"You walk into the locker room every year, and it's completely turned over," he told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. "There's new guys everywhere. And it happens again and again. You start to wonder: Is there really a plan here? Is there really any kind of a … plan?"
Flash-forward to the present day and Wojnarowski, the same person who wrote about Love's displeasure with the Wolves organization in December of 2012, is reporting that the New York Knicks are aiming to land Love in an effort to keep Carmelo Anthony in Manhattan.
"The Knicks are sold on Love in 2015, sources tell Yahoo Sports," reports Wojnarowski, "and they've already begun devising a strategy to lure him when the time comes."
A year ago, Love looked as good as gone, and it's hard to blame him. Former Minnesota general manager David Kahn and his staff did not offer Love a max contract, had drafted bust after bust in the first round (Jonny Flynn, Wesley Johnson), and gave already established bust Darko Milicic (!) a four-year, $20 million deal in 2010.
While some fans were upset that Love would publicly vent his grievances, others understood where he was coming from. And, to be honest, it was hard to argue with him: The Wolves were an absolute mess.
Minnesota underwent a makeover in the offseason, however, in an honest attempt to earn a playoff berth for the first time since the Kevin Garnett era. Corey Brewer and Kevin Martin were brought in and have made an immediate impact. Chase Budinger was re-signed and offers scoring off the bench when healthy. Derrick Williams had his team option picked up -- an indication that management believes that the former No. 2 pick can develop into a versatile scorer.
The efforts appeared to please Rick Adelman -- a person Love has deep respect for -- as the 67-year-old coach decided to come back for another season despite having won 1,000 games in his 20-plus years of coaching.
Oh yeah, and Kahn was replaced by former Wolves coach Flip Saunders, a man that Love seems to like.
"He's very hopeful that I'll be part of the team, a big part of the team, for many years to come," Love said at the time. "And I don't see why he should think otherwise."
Instead of being a hodgepodge of failed draft picks, established busts, and a rotating cast of characters, the Timberwolves are a team built to win in the next few years. There is a vision in place that starts with getting into the playoffs this year and eventually winning a championship with this core. In order to do that, Rubio has to improve as a shooter, Williams needs to round out his game, and Pekovic has to be more productive offensively.
There should be fewer changes in the locker room, however, and more cohesiveness as a unit, which should foster player development. These changes should transform the Timberwolves from a laughingstock to a model organization.
The changes have paid dividends immediately. Minnesota has lost only three games so far this season and has already beaten the Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Los Angeles Lakers. Additionally, Love missed an open three to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in what would have completed a monumental comeback and also nearly tipped in a ball that would have tied the game with the Los Angeles Clippers. Both teams are probably going to make the playoffs. Both times the Wolves didn't give up and hung around until the end. Both times it came down to Love at the buzzer.
Unlike in years past, the team's success this season will come down to whether or not Love executes night in and night out. He is Minnesota's best player, the best power forward in the league, and has been put into a situation where he can thrive. He is coached by a future Hall of Famer, no longer has to answer to Kahn, and will eventually play in a renovated arena located in the middle of a sports-crazy metropolitan area.
Why would he leave a suddenly well-managed team for a perpetually dysfunctional one like the Knicks? Why would he join a team that seems to be courting him only because LeBron James becomes a free agent too early (2014) and Kevin Durant too late (2016)? Why would he take less money to play with a player that doesn't ever pass the ball (Anthony), instead of one that has made assisting his teammates an art form (Rubio)?
Love has what he needs to win in Minnesota. To leave for New York is only to admit that he is not sure he can get the job done -- and that will only be magnified under those bright lights.
- Sports & Recreation
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Adrian Wojnarowski
- New York Knicks