It appears that Timberwolves all-star power forward Kevin Love is running low on patience with his franchise.
In a recent interview with Yahoo Sports, Love expressed his displeasure with the losing culture in Minnesota and how he desperately wants to be competing in the NBA playoffs sooner rather than later.
“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.”
“At this point, I’m not afraid to go on the record. Being around these [USA] guys, they know the situation I’m in and how competitive I am. I want to win. All the players on the Timberwolves feel the same way, as well. The coaching staff is awesome. They want to win and win now. Hopefully, we can make some stuff happen.
“I would say it’s coming down to it for sure [next season]. It’s no secret I was willing to commit to Minnesota for five years. I’m very happy with my contract. I’d love to be in Minnesota. But like anybody else, I want to win.”
By reading his comments, I think it’s safe to say that he has no ill-will towards his coaching staff, teammates or management. As any athlete would, all Love wants to do is win basketball games and be competing for championships.
Since being drafted by the team back in 2008-09, the Timberwolves have yet to qualify for the NBA playoffs with Love on board. The Wolves also have yet to break the 26-win mark. The teams most productive year was this past season when they went 26-40 in a 66-game season.
By all accounts, that was considered a major step forward for the franchise.
On a USA team that is chalk full of NBA all-stars and all-world talent, Love and teammate Deron Williams of the Brooklyn Nets are the only 2 players on the roster who didn’t compete in the NBA playoffs this past year. It must be disheartening to know that he was only one of two players who didn’t see any postseason action while the rest of his teammates got to feel the adrenaline rush that comes with playing meaningful playoff games in May-June.
GM David Kahn has made it clear in recent weeks that he is willing to surround Love with the necessary talent to get this team over the proverbial hump in the Western Conference. The Timberwolves came to a 2-year deal with former Blazers all-star Brandon Roy who announced his retirement back in December due to chronic and nagging knee injuries. Former Rockets forward Chase Budinger was also acquired in a trade for the teams 18th pick prior to the NBA Draft. Minnesota just recently agreed to a contract offer with heralded Blazers forward Nicolas Batum, but Portland has the right to match as Batum is a restricted free-agent.
With the new talent, a healthy and returning Ricky Rubio (who had a tremendous year 1 in the league) as well as an up-and-coming center in Nikola Pekovic, the Wolves seem poised to make a big turnaround in the 2012-13 season.
However, the potential to win games won’t be enough for Kevin Love. This team needs to start showing it’s improvement on the court rather than in theory.
Love will be playing in the first year of his 4-year, $62 million dollar extension with the ball club starting next season. He has the option to opt out after 3 years if he so chooses. If this team doesn’t continue to improve and start making playoff appearances, we may start hearing rumours of Love’s departure from the team as we have in recent months with guys like Dwight Howard.
“If we don’t make the playoffs, I don’t know it’s going to be me or something, but our management needs to step up and make some moves. Chase is good for us. Brandon if he can come in relatively healthy and be back to somewhat of where he was … we can be pretty damn good, especially in the fourth quarter with how he used to be [with the Trail Blazers] with LaMarcus [Aldridge] in the pick-and-roll. If Ricky can come back healthy that would be great.
“But I think our front office and ownership needs to step up and get us some pieces. We need to make some moves. We can’t just stand still. We have to make this happen.”
Kevin is absolutely justified with his comments. He’s a competitor in every sense of the word. He wants to see this Wolves team succeed. With all of the hard work he’s put in to becoming arguably the best power forward in the game, all he wants now is to see the fruit of his labor.
This Minnesota team is certainly good enough with the players they have now to make a legitimate run at a playoff spot.
Potential can only take you so far though.
It’s time for results.
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports