Homecoming: Wolves at Blazers tonight and what might have been
- Blog Post by: Jerry Zgoda
- November 23, 2012 - 3:38 PM
The Wolves and the Trail Blazers meet tonight for the first time this season, two franchises seemingly destined to be intertwined with each other.
There will be no emotional Brandon Roy return to the Rose Garden tonight, not after he underwent another arthroscopic knee surgery on Monday and is sidelined for at least a month.
Roy has purchased three suites for friends and family, but donated them to charity when it became clear there'd be no big homecoming.
Nicolas Batum, though, will face for the first time a Wolves team that wooed him last summer and offered a $44 million free-agent offer that the Blazers ultimately matched.
The two teams talked sign-and-trade deals for Batum, but none came to be.
On Friday morning, Wolves forward Derrick Williams looked around the Rose Garden, an arena that he said very well could have been his new home.
Asked if thought close to becoming a Trail Blazer in a sign-and-trade for Batum last summer, he said, "A little bit. I think everybody thought that."
Was that just listening to the rampant speculation or legit inside information?
He laughed, looked away and said, "Probably just say a little inside information."
I did a three-minute video interview with Williams this morning in which he discussed those trade talks, how he went from starting power forward to not playing at all Wednesday now that Kevin Love is back in the lineup, that experiment to play him more at small forward and his future with the franchise.
It should be imbedded here on the blog shortly.
A couple other things from shootaround:
* Both J.J. Barea and Love said they woke up sore Thursday morning after playing against Denver the night before, but both say they will play tonight.
"A little sore, it's not used to playing minutes like that," Love said about his 35-minute debut. "It's be nice when we get some practice. I've got to use these games as practice. I've got to be on the floor more with the guys. Running through plays 5-on-0 isn't the same as being out there playing against good competition."
It's obvious talking to Love that his right shooting hand is sore, but he intends to play through it after a New York City hand specialist assured him it has healed enough that he won't break it again.
"Obviously it isn't where it should be," Love said. "Every day is progress. I've just got to continue to get my tough, get at the free-throw line, shoot my jumpers, extend my range. The more I can do, the better it'll be for me."
On his conditioning, he said, "I had no idea how'd it be. I'm still a few weeks out. I got tired a little bit in the fourth quarter, but that had a lot to do with a guy like (Nuggets forward Kenneth) Faried, who's such a good (running) up-and-down player."
* Barea said that mid-foot sprain felt "a little sore, but not bad" when he awoke Thursday after playing on it for the first time on Wednesday.
"I think it's a little bit better, still not completely good but it's OK, though, " he said. "Hopefully tonight it will feel better than the last game. I just wanted to see how sore it was going to be. It bothers me a little bit, but nothing serious."
© 2013 Star Tribune