Whether it’s simply a case of wishful thinking or justified reasoning remains to be seen, but Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio is on record in asserting he thinks All-Star forward Kevin Love will re-up with the team when he’s eligible to become a free agent following the 2015 season.
Rumors are rampant that Love, a Southern California native and UCLA alum, has set his heart and sight on his hometown and boyhood idol Lakers. But team quarterback Rubio is screaming not so fast.
“For us he is a very important player, he’s having a spectacular season,” Rubio recently told reporters. “I think it will be here, because he has been given everything and it is hard to leave when you get so many facilities. The best way to show that we want even more is winning and fighting to the end to get into the playoffs.”
Certainly, that qualifies as a tall order for the Wolves, who as the Western Conference’s No. 10 seed trail eighth place and current final playoff qualifier Dallas by 7.5 games with just 13 remaining. The fact that the Wolves have yet to qualify for the playoffs in any of Love’s first six seasons could also prove a bone of contention and as a tough sell for management in convincing him to return.
But still, Rubio holds out hope, presumably built on the bond he and Love have formed on and off the hardwood. The third-year point guard is having his best this season this year, averaging nine points, nine assists and five rebounds in 69 games.
A leading early-season MVP candidate, Love is also having his best career season, averaging 26.5 points, a league-leading 12.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists. Love has 31 games of at least 30 points this season 53 games of at least double-digit rebounds.
Prior to 2013, Love’s best season came in 2011-12, when he averaged 26 points and 13 rebounds.