Kevin Love's comments further display writing on wall for Kurt Rambis
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves lost to the Houston Rockets 121-102 on Wednesday in a basketball game that seemed more like a formality, an excuse to give fans prizes and a mere afterthought in the aftermath of David Kahn's latest bizzare press conference that left coach Kurt Rambis wondering if he has a job.
Kahn refused to get into specifics about Rambis' future with the team other than that he will meet with the coach and owner Glen Taylor in the coming weeks. But his silence and refusal to defend the embattled coach should say all that needs to be said.
Rambis has two seasons left on his contract and declined to speculate on his future after the Wolves' 15th consecutive loss lowered his two-year record to 32-132.
"I have a contract and I just work under those guidelines," Rambis said. "Until somebody tells me differently, that is how I will approach it."
Even more telling than Kahn's refusal to answer questions about Rambis' future was Kevin Love not going to bat for his coach in his season-ending media availability.
During a 10-minute session with reporters, Love had every opportunity to stand up and defend Rambis but instead just toed the company line, trying his best to not say anything controversial.
"Whatever happens, happens," Love said. "For me, I will be content with it and we will see what goes from here."
Love's opinion -- like a former Wolves forward with whom he shares a first name -- no doubt carries a lot of weight in the organization. His contract is up at the end of next season and he remains the lone proven piece to the puzzle. Love has said he enjoys the city of Minneapolis but continues to stress that, more than anything, he wants to win.
"I think more than anything I just want to start winning," he said. "Whether that's with the coach we have now or a new coach, I just want to start winning now."
Love even dodged a question on whether it would be fair or not to dismiss Rambis after just two seasons without getting a third year to see this rebuilding project out.
"That's a tough question for me to answer, I guess," he said. "If that's the case, he had two years to show what he could do, and there's not a doubt in my mind that he could probably land a job elsewhere but we will see what happens. You just don't know what is going to happen."
It wasn't just Love who didn't defend their coach. Rookie Wesley Johnson didn't seem to think the team would have any problem transitioning to a new coach next season either.
"We brought Anthony (Randolph) here with open arms, so I think our group is very open to anything really," Johnson said.
Love echoed Johnson's sentiment that the players would be able to make the transition to a new system rather easily.
"For me, the type of player I am, I feel like I can excel in any system," Love said. "Maybe for other guys that might tweak or adjust how they feel about it a little bit. But for me, I feel like a play doesn't have to be run for me for me to be effective. Kind of the same thing for me on rebounding, it isn't really a system type of thing. I can shine in any system."
Love also pointed to the Chicago Bulls as an example of a young team that took a step forward this season under a new head coach.
"That is a first year coach in (Chicago), Tom Thibodeau," he said. "He took them defensively to the next level and they all bought into his system and they are arguably the best team in the league."
Love's season-ending meeting with Rambis and Kahn will take place on Thursday. He said he'll have his meeting with owner Glen Taylor in the coming weeks, and he suspects the question of Rambis' future will come up.
"(Taylor) will bring it up," Love said. "How I answer that question depends on how he asks it and what he asks. When the time comes, I will have an answer for it."
The writing appeared even more clearly on the wall for Rambis' tenure when he and Kahn were asked about each other. Both described their relationship as "professional" and "businesslike," and neither gave off the impression they will be sharing a beer together in the Target Field stands anytime soon.
"I think that whenever a team doesn't perform to its expectations, there's a natural sense of tension that can exist," Kahn said.
Rambis, on the other hand, sees it more as a case of misplaced expectations.
"We always set goals as a coaching staff," Rambis said. "Some goals set by some people are unrealistic."
Wednesday's loss clinched the worst record in the league (17-65) for the Wolves and gives them the best odds of landing the No. 1 overall pick in June's NBA Draft.
But this season, like most seasons for this seemingly cursed franchise and tortured fanbase, ends with more questions than answers and an interesting summer ahead.