Kevin Love is the Minnesota Timberwolves’ star player. He and Ricky Rubio are expected to take the team back into the playoffs for the first time since Kevin Garnett left town. The problem is, Love has been outspoken about the direction of the team. It’s something the fans were thinking, but Minneapolis isn’t the kind of town that embraces a loudmouth superstar.
One of the reasons Garnett was so revered as a star in Minnesota was his attitude that the only thing he could do was work hard and take care of his own business. For years, management failed to surround Garnett with talent, yet he worked tirelessly and never complained.
Love was critical of the Wolves management during the 2011-12 season when they failed to sign a player at the deadline. He was critical of management when they didn’t give him a full max-level extension. Now, he’s critical of them again for the direction of the team.
Here’s what he had to say when pressed about his negative comments about management:
Just moving forward is the biggest thing. That’s the same thing I talked about with coach and with David yesterday. I just need to move forward and hopefully this thing won’t keep coming up. I’m done talking about it, really from here on out after today. I’m hoping we can just move on and winning will take care of everything.
It’s not that Love isn’t doing his part on the floor, because he was a top MVP candidate in 2011-12 and will likely end there again once the 2012-13 season is over. The problem is that he feels undervalued by the organization.
The truth of the matter is, unless he falls off significantly or has a career-threatening injury, he’s in a great spot. His shorter contract with an option year means he’ll get another shot at a max contract when he’s right in the middle of his prime.
He’ll still get those dollars that he craves, and he’ll get the adoration and respect of management as well. He just needs to be careful to avoid having the fans turn on him.
People in Minnesota are just nicer than most other places. They don’t like loudmouth and brash athletes. Joe Mauer and Kirby Puckett are two excellent examples. Love has to watch what he says or they’ll start giving him the Christian Laettner treatment.
With all of that said, have to agree with Love about his frustrations. If the Wolves win, everything will fall into place like it should. They’ll be happy as a team and Love will stay in Minnesota next to his buddy Ricky Rubio. If they falter and miss the playoffs again, Love is going to start counting the days until he can get out of there.
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