Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski recently confirmed what we all suspected: Love wants out of Minnesota.
Though it seems he stopped short of requesting trade, that's basically what he did. Telling the Timberwolves he has no intention of playing for them beyond next season puts them in a bind, forcing them to explore trades for their double-double machine.
That's assuming Love has actually dropped such bombs on the team. Taylor says he has heard nothing of the sort from Love's camp.
"At this point, we're not talking to any teams," Taylor told the Pioneer Press' Charley Walters. "I haven't heard from Kevin or his agents or anything like that. We're assuming that Kevin will be here next season, and we're working with that scenario."
Well, that's that.
Only it isn't.
What else is Taylor supposed to say? That Love is available? That he's painted the team into a corner, stripping them of what little leverage they have?
Come on now.
Heading into next season with Love is a real possibility, maybe even likely. The Timberwolves technically have until the February trade deadline to make a decision on the matter at hand. And while waiting could temper the offers they receive, it doesn't stand to harm them much, if at all.
According to Wojnarowski and Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com, we know that the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets are all expected to enter the fray. The New York Post's Marc Berman says the New York Knicks will make a play for Love as well.
Of all those teams, only the Suns stand to withdraw a significant offer between now and February, because Love is unlikely to assure them of his return. Every other club has all the reasons in the world to remain aggressive.
The Timberwolves may not care, though. "Screw Love's leverage," they may say. Knowing that top-10 talents are hard to find—and even harder to keep—ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst says they could roll the dice and boldly try to change Love's mind:
The Wolves have a head coaching opening and a lottery pick coming their way. They also may be able to make some other moves after a season in which they showed improvement but lost numerous close games.
Believing they are not far away, the Wolves could push back with strength and send a message to Love that he should prepare for another season in Minneapolis.
Risky? Yes. Naive? Perhaps.
Likely? It sure seems that way.
Taylor and the Timberwolves don't appear to be in any rush. They haven't even validated the barrage of trade rumors. Yet even if recent chatter isn't true, almost nothing changes. Love is still a flight risk next summer.
Closed-door displeasure or not, the Timberwolves have a decision to make.
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