Minnesota Timberwolves Rumors: Could Kevin Love Force His Way Out If Wolves Miss Playoffs Again?
Love (Photo: wikipedia)
When the Los Angeles Lakers landed Dwight Howard and Steve Nash within a month this past summer, more than a few basketball fans and bloggers joked that, with the way the Lakers are able to reload its roster with elite talent every 3-4 years, Kevin Love would probably be heading to the Lakers in a few years.
It's a notion that's not absurd, given Love's Los Angeles roots (he played college ball at UCLA), and the not so subtle signs of frustration coming from Love all summer.
There's that quote he gave to reporters during the Olympics, when he expressed his frustrations at being the only player on the Team USA roster to never have played a playoff game (excluding Anthony Davis, who has yet to play in the NBA, of course). There's also that comment about his feeling disrespected by Wolves owner David Kahn for not offering him the maximum five-year extension (instead, Love signed a four-year extension with an opt-out after three).
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So really, Love leaving Minnesota isn't unfathomable, and that's probably the biggest worry looming over fans in Minnesota right now.
Love added to the potential drama this week by telling a Portland newspaper this:
"It will be a big surprise to me if we didn't make a huge leap this year and make it to the playoffs".
What sounds, to casual fans, like a good quote -- a quote of confidence and faith in his teammates and organization -- is probably not so sunny if you read between the lines. Love is basically laying it all out there: Make the playoffs or I am going to be angry.
And really, although the Wolves have improved, with the addition of Brandon Roy and Andrei Kirilenko, a playoff spot isn't set in stone. The west's top teams, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs, remain just as strong, while the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers both improved. Lottery teams such as Golden State and New Orleans improved. And Utah, Memphis, and Denver should all remain solid-to-good teams.
The only west playoff team from last season that seems to have taken a step back this season is the Dallas Mavericks.
To put it simply, there aren't going to be many playoff spots opening up. The Wolves probably won't be better than Lakers or Clippers or Memphis, so if they want to make the playoffs, they'll have to aim at being better than Dallas, or maybe the the Jazz.
It's do-able, but not a lock. And if the Wolves miss the playoffs again?
Love's displeasure will grow, and rumors of him leaving will loom over the organization.