HoopsHype Kevin Love rumors
Joe Cowley: "LeBron and I have had conversations that I need to mentally prepare myself to play into June.'' Love on playoff pressure he is yet to feel. Twitter @suntimes_hoops
Saturday, Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders took time out of the news conference announcing the Love-to-Cleveland trade to retell the story. “Garnett didn’t want to leave,” Saunders said. “Garnett was here for 12 years, signed three contracts, had no trade clause, actually turned down trades early at first. But then when he found out this was going to be a total rebuild anyone that knows Kevin, Kevin wants to win. He wanted to be in a winning situation. So the perception that Love left because Garnett left, that’s not the right perception. (Garnett) loved it here and he gave a lot to this organization and wanted to stay here and be here. Like I said, anybody that’s here for 12 years, it shows his commitment to the organization. We feel that we’ve got players who are going to have that same type of commitment.” St. Paul Pioneer Press
As the draft concluded without a deal, the Wolves appeared to be in danger going into the season with a player who didn't want to be there and a fan base that was preparing to boo him at every turn. "We went through who we considered were cornerstones of trades with any team that'd call. If cornerstone wasn't involved, we probably weren't going to pursue that," Saunders said. "I believe that the No. 1 issue was, as the season progressed and maybe more so when I took over as coach, teams then believed we were not hesitant to bring Love back." Associated Press
Moving on from the second-best player the franchise has ever known was not an easy decision, and it wasn't a smooth process to make it happen. Once it was over, they wasted little time turning the page. "One thing you can't do in this business as coaches, general managers, presidents, you can't fall in love with players because the dynamics change," Saunders said. "What happens is you make decisions based on the personality and not based on the facts. "Kevin, he looked and he made a decision that he felt was a business decision for himself and there were a lot of factors that led into that decision, not just what happened this past year." Associated Press
Kahn and Taylor further inflamed the relationship when they gave Love only a four-year extension, reserving the team's single five-year "designated player" contract for Ricky Rubio. That decision is haunting the Timberwolves today. If Love had been granted the longer deal, he would have been locked up through 2017, with an opt-out in 2016, and no means to force a trade this summer. Until the NBA, Love had known nothing but success, leading his high school team to the Oregon state title game three times, winning the championship his junior year. His AAU team, co-anchored by Brandon Jennings, once went 47-0. In his one season at UCLA, Love powered the Bruins to a conference championship and a Final Four appearance. "He's won his whole life," the confidant said. "Until he got to Minnesota." Bleacher Report
Rose has been taking notes for when Irving is back in a rival uniform. ‘‘Not only on him, but everybody,’’’ Rose said. ‘‘I mean, we’re competitors. We look at each other’s games to see what strengths are, weaknesses are, and of course you’re going to use them during the season.’’ Unfortunately, exposing Irving is just one layer when it comes to outlasting the new-look Cavs in the postseason. Asked about having James — arguably the best active NBA player — back in the division this season, Rose said he’ll approach him ‘‘the same way I would if anyone else was in my division.’’ ‘‘Just because it’s him, it’s going to get me to play even harder,’’ Rose said. Chicago Sun-Times
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