“I don’t know who labels people stars, but even [T'wolves owner] Glen Taylor said: I don’t think Kevin Love is a star, because he hasn’t led us to the playoffs. I mean, it’s not like I had much support out there.
“That’s a tough pill to swallow.”(Yahoo)
Those are harsh words from an NBA owner who undoubtedly has zero faith in his franchise player, which seems outrageous considering the talent of one Kevin Love.
Yes, Love is as good as advertised, despite what Mr. Taylor and even GM David Kahn choose to believe.
Remember, it was Kahn who shoved a contract offer into Love’s face at the end of a Timberwolves loss in a very unprofessional and undignified manner. Things aren’t peaches and cream between those two either.
“I’m not the one to always follow professional protocol – but I do know what it is, even at 24 years old,” Love says.
Back in October, Kevin broke his hand in a freak accident while doing knuckle pushups. That injury kept him out of action up until a few weeks ago. There were higher-ups in the organization who doubted how severe the injury really was, which clearly left a bad taste in the mouth of Love.
“Even people in my own organization were asking if it was a legitimate injury, people calling my honesty and integrity into question. And that’s what really hurt me.”
To just add icing to the cake of real issues that exist between Love and the Wolves powers that be, the constant roster shuffle that exists year in and year out (you can blame Kahn for that) has Kevin questioning the long-term course this franchise is setting itself on.
“You walk into the locker room every year, and it’s completely turned over. There’s new guys everywhere. And then it happens again and again. You start to wonder: Is there really a plan here? Is there really any kind of a … plan?”
The beautiful part of all of this (at least for Love) is that Kevin basically holds all of the cards right in the palm of his hand.
He’s signed with the team through 2015 (when he can opt-out of his contract) after agreeing to a four-year, $62 million dollar deal last season. David Kahn didn’t see fit to offer Kevin the max deal and distinguish him as the Timberwolves franchise player for the next five years.
Kevin deserved that title. He worked hard for it. His outright commitment to the city and the franchise was extremely honourable.
Through all of that, Love now has the right to leave town in a few more years unless management can not only surround him with a playoff worthy team, but a championship contender.
“I haven’t been in the playoffs yet. I’m looking at my contract in the eye of two years from now, and if I haven’t been to the playoffs – or it’s been one playoff berth – well, it’s going to be tough to say, ‘Oh well, I’m going to stay here and continue to rebuild.’ ”
Why do you think owner Glen Taylor (according to Love of course) said those things about his star? Sure, Kevin hasn’t taken Minnesota to the playoffs since his tenure with the team began, but he’s the best they got, by far.
Since returning from his injury (through nine game), Love is averaging 21.2 points and 14.2 rebounds. He’s an all-NBA type player, an Olympic gold medalist and an NBA all-star who is continuously getting better night in and night out.
Kevin’s demands aren’t extreme by any stretch of the imagination. He wants the Wolves to see some postseason action, as do all fans of the team. He only feels that it will finally happen if the right pieces are added to surround him and point guard Ricky Rubio.
“Look at different teams around the league. Look at a San Antonio that continues to add talent around [Tim] Duncan and [Manu] Ginobili and [Tony] Parker. Look at what happens in Oklahoma City, the players they continue to add around their star players. Even the trade they had where they lost [James] Harden, they still added players that were going to fit well in their system. And speaking of small markets, look at a team like Memphis and all they’ve been able to accomplish. They’re getting the most out of their entire organization.”
All of this controversy surrounding Kevin and whether or not he is a legitimate star for the Wolves has only motivated him to work harder and take his game to places it’s never been before. Minnesota will only benefit from that work-ethic until his contract expires.
Losing a player the caliber of Love this early in his career would be devastating to this franchise. You’d think the owner and GM would be kissing his butt non-stop to make him happy and keep him in Minnesota for the duration of his hopefully long and prosperous career, but in fact, the opposite seems to be taking place.
What a sad state of affairs this has turned into.