Kevin Love talks about his future in Minnesota, Ricky Rubio
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Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love didn't make the trip to New Jersey for Tuesday's 107-105 loss to the New Jersey Nets.
Love has now missed five of the last seven games with a groin injury originally suffered March 11 in Utah but says he still wants to play before the season wraps up next Wednesday.
The Wolves come home to play the second-half of a back-to-back Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns, so it is unlikely Love plays without getting in a practice first, putting Saturday against Denver as the next possible time the All-Star could be suited up.
"I would like to get a practice in to see what happens from that but hopefully the last three games I'll be good to go," Love said at practice Monday.
"Hamstrings and groins are some of the worst injuries you can have because they keep lagging there, you keep feeling it. I think that, along with having to keep it warm at all times is the most frustrating thing for me.
In the long run, whether Love plays or not the rest of this season is meaningless. The Wolves appear destined to finish with the second-worst record in the league for the second year running, regardless of if Love suits-up or shuts it down.
That being said, it should come as no surprise the line of questioning Love faced at practice had less to do with his groin and more to do with the bigger picture.
With just the season wrapping up next Wednesday, no more double-doubles left to count and just one more year remaining his rookie contract, all the attention in the ever-shrinking Wolves Universe now shifts to what Love's long-term career plans are.
There is no question Love has come to like the Twin Cities -- with the exception of the weather -- but for a guy with a gold medal with Team USA and a Final Four appearance in his only season of college basketball, he wants to win.
"I definitely could (myself long-term in Minneapolis). If it all works out and it's all right," Love said. "I definitely enjoy the city, I like the people here, I like the organization, I like a lot of things about it besides the cold winter.
"So if every thing comes into place, I could see myself here."
Love said he has ideas for how to improve the team when he meets with president of basketball operations David Kahn and coach Kurt Rambis after the season, one of which is to add a new point guard.
"Jonny (Flynn) is only going to get better and Luke (Ridnour) is still going to be around. But maybe we will add a guy or two, a bigger point guard and see what happens from there."
It doesn't take a mind reader to know that when Love said "a bigger point guard" he was referring to the giant elephant in the room, or in this case, the 6-foot-3 point guard currently playing in Spain, Ricky Rubio.
Love smiled as soon as Rubio's name was brought up, "Hey, I know that guy."
"He is a bigger guy, like I said, a bigger point guard," he said. "Passes the ball extremely well. Pass-first point guard. Almost like Jason Kidd the way he kicks the ball ahead. Once he catches it, he isn't taking dribbles, he is looking for the next open guy. Playmaker. Guy that, I think, can become a very good point guard in this league because of his length, his height, his demeanor and how he approaches the game, his love for the game.
"So I am just looking forward to him coming over here and seeing what he can do."
Love said that Rubio coming here next season would be a big factor on if he sticks around in Minnesota but admitted, "That's a big if.
"It would definitely be a factor," he said. "There is so much hype surrounding him that worst case, he is going to attract a lot of fans and bring a lot of hype surrounding our team and that is going to make us want to get a lot better.
"I do believe that he will help our team. I do believe he is going to have a lot to live up to but I think he is up for the challenge but he is ready to play in the NBA."
Love said he has met Rubio a few times and that they occasionally text one another but are far from close friends.
One topic Love was less than forthcoming about was Rambis' future with the team. "I knew this was coming," he said a bit begrudgingly when the topic came up.
"It is tough to say," he said. "This will be my third coach. I have had Randy Wittman, Kevin (McHale) and now Kurt (Rambis). I don't know what is going to happen in the front office, I don't know what is going to happen with the lockout, I don't know what is gong to transpire here in the next six-to-eight months. I guess, that is tough for me to answer."
Love said he said he is sure the topic of Rambis will come up with his individual meeting with team owner Glen Taylor at the end of the season and echoed statements from Anthony Tolliver that the entire team has yet to buy into Rambis' system.
"If Kurt is going to be here, then we all need to buy into his system."