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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – One of our most cherished traditions here at the hideout is coming to an end and we didn’t even realize it until just now.
All those days spent joking at the expense of the Minnesota Timberwolves could soon be a thing of the past. That laughing at Timberwolves GM David Kahn for something he either said or did might be over.
And it has everything to do with the fact that the Timberwolves had arguably the best pound-for-pound offseason of any team in the league. Rick Adelman comes aboard as coach. Heralded rookies Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams join the rotation along with solid veteran pick up and Adelman fave Brad Miller. And All-Star Kevin Love (the bearded, slender gentleman in the video above) shed a few pounds and looks like he’s in All-Star form heading into the start of training camp.
After a couple of years of trying to fit the right players into the wrong system, Adelman will bring a talent-friendly scheme to a deep and promising roster that needed just the right fit in a head coach.
While it’s far too early to set foot on thin ice and predict this team will rise into the ranks of Western Conference playoff contenders, it is fair to say that they’ve got our full attention right now.
And they also have a huge decision to make regarding Love and his immediate future. With the “Derrick Rose Rule” that is included in the new collective bargaining agreement, Love’s next contract is a front-burner issue for Kahn. And Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune says the young star is thinking big:
Much like the Wolves were faced with a franchise-defining decision whether to break the bank to sign a youngster named Kevin Garnett 14 years ago, the Wolves soon will have to decide whether the face of the franchise right now will become THE centerpiece worthy of such a deal.
If the Wolves don’t sign Love to a contract extension in the coming weeks, he could become a restricted free agent next summer.
If someone offers him a max contract then, the Wolves simply could choose to match the offer then and keep him.
If Love decides not to sign an offer sheet with another team then, he could play the 2012-13 on a $6.1 million qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2013.
Love said all the right things on Sunday — he loves Minnesota, he likes the changes the Wolves have made but he wants to see results — but also seemed at peace when he basically said, maybe it will happen and maybe it won’t.
He implied he’s worth a max deal without directly saying it.
What would you if you were the Wolves?
Sign him now? And at what price?
Wait through this season and then retain the right to match any offers next season?
Entertain trade offers for him, and for who or what?
The interesting subplot in this negotiation:
Love’s agent is Jeff Schwartz, who representing Al Jefferson when he was in this same situation four years ago.
Jefferson accepted a five-year, $65 million deal and Schwartz was none too happy that Jefferson left money on the table to re-sign with the team who traded Kevin Garnett for him.
Let’s see if Schwartz compensates for that one by trying to win this one big.
Whatever happens with Love’s new deal, you better get all your best Timberwolves jokes in during training camp. Because this team could be poised for a serious change in scenery this season.