Love not long for Minny?

In an article, Kevin Love didn’t shoot down the possibility that he would change teams in the near future.

Love sees all of this, has absorbed it, processed it. Which is why he is complimentary of the Timberwolves’ progress — “I can see a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “I couldn’t see it last year” — but he stops short of saying he plans to be in Minnesota for the long term. Love is eligible to sign a contract extension this summer but admits he does think about free agency, about having some control over his future.

“We’ll see what happens with what David Kahn and the front office want to do,” Love said. “If it’s right, it’s right. If it’s not, it’s not. I could end up somewhere else. I just want to play for a team that wants to win at this point. At this point, I just want to win now.”

Wherever Love goes, he won’t come cheap. The five-year, $60 million extensions signed by Joakim Noah and Al Horford last year will likely be Love’s starting point in negotiations. And his deal could be bigger. When asked what kind of contract Love could be in line for this summer, one league executive’s answer was succinct: Max.

Some internet outlets have jumped on these quotes and started talking trade, but it sounds to me like Love is talking about his extension and keeping his options open before he signs his next contract. He’ll be with the T-Wolves for at least two more seasons, and by then he should have a good idea whether or not the Ricky Rubio dream will ever pan out for GM David Kahn.

Love is averaging 21.0 points and 15.6 rebounds on 46% shooting, which is just so-so accuracy for a power forward. But when you consider his range (43% from 3PT, 1.3 made threes per game), it’s more than acceptable. He’s #2 in PER (24.04) amongst power forwards, second only to Dirk Nowitzki, and has the third-highest rebound rate in the league after Reggie Evans and Marcus Camby, who aren’t asked to do much else other than clean the glass.

Love is putting up gaudy numbers on a bad team, so is he really worth a max contract? Yeah, probably. When you have a guy who can score 20-plus a game and dominate the glass, and stretch the defense with his three-point range, you have to lock him up. I don’t know that Love will ever be the best player on a championship-caliber team — his defense is adequate at best (opponent’s eFG% is a healthy 49.7%, and the T-Wolves give up 4.5 more points per 100 possessions when he’s on the court) — but he’s certainly capable of being one of the best sidekicks in the league. The trick for Minnesota will be to find another star or two before Love has to make a decision about his future.

Ken Berger wrote a piece about the state of the T-Wolves that focuses on Kahn and his plan for the remainder of the season. (In short, he’s evaluating the roster.)

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