Love and rebuilt Wolves welcome Rubio while bracing for lockout

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 26, 2011 - 12:37 AM

The team's star raved about a workout with the import from Spain but also said his cash is "buried in the bank" until there's labor peace.

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Kevin Love against Portland's Nicolas Batum.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

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The reconstituted Timberwolves unofficially, incompletely convened at Target Center on Saturday, gathering for the first time on the court with newly added Ricky Rubio, Derrick Williams and Malcolm Lee running alongside Kevin Love, Wes Johnson, Anthony Randolph and Martell Webster in a pickup-game preview.

By Friday, those gym doors very well could be padlocked to them in a NBA labor lockout for which Love has been preparing, hoping all along that it won't really come.

That's why, three pro seasons into his rookie contract, he still hasn't gone and bought himself a house in Los Angeles, his offseason home.

That's why he's joined the thoughtful crowd in anticipating what could be a lengthy interruption if seemingly united NBA owners get givebacks they seek from the players.

"The smart guys buried their cash and made sure they're ready for a lockout like this," Love said. "My cash is buried in the bank."

Maybe that's also why he has been lurking in strangers' showers.

"No," he said, referring to a national commercial where he's scrubbing up in a couple's shower. "That's why I'm trying to get those endorsements."

That's why Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley predicts the entire upcoming season will be lost.

"These owners are in it for Armageddon," Barkley said on Dan Patrick's radio show the other day. "Everything is out of whack."

If true, the few days Timberwolves players spend together this week will be fleeting -- unless they gather on their own for workouts -- should a lockout arrive and become as extended as Barkley believes it will be.

"I'm very encouraged," Love said about the team's future after Saturday's first impression. "There was great energy in the gym today. Hopefully, we'll keep that throughout the next 10 years together."

Love didn't participate fully Saturday, because he's still recovering from a May medical procedure to repair his bite. But he apparently saw enough.

"I saw it ... and I believe it," Love tweeted one moment. "And yes I'm talking about Ricky Rubio," he tweeted the next.

Earlier, he had said this about Rubio: "The guy sees passes ahead of time. He's always making the pass ahead. It's going to be extremely fun for everybody playing with him."

As for who will coach Love, Rubio, Williams and the others next season, whenever that might come ...

Will Kurt Rambis indeed be fired and replaced by the father-son coaching tag team of Bernie and J.B. Bickerstaff, former Houston coach Rick Adelman or University of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar?

"I don't hear any rumblings," Love said. "I'm just sitting back. Everybody's sitting back. Whatever happens, happens."

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