Kevin Love could not get a five-year max extension off his rookie deal from Minnesota, so instead he has gone more the LeBron James deal route.
Love will sign a four-year extension with the Timberwolves at the max they can give, around $62-$64 million, but one that gives him an opt-out after three years (first reported by Chris Broussard of ESPN). The deal will be signed later Wednesday afternoon.
Love confirmed the deal with this tweet:
To #twolves fans: I’ll be in Minnesota for 4 more years! Excited to see you when I get back to Minneapolis.
This way he still gets paid next season but keeps some leverage over the organization to keep improving. After three seasons he can walk away as an unrestricted free agent (or force a new deal with Minnesota at that time).
Minnesota keeps its biggest star and the face of the franchise, however it also keeps its “designated player” card — a team can only have one player at a time signed to a max five-year deal like Love wanted. Now, they can keep that to use on Ricky Rubio (or maybe another player in a few years).
Love was frustrated that he could not get the max offer from the Timberwolves. If the team keeps improving that will be forgotten in three years when he can opt out. But by not locking him up for five years and a max deal — something he deserved for his play on the court and how he helped change the perception of the Wolves — Minnesota runs a risk. They created some bad blood hear that could bubble up again in three years.
This kind of shorter deal after the initial rookie deal is what LeBron James did, eventually leaving Cleveland when he didn’t like the direction of the organization.
Love is an All-Star averaging 24.9 points and 13.9 rebounds this season.