Kevin Love and other Minnesota Timberwolves players were attending the Twins-Boston Red Sox game in a Target Field suite Tuesday night, April 24, but ended up turning on the NBA game on television.
Utah and Phoenix were playing a late game in Salt Lake City, and Love was thrilled to see his good friend Al Jefferson lead the Jazz over Phoenix. The victory clinched a playoff berth for Utah - and a first-round draft pick for the Wolves in June.
"I'm going to send Al a text today," Love said after Wednesday's practice, a day before the Wolves (26-39) finish the season against Denver at Target Center. "I know he's got a dog, so maybe I'll send the dog a treat or something. I'm very happy for Al."
As part of Jefferson's 2010 trade
Kevin Love: "I'm going to have my exit interview in the next couple of days. I hope they do come to me, at least on some decisions. They've invested a lot of money in me, especially in the next few years. I would like to have some input. I feel I have a good eye for that stuff, as well." (Associated Press: Genevieve Ross)to Utah, the Wolves received Utah's 2012 first-round pick, conditional on the Jazz making the playoffs this season.
Jefferson, who played three seasons with Minnesota, had 18 points and 16 rebounds in Utah's 100-88 win that clinched the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.
The Wolves had traded away their own first-round pick in the infamous Marko Jaric-Sam Cassell deal in 2005 with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Wolves gave the Clippers a conditional first-round pick, which was protected until 2012. That pick now belongs to New Orleans, part of the Chris Paul trade to the Clippers.
Depending on the final regular-season standings, the Wolves likely will end up in the middle of the first round, about No. 15 to No. 18.
"We have another asset," Love said. "Being that it's such a deep draft, we can deal more. Maybe we can move up in the draft and see what happens."
Love, who signed a four-year, $62 million contract extension in January, said he wants to be involved in whatever offseason moves are considered by team owner Glen Taylor, president of basketball operations David Kahn and coach Rick Adelman.
"I'm going to have my exit interview in the next couple of days," Love said. "I hope they do come to me, at least on some decisions. They've invested a lot of money in me, especially in the next few years. I would like to have some input. I feel I have a good eye for that stuff, as well."
Adelman and Love concur on the team's need for improvements; Adelman said Tuesday he wants the club to be "very aggressive" in making upgrades. The Wolves are 5-20 since losing rookie point guard Ricky Rubio to a season-ending knee injury March 9 and have lost 12 of their past 13 games.
Though Love said the team should not be judged solely on the late-season collapse, mainly because of injuries to key players, he expressed strong feelings for change.
"I do hope we're aggressive," he said. "When the time comes, I do hope we pull the trigger on some moves. That will be up to David Kahn and our owner. That's up to them. If I could make decisions, I would, but I can't."
Follow Ray Richardson at twitter.com/twolvesnow.