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Flip Saunders: 'I expect Kevin Love to be here next year'

By James Herbert | NBA writer

Kevin Love is vacationing in Boston this weekend.
Kevin Love is vacationing in Boston this weekend. (USATSI)

More Offseason Analysis: Coaching changes, news | Free Agency | Draft

Speaking to reporters at a draft workout on Sunday, Minnesota Timberwolves president Flip Saunders said that he expects forward Kevin Love to be with the team next season.

Love, who can be a free agent next summer, is the subject of all sorts of trade rumors. Two weeks ago, reports indicated that he wanted to leave Minnesota and that the team was finally considering moving him. This weekend, he's been vacationing in Boston, a place he's reportedly open to playing, and the Boston Globe has been reporting on his every move.

Saunders will meet with Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor this week "to discuss a multitude of things, including [the] search for a new coach," according to the Associated Press' Jon Krawczynski. He said that "there's a better chance we would than we wouldn't" have a coach in place before the June 26 draft, according to the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda.

This is a terribly tricky time for the Minnesota franchise, and what happens in the next few weeks and months will have a huge bearing on the years to come. It looked like the Timberwolves were closing in on Dave Joerger as head coach, but that fell apart. They have leverage right now when it comes to Love, but they'll have less and less of it as time goes by. Saunders might still believe he can convince the superstar to stay, and "I expect him to be playing for us" is the smart thing to say, but the organization has to try to make the most of the bidding war that's already getting started.

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