Deal Good For Love and Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves reached a deal with All-Star forward Kevin Love today before the extension deadline, ensuring that Love will remain in Minnesota for at least three more seasons. While the deal is for four seasons, Love has the option to become an unrestricted free agent after the third year.
“The early termination keeps my options open and I want to see where this team is going to head,” said Love Wednesday on a conference call with media. “I feel that we are (headed in the right direction), and that we’ll get there. I’m not thinking about (the length of the contract) too much. I’m looking at this as a four-year deal and we’ll go from there.”
So, what does it all mean?
Essentially, the Timberwolves have put themselves on the clock, big time. The team has made great strides to improve over the last few years and is seeing the beginning of the turnaround this season, as the Timberwolves currently stand at 7-10. Yet, while putting themselves on the clock to show Love his best option is to remain in Minnesota after the third year and beyond, the Wolves also gave themselves flexibility down the line to help make the moves which will make their case.
The new designated player tag is for that franchise player, the number one option on a championship-level team. While Love is a great player, an All-Star, arguably the best power forward in the league and is beloved in Minnesota, the debate still remains if he is that player. Now, after locking Love up for three seasons, they can either go out and find—or develop—that player to play alongside Love. Ricky Rubio has shown more than great promise in his rookie season and may be the guy, but the Timberwolves did themselves a great service by not having to make the decision now.
“Did I want the five years? Of course,” said Love. “But at the end of the day, the four-year deal was still great, and I’m going to keep excelling and keep improving myself. I’ve always played with a chip on my shoulder and that’s not going to change.”
Essentially, the Timberwolves told Love that they value him as almost a max player, but just not quite. With the skills and work ethic Love has, he now has the opportunity while making maximum money to show he’s worth maximum money for a long, long time.
David Kahn and Glen Taylor may have done the Timberwolves well today with this deal and they may very well have paved the way for Love to leave in three seasons. In the end, the second-best player in the team’s history chose to stay because he likes the direction the team is heading, but will he feel the same way when he can choose to leave? That is completely on the shoulders of the guys in suits upstairs inside the Target Center.
This is a good day for Minnesota’s fans. They re-signed Love and put the pressure on themselves to put a contending team around him within three seasons. With the promise the 2011-12 season has shown for Minnesota already and the flexibility this deal creates going forward, they have set themselves up to do just that. Now, they have to go out and do it.
“With us, we have to add a few more pieces and maybe bring in another free agent who will get the five years,” said Love.
Kevin Love got a good deal and gave the Timberwolves a great deal today. He gave them a three-year window.