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Report: Kevin Love still wants to leave Timberwolves

2013 NBA Draft Lottery

2013 NBA Draft Lottery

NBAE/Getty Images

Flip Saunders hired Flip Saunders as the next coach of the Timberwolves. So, of course Kevin Love wants to stay in Minnesota now, Right?

Um, no.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Of course he does.

Love knew all along the Timberwolves would hire a new – likely fine, but unspectacular – coach this offseason. That it’s Saunders rather than Dave Joerger or Lionel Hollins or Sam Mitchell doesn’t matter much. Minnesota, right now, isn’t anymore appealing than the moment prior to Saunders’ decision.

The Timberwolves probably aren’t convincing Love to stay, but if they want to dare him to leave, they can.

That starts with having a strong season – making the playoffs at minimum and probably more. Then next summer, they must offer Love a max contract – worth more than any other team can pay him.

Maybe, just maybe, Love won’t be able to pull the trigger on taking less money to leave a winning team.

But that scenario – if Minnesota is even trying to create it – would be a long way off.

First, obviously, the Timberwolves must make themselves into a winning team. Can Saunders deliver that? We’ll have to wait and see, and Minnesota can make Love do the same.

But if the Timberwolves are using Saunders to make Love have a change of heart, they’re fighting an uphill battle. Maybe more like an up-mountain war.