Three months ago, Timberwolves forward Kevin Love publicly challenged his organization to make the kind of personnel moves that will persuade him, Ricky Rubio and others to remain in Minnesota in 2015 and beyond.
On Tuesday, he showed off his Olympic gold medal at a summer-ending Target Center news conference and declared himself pleased with management's moves that included adding veteran Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko, Lou Amundson as well as Greg Stiemsma and Alexey Shved while letting Michael Beasley, Anthony Randolph, Darko Milicic and others go.
"There's definitely a different feel going into the locker room, definitely a different feel just being down there playing with those guys," said Love, who arrived back in the Twin Cities from Southern California late last week. "I'm really excited, I'm really excited about this team. ... I think we've definitely added value to this team. I think the locker room is going to be great. I think the players we have on this team can make an immediate impact."
Love will report for Monday's media day and Tuesday's training-camp start in Mankato.
He's also unapologetic for suggesting during the London Olympics that the Wolves will make the playoffs.
"A lot of people got on me and said, 'How's Kevin Love able say the Timberwolves are going to make the playoffs?''' he said. "Why wouldn't I say that? I have faith in this team, I have faith in what we've done this offseason. I do think we have a great shot to make the playoffs. If anybody else says otherwise ... I think we have to go out there and prove what we're made of. It was definitely a tremendous summer for me, a tremendous summer for our team."
Keeping up with Pek
Love called himself in "good shape" and says he'll use training camp to get in better shape. He still, however, apparently wasn't in good enough shape to keep up with Nikola Pekovic during pickup games Monday. Pekovic dropped at least eight pounds and has reduced his body fat from 12 to 8 percent.
"I had to guard him for five games yesterday and in the second game I was already tired," Love said. "He's really in shape. Having to guard him down there is tough. I think he's going to have a really great year."
Love will throw out the first pitch at Wednesday afternoon's Yankees-Twins game, and the guy who was a baseball pitcher until he reached the ninth grade is worried.
"You don't want to screw that up and end up on Youtube or be a viral video sensation,"said Love. "I haven't thrown a baseball in eight, nine years. I just hope I don't throw it over the catcher's head or I don't leave it five feet short."
Rubio ran on a treadmill while his teammates scrimmaged Tuesday. The only Timberwolf yet to arrive in Minneapolis is Kirilenko, who is expected Thursday.
Ex-Wolves forward Anthony Tolliver agreed to terms with Atlanta on a one-year guaranteed minimum contract.