Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love was drafted in 2008 by former general manager Kevin McHale. Since then, he’s watched as one of his draft mates has won the MVP (Derrick Rose, in 2011), and another go to the NBA Finals (Russell Westbrook). And every NBA game scheduled past the third week in April, since his rookie year, Love has had to watch while in street clothes, as the Timberwolves haven’t made the playoffs since reaching the Western Conference finals in 2004.
McHale was deposed following Love’s first season, both as head coach and GM, in favor of Kurt Rambis as coach, and David Kahn the GM. Rambis initially made waves by refusing to start or play Love significant minutes in his first season, and Kahn made waves by initiating a series of ridiculous moves as Minnesota’s el jefe. The result was lottery appearance after lottery appearance, with Kahn finally being let go by the team earlier in 2013 in favor of new personnel chief Flip Saunders.
Love, who is on record as being frustrated at the moves Kahn made concerning him and the players around him, had a chance to unleash on his former employer at Wolves’ camp on Monday. Instead of going the David Kahn-route, though, he declined. From the Star Tribune:
“Last year is last year,” the two-time All-Star forward, uttering a line he used repeatedly during a 12-minute session with reporters at the team’s annual media day.
He made it clear he has little interest in discussing a lost season in which he played just 18 games after breaking his shooting hand not once but twice.
Love also wasn’t much interested in discussing his relationship with former President of Basketball of Operations David Kahn, who was replaced by Flip Saunders last May.
“The past is the past and it’s great to have Flip on board,” Love said. “We’ve had great talks. … We all know what happened last year, and we just want to move forward and take care of unfinished business.”
Love went on to discuss being in the best shape of his career, and was a little snarly at the suggestion that his lost 2012-13 campaign – hamstrung by a hand injury caused by accident – was in any way his fault. “I tried to be a lot more lucky,” in his offseason approach, Love told the assembled press.
Yeah, testy. You would be, as well.
Again, it’s still a far more tactful response than the one Kahn gave as he was shown the door. Fired GMs are more than welcome to give their explanation as to why things went pear-shaped, we’re just fine with anyone talking on record, but Kahn didn’t exactly do his legacy any favors last spring.
It remains to be seen whether or not the triptych featuring Saunders (whom we have no clue about as a front office maven), technical GM Milt Newton, and coach Rick Adelman (who has wielded significant personnel sway in each of his last three stops as head coach) can surround Love with the players he needs in order to make his first postseason. Even before swingman Chase Budinger was sidelined indefinitely after surgery to repair a torn meniscus, the Wolves were considered a fringe playoff candidate. Not the sort of status you want in place while you work with a payroll nearing the luxury tax, with Love set to potentially become a free agent in 2015.
Thanks to Kahn. Who weirdly wouldn’t give his star player a maximum contract. Kevin Love, because he’s a tactful and intelligent professional, won’t diss David Kahn from afar. That’s our job, apparently.
Good to see you back and healthy, Kevin. Looking forward to possibly seeing you in May this time around.