Update by Zach Buckley at 10:35 a.m. ET on August 27, 2014
Appearing on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike Wednesday morning, Love blamed Taylor's rant on the emotions of the situation and said it's time for all parties to move on:
I think emotions are definitely running high right now. For Glen to say that, I just think that he should be focusing on the players that he just received. I mean, he has two of the No. 1 picks in the last two drafts: Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. He has another guy who can really play in Thaddeus Young.
I think he got a lot for me. So I'd be focusing even more on that. More than anything, I'm just excited to start my time in Cleveland, get to work with my new teammates, and start with this new family here.
Whether Love's words will effectively settle this spat remains unclear.
What is certain, though, is that Love's return to Minnesota on January 31 is one of the 2014-15 season's can't-miss contests.
---End of Update---
Let’s face it: Losing an All-Star player has to be one of the worst things an NBA owner could go through—especially if the player in question has made it known on multiple occasions he straight-up doesn’t want to be there, per ESPN.com news services.
On Tuesday, Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor took to ESPN Radio 1500 to sound off on the trade that sent Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers (via Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com):
“I think where maybe [Love] got away with some stuff not playing defense on our team, I'm not sure that's how it's going to work in Cleveland” Taylor said. “I would guess they're going to ask him to play more defense and he's foul prone.”
Taylor isn’t exactly spouting off gibberish. Love is, by just about any measure, a below-average defender. And while the presence of LeBron James and center Anderson Varejao is sure to make life a bit easier, never has Love experienced the kind of on-court accountability he’s about to face.
The verdict: not a cheap shot.
Anything else, Mr. Taylor?
I question Kevin if this is going to be the best deal for him because I think he's going to be the third player on the team. I don't think he's going to get a lot of credit if they do really well. I think he'll get blame if they don't do well. He's around a couple guys that are awful good.
Yeah, that might leave a mark. It’s one thing to call out a specific aspect of someone’s game; it's another thing entirely to simply assume one of the top 10 players in the league is destined to be the third wheel.
Taylor’s remarks might not carry quite the vindictive weight of Dan Gilbert’s infamous open letter to Cleveland fans four years ago, but that doesn’t mean this doesn’t come off as sour grapes.
We’re talking, after all, about a trade that just netted Minnesota one of the NBA’s most promising prospects (Andrew Wiggins), a solid five-tool cog (Thaddeus Young) and a No. 1 overall pick in Anthony Bennett who showed during an impressive stint at the Las Vegas Summer League that he’s ready to leave last year’s putrid rookie season behind him.
True, watching Love passive-aggressively force his way out of town probably wasn’t what Wolves fans had in mind for the team’s offseason plans. But as MinnPost’s Britt Robson poetically underscored, there’s plenty of reason for optimism to spring eternal in the Twin Cities:
And that’s the hard part. Amid the hubbub over the heroic rescue of Love debacle, the looming prospect of spectacular dunks, daredevil steals, scintillating drives to the hoop and gymnastic, suffocating defensive pressure, there is a crazy-quilt of a roster that will be extremely difficult to stitch.
But that’s the subject of another column—the buzzkill edition of this unfolding saga. It can wait until later. Until then, savor the hope, the good fortune, the competence, the feisty egotism. Let the Wolves make you feel good for a change.
As long as Taylor doesn’t turn a few off-the-cuff quips into a month-long fire-and-brimstone barnstorming tour, these preliminary remarks will likely be forgotten in no time—especially if Andrew Wiggins decides to open training camp by dunking from half court or something.