This is not rocket science, but the Timberwolves are finding a way to screw it up.
Minnesota has until Wednesday to reach a deal on a rookie contract extension with Kevin Love. Love is an All-Star, soon to be Olympian, double-double machine (39 and 12 Monday night) and the face of the franchise’s marketing efforts — he is exactly what a max contract guy should be (five years, near $80 million). Early reports said the Timberwolves were lowballing him with an offer just above what other teams could give (four years, $61 million).
Now comes a conflicted report from Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.
One team source told me tonight that the Wolves are closing in on a five-year maximum contract deal that would pay him more than $78 million and despite such a forthcoming deal, David Kahn hasn’t won any brownie points with Love in this negotiation.
Another said that as of Monday afternoon, the team still hadn’t moved off its four-year, $61 million offer.
So far only Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook have gotten max extensions from this draft class. Rose got a “Derrick Rose rule” super max at five years, $94 million, while Westbrook shunned that to get five years, $80 million, leaving the Thunder some cap room.
Love should be in that group, but the Wolves are dragging this out and maybe holding out for whatever reason.
If a deal is not reached by Wednesday, Love will be a restricted free agent next summer and Minnesota could — and would — match any offer he gets. So Love would have to take the $60 million or play next season for just $6.1 million by signing the qualifying offer — but then become an unrestricted free agent. He’d take less money that way, but if you don’t think players would take less money to leave if their ego were sufficiently offended you kid yourself.
Coach Rick Adelman is frustrated with this lack of a deal getting done. But if he thinks it’s a distraction now, wait to see what happens this summer and beyond if this doesn’t get done.