Wolves welcome all sizes in the backcourt

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA
  • Star Tribune
  • January 24, 2013 - 7:25 AM

The Timberwolves' injury-cursed season has not only left them with only three healthy guards, it also has left them with just three small healthy guards.

Just how small was illustrated in Wednesday's 93-81 loss to a Brooklyn team that started 6-7 Joe Johnson and 6-3 Deron Williams against 6-4 Ricky Rubio and 6-2 Luke Ridnour.

Acting head coach Terry Porter's best defensive options after those two were 5-9 J.J. Barea and newly signed swingman Mickael Gelabale off the bench. By the fourth quarter, Porter had put Gelabale on Williams and Andrei Kirilenko on Johnson in an attempt to battle the Nets stars' size.

"I think we're used to it by now," Barea said about a team missing injured shooting guard options Alexey Shved, Chase Budinger and Brandon Roy. "It's tough for the coaches right now. They're trying whatever they can do to help us win. Whatever lineup is working, they're going to use during games."

On Wednesday, that included playing Rubio, Barea and Ridnour as much as he could in two-man combinations.

Barea appeals fine

Barea talked with Wolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn and said the two agreed that Kahn will call NBA Executive Vice President Stu Jackson to appeal the $5,000 flopping fine imposed by the league on Monday.

Barea claimed he is a converted flopper, even since the NBA announced it was cracking down on those who overact in an attempt to draw foul calls. He was fined for stumbling away from a forearm push by Dallas' Roddy Beaubois during a Jan. 14 game.

"I changed the way I played all season, since the beginning," Barea said. "I'm not going down to the floor like I used to. Now, if they push, that's an offensive foul, so that play they're talking about the ref was right in front and they saw him pushing. We'll see. ... I was surprised."

A lot of reasons to sell

Good news for Wolves owner Glen Taylor, who is negotiating with more than one group on a long-term plan to sell the team: Forbes magazine says the Wolves are worth $364 million -- 26th among 30 teams -- in its latest list that values NBA franchises.

That's 34 percent more than last year, when they were valued at $272 million. Taylor bought the franchise for about $88 million in 1994.


• Wolves coach Rick Adelman missed his ninth consecutive game to be with his ill wife, Mary Kay. Porter said he talked with Adelman about Western Conference All-Star reserves voting and then the assistant coaches filled out Adelman's ballot and cast it by Wednesday's deadline.

• The Grizzlies signed the D League's Chris Johnson. No, not the 6-11 Chris Johnson from Louisiana State whom the Wolves signed Saturday but rather the 6-6 Chris Johnson who played at Dayton. "Oh, no, I'm here for 10 days," the Wolves center said when told a few of his team's fans were alarmed he had gotten away. "There's too many Chris Johnsons in this world. There's a couple in the NFL, too."

• Porter on forward Dante Cunningham, who played his normal role for the second consecutive game after missing Saturday's game against Houston because he was too ill to play. "He's probably in 90 percent mode. That's good. We'll take 90 percent."

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