Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

Day 4: Thoughts on Barea, Lee, D. Williams and other stuff

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves coaches, Wolves guards, Wolves management, Wolves players, Wolves trade talk, Wolves news Updated: December 13, 2011 - 12:27 PM

Stuff from training camp, Day 4:

* The Wolves haven't confirmed or officially announced J.J. Barea's signing yet, but...

Their website listed him on the roster for a good while on Monday night.

And Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, speaking to Dallas reporters, talked about Barea's future in Minnesota and wished his well.

See Carlisle's comments in a notebook I wrote for Tuesday's paper.

You can find it here.

* I still don't get the feeling that the Barea signing will lead immediately to other moves.

I could be wrong, but I don't think this means they're shipping out Luke Ridnour immediately. Nor do I think they're lining up to trade for Kevin Martin or sign Jamal Crawford, Rudy Fernandez or another shooting guard.

For one thing, they're pretty close up against the cap and this team at this stage probably isn't going to go noticeably over the cap unless they can use a $5 million mid-level exception for being over the cap to sign a guy like Crawford or swing a sign-and-trade that would send away Michael Beasley or Wes Johnson.

It's a condensed 66-game season and a guy like Rubio has never been through something like this before. There are going to be injuries and probably enough time for everybody if the Wolves keep all three point guards.

If they keep Ridnour for now, it puts them in a position to auction him to the highest bidding contender come March's trading deadline.

* Marc Gasol agreed to a 4-year, $57.7 million deal to stay in Memphis sort of sets the market for Kevin Love to receive a max contract, doesn't it?

Gasol took four years rather than the five he could have accepted, but that $14 million-plus average is the most the Grizzlies could have paid him. He'll get a starting salary of $12.9 million with a 7.5 percent raise each year.

The Wolves can offer a five-year extension and 7.5 percent raises if they make Love a "designated" player and offer him a max contract, which I believe will start higher than Gasol's, at more than $14 million (I think).

The Wolves have until Jan. 25 to sign Love, Beasley and Anthony Randolph to contract extension. If they don't by then, each player will become a restricted free agent next summer.

* Btw, second-round pick Malcolm Lee has agreed to a 3-year guaranteed contract, rare for an American second-round pick.

Don't know the exact money yet, but that guarantee basically gives him more of a guarantee than a guy who was taken late in the first round. (Rookie contracts run four years, but first-round picks can be cut after the second and third year).

Why?

They like the guy.

Good size (6-5) for a combo guy. He can play both, including defend both, and he shoots it pretty good, too.

Fans on Twitter and here on the blog are champing at the bit for the Wolves to trade Ridnour and acquire a legitimate shooting guard now that Barea is coming. But I get the feeling the Wolves are planning on relying on Lee more than anyone else expects they might.

He could play A LOT.

Barea's going to play some 2, too, so the Wolves have got Johnson, Lee, Barea and Wayne Ellington all can play there until the team discovers when -- or if -- Martell Webster comes back from a second back surgery.

* They've come through the first four days of camp healthy.

The ones missing are invitees Bonzi Wells and Will Conroy. Both are waiting for FIBA clearance after last playing internationally. Rick Adelman said he hopes both will be cleared to practice on Tuesday.

* The Wolves are going to Mankato Thursday and will return Friday. They'll practice once each day at Minnesota State-Mankato and have dinner at Glen Taylor's house on Thursday night. Adelman didn't want the disruption of going there for longer than that, but think the quick trip will be fine.

* Folks are Twitter are clamoring to know when Derrick Williams will replace Michael Beasley in the starting lineup at small forward and many are certain it will happen by opening night.

Don't hold your breath.

From what little we've been allowed to see of scrimmages so far, it looks to me like he's going to be best playing power forward for some time. Just doesn't look comfortable playing out on the floor at small forward.

Don't forget Beasley was the No. 2 overall pick in a much stronger draft in 2008 and he has played three NBA seasons already.

I'd like to see Williams play power forward, Love center and Beasley small forward for some extended time and see how it goes.

And we will probably see that.

* Adelman was asked after practice who has the most upside, Ricky Rubio or Williams.

"Oh, I don't know," he said. "I hope they both do, for my sake."

* And oh, here's the story I wrote for Tuesday's paper about how the days of young players earning playing time in the name of development are over and how Adelman is eager for Brad Miller's return from injury so his play can teach Love a thing or two.

You'll find the story here.

That's it for Monday, sports fans.

Blog at you Tuesday.

 

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