Here’s your chance, Timberwolves fans. Go ahead and boo until you’re red in the face, if that in some way feels cathartic.
Or stand up and cheer loudly, a bit of reverse psychology. Maybe you feel genuinely appreciative. If nothing else, the look on Kevin Love’s face caused by that curveball would be priceless.
Those patient souls who still buy Wolves tickets should feel free to react to Love’s return to Target Center on Saturday night however they desire, as long as their behavior doesn’t cross the line into sheer stupidity.
So boo, applaud, mock, cheer, stick out your tongue, whatever.
Get it out of the system.
My suggestion? Do nothing. Shrug. Act indifferent.
Show vocal restraint when the Cleveland Cavaliers starting lineup is introduced. That also might freak Love out because he’s surely expecting some kind of impassioned reaction.
The point is, it’s time to turn the page and focus on the present or, more important, the future. Love got what he wanted, a chance to win big. And the Wolves landed stud rookie Andrew Wiggins, who could be a star in short order.
Win-win? Maybe in time, but their split hasn’t produced utopia for either side yet.
Love has struggled to find his role with the Cavs. And the Wolves, who on Friday night lost to the lowly 76ers for the second time this season, have the fewest victories in the NBA.
But at least the vision is clearer now for the Wolves and we’re no longer subjected to the endless will-he-stay-or-go drama that always hovered over Love’s time here. That got really old.
Nobody needs another point-by-point breakdown of their professional divorce. That story has been written to death. The organization made many mistakes, Love made mistakes. It doesn’t matter at this point if one side deserves more blame than the other.
No doubt a portion of Wolves fans take delight in Love’s turbulent start in Cleveland. He’s averaging nine fewer points (from 26.1 to 17.1) and two fewer rebounds (12.5 to 10.3) than last season and has seen his statistics drop in other areas as well. He’s been benched in the fourth quarter of games.
The hyperventilation over a three-headed monster featuring Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving turned into snickers once the narrative changed tone.
James has battled injuries, and the Cavs have looked disjointed searching for cohesion. And Love’s adjustment to a new team has produced underwhelming results.
The NBA plays a long season, and talent usually rises to the top. The Cavs are starting to find their stride now, winners of nine in a row with their victory Friday night over Sacramento.
The Cavs ultimately will be judged by what happens in June, not November. They will be fine in the long run.
In the Wolves’ case, they’re banking on a payoff in the loooooooong run. But at least fans can feel reasonably optimistic in this latest rebounding plan because of the development of Wiggins.
Internally, Wolves officials are ecstatic by his progress. Specifically, Wiggins looks far more assertive on the floor now than two months ago, which should be a relief internally because that was a concern after his one season in college.
Wiggins has developed a post-up game and attacks the basket with confidence. He’s already become a tough, versatile defender, to the point that Flip Saunders trusts him to guard the opponent’s best player, whether that’s a point guard or LeBron.
Once the 19-year-old Wiggins fills out and adds 15 pounds of muscle and improves his perimeter shooting, he’s going to be a load to handle.
Wiggins’ development has been the silver lining in this lost season. The absurd amount of injuries to Ricky Rubio and others forced Wiggins out of his shell, made him take on more responsibility. He likely wouldn’t be at this point without those injuries.
The short-term pain of losing night after night will pay dividends in the future because Wiggins wasn’t allowed to ease into the NBA. He’s averaged 38 minutes per game since Christmas and is pushing himself through his rookie wall.
One staffer also noted that Wiggins commits to extra daily video sessions, another encouraging sign.
Losing stinks, but losing with a star-in-the-making should lessen the frustration.
The past and future will be on the same court Saturday night. Love’s return should make for a lively sideshow. The guess here is that some fans will boo him, some will cheer. Some probably never felt enough emotional attachment to him to offer any reaction.
Whatever the case, watching Wiggins’ emergence makes it a lot easier to turn the page.