Who do you believe? In March, Forbes Magazine rated McHale the best general manager in the four major professional sports (NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL). Now Sports Illustrated recently ranked the NBA personnel bosses from No. 1 to No. 30, and McHale ranked last. Billy Knight of the Atlanta Hawks and Michael Jordan of the Charlotte Bobcats were No. 28 and No. 29, respectively. The top three were R.C. Buford of the San Antonio Spurs, Donnie Nelson of the Dallas Mavericks and Detroit's Joe Dumars. The truth is nobody really knows. Had the Spurs not been fortunate enough to get David Robinson and then Tim Duncan in the lottery, I'm sure Buford would not rank No. 1.
Timberwolves European scout Pete Philo said Yi Jianlian, the Chinese player who will go high in the draft, might be a little more culturally ready to play in the NBA than Houston Rockets star Yao Ming was at the same age. "He's a guy that has been outside of China a little bit more, whereas Yao was not, at that age. That's a tough culture to leave from, but he's going to be pretty good, I think," said Philo, who expects three or four foreign-born players to go in the first round of the draft.
Rick Spielman, the Vikings vice president of player personnel, said, "We may be involved with an international player that would be joining us for the whole year and be a part of our practice squad. It's kind of an NFL initiative to develop European players, and our division is one of the divisions that will host an international player, which gives you an extra practice squad guy for the entire year."
Alex Goligoski, the Gophers defenseman who was selected in the second round of the 2004 draft by Pittsburgh, has informed Penguins General Manager Ray Shero that he will decide by Sunday whether to sign a pro contract or return to college. ... Two New Jersey Devil stars -- former Gopher Paul Martin and Zach Parise, the former North Dakota star from Faribault, are restricted free agents. So if the Wild is interested in two of the Devils' best players, it could make them offers. Of course, the Devils could match them.
Gopher Illustrated reports DeLaSalle star Royce White is now ranked 17th in the nation among junior basketball players. Early on, White received offers from Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan State, but after performing well in the recent Nike Hoop Jamboree has received many other offers. Mike Broghammer of Hopkins and Rodney Williams of Robbinsdale Cooper also performed well in the Nike Hoop Jamboree.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on his Podcast twice a week at www.startribune.com/sidcast. firstname.lastname@example.org