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Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor expects Kevin Love to be on team this season

David Kahn Introduced As President Of Basketball Operations For Minnesota Timberwolves

Owners of NBA teams are of the same ilk as coaches, general managers and other front office staff, meaning that anything and everything that comes out of their mouth may not be the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth, meaning that any statements made about the team’s roster should be taken with a grain of salt.

Be it a smokescreen, his true feelings or somewhere in between, Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor insisted that he expects disgruntled power forward Kevin Love in training camp in a few months and with the team the entire season.

Should Taylor’s expressed desire to keep Love in the fold come to fruition, the chances are more than good that the Wolves would lose Love for nothing, as the superstar reportedly has indicated he will opt-out of his deal following the 2014-15 NBA season and head elsewhere.

But that isn’t stopping Taylor from publicly declaring that whether Love likes it or not, if the owner has his way, the sharpshooting forward will be wearing a T’Wolves jersey this season.

“My preference is that Kevin will come to (training) camp — and I’m sure he will — and play with the team,” Taylor said during an interview with NBA TV on Wednesday from a Wolves summer league game.

When told that Love expressed a desire to win, Taylor responded in kind.

“I say back to Kevin, ‘Well, that’s all I want, too,’ ” Taylor said.

Conventional wisdom says that it is nearly a stone-cold lock that the Wolves will trade Love sooner rather than later, despite Taylor’s protestations and president/head coach Flip Saunders noncommittal public statements on the subject.

Much like the card the Knicks held with Carmelo Anthony, the Wolves can pay Love $26 million more than any other team in his next contract, but it appears the relationship between the team and the player has been irreparably damaged, going all the way back to when the team didn’t sign him to a max deal, even if that occurred under the previous incompetent regime headed up by David Kahn.

Taylor’s comments come at a time when trade rumors have begun to heat up once again involving Love, as LeBron James’ return to Cleveland has given rise to speculation that Love would be keen on signing an contract extension with the team if he’s traded there, something he reportedly was unwilling to do without James back in the fold.

The return of the Cavaliers to the mix apparently has piqued the attention of the Golden State Warriors, as reports now indicate that the team has re-entered trade discussions with the Wolves as well. Negotiations between the Wolves and Warriors reportedly stalled last month when Golden State took Klay Thompson off the table as a piece of any trade for Love.

Any possible trade with the Cavaliers, meanwhile, appear to hinge on Cleveland including Andrew Wiggins in the deal, something the team has indicated is a nonstarter.

“My response is that we are going to look at everything that makes sense that would make our team better,” Taylor said. “But we are not going to move a superb player like that without getting equal or more value back.”

And yet, as far as Taylor is concerned, for now, it’s much ado about nothing. Love is a member of the Timberwolves, and the owner expects the forward to honor that commitment.

In fact, with Love in the fold, Taylor believes the team is pretty close to cracking the top eight in the Western Conference and getting back into the playoffs after an incredibly long postseason dry spell.

“I think our team is just on the border,” Taylor said. “We lost too many close games last year, and having Kevin Love there as, right now, the heart of our team … I would like to have Kevin back and play under Flip (Saunders) and see how the coaches will utilize him with the other players.”

If the Timberwolves decide against trading Love, it comes with a huge risk, not only from the perspective that the team could lose a supremely talented player and get nothing in return, but also from a public relations standpoint. Fans easily could turn on the Love during the season — if they haven’t done so already — as they understandably could view him as a selfish, lame duck player on his way out, making for an incredibly awkward and toxic environment at Target Center.