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Timberwolves owner says he expects Kevin Love to be in Minnesota training camp

Jul 17, 2014, 1:04 PM EDT

Glen Taylor Glen Taylor

The standoff continues. Minnesota wants a lot back in trading Kevin Love, other teams are balking at the price of throwing in an Andrew Wiggins or Klay Thompson type player.

If you think Minnesota is about to cave, well, you should see what Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said in an interview on NBATV during the team’s Summer League game Wednesday (as transcribed by the Pioneer Press).

“My preference is that Kevin will come to (training) camp — and I’m sure he will — and play with the team,” Taylor said.

That would be a circus.

Minnesota is taking a page out of the Denver playbook when Carmelo Anthony was trying to force a trade to a preferred destination — wait until somebody caves. Look at it this way: the bad offers are still going to be there in February at the trade deadline, there’s no reason to rush and take one of those, wait for a good offer.

I’ll add this scenario: If I were the Warriors or Cavaliers and looking at giving up major assets like Thompson or Wiggins, I would only do that if Love opted in to the last year of his deal. Not sign an extension, but opt-in for one year so my team would have some security that this would not be a Dwight Howard/Lakers situation. Love could then be a free agent in 2016 (when the salary cap jumps with the new national television deal and a max player such as himself would make more money). At Summer League in Las Vegas there is a mixed buzz about whether Love would be willing to do that, but I would not take anybody’s word that they will re-sign, I would want the extra year guaranteed. If Love insists on becoming a free agent in the summer of 2015 the offers Minnesota gets will be smaller.

For Minnesota, with Love on the team the Timberwolves are a borderline playoff team even in the deep West. They will need Ricky Rubio to play like it’s a contract year, and they need Love and Nikola Pekovic and the rest to stay healthy. But this is a potentially good team.

“I think our team is just on the border (of making the playoffs),” Taylor said. “We lost too many close games last year, and having Kevin Love there as, right now, the heart of our team … I would like to have Kevin back and play under Flip (Saunders) and see how the coaches will utilize him with the other players.”

Taylor may hold out hope of a Portland/LaMarcus Aldridge situation where the team gets hot, wins and he changes his mind about wanting out. Although, in this case it seems too late for that.

  1. spursareold - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    LMA was frustrated with the “not winning” thing, and they turned it around. Love seems almost actively averse to the franchise and front office for what the previous regime did regarding his less than MAX extension. I don’t see any way to fix that. Taylor is whistling in the wind.

    • handsomerob86 - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:10 PM

      Completely agree. Love just doesn’t like Minnesota cause of the non-max extension. They can’t fix that. He is going to leave. But that doesn’t mean he won’t show up and play. Love will play, and if Cleveland (or more likely GS), is doing worse than expect by the All star break, hes going to one of them.

    • casualcommenter - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:32 PM

      Agreed. Unless Rubio dramatically improves his scoring/shooting ability this offseason, and Pekovic stays healthy for the entirety of next season, it’s hard to imagine the Timberwolves winning enough games to change Love’s mind.

      Claiming the 8th seed and getting bounced in round 1 isn’t going to be enough to keep Love, who has openly said what he hates the worst about his current situation is the lack of winning.
      They would need to win a playoff series for Love to have reservations about leaving Minnesota.

  2. teabone413 - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    that guy reminds me of mr burns.

    • jetnotjets - Jul 17, 2014 at 4:05 PM

      Crazy Eye.

  3. charlescub80 - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    Minnesota is going to screw the pooch… Act like they have all this leverage an actually have little

    • twinfan24 - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:38 PM

      As noted, the crappy offers will still be there in February. Why rush to make a crappy deal now? If no one ever offers a top prospect, how did they screw the pooch?

  4. rrhoe - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    They say if you play with fire you get burned,I hope the Wolves know what they doing.

    • SBoy - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:40 PM

      Same can be said for Golden State and Cleveland who may be kicking themselves if they miss out on Love for trying to low ball.

      • elcapitan1019 - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:20 PM

        That won’t happen. The Warriors are a very good team without Love, and so are the Cavs. They will be kicking themselves IF they make the trade and Love doesn’t sign an extension.

  5. arrondior - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    The longer they wait until the deadline, the more leverage they actually lose. The problem with waiting is that valuable players look even more valuable when they are performing well during the regular season. They really need to focus on getting above average players and draft picks. Also, waiting until the deadline in this case actually turns your locker room into a circus tent. Its just a bad idea. I know the Flip wants to win NOW because he’s the new coach but expecting to get an all-star player or potential all-star in exchange for Love is NOT going to happen.

