The Minnesota Timberwolves have struggled to win games this season, posting a subpar 26-28 record despite being one of the few NBA teams to rank in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, per Basketball-Reference.
Before you go questioning the Wolves' fighting spirit, however, it should be said that this crew is never one to back down from a test of wills, either on or off the court.
Case in point: the ongoing battle between the organization and NBA columnist Peter Vecsey over the future of superstar forward Kevin Love. Not only has this fracas continued past the trade deadline, but it has degenerated into a truly absurd spectacle.
Vecsey kicked off this writer-franchise donnybrook on Wednesday—one day before the trade deadline—when he reported that Love had already told Wolves general manager Flip Saunders that he was planning to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract and sign with a different club in 2015:
Prior 2 AS break, KL alerted Flip he'll exercise summer '15 out & sign elsewhere. Expect him 2B moved B4 deadline or off season— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) February 20, 2014
Now, Vecsey didn't mention the Los Angeles Lakers by name, but Love has been repeatedly linked to that club in recent months. ESPN's Chris Broussard (subscription required) said in January that it is "a 100 percent certainty" that Love will end up in L.A. in 2015.
But Love specifically refuted any idea that he is interested in moving on to that franchise in an interview with GQ's Steve Marsh: "People think it's so far-fetched that I would stay in Minnesota. And I'm not s------g on the Lakers, but we have the better team, the better foundation. I'm having fun."
And if Love's statement wasn't enough, Saunders took to Twitter to personally refute any notion that his player had asked out of Minnesota:
Rumors of Love telling me he's opting out & wants 2 b traded r false. Last convo I had w/ him was him telling me how bad my sports coat was.— Flip Saunders (@Flip_Saunders) February 20, 2014
Even owner Glen Taylor got in on the action, debunking the very idea that his Wolves would even consider trading their best player to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis:
Want to know how much of a long-shot a Kevin Love trade is? Owner Glen Taylor: "Flip doesn't even bring (the proposals) to me." #twolves— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) February 19, 2014
Vecsey wasn't done, however. He returned to Twitter with this bizarre take-down of Love:
So, Love claims he doesn't think he has ever talked to me. Denies our relationship. Clearly, he's confused. He must think I'm Jesus Christ— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) February 21, 2014
"He must think I'm Jesus Christ?" What exactly does that have to do with the Minnesota Timberwolves? There is a story in the Bible about the apostle Peter denying he knew Jesus three times before the rooster crowed. Is that what Vecsey is referencing? Does that make Kevin Love Peter, the first Pope? And who is Flip Saunders in this analogy, the rooster?
On 2d thought, Love is telling truth. Not once during visit 2 UCLA apartment b4 '08 draft or meal sitting next 2 him @ NYC Steak House..cont— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) February 23, 2014
Or when Love & Jennings assisted me coaching Elite 24, or when he asked 4 help, in writing, on a ball, making 1st ASG did we once speak...— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) February 23, 2014
As strange as Vecsey is acting at the moment, he could still be proven right if Love does indeed force a trade in the 2014 offseason.
Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding certainly thinks a draft-day trade between Minnesota and Los Angeles is possible, as he laid out in this video:
If Love is really interested in leaving Minnesota, here's hoping he is more honest with the Timberwolves organization than he is with the media. He is under no obligation to divulge his intentions to leave, mind you, but it would be nice for both parties if the Timberwolves can salvage something from this partnership, even in parting.