The relationship between Kevin Love and J.J. Barea of the Timberwolves has been in question for nearly two years. A nasty exchange between the two in a game against the Spurs in March of 2012 fueled questions, and Love added to it when he called out Barea and Dante Cunningham after a last-second loss to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.
Pro Basketball Talk documented the 2012 run-in between the two.
"Part of the game, competitors trying to win,” Barea said. “We’re frustrated that we’re losing, but it happens, every basketball team. We just got into it. It’s all right. He said something I didn’t like, I said it back and we’re all good. Nothing against him.”
“It’s nothing personal with J.J.,” Love said. “I think we’re both frustrated and we took it out on each other when we should have taken it out on the other team. That was both of our mistake, both of our bad.”
That was just the beginning. Fast forward to Wednesday night.
Barea and Cunningham sat on the bench when the rest of the team was standing in a huddle during a timeout – a move Love didn't appreciate.
"We can’t have two guys sitting at the end of the bench that play good minutes just sitting there and not getting up during timeouts,” Love said after the game. "We all need to be in this together. That kind of (ticks) me off. We’re supposed to be a team.”
36 hours passed before the general public knew the air was clear.
“We’ve been on the same page,” Love said Friday, according to the Star Tribune. “Everything that happened is now internal. We’ve moved on from it. And we have a big game tonight.”
The air may be clear now, but Barea said he was disappointed in Love's approach to call him and Cunningham out through the media.
“A little disappointing, you know?’’ Barea said. “I wish Kevin would’ve just came up to me, face-to-face, man-to-man, and said it. But it’s no big deal. We’re over it. We’ve got to play as a team and stay together as a team, so we’re done with that. We talked, and it’s not really a big deal for me. I just want to win games.’’
Former NBA star Grant Hill told Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press that Love did the right thing by holding his teammates accountable.
In an interview with KFAN-FM 100.3, Wolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders gave his opinion on how the situation was handled.
Here is video of the confrontation Barea and Love got into in 2012.