team still needs to surround him with other pieces which fit.

    It took Miami landing three All-Star level players to win two straight titles, and even then, they been challenged each year. One player isn’t going to make the difference alone (see Anthony in NY, Kobe in L.A.), and even with only two, you have to have the perfect talent around the two stars.

    • doorharp11 - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:04 PM

      There is only one team Klove wants to go to if he leaves the great state of minnesota. He will go back home (LA is not his home). When the twolves lost to the trailblazers he called the fans the best fans in the NBA. One team and one team only Portland.

      • asimonetti88 - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:08 PM

        Portland already has a pretty good PF/C named LaMarcus Aldridge

    • rodyaugu - Mar 29, 2014 at 1:41 PM

      The magic got some pieces in return for Dwight. They have Nikola Vucevic 14 pts and 11.1 rebounds per game.

  2. aboogy123456 - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    I don’t understand why people think the lakers would give up this draft pick for Love. This is the most important draft pick they’ve had in years, and they need to get someone who will be their best player and carry them when kobe retires. If they have any shot at contending soon, they need the draft pick AND a star free agent like love. Lakers will likely have both of them in a year, but even if it were a choice of getting a potential star on a rookie contract, or Kevin love, I would still take the rookie.

    • antistratfordian - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:24 PM

      I’d probably go with Love over any rookie. Is that the understatement of the day? Love is proven – you know exactly what you’re getting, at least.

      • aboogy123456 - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:36 PM

        maybe, but this year I would take a few rookies over him, especially knowing that they get paid much less. Regardless of that, the lakers have a gold asset in this summer’s draft pick. Why give that up to a team with no leverage?

      • sportsfan18 - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:42 PM


        THIS season, here are the league leaders in PER…

        #1 Kevin Durant

        #2 LeBron James

        #3 Kevin Love

        Love is THIRD in the league right now this season in PER behind Durant and James…

        Yes, he’s proven alright.

        Here is another way to look at what Kevin Love has done since coming into the league.

        PER by seasons

        Rookie 18.3
        2nd yr 20.7
        3rd yr 24.3
        4th yr 24.5
        5th yr 17.9 only played 18 games, broken hand, missed basically all season
        6th yr 27.7

        So, other than the yr he broke his hand and pretty much missed the entire season, all Love has done is get better and better every season, including this one.

        For his career, Love averages 13.5 rebounds a game. He’s like 6′ 10, can’t jump, isn’t quick etc…

        Dwight, super athletic freak Howard averages 12.9 rebounds per game.

        Shaq, 7′ 1″ 335 lbs or so Top Ten player all time only averaged 10.9 rebounds per game.

        Let’s not even talk about free throws as guys like Shaq and Dwight are in the 50 something percent for their careers…

        Lobe shoots OVER 80% from the free throw line

        Another thing, Kevin Love has a HIGHER career three point shooting percentage than Carmelo Anthony does…

        Or take an unknown rookie in this yrs draft?

      • aboogy123456 - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:50 PM

        sportsfan, I would take an unproven rookie like Wiggins or exum not only because I think they will be better but because they get paid only about $5 mil, leaving plenty of cap room. That point aside, my main point is why should they trade a pick when they can have both? It’s not like minnesota has any leverage here..

      • sportsfan18 - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:30 PM

        valid point about Minny having no leverage…

        about having more cap room… well Kobe took care of that didn’t he?

      • asimonetti88 - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:18 PM

        If Love wants to come as badly as this article implies, why not draft the rookie and wait for him to come next year.

    • zxrated - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:15 PM

      What if Minny gives in and trades Love to NY? The Lakers then have a situation where they lost out on him simply because Love might stay in NY. If you can procure him, better to do it sooner than later. The Draft pick Minny gets will likely be available in 4 years anyway as small market teams have a hard time keeping their stars beyond that rookie contract.

