Good Question: Why Does Minn. Have A Hard Time Holding On To Sports Stars?
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – With the Timberwolves likely to trade Kevin Love in a couple weeks, Minnesota sports fans are getting a sense of deja vu.
Love is the latest in a long list of Minnesota superstars to be traded, or to leave through free agency.
For Timberwolves fans, the summer of Love may quickly be coming to an end. Months of trade rumors have the Timberwolves’ star going to Cleveland for some promising youngsters and a draft pick.
“I think living in Minnesota makes you tough because you don’t have a lot of ego as a sports fan,” said a Timberwolves fan in front of Target Center.
That’s because this is like Ground Hog day. The Twins traded Cy Young winner Johan Santana to the Mets. The Vikings traded troubled Pro Bowler Randy Moss to the Raiders. And before Love, the Timberwolves traded all-star Kevin Garnett to the Celtics.
“It’s frustrating to see it over and over again,” said WCCO sports anchor Mike Max.
Put Max in the category that doesn’t want to lose Love.
“Superstars are hard to come by,” he said, “and Kevin Love is a superstar.”
Max has covered the trades and the stars who’ve left after their contracts were up, like the Wild’s Marion Gaborik and the Twins’ Torii Hunter.
“Marion Gaborik wanted the bright lights of Broadway. Torii Hunter, they could have locked up during the season. They let him hit the open market and California blew him away with an offer. Randy Moss, they didn’t want to rebuild with him in the locker room,” Max said.
Max said they all leave for different reasons. Love asked to be traded because he thinks he has a better chance to win in Cleveland, but sometimes teams trade stars because they fear losing them in free agency. So it’s better to get younger players with potential than none at all.
The Vikings and Twins did lock up Adrian Peterson and Joe Mauer respectively, but it wasn’t cheap.
“Joe Mauer they were able to do that with. But some people would argue that they overpaid him,” Max said.
Still, Max said it’s better than seeing your favorite player in another team’s uniform. But he said the key is that the players have to want to be here.
“I think this is seen much like Milwaukee or Indianapolis, if you want to compare. It’s not seen as a place that is big time. The Wild were able to lure Zach Parise and Ryan Suter here. But the other teams have to convince players that think there is a greener pasture that this is the best pasture they can find,” Max said.
He added that teams rarely get equal value back when trading away a superstar.
That’s why convincing them they can win here, and signing them to a long-term contract before they hit free agency, are key.