TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Love starts new contract with new goal: playoffs

TribLIVE Sports Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
AP
United States' Kevin Love puts up a shot against Spain's Sergio Rodriguez, right, during the men's gold medal basketball game at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The Timberwolves star was the only member of the U.S. roster who has not played in the NBA playoffs, and he badly wants that to change. (AP Photo/Victor Caivano, File)

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Associated Press
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 7:32 p.m.
 

MINNEAPOLIS — The sweat and sacrifice that Kevin Love put himself through over the last four years to reshape his body and his game have brought him to this point.

The doughy 19-year-old is now a lean 24. The dreaded “tweener” has become by most accounts the best power forward in the game. The stat-monger who lost 230 games in four seasons has an Olympic gold medal.

He spent the summer surrounded by stars whose individual accomplishments have translated into team success. As he prepares to begin his fifth season, Love knows now is the time for him to do the same with his Minnesota Timberwolves.

“I feel like I'm ready to break through,” Love said. “I feel like I have a sense of accomplishment in this league for what I've done, but the next step is the playoffs. The next step is really looking at team goals.”

The London Olympics weren't all fun and games for Love.

Sure, he played a crucial role on the best team in the world and brought home the gold, his first real taste of championship-level basketball since he left UCLA after his freshman season. But he took plenty of grief from his hyper-competitive U.S. teammates. Love was the only NBA player on the roster without a playoff appearance, and he heard about it.

But while many of his fellow Olympians had teammates with them in London, either on the U.S. squad or playing for another country, Love largely has been on his own. The Wolves went through a massive rebuilding phase when Love entered the league, bringing in young players, many of whom lacked his desire and work ethic.

“The locker room being so young, I think losing can really take a toll on a team,” said Love, whose Timberwolves opened the preseason Wednesday night against Indiana in Fargo, N.D. “Guys at the end of the season just kind of dove into that burden of losing and just stayed there.”

Despite the lack of success, Love pushed to get the maximum five-year contract extension last January. So when the Timberwolves wouldn't budge on their offer of four years and more than $60 million, he begrudgingly accepted when the team included an opt-out after the third year.

Owner Glen Taylor and president of basketball operations David Kahn wanted to keep maximum flexibility with the payroll. So they were hesitant to offer the five-year maximum to Love or any other player, for that matter.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Reds send right-hander Leake to Giants for 2 prospects
  2. Police: Escaped Armstrong County inmate armed, dangerous homicide suspect
  3. Pirates bolster bullpen by trading for former closer Soria
  4. Pirates’ Burnett endures another poor start in blowout loss to Reds
  5. Paradise Park Rib Fest reviving legendary stage in Cowansville
  6. 44th Folk Festival off to bustling start in Kittanning
  7. Southmoreland School director named
  8. Inside the Steelers: Rookie linebacker Chickillo continues to excel
  9. Peduto blasts Wolf’s plan to borrow $3B to shore up pensions
  10. Steelers’ reserve quarterbacks vie to secure spot behind Roethlisberger, Gradkowski
  11. Winfield supervisors OK natural gas-drilling regulations