In the wee hours of Sunday morning, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports dropped one of his patented “bombs“, which is usually fun, because he (often unexpectedly) reports a big piece of league news. But in this instance, for Timberwolves fans, the Woj-bomb was more of a vague reference to a landmine somewhere along Flip Saunders’ path, which wasn’t much fun to wake up to. An excerpt (read the original article here):
“As the Minnesota Timberwolves consider the future of All-Star forward Kevin Love, Sam Mitchell has emerged as a serious candidate for the franchise’s head coaching job, league sources told Yahoo Sports…
Beyond the coaching search, the Wolves are under pressure to start considering trade scenarios for Love, who’s anxious to exercise his early termination option (ETO) in the summer of 2015 and leave as a free agent, league sources said.”
This, naturally, set off a mini-firestorm on various social media platforms, reports flying everywhere at a rapid rate. Jon Krawczynski’s afternoon post for the Associated Press affirmed that Flip Saunders and Glen Taylor would consider trading the superstar forward “if the right deal comes along,” a shift from their previous public stance. Krawczynski also reported (via Twitter) that “Love and his reps have NOT asked for a trade or told Wolves he definitely will not re-sign.” However, Wojnarowski updated his story in the late afternoon and stated that Love’s representatives at Excel Sports were, in fact, pushing the Wolves’ front office to “find a trade acceptable to them before the beginning of summer free agency in July – preferably by the June 26 NBA draft.” ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein chimed in as well, stating that Golden State and Chicago were two potential destinations that intrigue Love. Finally, this morning, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune provided quotes from Glen Taylor, who acknowledged the shift in the team’s philosophy, but remained hopeful that the team could find a way to entice him to stick around.
Each of the national reporters mentioned in the above paragraph (Wojnarowski, Stein, and Shelburne) have terrific sources in league circles and are routinely at the forefront of major NBA stories. Both of the Minnesota-based reporters in the above paragraph (Krawczynski and Zgoda) have their fingers on the pulse of the Wolves’ front office. In short, all five reporters are good at what they do, yet if you read everything they had to say yesterday, there’s a lot of conflicting information. Add to their superior reporting the mind-numbing amount of baseless, biased nonsense circulating about, it’s hard to know what to make of yesterday’s events.
I hate comparing sports to war, but the above clip from the movie “Apocalypse Now” encapsulates my feelings on what lies ahead for all of us outside Kevin Love’s camp, the Wolves front office, and the small circle of reporters with bona fide access to each side. Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) is traveling up the Nung River in search of Marlon Brando’s fat ass, er, Colonel Kurtz, when he stumbles across a haphazard outpost where chaos reigns supreme. Soldiers are running around firing into the darkness, at random, and Willard, who seems to be the only rational guy around, wants to know who’s in charge. After ‘Roach’ calmly fires into the night, he’s asked a simple question:
Willard: “Hey, soldier. Do you know who’s in command, here?”
The look on Roach’s face when he says, “yeah,” the fact that he doesn’t elaborate, doesn’t need to elaborate, is one of the most powerful moments in the film. Willard is far up the river, deep inside the horror, darkness and pandemonium of war. Roach knows who’s in charge. No one’s in charge. Every one’s in charge. For the rest of his journey, nothing about the normal protocol of battle applies, and information will be hard to come by.
Which is right where we are. Someone’s in charge of the Love affair, but no one really knows who. Some say the Wolves have all the leverage, others insist it’s Love. One reporter says one thing, another reporter refutes it. In some ways yesterday’s events weren’t really news, but in other ways, things are different now. It’s going to be a long month until the draft, and there are many more reports to come, about potential trades and ideas of trades, wading through what’s legitimate and what’s subterfuge will be tricky or impossible. In a way, we are all Captain Willard. Welcome to the chaos.