Time is running out on a deadline that could determine the future of a sports franchise in Minnesota. And, no, it’s not the Vikings. It’s this guy:
The Minnesota Timberwolves have until tomorrow at 11 p.m. to sign the team’s most valuable player to a new contract. The Star Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda suggests it’s a done deal:
An agreement could come as soon as Tuesday morning or considering the unnecessary wait so far, it could stretch toward that deadline, just like the Al Jefferson contract four years wasn’t finalized until just minutes before the deadline.
Yes, the Wolves very well can argue that $61 million is still better than Love can do elsewhere as a restricted free agent next summer and try to call his bluff on it.
But anyone who watched Love’s deliver a 39-point, 12-rebound night despite playing ill in Monday’s 107-92 loss to the Kevin McHale-coached Rockets knows where the franchise would be without him:
Exactly. The franchise would be exactly where it’s been. Fans of the team (disclaimer: I’m a season ticketholder) have grown accustomed to its incompetence, despite plenty of indication recently that the organization finally “gets it.” So they’re rightly nervous when talk turns to playing “chicken” with a player any other team would love to grab as a free agent.
Good players want to win, which is why many fans assumed Love would leave Minnesota at his first opportunity. But now, Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins points out, there appears to be a bright future for the Timberwolves on the frozen tundra:
There is much debate over whether he deserves a maximum contract, but no question about his value to the Timberwolves, who lost Kevin Garnett four years ago and will always struggle to land top free agents. Love’s situation is far different than Garnett’s, because the Wolves have given him a real chance to succeed, with Adelman on the bench and Rubio at the point. Love may not find as conducive a coach and point guard anywhere. He acknowledged that Rubio is a reason to re-sign.
Tic tock, Timberwolves.