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President, part-owner and new coach Flip Saunders said Saturday that star forward Kevin Love has no right to be frustrated over the Minnesota Timberwolves' lack of recent success.
|Flip Saunders said Kevin Love has no right to be frustrated over the Timberwolves' lack of recent success.|
"Just like I told (Kevin) Garnett, he didn't have a right to be frustrated," Saunders said during an interview with KFAN 100.3 in Minneapolis-St. Paul. "Why does any player have a right to be frustrated? You're either part of the problem or part of the solution.
"Should the team be frustrated? Yeah, the team can be frustrated. But I don't think any one individual should be frustrated."
Saunders pointed to a moment early in Garnett's career that stood out to him.
"I tell a story about -- we were in the locker room when KG was in like his third year in the league, and Sam Mitchell was sitting in the locker room," Saunders said. "KG was in there, and we had lost a couple games, and we were all sitting there talking.
"KG started going, 'Hey, you've got to start doing more.' And he's talking to some of the bench guys. 'You've got to start doing more.' And Sam said, 'Hey, hold it, hold it. Let me tell you something. You're making all the money. Hey, it's your responsibility. You make the money, you've got to live up to that.' So, that was the mentality, and from that time, KG never ever from that point, he always took responsibility."
Sources reiterated to ESPN.com on Thursday that Saunders' move back to the bench will have no impact on Love's determination to opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent in 2015.
Saunders and Love have built a good relationship since Saunders replaced David Kahn as Minnesota's lead decision-maker, but sources say Love is determined to play for a contender after missing the playoffs in each of his first six NBA seasons. His concern, sources say, isn't who's coaching but the state of the roster.
Saunders was introduced Friday as the Wolves' coach, a position he held previously from 1995-2005. He won 411 games in 10½ seasons in Minnesota and guided the Wolves to the only eight playoff appearances in franchise history, including the Western Conference finals in 2004. He has a career record of 638-526 in 16 seasons as an NBA head coach, a career that also includes stops in Detroit and Washington.
Information from ESPN.com's Marc Stein was used in this report.