Kevin Love will essentially be in the final year of his contract with the Timberwolves next season, because he has a player option for the year after that which he's widely expected to decline in order to become an unrestricted free agent.
That's if he makes it through next season in Minnesota.
There have been persistent rumblings that Love will pursue a larger market situation that may offer a better chance of winning when the time comes, but the word out of the Timberwolves is that they're going to do everything they can to convince their franchise player to re-up with a max contract to stay in town.
The latest report has Love's "people" reminding the Timberwolves that Love may in fact bolt after next season is finished.
From Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News:
Kevin Love's people reiterated to the Timberwolves this past week that they had better trade him or else he'll leave via free agency when his contract is up after next season. With Love looking to exit, there's your No. 1 reason the T-wolves have not been able to find a head coach to take over for Rick Adelman. Love wants to play for the Lakers but he's also open to coming to the Knicks.
There aren't many reasons keeping Love in Minnesota, especially if the team fails to retool its roster and make the playoffs next year. As for the coaching search, it's still far too early in the process to believe that Love's potential future status would actually be deterring candidates from being interested, and it's unclear if the search to replace Adelman has even begun in earnest.
This particular report may or may not have any weight to it, but it is restating what we've known for quite some time.
Love may very well pursue other options after next season. If in fact he decides that leaving Minnesota is in his best interest well ahead of the trade deadline, then Minnesota would be wise to try to deal him. But superstar free agents aren't exactly lining up to play there, which leads you to believe that the Timberwolves will work extremely hard until the last possible moment to try to convince Love to stay.