Flip Saunders was entirely prepared to keep Kevin Love as he entered free agency in 2015 until the Cleveland Cavaliers approached the Minnesota Timberwolves with the Andrew Wiggins' trade.
"I didn’t have a problem keeping Kevin into the final year of his deal and coaching him," said Saunders. "Guys just don’t turn down the extra year and $30 million. Even though he maybe wanted to leave, I thought we still had an opportunity to re-sign him. When you are patient, you can say, “This is what we need to get something done, and if we don’t get it, we’re keeping him.”
Then things kind of fell into place, with LeBron going to Cleveland and [Andrew] Wiggins becoming available. That’s when you can say 'lucky'."
Love had an uneven first season with the Cavaliers, but he decided to re-sign on a five-year deal.
"No, it wasn’t (bluster)," said Saunders. "People thought it was. Thoughts might have changed when I announced I would coach. Because what coach wouldn’t want to coach a guy who was All-NBA? Coaches want to win that night. I’m in a unique situation, because as the coach, I live in the present, but as the GM, I look into the future. I try to steer both courses. But people believed I would coach the guy."