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NBA PM: Glen Taylor, Kevin Love Exchange Words

Glen Taylor took some shots at Kevin Love now that he has been traded, and Love responded to his former owner. … Clippers extend Doc Rivers’ contract

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Glen Taylor, Kevin Love Exchange Words

When LeBron James decided to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami HEAT back in 2010, Dan Gilbert made headlines when he released a Comic Sans letter that was extremely critical of James.

The Cavaliers owner said that James “deserted” Cleveland and added that this was a “cowardly betrayal.” Gilbert described ‘The Decision’ as “a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special.” But the best part was when Gilbert – in all caps – made this promise to Cavaliers fans: “I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE. You can take it to the bank.”

That obviously didn’t happen. Everyone can look back and laugh at that letter now, especially since Gilbert and James are once again on good terms and have reunited in Cleveland. However, it just shows how emotional it can be for a franchise to lose their star player.

Today, we have another example of this, with Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor taking some shots at Kevin Love just days after he was traded to Cleveland. While Taylor’s comments aren’t anywhere near as bad as Gilbert’s, he did have some negative things to say about Love.

First, he wondered if the All-Star power forward made the right decision going to the Cavs since Taylor believes LeBron James and Kyrie Irving will be above him in the pecking order.

“I question Kevin if this is going to be the best deal for him because I think he’s going to be the third player on the team,” Taylor said on ESPN Radio 1500 AM. “I don’t think he’s going to get a lot of credit if they do really well, I think he’ll get the blame if they don’t do well. He’s going to have to learn to handle that.”

Taylor then criticized Love’s defense and said he won’t get away with lapses in Cleveland.

“I think he’s around a couple guys that are awful good. Now I’m not saying that Kevin’s not good, but I think where maybe he got away with some stuff, not playing defense on our team, I’m not sure how that’s going to work in Cleveland,” Taylor said. “So I would guess they’re going to ask him to play more defense. And he’s foul-prone.”

But Taylor wasn’t done. He also questioned if Love was worth a five-year contract since he has been injured a lot in recent years. Love broke his hand twice in Minnesota and missed nearly all of the 2012-13 season. Taylor said that Love’s health concerned him during their last contract negotiations and it’s still an issue in his mind.

“If they sign him to a five-year contract like they’re thinking about, that’s a big contract on a guy that’s had some times he’s missed games,” Taylor said. “The only thing I still have a question mark about is health. I had that concern then [when he signed his last contract] and I still have that concern. I think Cleveland should have that concern too.”

So how did Love respond to these comments? The 25-year-old decided not to fire back at his former owner, but he did say that Taylor should be worrying about his own team and players rather than focusing on Love and Cleveland.

“I think emotions are definitely running high right now,” Love said on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike. “For Glen to say that, I just think that he should be focusing on the players that he just received. I mean, he has two of the No. 1 picks in the last two drafts: Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. He has another guy who can really play in Thaddeus Young.

“I think he got a lot for me. So I’d be focusing even more on that. More than anything, I’m just excited to start my time in Cleveland, get to work with my new teammates and start with this new family here.”

It’s never easy for an owner or executive to move on after a star player forces their way to a new team. While it may feel good to take some shots (and wins some brownie points with the fans), it’s usually not worth it to get into a war of words. After all, you never know what will happen in the future. Four years after writing that scathing letter, Gilbert learned that James was interested in returning to Cleveland, so he had to fly to Miami and apologize for what he had said.

“We had five great years together and one terrible night,” Gilbert told James, according to Yahoo! Sports.

Rivers Signs Five-Year Extension With Clippers

Before Donald Sterling was stripped of the Los Angeles Clippers, Doc Rivers’ future with the organization was up in the air. Rivers reportedly wasn’t interested in remaining with the franchise as president of basketball operations and head coach if Sterling was still owning the team.

However, with Steve Ballmer’s purchase of the team now finalized, Rivers will not only remain with the team throughout the duration of his contract, but extend his deal as well.

The Clippers today announced Rivers has agreed to a contract that will keep him with the team through the end of the 2019 season.

“This is an important day for this organization,” Ballmer said. “I am excited to work with Doc for a long time as we build a championship culture that will deliver results both on and off the court. Not only is Doc one of the best coaches and executives in the game, but he continually embodies the hard core, committed and resilient character and winning culture that the Clippers represent. It was one of my top priorities to ensure that he was firmly in place as the long-term leader of this team.”

Rivers joined the Clippers last June, leading Los Angeles to the best record in franchise history (57-25, .695) and a second straight Pacific Division title.

“Steve has shown a clear and determined desire to make the Clippers one of the most elite, first-class and championship organizations in all of professional sports,” Rivers said. “We know we have work to do to get there, but I am motivated by the challenge and thankful for the opportunity to stand together with Steve as we continue to move toward our goal of winning an NBA title.”

This upcoming campaign will be Rivers’ 16th season as a head coach. He is one of just three active coaches (Gregg Popovich, Flip Saunders) to win at least 600 games and his 644 career regular season wins is second among active coaches in victories. Rivers, who was named the 1999-00 NBA Coach of the Year, led the Boston Celtics to the 2008 NBA Championship.

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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