Kevin Love refutes report he wants out, downplays it as another rumor
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Kevin Love was put on the defensive Thursday after a report came out late Wednesday night claiming the All-Star forward had informed the Minnesota Timberwolves he would be opting out of his contract, which runs until 2015.
Love met with reporters after the Wolves wrapped up practice and firmly refuted the report that had been generated by longtime NBA columnist Peter Vecsey.
"We laughed about it today," Love said. "It's a media driven story. For the past couple of years, I just can't believe some of the stuff that has come out."
Vecsey's claims surfaced on Twitter shortly after Love posted 42 points and 16 rebounds in the Wolves' eye-catching upset of the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.
Vecsey issued a series of tweets saying Love was "forcing a premature exit" out of Minnesota. He also said to expect the Wolves to deal Love before Thursday's 2 p.m. trade deadline or during the upcoming offseason.
President of basketball operations Flip Saunders followed up Vecsey's comments by tweeting that all rumors about Love opting out or wanting to be traded were false.
It all added up into an escalating story that only served to bolster the already well-debated narrative surrounding Love and his future in Minnesota. Although Love answered every question directed at him Thursday, it was clear he has become tired and put off by the countless rumors that have popped up lately.
"I got a slew of those questions at All-Star (weekend). I basically said I'm done talking about it," Love said. "Then Peter Vecsey, who I don't think I've ever really talked to, comes out with a story. Me and Flip are laughing about it this morning.
"The worst part is that it takes away from the team. I have to be here today answering questions about it after a great performance by us last night."
The trade deadline passed Thursday afternoon with the Wolves staying quiet. Love hadn't been the only Wolves player whose name had been brought up. J.J. Barea and Chase Budinger had at one point been rumored to be part of a potential deal with Memphis.
Ultimately, Minnesota did not alter its current roster, with all quiet on the trade quiet.
While the trade deadline may have passed, the topic of Love's future is one that isn't' going to go away. It is sure to continue to be a primary talking point when the Wolves head into the offseason.
Prior to the new rumor storm Wednesday night, GQ released an article on Love earlier that day with a couple candid quotes from the Wolves' starter. When asked if he intended to leave for Los Angeles, possibly the Lakers, Love told GQ the Wolves have "the better team, the better foundation" than the Lakers.
Love backed up those comments on Thursday.
"Basically all I said was that our foundation right now and our team is better than a lot of the teams you guys, Peter Vecsey and whoever the hell else says I'm going to," Love said.
The continued refrain from Love was one of wanting to get past the high-volume speculation, repeatedly bringing the conversation back to his team. The Wolves' sound takedown of the Pacers was much needed, but it will require much more of that in their remaining 28 games if they hope to make a legitimate bid at a playoff spot.
Coach Rick Adelman shared Love's sentiment as he spoke on behalf of his All-Star forward. Adelman was adamant that he heard nothing close to what Vecsey claimed, and insisted Love had said nothing to him about it.
"Really? He got 42 points last night and we won the game," Adelman said. "Some of this stuff comes out of nowhere. That's so far in the future I don't even worry about that. He didn't look like he was going anywhere last night."
With the commotion of the trade deadline now in the past, the situation remains the same for the Wolves. At 26-28, Minnesota is 5.5 games away from the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. It would take a remarkable late season push for the Wolves to end a nine-year playoff absence.
To have any chance at doing so this season, they will need Love. And for now, the Wolves have him at their disposal to lead a last-ditch playoff run.