Friday, July 13, 2012

Kevin Love and The Lust For More

Before last season, the Minnesota Timberwolves were a laughingstock. Ever since the Garnett, the Timberwolves haven't surpassed the 30 win mark in a season. At one point, it seemed like Minnesota would never get out of this rut. Whenever it seemed like the situation would get better, it always got worse. From Al Jefferson’s ACL tear, to Jonny Flynn’s hip surgery, to losing out on number one picks for three years in a row. It seemed like Minnesota needed a run of success, but as the loses piled up, many wondered if it would ever come.

As luck would have it, Minnesota began to turn it around this past season. Thanks to rookies Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams, plus the emergence of second year man Nikola Pekovic, Minnesota was on the cusp of the playoffs before injuries hindered that. At the same time, superstar Kevin Love was in line for a contract extension, an extension where Kevin could receive a five-year max contract. As the deadline for the extension loomed, the Timberwolves balked on Love’s demands, pushing for Love to sign a four-year max contract. Love wanted to sign the full five-year max. Before the deadline, Love and Minnesota agreed to a four-year contract extension worth 62 million, where Love could opt-out after the third season. In short, it was very odd that Minnesota wanted to commit to Love, but not fully, whereas Love wanted to commit to the franchise for five seasons, only to see Minnesota hold out on him. 
Well, after the 26-40 seasons, Kevin Love saw it as the perfect time to voice his feelings about his past, and what he wants for his future. According to Marc Spears and Yahoo Sports, Kevin Love desires more. In the article (found HERE), Love said in an interview with Yahoo Sports: 

"My patience is not high." "Would yours be, especially when I'm a big proponent of greatness surrounding itself with greatness? All these [Team USA] guys seem to have great players around them. "It's tough seeing all these guys that are young and older who have all played in the playoffs. When they start talking about that, I have nothing to talk about. If I don’t make the playoffs next year I don’t know what will happen."
Using those quote, Kevin Love showed two emotions. The first is embarrassment, embarrassment at the idea that when his teammates are discussing different playoff situations and accolades throughout their career, Love has nothing to hang his hat on. He's put up amazing numbers, but there's nothing he can point to that could be used in a boastful matter, and maybe that bothers him. The second? Anger. Anger at the fact he's doing everything he can on the court for this team, and nothing has been achieved. The threat from Kevin Love (which is empty since he signed up for another three seasons) of not knowing what the future holds could be considered petty, but fair. I have no issue with Love doing it at all..and here's why: 
When discussing Love’s disappointment with Minnesota, you must remember that he didn’t get his max contract. Whether he deserved it or not is irrelevant, Kevin Love is the longest tenured Timber wolf, and after years and years of turmoil and flipping the roster, Kevin Love never bickered, never complained, and never hinted at wanting to leave Minnesota. In Love’s first three seasons as a member of the T-Wolves, Minnesota’s record is 56-190. After a season where Minnesota saw a moderate amount of success, Love doesn’t want anyone in the organization to get complacent. After building up this roster in hopes of Rubio to come over, the time has come to go from a rebuilding team, to a legitimate playoff contender, and Love sees this. At this point, it isn’t winning a championship, but merely cracking the top eight in the West, something Minnesota did before injuries hampered the team.
While he didn't exactly name names, Love also called out the front office, and with reason, that Minnesota front office is terrible. If this were any other franchise, I would concede that maybe the player needs to give it a chance, but in this case, Minnesota is currently strapped with the worst GM in basketball. In the David Khan era, Minnesota was known for some dubious free agent signings (Ramon Sessions, Luke Ridnour, Darko Milicic), made some bad trades (moving Al Jefferson with three years left on his contract for two non-lottery picks), and some baffling draft picks (Jonny Flynn over Stephen Curry? Wes Johnson over DeMarcus Cousins and Greg Monroe? Derrick Williams over Jonas Valanciunas (maybe)). If any front office should feel the heat, it’s David Khan and the Minnesota front office.
I think Kevin Love just wants to see this team succeed. He’s been a member of Minnesota for five seasons, and he wants this team to contend for not only division crowns, but also championships. Begging for more help is a risky proposition because it almost never works out. Other than Boston and Los Angeles appeasing their aging wings with do it all big men, teams like Cleveland, Toronto, Denver, and now Orlando, have all struggled to build around their superstar with the correct long-term pieces. In all cases, those teams had to deal with their superstar either wanting out or leaving for greener pastures. To Minnesota’s credit, they’ve been very aggressive in free agency. Swapping their 2011 draft pick for Chase Budinger, being revealed as the mystery team talking to Ray Allen, taking a risk on Brandon Roy, signing forward Nicolas Batum to a hefty offer sheet, the Timberwolves have not sat on their thumbs this offseason. 
Maybe this will eventually appease Love, but for now? He just wants the franchise to do more.  


Anonymous said...

Jonny Flynn over Stephen Curry? Wes Johnson over DeMarcus Cousins and Greg Monroe? Derrick Williams over Jonas Valanciunas (maybe)). If any front office should feel the heat, it’s David Khan and the Minnesota front office. ARE U FUCKING KIDDING ME... DO THE FRONT OFFICE WATCH COLLEGE BALL AT ALL

Mitch McClure said...

Great read. It's not like it would be hard to find a frontcourt center to play beside Love. Brook Lopez and Chris Kaman are two centers they should'a went after. If Al Jefferson were on the Wolves today, Minnesota would be dangerous. Still a team with potential, Pekovic's efficient game and Derrick Williams has only played one season so I wouldn't label him yet

Jacob Noble said...

Good point mitch, however, Al Jefferson/Love front court couldn't stop us in the post.

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