Kevin Love signed a four-year extension in January that should keep him in Minnesota until at least 2015 (he can opt out of the final year of the deal). When Love and the Timberwolves agreed to that extension, the team received some criticism for not simply offering its star forward a maximum five-year contract. The fact that Love can opt out after three years raises questions about his long-term future with the T-Wolves, a topic the All-Star discussed with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
"For me, at the end of the day, I want to win. My first three years were 24 wins, 15 wins, 17 wins," Love told Spears. "Now things are finally turning around. Losing Ricky [Rubio to a season-ending knee injury] was terrible for us. We didn’t make a move at the deadline, which is tough. But we just got to rock with the guys we have now…. At the end of the day, if we continue to progress as we get older, learn the system, learn to play together, things are going to look up for us. But am I going to be here my whole career? That’s really up in the air."
When superstars like LeBron James and Dwight Howard have considered leaving their teams to sign elsewhere, terms like "marketability" and "brand" have been used liberally. The idea that playing in a bigger market increases a player's off-court opportunities is one that Love acknowledges.
"Building a brand is definitely big," Love said. "If someone said they didn’t want to do that they’d be lying to you. If you win everything takes care of itself. That’s how greatness is formed. But guys in bigger markets are going to get more endorsements because that’s just what sells."
With a solid core in Love, Rubio, and rookie Derrick Williams, the Rick Adelman-coached Timberwolves appear to be headed in the right direction. The continued growth of the club over the next few years will be crucial in Love's eventual decision on whether to stay or go.
"Heading into my prime, if I’m here all four years, I’ll have my chance to pick and be 27," Love said. "I will have my chance to go wherever I want. But if we are rolling? Who’s to say what will happen."