Unusually for a famous professional athlete, Kevin Love mostly tells you what he’s thinking. And even when he’s attempting to mask his feelings on an issue, that masking is so halfhearted and unconvincing that we nevertheless walk away with a pretty good impression of what’s under the surface. So here are his feelings on the Wolves progress to the playoffs, as reported to Yahoo! Sports (via ESPN.com):
My patience is not high. Would yours be, especially when I’m a big proponent of greatness surrounding itself with greatness? All these [Team USA] guys seem to have great players around them. It’s tough seeing all these guys that are young and older who have all played in the playoffs. When they start talking about that, I have nothing to talk about. If I don’t make the playoffs next year, I don’t know what will happen.
These seem like Revealing Comments from a Famous Basketball Player. But lets take a step back and ask ourselves whether these comments are even a little surprising. Would any of us like to watch, let alone play for, a team as hapless as the Wolves have been since Love arrived? Are any of us feeling particularly patient with the Wolves’ progress? When Love signed his extension, we all knew that the Wolves were gambling that, in three years’ time, they would become good enough to keep him around. Does Love’s recent remarks change that equation in the slightest? The reality is clear, as it always has been: the Wolves need to improve dramatically over the next two seasons. If they don’t, they might find themselves starting over from scratch.
Update: Read Zach’s excellent take on Love’s comments in Truehoop today. Here’s an excerpt:
By saying the team needs to make the playoffs or changes need to happen in the days before you may or may not acquire Batum just seems like horrendous timing. The Wolves had only a glimmer of hope to get away with acquiring Batum outright if Portland decided not to match. Now Portland can be open to a sign-and-trade, knowing they can demand any and all assets Minnesota has at its disposal…Love could have applied pressure to the Timberwolves in private, but now the rest of the league has been put on alert — things in the Twin Cities are bumpy. That doesn’t help you keep future contract negotiations and trade discussions in your team’s favor. It takes away any potential for possessing the upper-hand when transforming your roster.