LAS VEGAS — Minnesota Timberwolves boss David Kahn said he considers Tuesday's trade that sent Al Jefferson to Utah for draft picks confirmation of his faith and belief in third-year forward Kevin Love.
Thing is, the acquisition of Miami forward Michael Beasley on Monday still leaves the Wolves with two natural power forwards and only one starting spot at that position.
"Hopefully, he wants to play small forward and not power forward so we can be out there together," Love said, perhaps only half jokingly.
Kahn said he wants coach Kurt Rambis to find "creative and imaginative" ways for two of the first five players selected in the 2008 draft to play together for significant minutes each game next season. But he also admitted there probably will be a competitive battle for the starting power forward job this fall.
Love very reluctantly accepted a sixth-man role for the final two-plus months of last season, but sometimes not without moping. That role was raised again at an exit meeting he had with Rambis after the season ended in April.
"Kurt mentioned, 'Don't get so caught up in being a sixth man,'" Love said. "I feel like I'm a starter. I want to be a starter. Sixth man is and will be kind of hard for me to accept on this team. If this was the Lakers and Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum were in front of me, it'd be different.
"We're young and inexperienced. It's tough to see where we're headed. If I get the minutes, I'll always be productive. I just want to win. I want to help win in the Western Conference. We'll see what happens the rest of the offseason. Ask me in four or five months."
Kahn said he never forgets Love is 21.
"Kevin is very impatient, and I'm OK with that," Kahn said. "I was just as impatient at his age, and beyond. His impatience is a good thing because it signals an ambition. He wants everything to happen now.
"It might not happen right now, but it's going to happen for him."