Love Signs Deal, Wolves On Notice



HANG TIME MIDWEST BUREAU – Sometimes, less really is more. That motto of minimalists and Hoarders Anonymous resonated Wednesday morning with the news of forward Kevin Love’s decision to sign a contract extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves for less than the maximum deal he could have received.

Rather than a “max-max” offer that never came — a maximum salary for the full five years, worth about $80 million — Love agreed to a four-year deal that includes an early-termination option after three seasons. So besides getting a guarantee of approximately $61 million should he decide to stay all four seasons, Love and his agent Jeff Schwartz got the double-doubling power forward a free look after the 2014-15 season.

I asked Love about that flexibility in a conference hook-up set up by the Wolves Wednesday from Dallas:

“Yeah, early-termination option after the third year is definitely keeping my options open,” ┬áLove said. “I want to see where this team is gonna head. I want to continue for us to keep getting better. I feel that we are and that we will get better. But at the same time, [with] the early-termination, I can still extend as well. So I can be a part of this team for a long time. I’m not really thinking about that too much. I’m looking at it as a four-year deal and we’ll go from there.”

Is that as good as the five-year deal his pal from UCLA, Russell Westbrook, got from the Oklahoma City Thunder? Or draftmate Derrick Rose inked in Chicago? In sheer dollars, no. But in this particular case, Love might be better off. Remember, the tricky part about locking in for five years is that he’d be committing to the Timberwolves for as long as they’d be committing to him. And right now, Love is more of a sure thing at 24 points and 13 rebounds nightly than the intriguing-but-hardly proven basketball team in Minnesota and the civilians that operate it.

Re-upping cornerstone guys is one thing; Minnesota has done it before with Kevin Garnett and Al Jefferson. But finding the right help to put around them, and saying no to the wrong pieces, is something the franchise has struggled with. Whether drafting, trading or assessing free agents, past and present regimes at Target Center have whiffed in both directions. The Wolves have churned under both Kevin McHale and David Kahn as chief basketball execs, with and without Garnett and Jefferson on board. That has resulted in too-frequent coaching changes and seven straight lottery finishes.

If this were Boston, Chicago, the Lakers or even the Thunder — teams with track records of postseason ambitions and front offices nimble enough to achieve them — locking in for five might be OK. But the Timberwolves need to have their paws held to the fire to make sure they stay on task and this is one way to do it. While Love is giving up some long-term financial security, he’s gaining more control over his competitive future.

He had to forsake millions of dollars to do it — not that Minnesota was talking five years, anyway, which he admitted he wanted badly — but the ETO beats the alternative of finding himself someday as the Wolves’ only valuable piece, alone on a shelf, his season ending in April every year. Besides, barring severe injury, Love will still be only 26 years old on July 1, 2015, by which time a whole series of Timberwolves decisions will determine whether the team faces its own version of The Decision.

In the course of painting a rosy, Ricky Rubio-Rick Adelman-Derrick Williams picture of the Wolves’ future — it really was a happy day overall for Love and the Wolves — the All-Star forward said: “I”ve always played with a chip on shoulder and that’s not going to change.”

He just has more say now as to how big it is, and when and where he wears it.

47 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    Most of you sound like you don’t even watch the team play. I’ve seen almost every game this season and I can give it to you straight. This team already has a winning formula in Rubio, Love, and Williams. (see Parker, Duncan, Ginobli). They do need to trade Beasley. Darko needs to get more energetic and make better decisions on offense. Johnson is finally starting to drive the ball and is becoming now a slashing threat which is making his three point game better, not to mention his solid defense. When Webster comes back we’ll have three 6th man fo the year contenders coming off the bench (Barea, Ellington). Pekovic is a beast off the bench. This team has all the pieces in place, and most of them are really young. They just need some time to get better. If they’re not in the playoffs at the end of the season they’ll be knocking on the door. Big things ahead, no doubt!

  2. DRoSe says:

    Im not a fan of Wolves… The problem of this team, its only the management….. they dont know whats good of this team….

  3. GiveLOVEtoCELTICS says:

    It would be nice if Kevin Love would just join the celtics now. Look at KG, he won a ring with the green boys :D

  4. JDish says:

    I think this was a much better choice for Kevin Love. Its not the long term 5-year deal, but its still a 4-year deal that is still worth good money… I mean c’mon it’s still $40-50 million, the max being $61 mil. And in the NBA situations change fast so its just better to have options when the time comes. At the same time 3 or 4 years down the road Minnesota could be a very competitive power house team, and K Love could then look at his options and just sign for a few more years with the team. Good Move.

