Kevin Love watched friends Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook sign five-year extensions this season and was ready to do the same with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
As the clock ticked toward the deadline, it became abundantly clear that owner Glen Taylor and president of basketball operations David Kahn did not want to go that far.
So the sides found a middle ground.
Love signed a four-year maximum extension Wednesday worth more than $60 million that allows him to opt out after three years. The deal offers the financial flexibility and protection from injury that the Timberwolves were seeking while giving Love, 23, the freedom to become an unrestricted free agent in 2015 if he so chooses.
The Denver Nuggets signed smooth-shooting Danilo Gallinari to a four-year extension worth $42 million. The deal represents a big step for the Nuggets and their versatile Italian forward, who was acquired from the New York Knicks in the Carmelo Anthony trade last February.
Gallinari, 23, is averaging career bests in points (17.4), assists (2.8), steals (1.7) and minutes (34.2) this season.
New Orleans Hornets guard Eric Gordon will sit out at least three more weeks as he recovers from a bruised right knee. Gordon came to New Orleans as part of a multiplayer trade shortly before the regular season that sent Chris Paul to the Clippers.
Sacramento Kings leading scorer Marcus Thornton is expected to be sidelined one to two weeks because of a deep bruise in his left thigh.
Phoenix Suns backup center Robin Lopez was suspended for one game by the NBA for improper conduct toward a game official. Lopez will sit out the Suns' game Friday night at Portland.
U.S. tops Panama in soccer
Graham Zusi scored his first international goal in the eighth minute, and the United States beat Panama, 1-0, in an exhibition soccer game at Panama City for its third consecutive win.
Using mostly backups while the regulars remained with their European clubs and playing nearly the entire second half a man short, the Americans evened their record at 4-4-1 under Juergen Klinsmann, who replaced Bob Bradley as coach last summer.
Rafael Marquez Lugo and Oribe Peralta scored late in the second half, and the Mexico soccer team salvaged its 2012 debut with a 3-1 victory against Venezuela in an exhibition at Houston.
Rafael Betancourt has a new deal to go with his new role as the Colorado Rockies' closer.
The right-handed reliever agreed to an $8.5-million, two-year contract that guarantees him an additional $4.25 million.
St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Motte agreed to a $1.95-million, one-year contract after helping St. Louis win the World Series. The 29-year-old was 5-2 with a 2.25 earned-run average and nine saves last season, earning the closer's role in late August.
Andruw Jones and the Yankees finalized a $2-million, one-year contract that keeps him in New York for a second season.
The LA84 Foundation, which manages Southern California's share of surplus funds from the 1984 Olympics, announced $1,512,530 in grants to support 28 local youth sports programs that involve more than 46,000 children.
The largest grants went to Kids In Sports (KIS), which offers sports programs to more than 8,000 children, and LA's BEST, which will benefit more than 12,000 children at 180 elementary schools in the L.A. Unified School District. The LA84 Foundation has given more than $200 million to youth sports programs since it began operations in 1985.
Major League Baseball's Urban Youth Academy will hold an all-star game between alumni, most of whom are trying to start professional careers, and current high school stars at the academy field in Compton on Saturday at 1 p.m. Details: (310) 763-3479.