Love starts new contract with new goal: playoffs

Associated Press Modified: October 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm •  Published: October 10, 2012
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"There's a lot of stuff behind the scenes that people didn't know about and they will never know about," Love said. "A lot of people looked at me and said, 'Oh, he doesn't want a four-year deal?' No. I wanted to be the guy. I wanted to be THEIR guy. The fact that I worked as hard as I possibly could and made my mark in many different ways, even after last season, I felt I was a little bit slighted. At this point I'm past that now."

Love's disappointment has been quelled by the massive facelift Kahn and coach Rick Adelman presided over this summer. Gone are Darko Milicic, Anthony Randolph and Michael Beasley, three players Love didn't think had the focus needed to make the team competitive. In their place are headliners Brandon Roy and Andrei Kirilenko along with role players Dante Cunningham and Lou Amundson, all the type of experienced, professional veterans that Love begged for when last season closed.

He also has dynamic point guard Ricky Rubio when he returns from a knee injury, one of the rising young centers in the league in Nikola Pekovic and Derrick Williams, last year's No. 2 overall pick, there to give him some help.

Love said hearing his Olympics teammates talk about the postseason made him think, "Man, I've got to make it to the playoffs."

"A lot of people could look at me and say he hasn't led his team to the playoffs," he said. "In the past few years, we needed veterans, we needed talent and we needed guys that weren't going to make mistakes all the time.

"That comes with being young, myself included. I'm not saying I'm better than everyone. It was tough going through all that losing. I think we made the right moves. I think we have a lot of veteran players that know how to play and our staff is just awesome."

Each year Love has managed to add something to his game to become a more complete player. When asked what he could do to improve this season, Kahn was almost at a loss for words.

"Hard to say because so much of this has been an astonishing and, relatively speaking, rapid ascent for him," Kahn said. "Just when you think there isn't really that much more to come, I think Kevin has been able to . prove his doubters wrong."

Love wants to work on his passing — but mostly his winning.

"It's just something I'll always have to fight against the grain on is people doubting me," Love said. "But I'm going to do as best I can to put on a show for this city, this organization, myself, my family, my friends. Whatever it takes, I'll do.

"The chase for it all is always the best part."

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