The Minnesota Timberwolves saga with Kevin Love has taken a not so happy turn for the worst. Word came down late Wednesday that Love will require surgery to repair damage done to his hand and will miss the next 8-10 weeks recovering. Love is expected back around mid-March but given how he rushed back from the injury the first time around, he likely won’t see any action until April — which means the Timberwolves will have to make the playoffs without him.
There’s a million sides to this story but here’s the most important: if the Minnesota Timberwolves get the NBA playoffs without Kevin Love, given his distaste for management, it could mark the beginning of the end for Love in Minnesota.
Love’s major gripe with the Wolves is that he wasn’t given a max contract last season and was instead given a hefty extension instead. Per NBA rules, a team can only give one max contract per the lifetime of that contract, meaning if the Wolves gave Love the maximum they wouldn’t have been able to also hand one to Ricky Rubio — something many believe president David Kahn wants to do.
Kahn insists that he’d rather just not give the maximum to anyone, but Love wants it and is more than a little upset he didn’t get it. Earlier in December, Love told Yahoo! Sports that if the Wolves don’t start winning, he’s going to reconsider his future in Minnesota. Love basically said it’a an NBA Finals appearance or bust in the next three years for him, and this is coming from a guy who’s never played in an NBA playoff game in his entire career.
But what if the Timberwolves do start winning, as Love wanted, but they do it without his services. Projections right now have Love returning to the Wolves in time for the playoffs but he’s going to be just a cheerleader for the fight to actually get there.
Everything about this story is filled with tension and it’s bad news for fans. Love wants to make the playoffs, the Wolves will have to do it without him. The Wolves wanted Love to get fully healed before returning, he didn’t and now he’s out even longer than he should have been. Both sides are at fault here for starting an egoistical fight with one another while wager the future of the franchise while doing it.
What this really is, is just another round in the prize fight Kevin Love and the Wolves front office are engaged in at the moment. It can go a lot of ways from here, but very few are good ones.