LAS VEGAS – Team USA's roster is filled with 12 NBA players who have won seven total championships and appeared in a combined 700 playoff games. Only one of those dozen players has never played in a single postseason game.
Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love.
And he's not happy about it.
In an interview with Yahoo! Sports, Love urged Minnesota's management to acquire the necessary talent to make the franchise a contender. If the Timberwolves don't start winning this season, Love isn't sure how long he'll want to be a part of Minnesota's future.
"My patience is not high," Love said. "Would yours be, especially when I'm a big proponent of greatness surrounding itself with greatness? All these [Team USA] guys seem to have great players around them.
"It's tough seeing all these guys that are young and older who have all played in the playoffs. When they start talking about that, I have nothing to talk about. If I don’t make the playoffs next year I don’t know what will happen."
The Timberwolves haven't made the playoffs since 2004, a string of eight seasons. Love was hopeful the T'wolves would end the streak last season, but they lost rookie point guard Ricky Rubio to a season-ending knee injury on March 9 and never really recovered. Love admitted he was disappointed Minnesota's front office failed to get an adequate replacement for Rubio. With Rubio sidelined, the T'wolves finished the season with the Western Conference's fourth-worst record (26-40).
Love will begin his four-year, $62 million contract extension this season, but the deal allows him to opt out after three years. He sought a maximum five-year extension in negotiations before last season, but T'wolves officials balked. Another losing season could change his desire to stay with the franchise long-term.
"At this point, I’m not afraid to go on the record," Love said. "Being around these [USA] guys, they know the situation I’m in and how competitive I am. I want to win. All the players on the Timberwolves feel the same way, as well. The coaching staff is awesome. They want to win and win now. Hopefully, we can make some stuff happen.
"I would say it's coming down to it for sure [next season]. It's no secret I was willing to commit to Minnesota for five years. I'm very happy with my contract. I'd love to be in Minnesota. But like anybody else, I want to win."
Love and Deron Williams are the only players on Team USA whose NBA teams didn't make the playoffs last season. Williams, however, has agreed to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets after the Nets struck a deal to acquire All-Star guard Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks. The Nets also are continuing to try to trade for Dwight Howard.
The Timberwolves have already made some moves this offseason to try to upgrade their roster, reaching agreement on a two-year contract with former Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy, who is trying to return to the NBA after chronic knee injuries forced him to sit out last season. They also acquired forward Chase Budinger from the Houston Rockets and came to an agreement with restricted free-agent forward Nicolas Batum on a four-year, $45 million offer sheet that the Trail Blazers have vowed to match. Forward Michael Beasley left the T'wolves to sign with the Phoenix Suns and Minnesota has shopped forward Derrick Williams, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft.
"If we don’t make the playoffs, I don’t know it’s going to be me or something, but our management needs to step up and make some moves," Love said. "Chase is good for us. Brandon if he can come in relatively healthy and be back to somewhat of where he was … we can be pretty damn good, especially in the fourth quarter with how he used to be [with the Trail Blazers] with LaMarcus [Aldridge] in the pick-and-roll. If Ricky can come back healthy that would be great.
"But I think our front office and ownership needs to step up and get us some pieces. We need to make some moves. We can't just stand still. We have to make this happen."
T'wolves general manager David Kahn said he has spoken to Love about the franchise's plans for the future.
"I'm sure Kevin has a sense of urgency," Kahn said. "I think the team demonstrated it could win last season before we were hit with a cascade of injuries. I thought we were on the right track and surely we would have competed for the eighth and final playoff spot if we remained healthy. Next season is shaping up to be better than last year.
"Under Kevin's leadership, I would expect him to compete for the playoffs. The one thing we can't control is injuries. I'm hopeful for a healthy year."
[Slideshow: Team USA training camp]
Love loves playing with Rubio and center Nikola Pekovic, and is hopeful Rubio returns healthy. Kahn said Minnesota doesn't have a firm timetable for when Rubio should be cleared to play. Still, Love said he will continue to push Minnesota's management to add more pieces to the roster because T'wolves fans "deserve a better product."
"I don't know if we will blow up the team again, if I'll be moved," Love said. "I don’t know.
"But something has to happen in Minnesota."
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