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Flip Saunders: Kevin Love has no right to be frustrated

Jun 7, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

Kevin Love Kevin Love

Kevin Love’s decision to bolt Minnesota as soon as possible has been years in the making.

Ever since the Timberwolves refused to offer him a five-year contract extension, Love has been frustrated. He felt neither owner Glen Taylor nor then-general manager David Kahn treated him well enough.

There was once hope Flip Saunders could change Love’s perception of the Timberwolves, but if that ship hasn’t already sailed, Saunders seems to be doing his best to further alienate Minnesota’s star player.

Saunders appeared on KFAN 100.3 and spoke about Love.

  • Host: “Doesn’t he have a right to be frustrated?”
  • Saunders: “No.”
  • Host: “You don’t think so?”
  • Saunders: “Just like I told Garnett, he didn’t have a right to be frustrated. Why does any player have a right to be frustrated? You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution.”
  • Saunders: “Should the team be frustrated? Yeah, the team can be frustrated. But I don’t think any one individual should be frustrated.”
  • Saunders: “I tell a story. I tell a story about – we were in the locker room when KG was in like his third year in the league, and Sam Mitchell was sitting in the locker room. KG was in there, and we had lost a couple games, and we were all sitting there talking. KG started going, ‘Hey, you’ve got to start doing more.’ And he’s talking to some of the bench guys. ‘You’ve got to start doing more.’ And Sam said, ‘Hey, hold it, hold it. Let me tell you something. You’re making all the money. Hey, it’s your responsibility. You make the money, you’ve got to live up to that.’ So, that was the mentality, and from that time, KG never ever from that point, he always took responsibility.”

Saunders is failing to separate two distinct issues.

An NBA team is comprised of 13-15 players who each have their own personal desires and agendas. Ideally, they come together in pursuit of a common goal, but that doesn’t completely merge their mindsets. They can each remain their own person.

That’s different from individual players denigrating their teammates in frustration. If Love is throwing his teammates under the bus, I haven’t heard it.

Love is the best player ever to spend his first his first six seasons with the same franchise without making the playoffs. He’s put in his time in Minnesota. He sounds willing to play out the rest of his contract – one more season before he can opt out – with the Timberwolves if they won’t trade him first.

Is Love entitled to be frustrated? Absolutely.

More frustrated than his teammates? Yes. Not a single one of them has spent the last six years in the NBA without reaching the postseason.

Love shouldn’t take his frustration out on them like Garnett did. It’s not their fault they’re not collectively up to snuff.

But he can take it out on the Timberwolves by leaving.

  1. nicofthenorthstar - Jun 7, 2014 at 10:31 PM

    And he should learn to play D. But that’s too much to ask. Too much hard work and dedication.

  2. nicofthenorthstar - Jun 7, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    Bkbell3, I think you’re confused about which member of the wolves is a ghost on D.

    • bkbell3 - Jun 8, 2014 at 12:48 AM

      Yes, i agree Love needs to improve on defense but he doesn’t have the athleticism to ever be a great one on one defender and needs a coach to develop a good defensive scheme but read my new comment above. Rubio hasn’t earned with his play the right to be running off at the mouth as he gets smoked by point guards all the time and gambles on steals to much.

      • tcstunner - Jun 8, 2014 at 2:01 AM

        Rubio runs an offense superbly. Has a great TO to Assist ratio. Is top 5 in the NBA in steals and assists. Yep he sucks all right. So he shot 40%. Who cares. The Wolves had Pek, Love and Martin to do the scoring. Rubio was there to run the offense which he did very well. You know, considering the Wolves starting 5 was one of the highest scoring ones in the league. Also Rubio isn’t even 23 yet and his shot has improved every year.

      • spursareold - Jun 8, 2014 at 10:25 AM

        Love’s agility and sprint scores from the 2008 combine were faster than Javale McGee and his vertical is higher, both no-step and maximum.

        Defense is about desire and effort.

      • sdlakerfan - Jun 8, 2014 at 2:33 PM

        Javale Mcgee? What kind of comparison is that? Why didn’t you choose Kendrick Perkins? Javale Mcgee wouldn’t be in the NBA if he were as tall as Love. Why don’t you compare Love’s agility and sprint scores to guys his size or shorter? Might have a point in that case.

  3. spyder9669 - Jun 8, 2014 at 6:38 AM

    Phoenix had better than a +2.6 point differential and I didn’t see them in the playoffs. Soooo Minnesota isn’t the only team..

  4. tipstopten - Jun 8, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    Flip’s statement would be enough for anyone to leave. Everyone has a right to bitch, this is a free country.

  5. censormynameandmycomments - Jun 8, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    Working for a boss who thinks you don’t have a right to ever get frustrated, no matter how incompetent he or the organization is, must be frustrating.

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