    • tved12 - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:06 PM

      And another point, why would you trade Love to take back C-List players? A guy like Harrison Barnes or Anthony Bennett might be good enough to win you some games, but never enough to get over the hump. This means you’re stuck drafting 10-15 every year with no chance at the game changing player you need in the NBA.

      Again, the Wolves are better off letting Love walk than taking these offers. That way they have cap space and the chance at a top 5 lottery pick. Being mediocre and just missing the playoffs or losing in the first round isn’t what we’re looking for.

      • arrondior - Jul 17, 2014 at 4:45 PM

        Well first of all, having the worst record doesn’t mean you will be picking first in the draft (Cleveland proved that, AMIRITE?) or even in the top 5. The worst thing that you can do is invite a culture of losing to your ball club. It drives away fans AND free agents. Then there is the sobering reality that most of the leagues stars, were not #1 draft picks and there are quite a few that didn’t even go in the top 5. What you really want, for the long term health of your organization is increase your exposure to Round 1 talent in the draft while keeping your team as close to .500 as possible during a rebuild. You want to develop talent, attract a good coach, and when you do have a good foundation of young talent, be able to attract Talented Free agents.

        If Minnesota isn’t careful, they could end up being the Wizards/Bobcats of the Western Conference. These teams were bad for so long that no one wanted to coach these teams, traded players refused to play, and free agents would laugh at the notion of ever playing for those ball clubs.

        Its a delicate balance during a rebuild to make sure you are talented enough to keep the culture of the organization positive about the future while at the same time having to go through the pain of developing talent and recruiting/drafting the right players. Now I see that rumor that Minn. would trade Love for Wiggins. That’s not awful but I would want Wiggins and draft picks too. But I’m sticking by my statement that no GM in the league is going to give up proven talent for Love and his current contract.

      • tved12 - Jul 17, 2014 at 5:57 PM

        But having better odds, it’s likely you’re going to get into the top 5.

        Also, I don’t see it as a total rebuild. If KLove walks, this team is a lottery team the next year. It’s not like MN brings in a bunch of free agents now, and we had trouble getting a coach this year. You’re not introducing something new, this is what mid-market, mid-western, cold weather teams have to do. You have to go through stretches of being bad so you can get good picks in the draft.

        And you want me to believe that most stars in the league weren’t top 5 picks? Please. Teams that are competing have very good top of the draft picks, or they can lure free agents. The Wolves currently have neither.

        Also, you’re idea that you need to hover around .500 is terrible. The Wolves have been doing that for a few years now and it’s just a cycle. You’re stuck hovering, picking mid round and getting guys that help you stay around .500. Fans are getting smarter. I’d rather endure 2 really bad seasons for 5 years of playoff runs, rather than hover around .500, bounced out of the first round a few times over the next decade. Then you’re the Pheonix Suns or Atlanta Hawks.

  6. lakerade - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    Golden State and Cleveland could offer their entire rosters, there is still no deal unless Love agrees to opt in or extend. It’s all on his preference, regardless of the offers made or Minnesota’s acceptance of those offers. All Taylor’s comments tell me is that Love doesn’t want to go to those two cities.

    • llfreedman - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:05 PM

      Love is on record saying he’ll sign in Cleveland dude…

      • casualcommenter - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:34 PM

        Yep. He’s open to Golden State, Boston, and Cleveland because they got LeBron.

        The Timberwolves are trying to play those 3 teams off each other to maximize the price they get in return for Love. At this point, the Warriors refuse to give up Thompson, the Cavs want to keep Wiggins, and Boston probably isn’t willing to give up enough of their future picks (and they have a ton) to please the Timberwolves.

  7. csbanter - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    Love can force the T-Wolves hand by stating that he won’t sign a contract extension no matter who they trade him to. Taylor then faces the prospect of losing him for nothing. Love holds the upper hand here.

    • chiadam - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      Then he can spend the season in Minnesota, because no one will trade for a player that says that. Cleveland sure won’t give up Wiggins if Love takes that stance. And if Love does that, he can also look forward to the same decision that Carmelo faced: take the $129 million or so in Minnesota or take a whole lot less elsewhere.

  8. duhwighthoward - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    I can’t wait til he signs a two year deal with an opt out after the first year, so that you can subject to me articles speculating about his future every single day for another two years.

  9. elcapitan1019 - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    Love’s issue with the FO derives from how offended he was when David Kahn designated Rubio as the player who he would reserve the designated player who receives a five year extension instead of Love. That’s the big difference between his and Aldridge’s situation.