      • aboogy123456 - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:21 PM

        that sounds like a panic move, and the lakers (or any other smart team) don’t do panic moves. If they lose him to the knicks, so be it. I would still rather have the rookie along with the cap space to go after another star player. You also are assuming that Love will sign an extension with the knicks, which is not a given.

    • kb2408 - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:19 PM

      @boogy, you are correct, sir. The LAKERS have not had a pick this high since Big Game James (a testament to their sustained excellence), I don’t see them trading it. In 2015 they will have a top 5 pick AND a top free agent or two.

      • aboogy123456 - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:23 PM

        thank you KB! you get it, lakers are trying to build the next dynasty. Trading the pick for love is a panic move that would make them good, but ruin their chance of becoming great any time soon.

    • cruzan80 - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:30 PM


      aboogy is right. Why give up a rookie who COULD be the face of the franchise for another decade for a older player who has already proven that he’s incapable of being the face of a franchise????

      For all his great stats, the Timberwolves still suck. He hasn’t made them any better in any which way, shape or form. The wolves should definitely trade him this summer to the highest bidder. The FACT is they haven’t gotten any better since drafting him….that has been his impact to that team over the years. Great, he has a higher 3 point % than Carmelo Anthony….WHO CARES! He’s also a PF who cant play a lick of defense either (a skill that is much more valuable in a PF than his ability to shoot 3’s). I’ll tell something else he’s failed to do that Melo hasn’t ever had a problem doing…MAKING THE PLAYOFFS.

      Dwight & Shaq made their teams BETTER & the better they got…the better the team got. They carried their teams into playoffs almost every year. Melo…who you hate….has yet to miss the post season in his 10 years in this league…..and that’s playing 8 of them in a much tougher version of the Western conference than the one Love has played in but hasn’t sniffed the playoffs not once.

      Shaq, Dwight & Melo all left the teams that drafted them better off than the state they were in when they got drafted. If Love walks next year….can Timberwolves fans say that???? NOPE! They sucked when they drafted him & they’ve sucked his entire time there.

      Yes, the Lakers should keep a possible top three draft pick in a draft class that is projected to have some studs in that top 5. If the rookie doesn’t pan out….at least they can say they took a chance on an unknown. Best case, they get the next Kobe, LeBron, Melo, Duncan ect….worse case they’ll be exactly what the Timberwolves are right now.

    • 00maltliquor - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:34 PM

      Real talk. I love Love but I’d be pissed if they gave up that 1st. IDC how good and established Love is, we can get him in FA. We haven’t had a good draft pick (watch someone bring up Marc Gasol) or anything within good drafting position in seemingly a lifetime! I just want something to get excited about for once like the way I felt when we got Kobe way back!

      • jimeejohnson - Mar 28, 2014 at 5:55 PM

        Dude: I’ve seen you excited since then. Like when the Lakers beat the Celtics in game 7 for all the marbles.

      • 00maltliquor - Mar 29, 2014 at 2:42 AM

        @ jimee

        Haaa! I was beyond what words can describe when that went down! But I’m talking about excitement in terms of a worthwhile draft pick. I haven’t been stoked about a draft pick from us since Kobe. That’s a long drought (although I was stoked when we drafted my boy Andrew Goudelock and Robert Sacre, but that was a different kind of excitement).

  3. kingperk123 - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    OK well the Celtics have in total 10 draft picks plus guys they are thinking of letting go so I think they should try and take a shot at Kevin having RONDO as your PG you can’t go wrong

    • sportsfan18 - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:45 PM

      Love should go to the Bulls…

      Noah plays by the basket… Love has a higher career three point % than Carmelo Anthony does…

      Love trained a few summers ago in L.A. with D. Rose and R. Westbrook.

      D Rose knows Love, how he works etc…

      The Bulls wouldn’t have to give anything up,meaning trade if they just let Love walk after the 2015 season.