  5. Boy Pickup says:

    Its a win-win for both Love and Minny. For the team, they can have flexibility for roster tweaks. As for Love, at the end of his 3rd-4th year of the contract, he’d still be at the age that doesnt peak yet. If he improves throughout these years, A LOT of teams will be begging for his services when he becomes a free agent. As for now, he is in the position of transforming a poor team into a contender. But if that didnt happen, he’d still be getting his big pay day afterwards. And this is without the drama of forcing the team to trade him or anything.

  6. lance pier says:

    I’m Kahn, i go after Eric Gordon and Javal Mc Gee like mad.

  7. Liz says:

    I believe that Mr Love will still be 26 in 2015 serious injury or no.

  8. armin halvadzic says:

    I’m sorry but if Kevin Love is now in his prime then he’s not better then KG during his time on the Wolves. Sure his numbers are amazing and he is a double-double monster but to put him above Garnett he has to show me those actions in the playoffs and under some pressure.Well,first he has to get there and I’m sure they will. People had doubts about Rubio including my self,but so far he’s proving us wrong.On the other hand I don’t feel like Derrick Williams is already showing what he can do. So let’s just hope he developes in a guy who produces every night. They have to think about their center position to. I’m not sure how Brad Miller is gonna click in to the rotation coming back from the injury. But if you take all in consdering the Wolves have all the tools to do well in this league and Rick Adelman should be a man to show the way.

    And about that talk betwen Griffin and Love . Who do I take ?
    I’m more on the Love side. I know that Griffin made more highlights in the first 3 months in the league then some guys do in their entire carriers but just highlights don’t win games. Kevin is a outstanding rebounder and a much better shooter. Griffin will improve specially now playing alongside CP3 but so far Kevin is showing more basketball skill .
    Kevin Love is supposed to be the hardest working man in the nba. That also counts.

  9. 17,6 says:

    no disrespect 2 kevin love man but don’t compare him 2 KG just yet…stats don’t always tell the story…it was funny i was watchin a tnt game last time i can’t remember which one and chuck was arguing not 2 judge a player’s number when they were playin on a bad team and he goes on 2 talk about kevin love bein the best PF on the western conference…dude the wolves r improved no doubt, but they’re still a plus-500 team…KG won an MVP and he took the wolves 2 the WCF in 04…and in 08 he won the Defensive Player of the Yr award and a championship…and don’t 4get the yr right after that the celtics struggled 2 make it past the bulls in the 1st round without him and wit him made it 2 the finals the yr after that…and i’m a laker fan praising this 5th yr celtic but the fact is KG is rather accomplished and 2 be sayin Love is better is absolutely ridiculous…maybe Love will get there but 4 now don’t compare there is nothin 2 compare Love hasn’t been on a winnin team yet, let alone 2 the playoffs…he is only 24 so he has a while 2 be an accomplished player but 4 now he is a 1 time all star (even though i think z-bo, aldridge, and ellis were wrongfully not elected 2 the all star game last season) who got a 4yr contract thats it don’t get ahead of urselves ppl…

  10. Vlad says:

    Love is better than Garnett. They must trade Beasley because that guy is a slacker.

  11. armin halvadzic says:

    I hate this. I just wrote allot about Minesotta and they won’t even show my comment :D grrr

  12. armin halvadzic says:

    mmm

  13. Julxz says:

    They need a good defender center… Other players don’t move the ball so well and oftentimes dont share to teammates. They should also concentrate more on defense… Good thing is that they have a young but plays like veteran player like rubio and love..

  14. peeps says:

    the wolves problem is David Kahn, and before him it was McHale … Bad decesions lead to bad teams … it seems like more of the same, Kevin Love is a really nice guy, too nice … seriously, the wolves aren’t making the playoffs …Love is a great player but Minnesota is a lost cause.

  15. Bok says:

    Is it possible for the Wolves to trade Beasley for Favors (Nets), Hibbert (Pacers) or Jordan (Clippers)?

  16. Bsally says:

    Trade Ridnour, Beasley and Wes for Jimmer and Cousins and draft pick. and then darko and a pick for a good veteran SF that can score and play good D.
    PG – Rubio
    SG – Webster/Jimmer
    SF – Williams
    PF – Love
    C – Cousins
    Have Barea, Ellington and Randolph and other SF coming off bench..

