The Minnesota Timberwolves are committed to building around Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. That’s their core and that’s who they want to win with. Love may not be as loyal to the team as they are to him, but at least they’re clearly acknowledging his request to put better pieces around him.
Love opted for a shorter contract so that he could jump ship if the team wasn’t taking the form he wants in a few years. Rather than ignoring their superstar or giving up and trading him, the T-Wolves front office decided he was right. Minnesota wooed Brandon Roy out of retirement, signed Andrei Kirilenko, Alexey Shved and Greg Stiemsma and traded for Chase Budinger. They also got rid of some players who Love said were causing problems with their attitudes in the locker room.
These moves aren’t the type of blockbuster ones that are going to turn a basement team into a contender overnight, but it shows promise and effort. That’s really all Kevin Love can ask for right now. Minnesota is doing the best they can with what was placed in front of them.
So how will that change their 26-40 record from last season?
I actually like the Timberwolves to be a playoff team. Don’t forget, Minnesota was flirting around .500 most of the season before Rubio went down and they won only one of their last 14 games. With Rubio back, a stronger supporting cast for Love and some addition by the subtraction of negative energy, I like this team to rebound strong.
People sort of shrugged off Kevin Love as an early MVP candidate, but that was mainly because all season it was a two horse race between Kevin Durant and LeBron James. Love definitely deserved that level of praise though. He’s something special and is absolutely capable of carrying a team on his back.
The Timberwolves also have one other ace up their sleeve and that’s their coach, Rick Adelman. Adelman will have to be the glue that holds this team together but he’s built for the task if he’s willing to commit to it long term.
Will the effort put forth by the Timberwolves be enough to keep Kevin Love around and get this franchise going in the right direction? Only time will tell, but they’ve taken a great first step.