Zulgad: Kevin Love's comments a reminder of Wolves' dysfunction
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There should be a sense of anticipation surrounding the Minnesota Timberwolves this week. The energy should be positive.
Ricky Rubio, the dynamic point guard, is on the verge of returning from reconstructive surgery on his left knee and the team will enter Wednesday night's game against Denver at Target Center with a 9-9 record.
This is an extremely respectable mark considering all of the injuries the Wolves have dealt with early in the season. So now is the time for everyone with the organization to take a deep breath and get set for the turbulence to subside for a period, right?
Not a chance.
These are the Timberwolves, a franchise that can't escape dysfunction no matter how hard it might try.
The latest bit of it came on Tuesday when NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports published a column in which star forward Kevin Love all but guaranteed he had little interest in remaining a member of this organization for the long term.
This comes as no surprise.
Even if he didn't say it, it was clear from the tone in Love's voice during a conference call last January that he was extremely unhappy the Wolves did not give him the maximum, $80 million, five-year contract that he could have received.
Love thought he deserved the star treatment from the Wolves and he didn't get it. Instead, the perception created for Love and everyone else, was that Rubio was the star in Minnesota.
So with that in mind, Love signed a four-year, $62 million extension that would give him the chance to opt out after three seasons.
Those who looked at the situation logically at the time came to this conclusion: Kevin Love will be playing for the Lakers, or on the West Coast, in 2015-16.
If it was written in pencil at the time, it's now safe to jot it down in pen. The Wolves can offer Love the moon after the 2014-15 season, but unless they are coming off an NBA title, or, at the very least, president of basketball operations David Kahn is gone, then there is no way Love is going to stick around.
Even if Kahn has departed that might not be enough. Kahn appears to be enemy No. 1, but owner Glen Taylor might not be far behind.
"I don't know who labels people stars, but even Glen Taylor said: I don't think Kevin Love is a star, because he hasn't led us to the playoffs," Love told Wojnarowski, "I mean, it's not like I had much support out there... That's a tough pill to swallow."
Love also added: "I have a very, very good memory, and I always remember the people who have done right by me, and the people who have done wrong by me. It will be embedded in my brain, and something I won't forget about. There's no telling what will happen. I would love to compete for a championship in Minnesota, but ..."
Love's comments and frustrations went well beyond his contract situation and much of it came back to the way Kahn goes about his business.
So why brings up these grievances now?
Love will be asked that question Wednesday. He almost assuredly will attempt to downplay his comments, using the old trick of getting mad at media members for something he said.
At this point, it doesn't really matter what Love does.
He is unhappy he didn't get a new contract, he's unhappy he's on a team that hasn't made the playoffs since he arrived, he's unhappy with the way Kahn runs things.
The final straw might have been that few seemed to buy Love's story that he broke his hand doing knuckle pushups. "Even people in my own organization were asking if it was a legitimate injury, people calling my honesty and integrity into question," Love told Yahoo! Sports. "And that's what really hurt me."
So Love is going to bide his time until he can get out of town. Maybe he's hoping if he becomes a distraction the Wolves will look to move him sooner rather than later. He eventually is going to have to be traded if the organization wants something in return for him.
In the short term, it's going to be others who have to pick up the pieces for this. Among them will be Wolves coach Rick Adelman, a guy who Love likes.
Adelman was probably hoping normalcy would return this week at Target Center.
That would have been a first for Adelman since he took over the franchise for the lockout shortened season last winter. Once Rubio set foot on the floor, Adelman likely thought the distractions would disappear for a while.
He should have known better.
After all, these are the Timberwolves.