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Clock's ticking on Wolves' pursuit of Batum, Love's patience with Wolves

  • Blog Post by: Jerry Zgoda
  • July 9, 2012 - 11:29 AM

While the clock ticks toward 11:01 p.m. Tuesday night on the Wolves' pursuit of Nicolas Batum, Kevin Love's clock is ticking toward 2015 on David Kahn and Glen Taylor.

Strong-armed into taking that four-year contract extension with a three-year out, Love voiced his growing impatience with Wolves management -- the general manager and owner, not the coaching staff.

When he was named to the Olympic team on Saturday night, he was the only one of the 12 players who has never made the playoffs.

In an interview with Yahoo!Sports' Marc Spears, Love had this to say:

"My patience is not high. Would yours be, especially when I'm a big proponent of greatness surrounding itself with greatness? All these (Team USA) guys seem to have great players around them.

"It's tough seeing all these guys that are young and older who have all played in the playoffs. When they start talking about that, I have nothing to talk about. If I don’t make the playoffs next year I don’t know what will happen."

Greatness surrounding greatness, huh?

"At this point, I’m not afraid to go on the record," Love said. "Being around these (USA) guys, they know the situation I’m in and how competitive I am. I want to win. All the players on the Timberwolves feel the same way, as well. The coaching staff is awesome. They want to win and win now. Hopefully, we can make some stuff happen.

"I would say it's coming down to it for sure (next season). It's no secret I was willing to commit to Minnesota for five years. I'm very happy with my contract. I'd love to be in Minnesota. But like anybody else, I want to win.

"If we don’t make the playoffs, I don’t know it’s going to be me or something, but our management needs to step up and make some moves," Love said. "Chase is good for us. Brandon if he can come in relatively healthy and be back to somewhat of where he was … we can be pretty damn good, especially in the fourth quarter with how he used to be (with the Trail Blazers) with LaMarcus (Aldridge) in the pick-and-roll. If Ricky can come back healthy that would be great.

"But I think our front office and ownership needs to step up and get us some pieces. We need to make some moves. We can't just stand still. We have to make this happen."

You can read the entire story, with reaction from Kahn, here.

It sure looks like Kahn still is aiming for a Batum sign-and-trade as this summer's signature move. If he can't pull it off with a Blazers team threatened that Batum doesn't want to be there -- even for $45 million or more -- Kahn will move on to Plans B, C or D, which could be anyone from Courtney Lee to O.J. Mayo to Brandon Rush.

Meanwhie, their other plans -- Lakers forward/center Jordan Hill and Boston center Greg Stiemsma -- wait for Kahn to resolve the Batum dilemma and its accompanying salary-cap maneuvers before he gets to them.

A sign-and-trade would make things a whole lot easier.

If not, the Wolves will have to get creative -- buy out Martell Webster and/or Brad Miller, amnesty Darko! probably - just to sign Batum to that big offer sheet.

Stiemsma's agent says his client wants to play for the Wolves.

Reports that the Wolves offered a one-year, $3 million deal are nonsense.

Yes, $3 million a year is in the ballpark, but you can't offer a one-year offer sheet to a restricted free agent, for one thing.

Hill's agent says the Wolves "absolutely" are in the chase among a number of teams his client is considering that he said is "getting smaller by the day."

Agent Kevin Bradbury said Hill is interested in the Wolves -- as well as the Lakers, although he didn't say that -- because of "the coach, the roster, it's a good, young talented team" and is looking for "the chance to win, playing time."

"He had a taste of the playoffs with the Lakers and he proved he can do it under pressure."

Hill played for Adelman in Houston for a season-plus.

"He learned a lot playing for Coach in Houston," Bradbury said. "He'd liked to play for him again."

The Wolves are the only team Hill has visited so far, Bradbury said.

Hill has his next court date on a felony-assault charge for a February incident with his ex-girlfriend in Houston later this month.

Not sure how that legal issue -- he faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted -- affect the Wolves' thinking and pursuit, if at all.

Bradbury also represents Chase Budinger. He said he and his client are willing to talk contract extension -- Budinger is set to be an unrestricted free agent next summer -- whenever the Wolves are, but said they'll wait, see how the summer goes, how the team shapes up and see what kind of cap room the Wolves have left after making their summer moves.

NBA teams can start signing players and making trades at 11:01 p.m. Twin Cities time Tuesday, the end of the league's 11-day moratorium period.

One other thing before I go:

University of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar tweeted Saturday a congratulatory message to former Husky point guard Will Conroy -- a long-time D Leaguer -- for landing with the Wolves.

Summer-league spot, right?

Somebody tweeted back to Romar asking that and he said no.

Yet another point guard?

Conroy was in camp with the Wolves last December and he'd no doubt be a minimum salary player if he indeed is being signed for the long term.

If so, could that mean the Wolves have plans to Luke Ridnour or J.J. Barea soon, even though the timing of Ricky Rubio's return to full health is still uncertain.

We'll see.

This week could bring lots of developments, even if a lot of it officially may be delayed for some time while the Wolves try to put together the pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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