Flip Saunders says he expects Kevin Love to be with Wolves next season
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MINNEAPOLIS - With the NBA draft less than a month away, speculation has been escalating around the possibility of the Timberwolves trading All-Star forward Kevin Love this offseason.
Meanwhile, Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders is doing what he can to downplay the notion.
"My position hasn't changed," Saunders said Sunday, speaking to reporters at the Target Center after wrapping up the Wolves' latest round of draft prospect workouts. "Last I knew Kevin was under contract with us. I expect him to be playing for us next year."
Love triggered a social media stir on Saturday after he was spotted hanging out in the city of Boston. The Celtics are one of the teams rumored to be a potential landing spot for Love, either by trade or after next season when he can opt out of his contract.
Some fans and media members were quick to wildly theorize Love was on a scouting trip of sorts.
When asked about Love's trip, Saunders responded slyly, "I don't really dictate where guys go on vacation or what they do. They can go wherever they want to go."
Saunders acknowledged there are numerous teams positioning themselves to make a run at Love, but he maintained a stance against the possibility of a trade being imminent.
"I know there is a feeding frenzy out there from a lot of teams," Saunders said. "Unfortunately they have no say. Like I said, I plan on Kevin being here."
Although he didn't completely shut out the idea of Love being traded at some point, Saunders cautioned Celtics fans and others from reading too far into the rumors out there.
"Anybody can be traded, but I really believe anyone looking into that, those are pipe dreams," Saunders said. "They have no bearing on where anyone is at, what's happening, because no one has any idea what's happening."
Saunders to meet with Glen Taylor this week
It's been six weeks since Rick Adelman announced his retirement and the Wolves still remain in search for their next coach.
Saunders has been careful not to put a timetable on when he expects to have a coach in place, but he noted Sunday there's "probably a better chance" it happens before the June 26th draft than afterward.
Saunders plans to meet with Wolves owner Glen Taylor at some point this week to discuss where the team stands in their search and with other offseason plans.
The Wolves appeared on the verge hiring Memphis' Dave Joerger last week before he reverted course and chose to stay with the Grizzlies. While Joerger and the Wolves were closing in on a possible deal, Saunders insisted he has yet to officially extend a job offer to a candidate.
"We haven't really offered the job," Saunders said. "We talked to one person that we got to the point where it was pretty extensive. There's the perception that people are turning our job down, that's not true."
Syracuse's Jerami Grant was among the six prospects the Wolves brought in for a workout on Sunday morning. It would seem to be a stretch if the Wolves were to gamble on the 6-foot-8, 20-year-old forward with their No. 13 overall pick, but Grant has been projected as a likely late first-round pick.
Joining Grant at Sunday's workout were Keith Appling (guard, Michigan State), Jabari Brown (forward, Missouri), Nedim Buza (forward, Bosnia), Dwight Powell (forward, Stanford) and Scottie Wilbekin (guard, Florida).
Powell and Brown could be possible options for the Wolves with one of their three second round selections (No. 40, No. 44 and No. 53).