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“We never really got a team on the floor,” Taylor said. “You would have liked to have seen that. That’s a part of it [in making his decision on Kahn].”
Kahn said he believes he’ll return for a June draft in which the team has two first-round picks and for next season.
“Glen and I talk all the time,” Kahn said. “My sense is that we’ll be working on this for a while.”
Kahn said he believes the Wolves were built to reach the playoffs this season – possibly last season as well – if not for what he calls a “tidal wave” of injuries that started with Rubio’s season-ending torn ACL a year ago, continued with Love’s twice-broken hand this season and has included everyone from Chase Budinger, Brandon Roy, Malcolm Lee and Josh Howard (remember him?) to Kirilenko and Pekovic.
He keeps a boxscore from that March 9, 2012, game when Rubio was injured – the Wolves were 21-19 then – on his office desk as a reminder.
“It’s easy to say,” he said of his belief that this is a playoff team. “People can say, ‘Prove it.’ That’s a fair comment. Everyone we come in contact with [in the NBA] feels we’re snake-bit.”
Is the love gone?
Love played just 18 games this season, a year that started when he first broke his hand in October — doing knuckle pushups in a personal workout, he said — and ended with January’s hand surgery to fix it after he broke it a second time during a game at Denver.
In between, he riled up Timberwolves Nation with a Yahoo!Sports interview in which he again was bitter about management’s decision not to offer him a five-year “designated player” contract and reminded he has a “very, very good memory” when it comes time to opt out of his contract in 2015.
That interview and the way Love’s season ended has created suspicions among some fans that Love already has decided he doesn’t want to be here, a claim he has repeatedly denied.
Williams believes him.
“I can vouch for my teammates, the people we’re around every single day, and I think he wants to be here,” Williams said. “And we want him here. He’s one of the best players in the game. Who wouldn’t want one of the best power forwards in the game and in the world to be on their team?”
Pekovic said there is no doubt that he wants to return to Minnesota next season and far beyond. His coach is certain of that, too, although another team could complicate the process with a huge offer.
“I tell you now — whoever’s listening — I want him back,” Adelman said. “That’s what I’d like. We have to have some consistency. We cleaned a lot of people out last year, but we now have a core group who can be pretty good if we just stay healthy, and he’s certainly one of those guys.”
Kirilenko is part of that core group. It’s his choice this summer whether to accept a $10 million salary from the Wolves next season or become a free agent able to negotiate perhaps a three- or four-year contract — probably the last big one of his career — with another team, including the Wolves.
He said his family’s wishes will weigh heavily, and his children like Minnesota.
So, too, of course, will Adelman’s decision for a franchise that will have to start all over again if he chooses to retire.
“This is the key moment for me,” Kirilenko said. “He is the reason I’m here in the first place. We’ll see. Let’s wait for the summertime.”
|Boston - WP: M. Ott||4||FINAL|
|Minnesota - LP: M. Hoffman||3|
|UC Santa Barbara||38|
|San Diego St||73|
|Utah Valley U||83|
|Cal State Fullerton||56||FINAL|
|Long Beach State||66|
|Sam Houston St||70|
|New Mexico St||70|
|Miss Valley St||68||FINAL|
|(22) Middle Tennessee||69|
|William & Mary||65|