When Love signed a contract extension with the Wolves in January, the deal included an opt-out clause that could be implemented after Year 3—basically, a safety net for Love should the Timberwolves find themselves unable to dig out of their rut.
Fans hoped that Love's patience would hold out a bit longer than it did, however. Especially since being selected to be a key component of Team USA for the 2012 London Olympics, Love seemed increasingly dissatisfied and outspoken about his current situation. Early in July, the disgruntled forward said the following:
"My patience is not high. Would yours be, especially when I’m a big proponent of greatness surrounding itself with greatness? All these [Team USA] guys seem to have great players around them.
It’s tough seeing all these guys that are young and older who have all played in the playoffs. When they start talking about that, I have nothing to talk about. If I don’t make the playoffs next year I don’t know what will happen."
As negative as this seems for Minnesotans, however, things seem to be looking up.
Prior to an exhibition game for Team USA, Love voiced a more positive outlook on the Timberwolves franchise and upcoming season. The All-Star acknowledged that he enjoys playing with the organization and would like to stay here if it can "get things turned around."
Although the decision to bring in guard Brandon Roy could be risky due to his knee issues, Love seems on board with the move and with adding more experience to the lineup. He said the following on July 20:
"If we get everybody back healthy, with Ricky back healthy, if (Brandon Roy) comes in healthy, and if we can get off to a good start, we're going to be good. But we really have to add as many as pieces as we possibly can, veteran guys. There was some bad blood in that locker room we were able to get out of there and smooth things out. That should help us out going forward."
Love refused to specify what "bad blood" he was talking about, but most media members and fans have assumed the forward was referring to Michael Beasley, who was recently traded to Phoenix. Beasley, who played inconsistently during his time in Minnesota, gained a reputation of having a bad attitude and behavioral issues.
Moving forward, the team has added several new faces to their lineup, including a few veterans with proven league histories.
No one can say for sure how this newly adjusted roster will perform, but—for the time being, at least—Minnesota fans can breathe a sigh of relief.
Kevin Love has given his stamp of approval.