Speculation on Wolves star Kevin Love’s future, already a hot topic, was turned up a few notches Wednesday night.
Longtime NBA writer Peter Vecsey tweeted Wednesday that Love had informed Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders before the All-Star break that he will opt out of his contract following the 2014-15 season and sign elsewhere.
Prior 2 AS break, KL alerted Flip he'll exercise summer '15 out & sign elsewhere. Expect him 2B moved B4 deadline or off season— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) February 20, 2014
Vecsey didn’t say who provided him the information. In a subsequent tweet Vecsey said to expect Love to be traded by Thursday’s 2 p.m. trade deadline or during the offseason.
More of Vecsey's tweets about Love are here.
And, very quickly, Saunders refuted Vecsey’s claim, not long after Love had scored 42 points in an impressive victory over Indiana at Target Center.
Shortly after the game ended, Saunders sent out a tweet saying the rumor that Love had told him about opting out was false. Saunders ended the tweet with a joke. saying that in his last conversation with Love the All-Star forward told him “how bad my sports coat was.”
Rumors of Love telling me he's opting out & wants 2 b traded r false. Last convo I had w/ him was him telling me how bad my sports coat was.— Flip Saunders (@Flip_Saunders) February 20, 2014
Still, this adds fuel to an already burning fire of speculation about Love and his future with the team.
Other trade rumors
With the trading deadline looming, one question Wednesday was how much rumors will become a distraction.
Not at all, said Chase Budinger.
I’m used to it, said J.J. Barea.
Budinger and Barea are the two Wolves players most often mentioned in trade rumors, with more than one source saying the Wolves have talked with Memphis about a trade involving both players.
Wolves coach Rick Adelman has been going through this a long time. It’s his belief that any rumor can affect a player.
“I think it does,” he said. “They’re only human. It’s a tough time of year, especially if something happens. Because then you have to pick up and you only have a few days to figure out what you’re going to do with everything.”
We’ll know by 2 p.m. Thursday. Until then …
“It doesn’t bother me,” Budinger said before Wednesday’s victory, before making his fourth consecutive start in place of injured Kevin Martin. “It doesn’t affect me at all. I’m still going to go about my business the same way.”
Said Barea: “If it happens, it happens. But it’s not my job to worry about it. I can’t pay attention to that.”
Already without Martin and starting center Nikola Pekovic, the Wolves might have seen their injury problems get worse Wednesday.
Center Ronny Turiaf limped off the court with 7 minutes, 15 seconds left in the game after hurting his right knee. Turiaf said the leg buckled upon impact after he tried to block a shot.
Turiaf said the knee felt “all right. There is a little bit of pain.”
Limping noticeably after the game, he left the locker room after being fitted by a brace.
While some Wolves players used the All-Star break to go someplace warm and sit in the sun, guard Ricky Rubio went to Los Angeles, where he worked on his shot with a shooting coach.
To Adelman, that’s fine.
“They’re free to do whatever during the break,” he said. “The only thing I think is, if you’re going to work with somebody or work on something, just do it. Everybody in the world doesn’t have to know about it. Really. Seriously. If someone wants to improve on something, it’s their right to do whatever they want to do. But it just adds more questions. It did tonight.”