Kevin Love Q + A
KLove on Michael Beasley, starting and big contracts.
SLAM: One guy I know you are familiar with real well through my discussions with your dad is Michael Beasley. I know you guys used to talk about what colleges you might go to when you were coming up. Now he’s on your team. That seems like a very interesting dynamic with you two on the court on the same time.
KL: He’s a lefty and unorthodox, 6-9, 6-10 and can play four positions. I think when we have Darko or another center out there, myself at power forward and Mike at small forward—we’re going to be a big frontline, young and hungry as well. I think after only winning 15 games last year a lot of us want to win. For me, heading into my third year I’m like, ‘I’m sick of this’. It’s going to be fun playing with Mike. Obviously we used to talk about what college we were going to and used to have battles in high school and were rivals. It’s going to be interesting to finally get a chance to play with Mike.
SLAM: There’s been a lot said about him since he’s entered the League. You’ve known Mike for a while, before he went to Miami. What are some of the things that some people might not know about Mike?
KL: That he’s not a bad apple. He comes from a tough place and it just seems like a dark shadow has always kind of followed him. I don’t think Mike is a bad kid at all. He’s extremely talented, he means well and he wants to win—he wants to do what it takes. I think he does understand that it’s a business and he wants to be in the best position possible so he can play and get his numbers. He’s heading into his third year like myself and it’s a contract year for him. I think people will realize at some point that Mike is a good kid and will succeed in this league.
SLAM: Speaking of contracts, they have been giving them out. $34 million and $40 million for guys doing ten and five, eight and five. You’ve been pretty consistent and have put up good numbers as a big man. Seeing that and knowing what the future holds, is that eye opening for you?
KL: It’s very eye opening. Just because you look at the per-minute players like myself have—only playing 28 minutes and averaging a double-double. But then you look at certain guys, like you mentioned, guys getting $34 million for five years—Amir Johnson. Tyrus Thomas got 40, Drew Gooden 32, Wesley Matthews 34. You look at that stuff and you think: [puts hand on his chin] Oh, Ok. What recession? What lockout? You know what I mean. Next year, you know the new CBA is coming. You have certain guys that want to renegotiate contracts but that’s not going to work. You look around and you think Ok. This guy averages this and this guy averaged that and they got that much. We will have to wait and see what happens.
SLAM: There’s another guy who played in the Pacific Northwest coming your way. Minnesota just signed Luke Ridnour. Did you get a chance to run into him much when you were coming up in Oregon?
KL: Oh yeah, definitely. He’s a great player. I can’t wait to get a chance to play with him. He’s really a pass first guy. He can find us, shoot the three-ball. He’s one of those guys who you know is a good pro and is going to stick around for a long time. I used to watch him and Luke Jackson at Oregon do their work. I watched him in Milwaukee too. Luc Mbah a Moute said I’m going to love playing with him. I’m glad we were able to sign him.
SLAM: LeBron James made a lot of news this offseason and some things have transpired since his decision to leave Cleveland. A lot of people in your state wanted you to go to the University of Oregon and that didn’t happen. There were some people in your home state who were very disappointed in your decision. I know it’s different but can you relate to LeBron’s situation in a way in that you had people in your own hometown upset about a decision you made that was best for you.
KL: Absolutely. You can’t blame LeBron for wanting to play with two other superstars and contend for as many titles for as many years that they will be together. I do have some empathy for him for what he went through because people from my state hated me for going to UCLA and going out of state—taking my talents [makes quotation marks with his hands and smiles real big] to UCLA and Los Angeles. I do have empathy for him but at the same time I don’t because he did have an hour-long pay per view press conference to say a few sentences about where he was going. I like what Dwyane and Chris did. They got on Pardon the Interruption and said ‘Hey listen, we’re going to play together and we’re excited.’ Chris said his rap about loving the fans of Toronto and never forgetting what they did. I just thought the hour long press conference was way too much.
SLAM: You were very vocal last year about wanting to be a starter and rightfully so. That’s a great thing—being confident in your skills. Obviously basketball is a team game but you want to be the best you can be and starting is something you’ve always done. Talk about that a little bit.
KL: There’s going to be times in your career when you don’t see eye to eye—there’s going to be adversity. I just think if I was on the Lakers playing behind Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum then yeah sure, I’ll take the role of being Lamar Odom. But we weren’t making the Playoffs. I’m 21 years old and felt like and still feel like I’m a starter in this league. I’ll still take that to heart and take that to my grave. I know how hard I’ve worked to become a starter and be a pretty good star in this league. I’m just going to keep that confidence and keep that swagger going into this year and I’ll always have that. I know that I can play and I know I can make a difference and the numbers will speak for themselves.
SLAM: I love the confidence and I love your game. Wish you nothing but the best.
KL: I appreciate that, man.