The situation with Kevin Love in Minnesota is one of the more intriguing from a free agent standpoint, and it’s one that isn’t likely to be resolved for more than another year.
Love is under contract through the end of the 2015 season, at which time he will almost certainly opt out of the final year of his deal in order to sign a max contract — either in Minnesota, or somewhere else.
By all accounts, the Timberwolves shouldn’t be in this situation for another year beyond that. The team had the chance to lock up Love for an additional season by giving him a max five-year extension, but the general manager at the time (along with ownership approval) chose to offer a four-year deal, with an opt-out after three.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, however, isn’t ready to call that decision a mistake just yet.
Taylor and David Kahn, then president of basketball operations, decided in January 2012 to offer Love a four-year contract extension rather than the five-year maximum “designated player” deal that Love wanted. To convince him to sign, they offered the option of becoming an unrestricted free agent after three years.
Taylor was asked if he now considers that decision a big mistake. He paused before answering.
“Let’s wait one more year to answer that question,” Taylor said. “I think it’s a good question to ask at this point because Kevin has played as well as we hoped, and maybe even better. To have him tied up long probably would be better than not, but we still have one more year and we’ll see. My hope is it doesn’t make any difference, that Kevin can get the money one way or another and we’re in position to do that.”
Go ahead and file this one under the heading of, “well, what is he supposed to say.” But it’s truly a ridiculous notion.
Of course it was a mistake not to sign Love for a maximum contract at the time. He’s emerged as a legitimate All-Star who puts up video game-type numbers on the offensive end of the floor on a regular basis.
It might ultimately work out for the franchise, if it can make some offseason moves that improve the team to the point where Love believes it can contend for a championship in the very near future. It’s not a certainty that he won’t re-sign, but there’s nothing wrong with admitting now that a huge error was made where Love and his last contract extension was concerned — mainly, because it’s completely obvious.