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Timberwolves’ teammates hope Kevin Love contract gets done


This news story was published on January 25, 2012.
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By Kent Youngblood, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) –

MINNEAPOLIS — With a little more than 24 hours left for the Timberwolves and Kevin Love to come to an agreement on a contract extension, Love kept quiet.

After an injury-altered practice Tuesday and before the Wolves boarded a plane to Dallas, Love declined to talk about his contract status.

But others did.

Coach Rick Adelman talked about how Love has prevented his contract situation from affecting his play. Teammates Anthony Tolliver and Michael Beasley expressed confidence a deal would get done. Indeed, Beasley, who stayed behind due to his foot injury, jokingly volunteered to take over and get the deal done himself. “(Love) better pay me 20 percent,” he said. “I’m expensive.”

Any deal that is completed likely will be.

Love is in line for a maximum four-year deal worth $61 million or a five-year deal worth $78 million.

Adelman praised Love for not letting negotiations affect his performance on the court. “He’s been consistent. He’s been one of our most consistent players right along,” Adelman said. “And that’s all you can ask for.”

Said Tolliver: “As his teammate, we all want what’s best for him. (Wolves president of basketball operations David) Kahn has to look out for the best interests of the franchise for the long term. But I think Kahn and K-Love will figure it out one way or another.”

Beasley agreed. “I know he’s going to come to the right deal,” he said of Love. “Kevin is a great player. This organization needs him, just like every organization wants him.”

Limping to Dallas

The Wolves were limited in what they could do during Tuesday’s practice because so few players were available to play.

“We kind of had attrition come in last night,” Adelman said of Monday’s loss to Houston. Guard Luke Ridnour (sore knee), center Darko Milicic (sore hip), forward Anthony Tolliver (sore wrist), guard Wes Johnson (ill) and center Brad Miller (knee) were held out. As a result, player development coach Shawn Respert had to take part in a few drills so Adelman would have 10 players.

The team worked mainly on pick-and-roll defense after Houston worked them so successfully in Monday’s victory at Target Center. But even so, Adelman was limited in what he could do.

“There is no practice,” he said. “You can’t do it. The schedule prohibits you completely from it.”

Adelman hopes Johnson — who went on the trip — Ridnour, Tolliver and Milicic will be available Wednesday in Dallas.

Etc.

— Beasley, who has missed 10 games because of a mid-foot sprain, took part in practice. He said he could cut on the foot and had some of his explosion back. He could return next week.

— With several injured players due back soon, rookie Derrick Williams might not need to play much small forward going forward. But if he does, Adelman said Williams needs to be sure to take advantage of his matchups more. In many cases, that means posting up smaller defenders at the position. “We want him to attack, but it’s hard on him because he hasn’t played (small forward) hardly at all. But when he goes out there he has to take advantage of his size, go to the basket and make them pay.”

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