Timberwolves forward Kevin Love and the guy who brought him to Minnesota, Kevin McHale, met before Monday's game at Target Center, the first time they have shared an NBA court since the final day of the 2008-09 season.
As Wolves vice president, McHale acquired Love in a 2008 draft-night trade with Memphis for O.J. Mayo, then spent Love's rookie season teaching him about the NBA and McHale's many patented, and officially named, low-post moves, including possibly the "Slippery Eel."
"He didn't teach me the name of it, but he probably taught me it," Love said before putting up 39 points and 12 rebounds in the Wolves' 107-92 loss to Houston. "I think your rookie year is when you learn the most and pick up the most nuances in your game.
"He taught me a lot of stuff on the court and a lot of stuff off the court, so it's not one or two things in particular. It's a handful of things that I've used, and probably you don't even recognize what he taught me."
Reporters Monday gave McHale the opportunity to thump this chest about a trade that so many Wolves fans doubted and second-guessed at the time.
He didn't bite.
"What he's doing doesn't have anything to do with me," the Rockets coach said. "Kevin's become a world-class player. Believe me, he has exceeded what everybody thought he could do.
"You knew he was going to be a good player, but you start talking about 25 [points] and 15 [rebounds]? C'mon now. There's nobody in the draft ... you see Dwight Howard in high school and you don't see 25 and 15."
The Wolves still likely will reach a contract agreement with Love by Wednesday's deadline, but not injured Michael Beasley, who also is eligible for an extension and shares the same agent with Love.
"It looks like it's going to go into summer," said Beasley, who will be a restricted free agent next summer if he doesn't sign an extension now. "I'm not worried about it. Everything will take care of itself. I just want to get back on the floor."
Beasley (sprained foot) isn't expected to play for another week.
Love is expected to receive a contract extension that will be for either four years and $61 million or five years and $78-plus million.
"You know what? I'm not worried about it," Love said. "I'm in a good situation regardless of what happens."
First of many?
No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams got his first NBA start on Monday, at small forward for Wes Johnson. The rookie had 11 points and seven rebounds Monday.
Johnson fell ill, missed the morning shootaround and was scratched for the game. Left with only two options, Rick Adelman chose Williams over Anthony Tolliver even though the Wolves coach has played Williams almost exclusively at power forward.
Besides Johnson and Beasley, the Wolves were again without J.J. Barea, Martell Webster, Brad Miller and Malcolm Lee, too. Coach Rick Adelman said Webster (back surgery) and Miller (knee surgery) will practice this week. Lee (knee surgery) is out indefinitely.
Barea's sprained ankle is better, but he reinjured his hamstring Wednesday, and Adelman doesn't expect the guard to play for another week.
• Barea's injury means he will only watch Wednesday when he returns to Dallas and receives his NBA championship ring in a ceremony Mavericks owner Mark Cuban scheduled purposely for his visit.
• Former Wolves guard Jonny Flynn returned to Target Center for the first time since the 2009 No. 6 overall pick was traded to Houston last summer, but he didn't play.
• McHale spent Sunday night at home in North Oaks with his children, watching the NFL playoffs, and awoke Monday to snow and snarled traffic. He's liking that Houston winter weather. "When I left it was 80, and this morning I woke up to snow at my house and a two-hour commute," he said.