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Wolves forward Derrick Williams, left

Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

Revived Vegas League awaits players

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA
  • Star Tribune
  • April 12, 2012 - 12:43 AM

DENVER - The NBA on Monday announced that its Las Vegas Summer League for rookies and other young prospects will return in July; it was canceled last year because of the league's labor lockout.

On Tuesday, Timberwolves forwards Derrick Williams and Wes Johnson said they'd consider playing there, but neither sounded willing to commit yet. The only good bet is probably rookie guard Malcolm Lee, a second-round pick last summer.

"I'm not actually sure, I wouldn't say no to it," Williams said. "I think everybody wants to get out and play. That'd be good for Malcolm, good for all of us. Summer league is good for everybody. To be a great player in this league you have to keep playing, you have to play against the best players. Summer league is a good opportunity for a lot of rookies that didn't get to go last year."

Williams, the No. 2 overall pick last summer, was one of those who missed out on a two-week gathering intended primarily for first- and second-year players and young free agents.

Johnson played in Las Vegas in 2010 just weeks after he was drafted fourth overall but was injured in the first game. Generally, players entering their third NBA season don't participate, but after the season he has had this year ...

"I don't know, I have to wait and see," he said. "I can't say anything about it right now."

Both players said they'd have to talk with their agent about the matter. And both players share the same agent, Rob Pelinka, who also represents Kobe Bryant, among many others.

Hurt, but not injured

Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley played just 10 minutes off the bench on Wednesday.

Did he reinjure that sprained big toe that has bothered him since he originally hurt it March 12 in Phoenix?

"Nope, I'm just not liked, I guess," said Beasley, who was visibly agitated after the game about his lack of playing time while Wolves coach Rick Adelman turned to Anthony Randolph, Anthony Tolliver and Williams. "I don't give a ..."

Almost done

The matter was decided days, even weeks, ago, but ... the Wolves have approached mathematical elimination from the playoff race.

They'd have been eliminated Wednesday had Utah won at Houston and Phoenix won at Memphis. Phoenix lost so the Wolves still have math on their side.

"I just think we need to play better," Wolves forward Kevin Love said before Wednesday's game. "Mathematically we seem to be close to out of it, but I want to play like we're not."

Collector's item

Wolves center Brad Miller sported two different Chicago Cubs black hats -- one for shootaround, another for the game -- on Wednesday. Last month, he lamented not packing a green Cubs hat to wear on St. Patrick's Day in Sacramento.

So ... just how many Cubs caps does he have?

He estimates 175 or more. He has one with flaps like a bear's ears, another in a Russian fur style. He has been collecting them ever since he made a bus-tour trip with a junior high school buddy from his northern Indiana hometown to Wrigley Field long ago.

"I went into a mall one time and walked out with 40 of 'em," he said. "I just like 'em."

Etc.

• Denver forward Al Harrington traveled to the same Vail clinic where Rubio had his surgery between Wednesday's morning shootaround and that night's game to have his injured meniscus examined. He played anyway Wednesday night.

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