Westbrook's deal could affect Love contract talks

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 20, 2012 - 12:14 AM

Oklahoma City signed guard Russell Westbrook to a contract extension, the maximum five-year "designated player" deal worth between $78 and $80 million. That should make the Kevin Love situation a little clearer.

Wolves forward Kevin Love

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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Another day closer to the deadline and a domino has fallen.

Oklahoma City signed guard Russell Westbrook to a contract extension, the maximum five-year "designated player" deal worth between $78 and $80 million.

That should make the Kevin Love situation a little clearer. The Timberwolves are prepared to give their star forward a maximum salary, hoping to make it a four-year deal worth nearly $61 million so they could keep that "designated player" -- basically, only one per team is allowed -- category available. The team was waiting to see what happened with Westbrook and with New Orleans star Eric Gordon.

Love remained noncommittal about the process.

"You have to talk to Glen [Taylor, Wolves owner] and that guy over there," Love said, pointing to Wolves President David Kahn, who has remained mum on the topic.

The Wolves have until Jan. 25 to sign Love to an extension or he will become a restricted free agent after the season.

"We'll wait and see what happens," Love said. "But between now and the 25th something will happen. Either something will happen positive or something will happen negative."

And if no extension is signed?

"It wouldn't be ideal," Love said. "So it would be nice to work something out. I enjoy it here, I enjoy my teammates, I enjoy the coaching staff, I enjoy the Twin Cities, even when it's cold.

"I figure if I keep playing my game, playing hard-nosed basketball, playing the way I'm supposed to play, everything will take care of itself."

Health update

Wolves guard Martell Webster (back surgery) and center Brad Miller (knee surgery) continue to practice and will accompany the team on its two-game road trip to play the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz. Coach Rick Adelman said he didn't expect either to play on the trip. Neither Webster nor Miller has played this season.

Michael Beasley (mid-foot sprain) is still unable to practice and did not travel.

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