“We probably have 16 teams that have called us,” T-Wolves part-owner, president of basketball operations and newly minted head coach Flip Saunders said, per the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Sid Hartman. “We haven’t called anybody.”
Numerous teams have been tied to the Love saga following a report from ESPN’s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne stating that the three-time All-Star has “no interest” in signing a contract extension to stay with Minnesota. Love has not come out publicly to deny it.
The Phoenix Suns, meanwhile, have plenty of draft picks and young assets necessary to pull off a blockbuster.
Still, all of those varied reports account for just eight different franchises. If Saunders was being genuine with his comment, rather than hyperbolic, more than half the Association has engaged Minnesota to inquire about its frustrated star.
This shouldn’t come as much of a shock, because Love has carved a niche in the league by putting up video game-esque stats. During his six-year career, the 25-year-old has posted averages of 19.2 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. He notched averages of 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds throughout 2013-14.
Despite putting up huge numbers, though, Love’s teams have never made the postseason. The Timberwolves organization as a whole has now missed the playoffs for 10 straight years.
The losing has weighed heavily on Love, but it still seems as if Minny will do everything in its power to keep him long term. The most alluring factor in Minnesota at this point is money.
“We can sign him to a five-year deal, the last year of his contract would be $27.5 million,” Saunders said, per Hartman. He added that the Timberwolves have the option to sign Love to a fifth year in his next contract—a luxury other teams won’t possess.
T-Wolves owner Glen Taylor has already said that he won’t trade Love prior to the 2014 draft, per the Star Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda. Since that would mean missing out on valuable picks to bring in new rookies, it’s logical to believe Minnesota isn’t waving the white flag just yet.
Still, the Timberwolves can’t afford to lose Love for nothing in return. They’ve already missed out on postseason action for 10 straight seasons. That streak would undoubtedly continue if the big man left via free agency for no compensation.
If Taylor, Saunders and Co. eventually decide to pull the trigger on a trade, however, there will be no shortage of suitors lining up to entice them with offers.
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