“People think it’s so far-fetched that I would stay in Minnesota. And I’m not s—— on the Lakers, but we have the better team, the better foundation. I’m having fun.”
—Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves, speaking to Steve Mash of GQ (in an article in large part about beard trimming).
Love is not wrong. The Timberwolves have a roster right now. It’s a roster that may be a disappointment but has a better foundation for winning than the Lakers right now. If you use the present tense.
That said, very few people around the league believe Love is staying in Minnesota — of course he’s going to say things like this publicly because he doesn’t want to create an awkward situation, but what he says to GQ or anyone else on the record and what his agent or other intermediaries tell the Timberwolves off the record do not necessarily match up. That is how the game is played. Most people around the league still think he winds up in Los Angeles, although in free agency Love would have multiple major suitors.
Minnesota’s man in charge Flip Saunders isn’t going to move Love at the deadline. Maybe this summer (if Love says he’s gone as a free agent), but more likely Saunders will massage the roster hoping for a Portland-like turnaround that will swing Love back toward staying in Minnesota. Saunders’ tip priority is to keep him. But a year from now, if Minnesota isn’t winning and winning a lot, Saunders may have no real choice but to deal.