Love regrets method but not message

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 13, 2012 - 12:14 AM

He and team management say they're ready to move forward.

Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love on Wednesday addressed his latest critical comments about the franchise and stood by everything he said in Tuesday's provocative Yahoo! Sports report.

"I told the truth," he said.

But he added that many positive things he said about the team and where it is headed were excluded, and he promised that next time he will keep his thoughts private.

"A lot of athletes these days say the right thing and aren't outspoken," he said. "I'm not going to say I have anything to apologize for. I said what I felt. I didn't mean to alienate my team, my coaches, the organization or more importantly the fans ...

"I think from this point we just move on. Nobody wants to alienate themselves from anyone."

Love met with president of basketball operations David Kahn and coach Rick Adelman on Tuesday shortly after the Yahoo! story hit. Love said Wednesday he intends to speak with team owner Glen Taylor about his comments.

Love's interview with Yahoo! last week in Philadelphia reiterated -- and escalated -- previous comments. He remains unhappy that the team last winter didn't extend a five-year contract extension worth nearly $80 million, suggested the team disrespected him by doing so and, with his free agency now coming in 2015 rather than 2017, said he has a "very, very good memory."

Taylor and Kahn declined to comment Wednesday. When asked about his conversation with Love, Adelman said: "I'm not even going to get into that. The most important thing for me is to get this team to move forward. We have a lot of issues, with Ricky [Rubio's] situation and [Brandon Roy's] situation, the most important thing for me is pretty much what I said to him: We've got to move on, we've got to get ourselves together as a team and go from there. To me, it's past history."

By signing Love to a four-year, $61 million extension instead, the Wolves still can use their lone five-year "designated player" slot to re-sign Rubio. Love called that possibility a "projection over a sure thing" in the Yahoo! story, evoking memories among Wolves fans of the contract jealousy that split young stars Steph Marbury and Kevin Garnett.

"I never have a problem with anybody getting paid," Love said after Wednesday's morning shootaround. "If there's one other guy to pay on the team it's Ricky Rubio. I've kind of been enamored with him since he got here. ... I'm not going to pick favorites, but he's one of my favorite teammates and one of the best guys to be around."

Last summer, Love publicly challenged Kahn and Taylor to make player personnel moves that would make the team playoff-relevant. In the Yahoo! story, he criticized roster turnover year after year -- and questioned whether Kahn has a plan to build a contender.

"I do believe this is the closest-knit team that we've had," Love said. "The coaching staff has been great and we have a chance to make something very special this year and for years to come. The acquisitions we made this offseason I'm very happy with. As far as the state of the team, I think we're fine."

Love told Yahoo! he was hurt that management questioned whether he really broke his hand doing knuckle pushups in October, as he contends. He said Wednesday he told the truth about that, discussed the matter with Kahn and said the two agreed they'd "confront" such concerns within the team rather than publicly next time.

"I meant what I said," Love said when asked if he regrets anything he told Yahoo!. "I told David there's nothing to apologize about. The only thing I was sorry about was I did it in public. If there's a learning experience from that, it's not to do that again ...

"I just need to move forward and hopefully this thing won't keep coming up. I'm done talking about it really from here on out after today. I'm hoping we can just move on and winning will take care of everything."

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