Kevin Love Re-Signs With Timberwolves



Kevin Love Re-Signs With Timberwolves


Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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The Timberwolves and Kevin Love agreed today to a four-year contract extension. Love has been with the Timberwolves since being acquired in a draft-day trade in 2008.

The 23-year-old said in a Wednesday afternoon conference call he’s happy for his coaches, teammates, family and himself that the deal is set in place.

“It means a lot to me,” Love said. “I’ve put in all the hard work in my 3 ½ years as a Timberwolf, and coming from where I was in high school to UCLA and everything up to this point, it’s all paid off for me. I’m continuing to work as hard as possible to help this team win basketball games.”

Love, who is with the team in Dallas as the Wolves prepare to face the Mavericks tonight, said the deal was reached at 8 or 9 a.m. this morning. He said being part of the Timberwolves organization for the next four years means a lot, particularly because of the core the Wolves team has built and the excitement for the future surrounding the franchise.

“The word foundation—there is definitely a strong base, a strong foundation with this group,” Love said. “Plus coach Rick Adelman and his whole coaching staff and where they see this team headed.”

Love is the corner stone of a team brimming with optimism for the future. He is averaging 24.9 points and 13.9 rebounds a game this year, including a league-leading 16 double-doubles and a stretch of seven consecutive 20-point, 12-rebound games to start the year—such a streak had not been accomplished since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975. Love is currently first in the league in minutes played with 39.8 per night.

He was selected with the 5th overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft out of UCLA by the Memphis Grizzlies and traded to the Wolves later that night. He averaged 11.1 points and 9.1 rebounds during his rookie season in 2008-09. Last season, he was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player after averaging 20.2 points and a league-leading 15.2 rebounds per game.

Love became the first NBA player since Moses Malone in 1982-83 to average 20-plus points and 15-plus rebounds.

"I am happy for Kevin who deserves to have the financial security that this contract affords him," said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operation. "Kevin has worked extremely hard to earn this and we are thrilled that he'll be with us for many years to come."

Now, the Wolves can work on continuing to build its team around the standout power forward. This year’s roster has drawn national attention thanks to the additions of guards Ricky Rubio and JJ Barea, as well as rookie Derrick Williams. Combined with a roster already filled with talent and the addition of Adelman and his coaching staff, Love said it’s time to take this team to the next level.

“He’s a guy that a young group can grow with and a guy we can learn from and a guy who can get the best out of us,” Love said.

Timberwolves fans have seen Love grow into one of the best players in the NBA over his three-plus years in the league. Now they can continue to see the forward lead the team for many more years to come.

"Kevin's decision to commit to the Timberwolves for several more years is, I hope, validation that our team is headed in the right direction," Kahn said. "Kevin is the cornerstone of this team and somebody who I believe all Minnesotans can admire for his hard work and effort."

For Love, who said he’ll continue to keep excelling and improving during these next four years with the Wolves, the deal is a relief and a chance to focus exclusively on basketball.

He said he’s ready to help take the Timberwolves to the next level.

“We have a young team, we have pieces that are going to continue to grow together,” Love said. “And we have a young, cohesive unit that is able to coexist out there on the floor.”


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