Bye Bye K-Love: A tribute to a Timberwolves all-time great [VIDEO]
The K-Love era stunk from a wins-and-losses standpoint, but his individual greatness can't be denied.
With the blockbuster trade now finalized, there will be plenty of time to get excited about the new batch of young, athletic Timberwolves, headlined by top draft choice Andrew Wiggins, who will be publicly introduced to Minnesota by Flip Saunders during a press conference at the State Fair tomorrow.
But before we let ourselves completely wig out about Wiggins, we want to take a moment and recognize Kevin Love for the relatively thankless job he's done establishing himself as the unquestioned second-best player in T-Wolves franchise history over the past six years.
Love takes his talents to Cleveland as the Wolves' third-leading all-time scorer (fourth in per-game average), all-time per-game rebound leader, and second-leading three-point shooter (in terms of three-pointers made). He played the fifth-most minutes in franchise history, behind Kevin Garnett, Sam Mitchell, Doug West, and Wally Szczerbiak.
But unlike the players ahead of him on the minutes list, none of Love's T-Wolves teams ever made the playoffs. That, along with the mystery surrounding his knuckle push-ups injury (was that REALLY how he got hurt?) and his public dissatisfaction with the organization during the David Kahn years, resulted in Love never being totally embraced by Minnesota and vice versa.
The final straw, of course, came in May, when reports surfaced that K-Love intended to opt out of his contract and leave Minnesota next summer, if Flip didn't trade him sooner.
Yet there were happy moments amid all the drama and fraught relationships. The best of them, at least according to NBA.com, are captured in this video of Love's top 10 Timberwolves plays:
Conspicuous by its absence are any plays from Love's greatest game -- his 31-point, 31-rebound effort at the Target Center against the Knicks in November 2010, which was his coming out party as one of the NBA's best and the league's first 30/30 performance in nearly 30 years.
Along the way, Love also made yours truly look like a fool with his last-second heroics, high-fived Spike Lee in the middle of a game, won a "White Guy Award," shaved his head for a good cause, and displayed an impressive sense of humor on more than one occasion, including during his interactions with reporters.
So while we're sad Love didn't love Minnesota enough to stay here and partner with Ricky Rubio for years to come, we're excited to see whether he can play Robin to LeBron's Batman and help Cleveland win its first NBA championship.
We wish him nothing but the best -- except when he's playing the Wolves, of course. In that case, we hope Wiggins posterizes him like this:
Breaking up is always hard, especially when you're parting ways with someone who has as much going for him as Love does (and he's still only 25 to boot). But it's easier to handle, of course, when you've already identified your next love prospect. Let's just hope the Wiggins era wins and losses are more akin to what happened during the era of the Timberwolves' first all-time great named Kevin than the second.
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