Wolves forward Kevin Love

Eric Gay, Associated Press

Love says Wolves need to make playoffs next year

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA
  • Star Tribune
  • July 10, 2012 - 2:45 PM

While the Timberwolves work and wait on their pursuit of restricted free agent Nicolas Batum, All-Star forward Kevin Love waits on them to make the telling moves that will make the franchise a playoff contender.

And he's getting antsy.

He told Yahoo!Sports so in an interview while training with the U.S. Olympic team in Las Vegas last weekend.

Love is the only player among the 12 Olympians who has never reached the playoffs.

"My patience is not high," Love said. "Would yours be, especially when I'm a big proponent of greatness surrounding itself with greatness? All these [Team USA] guys seem to have great players around them.

"It's tough seeing all these guys that are young and older who have all played in the playoffs. When they start talking about that, I have nothing to talk about. If I don't make the playoffs next year, I don't know what will happen."

Love, 23, last winter agreed to a four-year, $61 million contract extension that gives him the option to become an unrestricted free agent after three seasons when he sought from the team the maximum five-year "designated player" slot.

That would be 2015.

"At this point, I'm not afraid to go on the record," Love told Yahoo! "Being around these [USA] guys, they know the situation I'm in and how competitive I am. I want to win. All the players on the Timberwolves feel the same way, as well. The coaching staff is awesome. They want to win and win now. Hopefully, we can make some stuff happen.

"I would say it's coming down to it for sure [next season]. It's no secret I was willing to commit to Minnesota for five years. I'm very happy with my contract. I'd love to be in Minnesota. But like anybody else, I want to win."

The Wolves traded the 18th pick in last month's NBA draft to Houston for Chase Budinger and have reached agreement with veteran Brandon Roy on a partially guaranteed two-year, $10 million-plus contract, even though Roy retired from the Trail Blazers last December because of two knees that have no cartilage left in them.

But Love is waiting for president of basketball operations David Kahn and owner Glen Taylor to do more.

"If we don't make the playoffs, I don't know it's going to be me or something, but our management needs to step up and make some moves," Love said. "Chase is good for us. Brandon, if he can come in relatively healthy and be back to somewhat of where he was ... we can be pretty damn good ... If Ricky [Rubio] can come back healthy, that would be great.

"But I think our front office and ownership needs to step up and get us some pieces. We need to make some moves. We can't just stand still. We have to make this happen."

Kahn told Yahoo!Sports he has talked to Love about his concern and noted the team was competing for the West's eighth and final playoff spot before injuries, including a crucial one to Rubio's knee, hit late in the season. He said, "Next season is shaping up to be better than last year."

Love said Kahn and Taylor need to do more because Wolves fans "deserve a better product."

"I don't know if we will blow up the team again if I'll be moved," he said. "I don't know. But something has to happen in Minnesota."

The Wolves can sign Batum to a $45 million offer sheet at 11:01 p.m. Tuesday, but the Wolves will have to make roster moves to clear salary-cap space to do so, and Portland has three days to match the offer.

Kahn has been working to reach a sign-and-trade agreement with the Blazers, who told Batum last week they will not trade him and they will match any offer, even though he told them he prefers to play in Minnesota.

If they're unsuccessful in obtaining Batum, they'd have money to pursue a shooting guard -- Courtney Lee, O.J. Mayo, Brandon Rush perhaps -- and one of two big men, Los Angeles Lakers power forward Jordan Hill or Boston center Greg Stiemsma.

© 2018 Star Tribune