  17. god says:

    If they aren’t going to pay you… tell them thanks, but peace out. I’m going to join the clippers. lol

  18. FINrAcS1415 says:

    Go to Lakers kevin love im sure you get a ring..the lakers in scoring load…

  19. Jordan says:

    With a core of Love, Rubio and Williams, the Wolves will be a legit contender in a few years IF they are able to surround them with the right pieces. And remember, this is Minnesota we are talking about.

  20. carlosjr says:

    it could been trade even luck ridnour for it….
    it will be…
    G- Rubio
    G- Webster
    F- Williams
    F- Love
    C- cousine
    6th man- barrea

  21. carlosjr says:

    ye i agree to trade Beasly they can trade it to sacramento kings for center Demarcuse Cousine that will be fit on thw wolves for young promising team….

  22. ShakenBake says:

    Trade Beasley his is of no use anyway and just takes playing time and room for growth of Derrick Williams. Trade Beasley to a reliable center.

    PG> Rubio
    SG> Martell Webster
    SF> Derrick Williams
    PF> Kevin Love
    C> ???
    6th> Wesley Johnson

    • Ethan says:

      Martell Webster isnt even on the team anymore

    • A says:

      Except you know, Derrick Williams is not a SF at all and that is why we need beasley. Also beasley is the only other guy we can rely on to score but sure, play D Will at SF like we have been the last few days and wonder why our defense is awful, until he learns to post up 3s properly then he can’t play at SF

    • Ongpong says:

      rent Chris Kaman for beasley for this year only lets see what happens.

    • Dee says:

      You’re right, trade beasley for another strong bigman, but I would start wesley johnson because he’s got too much potential.

    • ismah al-aziz says:

      go after roy hibbert…………..

  23. Larry O'Connor says:

    Beasley can put up some numbers but his personality doesn’t fit the team well. He seems like a guy that wants to play but winning is optional and defense is someone else’s job.!

  24. Beasleyizwhack says:

    The only way they could get better is if they trade or release Michael Beasley, that guy needs to leave that team, can’t even play defense for god sakes.. Start Williams instead.

  25. js says:

    its a little off base to compare his contract to westbrook and drose. both of those guys are on playoff teams and teams that will be so for a while. production is great, and k-love is a beast. but think of the extra year and that little bit of money more for those PGs as the success bonus

  26. charlesford says:

    after three years would he become a restricted or unrestricted free agent?

  27. Patrick says:

    Charles,

    The Wolves problem was never the money that they gave KG, it was always the foolish money they spent on players that stank (see Hudson, Troy; Smith, Joe; Olowakandi, Micheal).

    They also let good, cheap talent go. They could have kept Chauncey had they promised him playing time (not money, time). The same was true of Bobby Jackson.

    And the option is to become unrestricted. He’ll be 27. Three guesses as to whether or not a few teams will offer him max money.

  28. charles says:

    does early termination mean he has the option to become a restricted free agent or an unrestricted free agent?

  29. charles says:

    Look, the wolves have been down this path before. They signed an absurd talent in Kevin Garnet but couldn’t even get into the top four. The reason? They signed him for so much money, that they couldn’t get him a decent side kick. Garnet was good enough to be the best player for a championship team. But Kevin love is not. If Kevin Love wants to win a championship, it would be to the best interest of all parties to leave some room to sign additional talent – including that one talent that can push them over the top.

    • Nick says:

      Kevin Love is every bit as good a player as Kevin Garnett was-maybe better. Look at the stats, man. He’s a double-double machine – leading the league. Plus he’s the fourth leading scorer in the league behind Kobe, Lebron and Durant, he makes 3′s and is #2 in rebounding behind Dwight Howard!

      • alo says:

        Garnett and Duncan both had great defense, sth Love lacks, and Garnett was more versatile and could handle the ball and cross any pf or c in the league back in his prime. Also, it’s not all about the stats, it’s about how you lead the team, take over games and influence the game. Kevin Love doesn’t even command a double team Vs. Garnett and Duncan did it on a nightly basis. Love shouldn’t even be in this conversation until he can lead his team to the western final.

    • Doug says:

      Tim Duncan was good enough to be the best player on 3 or 4 championship teams. Kevin Love is every bit as good as Duncan in 1998–probably better. They do need more talent to win a championship–but Love lacking franchise player potential isn’t the reason.

      • Jon says:

        Oye…Offensively, YES. Love is every bit as good as Duncan a la ’98. But to say he is as good as he was Defensively is absurd. Not even worth arguing over.