      Love would replace Carlos Boozer for the Bulls…

      • 00maltliquor - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:38 PM

        Love would get the Boozer treatment in Chicago! Start but would only play 24 min. while none of it down the stretch!

      • cruzan80 - Mar 28, 2014 at 5:24 PM


        As a Knick fan I hope he does….

        Noah wants Carmelo Anthony….Love is a worse defender than Carmelo Anthony.

        D. Rose also knows Melo & like Noah already said he wants him to be a Bull.

        The Knicks will probably go after LaMarcus Aldridge who is a better winner than Love anyway & actually has some playoffs experience unlike Love who’s yet to sniff the playoffs.

        Love would replace Carlos Boozer for the Bulls…who was also a stat stuffing PF who didn’t play defense or make his team any better.

      • sportsfan18 - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:48 PM

        AS a Bulls fan I hope the Bulls do NOT get Melo…

        Both Melo and Love are not good defenders.

        You simply say Melo is a better defender. What numbers do you have to back that up rather than just words you say?

        Would you please point me somewhere that backs that claim up? A link or something please.

        Love’s career defensive rating is 106 meaning he gives up on average 106 points for every 100 possessions for those he guards.

        Melo’s career defensive rating is 107 meaning he gives up on average 107 points for every 100 possessions for those he guards.

        On offense, Love’s career offensive rating is 117 meaning he scores 117 points for every 100 possession he has.

        Melo’s career offensive rating is 108 meaning he scores 108 points for every 100 possessions he has.

        Please NOTICE that Melo is basically a wash. For all he scores, he gives up on defense. He scores 1 more point than he gives up in 100 possessions.

        Love is plus 10 as he scores 10 more points per 100 possessions than he gives up on D.

        As an FYI, Michael Jordan was a plus 15 as his offensive rating was 118 (just one more point than Love’s you’ll notice) and his defensive rating was 103.

        LBJ is currently at plus 14 as his offensive rating is 116 (one less than Love’s) and his defensive rating is 102 for the plus 14 spread.

        Links are here.

        On top of that, Melo is going to be 31 next season. Love will be 26 next season.

        Love averages more rebounds per game for his career than both Shaq and Dwight Howard.

        Love has a higher career three point percentage than Melo does as well.

        I’d take a 26 yr old Love way before a 31 yr old Melo…

      • cruzan80 - Mar 29, 2014 at 4:08 PM

        “I’d take a 26 yr old Love way before a 31 yr old Melo”

        Too bad Bulls higher ups dont agree….I’d take the knowledge of the Bulls management way before yours.

  4. stephenolszewski - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    I think Love wants to stay in Minnesota, but they haven’t supplied him with a roster that would convince him to stay. They need a big move that more than likely won’t happen this off season

  5. iammr713 - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    Lakers got burned with the Dwight trade. No way they trade their draft pick for Love. Why would they trade their draft pick for him when they can have him and that draft pick playing together a year later if they wait? If he wants to play in LA he’s going to make it happen. It doesn’t matter if Minnesota try to trade him to other teams or not. Teams are not giving up future draft picks and young players for a player that’s not going to agree to a extension with the team trading for him. Love hold all the cards in his. Minnesota did this to themselves not giving him that 5 yr extension..

  6. jimeejohnson - Mar 28, 2014 at 5:59 PM

    Then, there’s this thing called weather. And if Love remembers the weather in SoCal and compares it to the weather in Minnesota, I think he considers the Lakers or any club with a plan in place to win it all no matter what the cost AND a climate which doesn’t resemble the Ice Age. Go west of I-5, Kevin. You know what I mean!

  7. lakerade - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:19 PM

    Tee hee! Happy Friday!

  8. lakerade - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:19 PM

    Tee hee! Happy Friday!

  9. eugenesaxe1 - Mar 29, 2014 at 3:12 AM

    It would take a lot more than a high pick this year to get Love, and LA has nothing else to offer. They can wait a year, keep the pick, and still get Love.

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