    And, they are deluded if they think the Wolves are a playoff team. There are 9-10 teams ahead of them: San Antonio, OkC, LAC, GSW, Portland, Dallas, Houston, Memphis, Phoenix and Denver. All of them have made improvements, maybe except Houston.

    The Wolves camp will be very interesting if they keep Love. The other players expected him to be a leader, not a selfish stat accumulator.

  10. elcapitan1019 - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    As a GSW fan, I don’t trust Love’s word that he’s willing to sign an extension. He either signs an extension, not opt in, or there’s not going to be a deal, the Warriors front office is not that dumb. If he will only opt in, I would give up much less. Thompson and Wiggins are too valuable to their teams and they will not be dealt.

    I think Love will ultimately end up with the Lakers as an unrestricted FA, no matter who he ends up with either this summer or at the deadline. He lives in LA.

  11. tved12 - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    Help me understand folks, I’ve seen many comments saying the Wolves should move now or they’re going to lose out on a deal for Love. What I’m wondering is, what could GSW or CLE pull off the table that would make the Wolves say, “I wish we would have pulled the trigger sooner so we didn’t miss out on _____.”

    When you say the Wolves don’t have leverage, fine, they can’t force the other teams hand. That said, what leverage does anybody else have on the Wolves? They would be better off letting him walk then taking back bad contracts and ok players. If I’m Flip I would continue to hold out, there’s nothing I’m going to regret if one or both of these teams pulls their deal.

    • elcapitan1019 - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:26 PM

      The leverage other teams have is that they do NOT have to make a deal whereas the Wolves HAVE to make a deal or Love will opt out and become an unrestricted FA next summer and the Cavs will be left holding an empty bag with nothing to show for him.

      As for letting him walk, the other factor is that with the exception of Barea, who they had to grossly overpay, NO star player who is a FA has ever come to Minnesota. So, they will have cap room if Love leaves but will be a really bad team with no one else on the roster who could replace him. Look at the roster, Love is only one of two PF on that team and the other guy I have never heard of.

      The Warriors are offering Lee, who’s contract will be an expiring one next summer, averages 18.2ppg and 9.1rpg, and Harrison Barnes, who is still on his rookie deal so not expensive, and a future #1 pick. So, you mean to tell me you’d rather have Love walk for nothing??

      • tved12 - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:54 PM

        Yes, I’d rather have Love walk for nothing. Lee doesn’t put up those numbers in MN, and Barnes is not a game changer.

        The Wolves are better off being a terrible team and trying to rebuild in the draft. You said it, no star players want to come in FA so you either trade for them or draft them. Getting Barnes and Lee to make you a borderline .500 team isn’t worth it. Throw in a 25+ draft pick, and you’re still not getting anything worth while.

        Also, CLE doesn’t want Love going to free agency. They won’t be able to clear the cap space to get him. Same thing with GSW. If either of those teams look like borderline title contenders, they likely make that trade in season.

        Also, do you think GSW or CLE will pull their current deal? I don’t, which means the Wolves can make that deal any time. That means the Wolves have no reason to make the move now, they’re smart to wait it out.

      • elcapitan1019 - Jul 18, 2014 at 2:43 PM

        tved, once the season starts, it’s hard to break up the chemistry of contending teams. Can you name me ONE contender who has done that successfully, trying to incorporate a major player into their rotation at the end of February???

        Also, take a look at the Wolves draft history. They could have had Steph Curry and Ricky Rubio at picks 5 and 6 but Kahn made the franchise changing (for the worst) by drafting Jonny Flynn. If he had made the logical choice, we would not be having this Love conversation and the Wolves and Warriors would probably flip spots in the Western Conference hierarchy.

        They’ve drafted Zack Lavine, a project; Trey Burke, a useful bonafide NBA player, BUT they traded him to the Jazz; Derrick Williams, also traded away and a bust; Wesley Johnson, another bust; These were high draft lottery picks, Williams 2nd, Johnson 4th, Burke 9th. Rubio and Flynn were 5 and 6; OJ Mayo 3rd (they got lucky and traded him for Love);Corey Brewer 7th, Brandon Roy 6th and they traded HIM away.

        So, in the end, they only have Rubio and Brewer to show for all those top 10 lottery picks. You’re going to be a senior citizen before they ever rebuild at this kind of judgment of talent.

  12. seasickcecil - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:29 PM

  13. seasickcecil - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    It appears that the Cavs are now willing to include Andrew Wiggins in Kevin Love trade. See link above.

  14. pukpokito - Jul 18, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    yeah? well my preference is for Love to come to camp and for the season too..and he leaves you for nothing when he becomes a free agent.

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