The Timberwolves probably can’t keep Kevin Love beyond next season.
But if they trade him, they probably won’t land a player of his caliber anytime soon, anyway.
So, I see some logic in Minnesota’s apparent strategy – keeping Love until his contract expires and daring him to take less money to leave. It’s a plan that will probably fail, but the alternative will probably fail, too. It’s just a matter of which unlikely proposition carries better odds.
If the Timberwolves are going to impress Love enough to re-sign him, that starts with hiring a coach to replace reportedly outgoing Rick Adelman.
Assuming Rick Adelman leaves, a source said Minnesota’s coaching wish list includes Tom Izzo, Fred Hoiberg and Stan Van Gundy.
Timberwolves president Flip Saunders became friends with Izzo while coaching the Pistons. I don’t believe Izzo’s hard-nosed motivational style translates directly to the NBA, and I’m not sure he could adjust. I wouldn’t want to pay the salary it would take to lure him to find out, even though I respect Izzo’s overall coaching acumen. Saunders could definitely foster a welcoming environment for the Michigan State coach, perhaps alleviating some concerns. Minnesota could have competition for Izzo.
Hoiberg previously worked in the Timberwolves’ front office, so he’s another name with ties. I love what he’s done at Iowa State, and he’d be high on my list if I were running an NBA team. His style translates so well, and he’s young, enthusiastic and still improving.
Van Gundy is just a flat-out good coach. His biggest weakness is probably how he wears on players, and his relationship with Dwight Howard notably turned sour. But he hasn’t alienated any Timberwolves yet, so why not start the clock now while the franchise is at such a critical point? This is the time to get the best of Van Gundy.
As far as wish lists go, this one is pretty good. The Timberwolves real challenge is actually landing one of these coaches or, if they can’t, finding a strong alternative.