Yesterday, Deter Jeter's new website, The Players' Tribune, published an essay by Love entitled, "How I Spent My Summer Vacation." Referring to the month-long period late in the summer during which the departure he requested from Minnesota was pending, Love writes, "With everything up in the air, I felt like I couldn't say a proper goodbye to Minnesota. And once the trade finally went through, everything happened quickly."
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"So I'd like to take a moment to thank the fans of Minnesota for six great years," he continues. "There are so many people in Minnesota who helped to shape my game and mold me into the player I am today. I'll always be fond of going to Manny's Steakhouse, and the support I got from the entire Minnesota community -- even in tough times -- is something I'll remember forever. (Seriously, thanks for not burning my jersey, you guys.)"
Most of the piece is pretty fluffy, but some passages have sparked one last controversy about K-Love's tenure in Minnesota. For instance (emphasis mine throughout):
I grew up a lot - personally and professionally - during my time with the Wolves. I'll be the first to tell you that I didn't always handle things perfectly. We are all unfinished products. It's not easy to handle the disappointment of losing when you're in your early twenties. There were times when I wasn't easy to be around in the locker room. It's hard to be a leader when you don't have the model -- and when you don't have a blueprint for what winning in the NBA looks like.See also:
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And here's how K-Love explains his decision to "move on" from Minneapolis:
In the end, I was given the opportunity to move on, and I took it. My decision was about wanting to win. When I think back to being a kid shooting on an eight-foot hoop in my Shawn Kemp jersey, I never dreamed about putting up a triple-double or signing a max contract. I dreamed about holding up a championship trophy. In order to get to that place, I knew that I needed to move on.Later, regarding a recent Cavaliers plane trip to Brazil, Love writes: "As I moved to my seat, guys were making inside jokes with one another and shouting across the plane. The atmosphere was totally different than what I was used to."
And he seems to take another dig at the Wolves' culture a few paragraphs later:
Once we got in the air, I expected guys to throw on the Beats and pull out iPads. That's what I was used to. This was a 12-hour flight, and I was counting on at least seven hours of shuteye. That never happened. Drinks were poured. Guys took turns telling stories...It's pretty subtle stuff, but during a radio appearance yesterday, Timberwolves coach/GM pushed back on the notion that "It's hard to be a leader when you don't have the model":
Everything on the plane to Rio was natural, and I felt like I could be a part of something special. It was a culture that I'm not accustomed to.
Kevin Love would have stayed in Minnesota if the team would have chatted and goofed around on the plane more. I blame Luke Ridnour.-- Dana Wessel (@DanaWessel) October 23, 2014
...don't miss out on this theme of Love's letter/article - he didn't like Wolves atmosphere. Doesn't get it that *he* shoulda set the tone.-- Chris Long (@jclong) October 23, 2014
...Love: "maybe I wasn't totally in the mindset for that level of sacrifice back then". No kidding, Kev.-- Chris Long (@jclong) October 23, 2014
Some, however, came to Kevin's defense:
Kevin Love says he grew up in Minnesota. So, that's what it is when you go from a nice guy to a d--k.-- Patrick Reusse (@1500ESPN_Reusse) October 23, 2014
Kevin Love wants to play on a good team. For nearly his entire time here the Wolves were a) not good and b) poorly run. Seems simple enough.-- Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) October 23, 2014
In any event, with K-Love alongside LeBron in Cleveland and the Wolves set to move on with a new batch of young talent, it's all water under the bridge now.
Kevin Love could have handled his departure better, but ALL of us would have jumped ship to Cleveland. I enjoyed his letter. Honest stuff.-- Phil Mackey (@PhilMackey) October 23, 2014
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But K-Love clearly isn't joking about learning some things during his years in the Land of 10,000 Lakes -- after all, how classically Minnesota passive aggressive are his parting digs at the organization?
Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.