There's something in the air at the Timberwolves' new digs adjacent to Target Center, something that comes with the opening of a $26 million training facility, the arrival of No. 1 overall draft pick Karl-Anthony Towns and Apple Valley's own Tyus Jones as well as new contract agreements with veteran Kevin Garnett and European newcomer Nemanja Bjelica.
That something feels new, something called. … momentum, perhaps?
"People, you can just tell, we're always trending," Wolves second-year guard Zach LaVine said, referring to his generation's measure of success. "You look on Twitter, it's the Timberwolves or one of our players trending. I guess that's a good thing."
The Wolves expect as many as 10,000 fans or more Wednesday night at Target Center for their "Summer Showcase," a free scrimmage featuring young star Andrew Wiggins, LaVine, Towns, Jones and Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng and Adreian Payne. Afterward all but Wiggins, Muhammad and Dieng will leave for the Las Vegas Summer League, where play begins Friday for the Wolves against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the scrimmage, which begins at 7 p.m.
"We're always looking to put on a show," LaVine said. "Me especially, I like putting on a show. I know fans want to see some threes and dunks from me. That's what they expect. That's what we have to show."
On Thursday, the Wolves are free to announce a two-year contract agreement with Garnett and a three-year deal with Bjelica, once the NBA's eight-day, free-agent negotiating moratorium ends with the announcement of the league's new, ballooning salary-cap figures.
As presumed since he was acquired in a February trade, Garnett has agreed to play for a 21st NBA season and toward his 40th birthday and beyond with a two-year contract, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations. Garnett could move into a management role if he is not healthy enough to play beyond this coming season.
Garnett played just five games because of a hurting knee after he was acquired from Brooklyn in late February.
He'll turn 40 next May.
"He means the most," Muhammad said, referring to Garnett. "We're all young guys. We really look up to him. He just gives us a positive energy that we need every day to go out there, play hard and win some games this year. We look up to him. We can't believe we're on the floor with him. Me, Zach and Wiggins, we'd be in the back of the bus and he'd talk to us about just anything. We'd ask him so many questions, and he has so many stories. He's a great guy. I can't wait for him to get back."
If Garnett plays out the two-year contract, he'll become the first NBA player to play in his teens, 20s, 30s and 40s.
LaVine was three months old when the Wolves drafted Garnett fifth overall in 1995.
"That's crazy," LaVine said. "He has been around the block a couple times, and he's still going. He's still good, too."
Garnett has been among the players who have worked out at the Wolves' new Mayo Clinic Square facility since the team moved its offices and training facility across the street from Target Center last month.
"This place, you don't want to leave this place," said Muhammad, who declares himself fully recovered from February surgery that repaired a ruptured ligament on the middle finger of his shooting hand and ended his season. "You can stay in here all day. Yesterday, literally, I was in here all day. This place is a one of a kind. I like it. I haven't even been through everything yet."
The facility has preserved one of the movie theatres that once existed on the current site. It combines two of LaVine's favorite things — the ability to be in the gym around the clock and the movies — in one place and is just one of the things that has created that buzz.
"The Timberwolves are on the radar," LaVine said, "and we're looking to become one of the best teams in the NBA."
• The Wolves signed Towns and Jones on Tuesday, which was mostly a formality because of the league's rookie-pay scale. Towns' deal will be worth almost $18 million over its first three seasons if the team signed him to the maximum 120 percent of the scale, as allowed.
• ESPN/ABC analyst and former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy — a close pal of Wolves coach Flip Saunders — visited Tuesday's workout.