According to ESPN1500 columnist Judd Zulgad, the new president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves, Flip Saunders, spoke with the Wolves' franchise power forward, Kevin Love, on Tuesday. When asked whether the Wolves needed to do any repair work between the team and Love, Saunders replied, "I don't think so."
Love's 2012/13 season was difficult as he missed all but 18 games due to two separate fractures of his hand and averaged 18 PPG after averaging 26 PPG the year before. His previous career low in games played were the 60 he played in his sophomore 2009/10 season. But Love's antagonism with the Wolves extends beyond his injury-plagued 2012/13 season.
When former head of basketball operations, David Kahn, was in charge of the franchise, and Love's rookie contract was due for an extension in January of 2012, the Timberwolves only offered Love a four-year $62MM extension, with an option for the fifth year, instead of the maximum allowable, which would have paid Love $80MM over five years like fellow 2008 rookie, Russell Westbrook. Westbrook signed a $78.65MM extension for five years earlier the same week that Love signed his.
Not only that, but in an interview with Y! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski in December last year, Love was critical of the Timberwolves' front office, particularly Kahn, with Love wondering at the time, "Is there really a plan here? Is there really any kind of a … plan?"
But Saunders says the rift between the team and Love was largely exaggerated, and from what he's seen, Kevin is on board with what the Wolves are trying to do.
"You hear a lot in the media, and having been in the media, I take everything with a grain of salt. Having been there, too, (when it comes to what's reported) and what's actual. A lot of times when players are actually going through interviews sometimes they are in a situation where the context of the interview, things can be taken a little bit out of context.
"I just know in my conversations with him since I've been here, he's just said that he's on board, he's looking forward to the journey that we're all going to take down the road and he's working hard to get in shape.
"I think in another week-and-a-half he'll be pretty much unlimited in what he can do physically. I don't see anything that's happened in the past that's going to really push him back and he's going to hold anything against the organization."
We'll know for sure in the summer of 2015, when Love can opt out of the last year of his deal and become an unrestricted free agent.