Minnesota Timberwolves former Team President David Kahn, is like the gift that keeps on giving. Not only did the former executive turn his club into a perennial cellar-dweller during his tenure, he most likely cost the franchise their superstar, big-man Kevin Love. In yet another move that proved he lacked the “Right-Stuff” to satisfactorily fill the position, he decided to play hardball with the All-Star during contract negotiations. K-Love was eligible for a five-year max-deal with the T-Wolves, however for some inexplicable reason Kahn declined to offer more than a four-year pact.
The negotiations did not sit well, with the player the T-Wolves should have built their franchise around, so he had his agent put an opt-out-clause at the end of year three, which will occur in July of 2015. According to “CBS Sports.com” the petty tactics used by Kahn in the contract discussion and the lack of progress that Minnesota has made since the club drafted the big man, could be the factors that would choose the player to exercise the opt-out and bolt from the team via Free Agency in the Summer of 2015.
Although money is a factor in which team decides to sign with; for most great players it is not the primary objective of putting his name on a contract. The two main reasons that upper-echelon players choose a franchise; are viability of winning a Championship and a loyalty, or at least a belief that the people in charge can get the club to a point that they can contend for a Title.
So through no fault of his own Flip Saunders, who took over for Kahn at the conclusion of last season finds himself in the middle of a high-stakes game of “Chicken,” with Love and his agent. The earlier he trades his team’s centerpiece player, the higher the value in a package from another team. The other option of course is using the next year-plus to convince the big man, that the T-Wolves are on track to become legitimate contenders to make and win the Finals in the next few years.
There is no disputing that Minnesota has a talented young roster that includes shooting guard Kevin Martin, point guard Ricky Rubio, small forward Corey Brewer and center Nikola Pekovic. However the team has yet to turn into a cohesive unit and currently the whole is not playing up to the individual parts capabilities.
Although they pummeled the Indiana Pacers Wednesday night with Love recording a double-double, with 41 points and 16 boards, they ended the night with a record of 26-28, five and a half games behind the final Playoff seed in the Western Conference. There is a better than even chance that the club’s campaign will end yet again at the conclusion of the regular season, meaning Love will go yet another year in his career without ever sniffing the Playoffs.
The NBA trade-deadline takes effect on Thursday and there currently are no credible rumors of an impending deal that would send the talented big man to a new home. So it seems that K-Love will finish this campaign in Minnesota, what we will find out a year from now is whether Love is still in a T-Wolves jersey at the end of the 2014-2015 campaign?