Minnesota Timberwolves Making Dumb Gamble Lowballing Kevin Love

John FrielAnalyst IJanuary 19, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 1: Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts to a foul during the second half of a basketball game against the Miami Heat at Target Center on April 1, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Heat defeated the Timberwolves 111- 92. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

It's a horrible ordeal to be a fan of a franchise that's in constant disarray.

As a fan of the Miami Heat for two decades, I know what it's like to have sudden and consistent disappointment. I was a lost person following the Heat losing three consecutive times in the playoffs to the New York in the late 1990s, as well as in the 2007-'08 season, when they finished with 15 wins.

Fortunately, I can't really relate to a fan of the Minnesota Timberwolves. I've never had my franchise's player up and leave because of the incompetent management, and I wouldn't know what it feels like to finish under .500 for six consecutive seasons.

Nor do I know the feeling of winning fewer than 20 games for two consecutive seasons. I was there for it in 2008 with Miami, but I'm not sure how anyone could get used to it.

However, the Timberwolves actually have a bright future to look forward to now. Besides having phenom point guard Ricky Rubio and athletic forwards in Michael Beasley and Derrick Williams, the Wolves also have arguably the league's top rebounder in power forward Kevin Love.

Currently averaging 14 boards per game, Love led the league in rebounds per game last year in only his third year.

He averaged 20 points and 15 boards per game, both career highs. What we also came to realize was that Love also happened to be a terrific threat from beyond the arc. He converted on a three-pointer per game at a 42 percent clip. Don't think it was a fluke, either, as Love is currently hitting two three-pointers per game on 36 percent shooting from outside.

Much like Zach Randolph, Love doesn't utilize his athleticism to constantly grab rebounds. Instead, he uses his weight and wide frame to create space and then go up and get the board. He's extremely aggressive and adamant about grabbing boards on both sides of the court and is smart enough to know how to box out when going for rebounds.

Love can score from the three, but he sees the majority of his points come from near the basket off of put-backs and tip-ins. As I said, Love isn't too athletic, but he knows how to use his body and how to box out, and that's all you need to be a rebounder as successful as he is. It's a simple concept, but not many players want to commit to it.

This is a player you can't lose.

The Timberwolves got lucky by trading away O.J. Mayo for Love on draft day, which means that this was pretty much a blessing from above. Minnesota only saw a two-game improvement last year, but now that they have some support next to Love, they can begin rebuilding and attempting to make it back to the postseason.

Love can become a restricted free agent next year. That means teams can offer whatever they want for Love, but if Minnesota matches that deal, they end up retaining him. As opposed to being a regular unrestricted free agent, the Timberwolves still have the last decision on where Love ultimately ends up next year.

Minnesota has done the right thing by getting set to offer a deal before the offseason. However, it's the deal itself that's questionable.

Even though he's a double-double machine who will attempt to lead the league in rebounds per game again, the Timberwolves' best offer to Love is most likely going to be $60 million over the next four seasons.

Could the Timberwolves be cheap or just plain dumb? This is their first chance since Kevin Garnett to secure a perennial All-Star, and the best they can offer is a four-year deal?

Why would you even think to offer Love a four-year deal when you could just as easily offer him another year or two on that deal? He's too good of a player to deserve a deal that's equal to that of Tyson Chandler's.

Fifteen million a year is certainly good money, but Love might look at that and compare it to other deals around the league. He'll look at Joe Johnson's $20 million, Rashard Lewis's $22 million and Gilbert Arenas' $20 million, and he'll wonder why he's not being offered that much.

The Timberwolves aren't exactly pursuing any top free agents, and they don't have any other key players to sign, so why not go all out and give him more?

A 23-year-old who's already led the league in rebounding, had a 30-point, 30-rebound game and can shoot from as far out as the three-point line is a commodity that you only see come around once in awhile.

Love is the equivalent to Moses Malone with a lack of defense and added range. The Timberwolves shouldn't be taking risks at this point by only offering a four-year deal to Love.

What do the Timberwolves have to lose by offering him more? Will a stud like Michael Beasley be peeved if Love is offered that much?

I don't see Minnesota making too many moves over the offseason outside of re-signing Love, so the right thing to do would be to give him his money while keeping him happy in Minnesota.

It's bad enough that he's been on teams that have won 32 games over the past two seasons. Why insult the guy some more by giving him a deal that's equivalent to that of a New York Knicks center who is half the player that Love is?

Minnesota needs to stop being cheap and give Love the max deal. He's too rare of a commodity and too valuable to lose. If Love departs from the Timberwolves, that team will never get lucky again. There are only so few power forwards that you draft that turn out to be superstars, and the Timberwolves can't make the same mistake they did with Garnett.

Unless Minnesota is openly telling Love that they're giving him that deal so they can reel in some free agents, then by all means go for it.

However, if this is the best deal that they're going to offer Love just because, then they're giving him a reason to depart for a team that will offer far more, as well as a better team.