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.

Posts about Wolves players

Wolves waive Fesenko to get roster down to 17 players

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: October 20, 2014 - 5:09 PM

No surprise here, but the Timberwolves today announced they have waived training-camp invitee center Kyrylo Fesenko to get their roster down to 17 players.

Former Baylor guard Brady Heslip remains, for now.

Barring something really unforeseen, he'll, too, be waived, even though Flip Saunders said after Sunday's victory over Oklahoma City in Tulsa that he believes Heslip will play in the NBA because he shoots the ball so well.

The real question is what the Wolves do over the weekend or early next week to get from 16 players down to the maximum 15?

Do they do the most cost-efficient thing and pay off Glenn Robinson III's very small guarantee?

Do they trade or buyout J.J. Barea, the team's third point guard despite what Saunders has called impressive play throughout the preseason.

Do they pay off Robbie Hummel's fully guaranteed but minimum contract instead?

Or do they find a team willing to take Chase Budinger's fully guaranteed contract for the next three years.

I still think the Budinger move is most likely just because of the four options, he's the most expendable if the Wolves can find a willing team.

The Wolves probably keep Robinson because of his potential and cost efficiency.

They probably keep Hummel just because, as was shown Sunday in Tulsa, they'll need him as a third power forward if Thad Young or Anthony Bennett gets hurt. When Bennett's knee proved too sore, Hummel played 19 minutes Sunday and played well.

And Barea might have been the best point guard in training camp and gives the Wolves insurance if something happens to Ricky Rubio and Mo Williams. If one gets injured, do the Wolves at this point want to rely on Zach LaVine as their backup point guard. By keeping Barea, it also keep open the option that another NBA team will lose a point guard to injury, possibly increasing Barea's trade value.

Budinger is experienced and the Wolves sure could use his three-point shooting, but the Wolves already have Andrew Wiggins, Corey Brewer, Shabazz Muhammad, Robinson, Hummel and Young who all can play there as well.

That decision could come soon after the Wolves play their final preseason game Friday at St. Louis against Chicago.

Martin, Muhammad both ruled out of Friday's preseason game

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: October 16, 2014 - 3:01 PM

The Wolves finished up practice just after noon on Thursday then headed off to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for tomorrow’s game against the Bucks.

Kevin Martin, who has battled a groin injury, practiced for a second straight day but will not play Friday, according to coach Flip Saunders. Meanwhile, Shabazz Muhammad’s sore heel is better – he is finally rid of the immobilization boot he’s been wearing  -- but he won’t play Friday either.

There is a chance both could play Sunday.

“Kevin won’t go,” Saunders said. “He had a good day [Wednesday] and went today. But I want him to get a good practice in Saturday and maybe go Sunday. With Bazz, it’s probably the same thing.’’

Also, center Kyrylo Fesenko, who is sick, missed practice Thursday and did not travel with the team.

Here are some other post-practice nuggets:

--Saunders is still going to try to play a lot of young guys while taking it easy on the veterans, though he didn’t say who might not go Friday. While Saunders said he’s surprised at how much the young players have been able to absorb in two-plus weeks of camp, he’s still looking for much of what is being taught to transfer into games.

--With five preseason games between Friday and Oct. 24, Saunders does not want a tired team entering the regular season. Especially with a lot of travel early in November.

--One area where Saunders wants to see improvement, starting with Friday, is in how the team plays its zone defense, something Saunders plans on using quite a bit.

That’s about it for now. Jerry will be with the team in Cedar Rapids tomorrow. 

Saunders stresses team defense

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: October 11, 2014 - 2:06 PM

This is not a second training camp for the Timberwolves.

Coach Flip Saunders isn’t calling the team’s five-day window between preseason games a second camp. Saturday he joked that the players might think those two-a-days were coming back. But what the stretch does do is give Saunders and his staff some time to work on some thing that popped up during the first two preseason games.

And one of those is defense. In particular pick and roll defense and team defense.

“I told the guys we have three guys we almost have to send to Gamblers Anonymous in Corey Brewer, Ricky Rubio and Thaddeus Young,” Saunders joked. “We have to get them to use calculated risks and not do it all the time.”

Saunders called the team’s pick and roll defense a work in progress, but stressed the need for a disciplined approach.

In other news:

--Guard Kevin Martin {groin injury) remains unable to practice and Saunders said he will not try to rush Martin back. Still, Saunders expects Martin to practice at some point this week and perhaps play in the next preseason game, which is Friday against Milwaukee in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

--Shabazz Muhammad, who has a sore Achilles’ heel, also did not practice today and might not return to practice until Monday.

Bennett could make preseason debut Friday

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: October 9, 2014 - 3:35 PM

The Wolves will play their first preseason  home game Friday against Philadelphia at Target Center. And Anthony Bennett – sidelined from Tuesday’s preseason opener with a sore hip flexor -- might be ready to play.

Wolves coach Flip Saunders said Bennett was able to practice Thursday. “He was active,” Saunders said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. Hopefully he’ll get some minutes [Friday].’’

Veteran Kevin Martin {groin injury) did some shooting, but will not play Friday.

Here are some other tidbits from practice:

--Saying he still keeps in touch with some of his old Philly teammates, forward Thaddeus Young said he’s looking forward to Friday’s game, even if it is just a preseason game. “Yeah, coach just told me I’d better give the whole scouring report on them tomorrow,” Young joked. “But it’s just one of those situations where you go out and play and have fun, try to get better.”

--Saunders, who has said a few times how much Andrew Wiggins’ development has accelerated as training camp progressed, loves the rookie’s ability to get to the free throw ling. “If things aren’t going well, the best way to get started is to get to the free throw line,” Saunders said.

--Saunders said he hadn’t decided which veterans will sit out Friday’s game. But it looks like Nikola Pekovic and Mo Williams should play after not playing Tuesday.

Friday's game will be shown on Fox Sports North. 

That’s about it for now. Jerry will be covering Friday’s game. 

Bennett could make preseason debut Friday

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: October 9, 2014 - 3:34 PM

The Wolves will play their first preseason  home game Friday against Philadelphia at Target Center. And Anthony Bennett – sidelined from Tuesday’s preseason opener with a sore hip flexor -- might be ready to play.

Wolves coach Flip Saunders said Bennett was able to practice Thursday. “He was active,” Saunders said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. Hopefully he’ll get some minutes [Friday].’’

Veteran Kevin Martin {groin injury) did some shooting, but will not play Friday.

Here are some other tidbits from practice:

--Saying he still keeps in touch with some of his old Philly teammates, forward Thaddeus Young said he’s looking forward to Friday’s game, even if it is just a preseason game. “Yeah, coach just told me I’d better give the whole scouring report on them tomorrow,” Young joked. “But it’s just one of those situations where you go out and play and have fun, try to get better.”

--Saunders, who has said a few times how much Andrew Wiggins’ development has accelerated as training camp progressed, loves the rookie’s ability to get to the free throw ling. “If things aren’t going well, the best way to get started is to get to the free throw line,” Saunders said.

--Saunders said he hadn’t decided which veterans will sit out Friday’s game. But it looks like Nikola Pekovic and Mo Williams should play after not playing Tuesday.

Friday's game will be shown on Fox Sports North. 

That’s about it for now. Jerry will be covering Friday’s game. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT