Souhan: Alienating Love could be Kahn's biggest mistake yet

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 12, 2012 - 7:57 AM

Love is the second player in franchise history who has attained sustainable stardom. The Wolves need him a lot more than he needs them.

When Kevin Love complains about the Timberwolves' braintrust, he risks being labeled an ingrate, a young player who improbably achieved stardom with the NBA team that drafted him and yet is eying a door that won't even open for two more seasons.

Love, during a recent lunch with Yahoo! basketball savant Adrian Wojnarowski, mentioned a scene that had become legend within the Wolves organization, one in which president of basketball operations David Kahn walked into the trainer's room after a loss and shoved a contract offer he knew Love wouldn't like into his hands. Love was seen shortly thereafter crumpling the sheet as he angrily left.

Love noted that Wolves owner Glen Taylor, along with Kahn, has downplayed Love's importance to the franchise.

Love reiterated he wants not just to make the playoffs but play on a team capable of contending for titles.

You can take issue with Love complaining publicly during the season. You can get mad at the 24-year-old millionaire, tell him to keep his mouth shut and play, but then you would be ignoring the way the NBA functions, and the way the Wolves have failed to.

NBA teams require stars. Love is the second player in franchise history who has attained sustainable stardom. The Wolves need him a lot more than he needs them.

And what Love said about the leadership of Taylor and Kahn is exactly what you hear from inside the Wolves organization, and what anyone paying close attention could have discerned without inside information.

The past two years, the Wolves have continued to wade through mediocrity. Only now they have coach Rick Adelman and his staff, and Love, acting as stilts, elevating the franchise from abysmal to intriguing.

Love told Wojnarowski that even with an improved roster this year, he sees a desperate attempt to slap tire patches on problems rather than a plan for sustainable winning. Once again, he's right.

He said in that interview that the Wolves should have explored playing him next to Al Jefferson in the frontcourt, to see if two talented players could complement each other. Once again, he's right.

It's wonderful that Andrei Kirilenko has returned to the NBA, bringing such a graceful presence to the organization, and it's interesting that the Wolves took a chance on Brandon Roy's bone-on-bone knees, but neither is going to become a core player on a future championship team. They're here to complement Love while the organization searches for long-term solutions.

Those of us who love the NBA and yearn for nightly entertainment near the ghost-building of Block E are thrilled at the possibilities that Love, Ricky Rubio, Kirilenko and Nicola Pekovic provide, especially with the best coach in Wolves history in place.

But, as Love asks, with Kahn and Taylor in charge, is this heading anywhere promising, or will the Wolves fail to build around Love and Rubio? Will the Wolves lose Love because Kahn failed to offer him the maximum-length deal available to him last year? Will the Wolves once again become known as the most mismanaged franchise in major professional sports?

Hate him for complaining if you like, but Love has become the ideal pro athlete.

He's overachieved, shutting up all the Minnesotans who couldn't believe Kevin McHale would trade O.J. Mayo for the dorky kid from UCLA.

He's improved dramatically each season, dedicating himself to conditioning and his craft, transforming his body and his career arc.

He did the Wolves proud as an Olympian, once again playing better and becoming more important to his team than anyone could have expected.

He connects with fans and undertakes his own charitable initiatives, like his annual winter coat drive.

The Wolves are lucky to have Love. They'd be lucky to keep him.

There is one positive possibility for Kahn: If Love leaves because of him, we'll forget all about his other mistakes: drafting umpteen point guards, choosing Jonny Flynn over Steph Curry, signing Darko, trading for Beasley and hiring Kurt Rambis.

Losing Love would trump all.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2 p.m. on 1500-AM. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib. jsouhan@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 3 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 2
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Dallas 117 FINAL
Orlando 92
New York 80 FINAL
Toronto 83
San Antonio 87 FINAL
Houston 96
Miami 104 FINAL
Memphis 98
Minnesota 113 FINAL
Chicago 112
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Utah 100
Sacramento 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
Denver 112 FINAL
Golden State 119
Portland 99 FINAL
LA Clippers 89
Dallas 3 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Colorado 7
Carolina 3 FINAL
Edmonton 6
Columbus 1 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Houston 1 FINAL
Chicago 2
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local team are you currently most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close