Zgoda: Wolves brass headed to Chicago for pre-draft combine
- Blog Post by: Jerry Zgoda
- May 13, 2014 - 5:07 PM
A bunch of this and that as the Wolves' draft preparations and presumably their coaching search begin to heat up:
* Wolves' brass heads to Chicago Wednesday for the annual pre-draft combine.
They'll be there to interview prospects for their 13th overall pick -- that is, as long as Phoenix doesn't defy the overwhelming odds and leap from 14th into the Top 3 -- in the June draft and watch players willing to do so practice in drills and physical testing.
They'll request interviews with such players as Michigan State's Gary Harris, Michigan's Nic Stauskas, Kentucky's James Young, Creighton's Doug McDermott, Duke's Rodney Hood and others whom they might draft (Harris likely won't be around 13, which might be too early for a player such as Hood) if indeed they keep that 13th pick.
If Phoenix beats the 1 percent odds and jumps into the draft's top 3 at next week's lottery, the Wolves will drop in the draft order from 13 to 14 and thus forfeit this year's pick to the Suns, to whom they own a top-13 protected pick for that short-sighted 2012 trade that sent Wes Johnson to Phoenix.
Top 3 picks Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker won't go to Chicago at all, not even to participate in team interviews or physical testing. That won't affect the Wolves' work, unless, of course, they become unlikely lottery winners next week.
* While in Chicago, maybe Flip Saunders' search for a new head coach might become a little more clear as well now as the league's coaching carousel begins to turn.
According to Yahoo!Sports today, Detroit is closing in on a five-year, $35 million deal with Stan Van Gundy that would have him both coach and run the Pistons' basketball operations.
That would leave Golden State looking for a new frontrunner for its open coaching job after the Warriors aimed for Van Gundy but aren't willing to give him managing duties as well.
Yahoo! also reported that the Warriors management is flying to Oklahoma City today in an attempt to woo TNT analyst Steve Kerr away from Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks' coaching vacancy.
The Lakers, Utah, Cleveland also are looking for a coach as well.
Expect the Wolves' search to wait until next week's lottery -- in the hope that the franchise finally might find some elusive luck and get a Top 3 pick that would change both Kevin Love's feelings about the team's future as well as its coaching prospects.
* The architect for Target Center's remodeling has supplied the first renderings of what the project will look like.
You can see them here.
* Ronny Turiaf and player-development coach Bobby Jackson are headed to Taipei next month to participate in the NBA's Basketball Without Borders Asia camp to be held in Taiwan for the first time.
The top 50 prospects aged 17- and 18-year olds from more than 20 Asian and Oceanic countries will play there. Yao Ming will make a one-day appearance as well.
Also, Wolves center Gorgui Dieng currently is back home in Senegal, where this weekend he's building a community court and holding his own two-day youth camp in Kebemer, a city about 110 miles from the capital Dakar.
* Phoenix today became the 15th of 30 NBA team to reach an exclusive partnership with the 18-team D League when it announced a deal with Bakersfield.
The Wolves are looking for an affiliate after the Iowa Energy made a deal recently with Memphis.
Flip has talked about being part of a "hybrid" D-League -- the kind of deal Phoenix just announced -- arrangement in which the Wolves would pay approximately $300,000-$400,000 to buy the basketball operations while other partners would own the business side. That would allow the Wolves to install their own coaches and executives and run the same offensive and defensive systems that the NBA club runs.
If the Wolves could start or move a D League team to, say, Rochester, Minn., -- where they already have a relationship with Mayo Clinic -- that also would allow them to practice young players with them in the afternoon and still have those players participate in a D League home game that night.
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