NBA trade deadline passes and Wolves' Williams is still here

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 21, 2013 - 10:21 PM
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The Lakers defense knocked the ball away from the Wolves' Derrick Williams.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

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There was an hour to go Thursday to the NBA's trading deadline when Derrick Williams walked out of the Timberwolves locker room and saw a number of media waiting to talk with him.

He was surprised, but he shouldn't have been.

Whether or not Williams was still a Wolf after the trading deadline passed -- and he was, by the way -- was news. Williams, along with guards Luke Ridnour and J.J. Barea, were all mentioned as potential trade fodder in the past week.

Ultimately, president of basketball operations David Kahn decided to stand pat. And he wasn't alone, as relatively few significant deals were consummated around a league learning to deal with a new collective bargaining agreement.

Frankly, making a move for the present didn't make a lot of sense given the Wolves' position in the standings. And making a move for the future will likely be easier this summer.

There is no question that in Williams' case, he has played well enough for the Wolves to ride out the season with him.

"I like it here," Williams said. "I'm starting to get my confidence back, playing a lot better. I've been trying to play more aggressive the last few weeks, and it's been working. I've been finishing around the basket better, a lot better than I [was] at the beginning of the season. I've been knocking down shots. That just builds your confidence."

Williams will get an opportunity to grow into the expectations that are inherent in being the second overall draft pick in 2011. That's not to say he might not be moved this summer. But for now, the trade rumors can rest for a while.

Williams has scored in double figures in six of nine games in February. He had 24 points and a career-high 16 rebounds against Utah in the Wolves' last game before the All-Star break. Wednesday against a very physical Philadelphia team, Williams hit seven of 12 shots on the way to 17 points and eight rebounds. He has hit on five of 11 three-pointers the past three games and has been able to get himself going in the first quarter. And that success has permeated other parts of his game.

"He's doing a good job on the boards, and he's doing a good job on his man," Wolves assistant coach Terry Porter said.

Notes

• Wolves coach Rick Adelman missed practice to attend a medical appointment with his wife. He did not fly on the team's charter to Oklahoma City but planned to fly there Friday morning.

• Porter ran a very short practice, one focused on integrating some new offensive schemes. "Coach has put in some new offense that I think he's going to try to turn more in the second half [of the season]," Porter said. "And we tried to make sure that players were very familiar with those things to the point where Coach maybe can call them more on the run as opposed to having to call them in a timeout situation."

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