Wolves pick up Love, Brewer options
Both moves were expected, since both players are expected to be key components of the Timberwolves' core. Brewer will be paid $3.7 million in his fourth NBA season, and Love will make $3.6 million in his third year.
Brewer, a small forward and defensive specialist from Florida, was taken with the seventh overall draft pick in 2007. Coach Kurt Rambis and president of basketball operations David Kahn both had high praise for Brewer's quick adjustment to a new coaching staff.
"It was a unanimous decision, so I don't think it was that difficult," Rambis said before the Timberwolves faced the Clippers at Los Angeles on Monday night. "He's a fearless competitor. He has picked up the offense as well as anybody on our team ... and I like the way he's picking up challenges defensively."
Brewer averaged 12.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in the Timberwolves' first three games under Rambis, who has installed a version of former boss Phil Jackson's triangle offense in Minnesota.
"I know what he can do," Rambis said. "I think he can do more. He has a chance to blossom into a very unique player because of his length and his size."
Love, a power forward from UCLA who is recovering from surgery on a broken hand, was taken with the fifth overall draft pick in 2008. He was injured during a preseason game against Chicago last month, and will be out until December.
Love was the NBA's leading rookie rebounder last season with 9.1 per game while missing just one game all season and scoring 11.1 points.
The Wolves also declined their fourth-year option for next season on big man Oleksiy Pecherov, who will be a free agent next summer. Kahn had a 20-minute conversation with Pecherov on Monday morning to inform him of the salary cap-related reasons why the Timberwolves didn't extend his contract.
Minnesota acquired Pecherov in a trade with Washington in June. He was in the Wolves' starting lineup for Sunday's game at Phoenix, collecting eight points and seven rebounds.
"He has a lot of potential," Kahn said. "Whether he realizes that potential remains to be seen. I thought not to lock us in so early in the game would be prudent."
Kahn said he intends to watch Pecherov closely this season, with the intent of re-signing him if he plays well enough.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press