Slimmed down Love encouraged by Wolves changesMINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kevin Love has used the extra offseason time created by the lockout to reshape his body, a grueling regimen that will have him reporting to training camp 25 pounds lighter than he was last season.
By: Associated Press, The Daily Republic
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kevin Love has used the extra offseason time created by the lockout to reshape his body, a grueling regimen that will have him reporting to training camp 25 pounds lighter than he was last season.
Entering the final year of his rookie contract, his bank account is poised to get a lot heavier.
Love worked out at the Minnesota Timberwolves facility on Sunday for the first time since NBA owners and players reached a tentative labor agreement, and he said he was encouraged by the changes the Wolves have made as he prepares to enter into talks on a contract extension.
“I love Minneapolis, I love the Twin Cities,” Love said when asked if he hoped to sign a deal that would keep him here for the long term. “Really this is all I know. It’s the first NBA city I fell in love with. This is all I know. Maybe we’ll keep it that way, maybe we won’t.”
It’s no secret that the All-Star forward, who led the NBA in rebounding last season and has emerged as the face of the franchise in the post-Kevin Garnett era, did not always see eye-to-eye with former head coach Kurt Rambis. The two clashed occasionally and Love was growing frustrated with his system, especially as the team lost 132 games over the past two seasons.
Team president David Kahn fired Rambis this summer and replaced him with Rick Adelman, an accomplished veteran coach with a history of winning and maximizing the talents of versatile big men such as Chris Webber, Vlade Divac and Jerome Kersey. Love certainly fits that mold, and the Wolves also added pass-first point guard Ricky Rubio and No. 2 overall draft pick Derrick Williams to a very young, but intriguing core.
“We were fortunate to get Ricky over here and fortunate to get Derrick Williams,” said Love, who averaged 20.2 points and 15.2 rebounds last season. “But we have a young, youthful group. There’s an electricity with this unit. We’re definitely going to be able to coexist on the floor and grow together. We’re looking forward to building this team from now on and I think Rick (Adelman) was also a big step in doing that.”
With the new collective bargaining agreement still being ironed out, it remains unclear how much time the Timberwolves will have to sign Love to an extension before risking losing him as a free agent after the season.
And the Wolves will have a delicate negotiation to go through once talks can resume. Love is wildly popular in Minnesota with a fan base that has eroded over the past five years, but he is also viewed in scouting circles as a No. 2 player at best on a contending team.
So do the Wolves sign him to a max contract and risk compromising their ability to pay big money to a go-to player at some point? Or can they convince him to take a little bit less money, stay in small-market Minnesota and grow with this young team?
“Am I worth the max?” Love said on Sunday. “I’ll let the front office answer that.”
Kahn said last week that keeping the power forward in Minnesota is a priority.
“I expect Kevin to be a big part of our franchise for a number of years,” Kahn said.
Teams and agents cannot technically start negotiating new deals yet, and Love said he planned to speak with agent Jeff Schwartz in the next week about what to expect.