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.
Draft night has come and gone and the Wolves walked away Thursday without making a deal to get back into the first round or without pulling off any other deals, including one they continue to pursue to bring them Pau Gasol.
Instead, they waited all night, until the third from final pick before they took Purdue senior Robbie Hummel with the 58th pick.
David Kahn said the team contemplated making a deal to get a player they targeted late in the first round -- he wouldn't say who, but it was Duke center Miles Plumlee, who they brought to Target Center for a second workout on Tuesday -- but they didn't succeed when Indiana took him 26th.
So they waited another couple hours and took Hummel, a 6-8 shooting small forward who Kahn deemed would have been a first-round pick if his career hadn't been detoured by two torn ACLs within 10 months of each other in 2010.
If you're keeping score at home, Hummel's arrival now gives the Wolves eight white guys currently on their roster.
Kahn said they drafted Hummel intending he will compete for a roster spot this fall if he continues his progress back from those two surgeries.
So it was a quiet night.
As for those additional moves Kahn promised?
The Associated Press reported that the Wolves offer of Derrick Williams to Charlotte for the Bobcats' second overall pick was part of a bigger deal that would bring Gasol to Minnesota, where he'd join Spanish national teammate and pal Ricky Rubio.
The Bobcats refused the offer and took Kentucky's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist instead.
The Lakers have been shopping Gasol and the $37 million left on his contract. They reportedly sought a Top 10 pick in Thursday's draft and an established player.
The Wolves have pursued Gasol since last year's draft and are interested in a 32-year-old with a huge contract probably because Rick Adelman is 66, Glen Taylor probably won't own the team for more than three or four more years and Kahn needs to get this team to the playoffs to keep his job.
They're probably figuring a core of Gasol, Rubio and Love could win 50 games and not only getting them into the playoffs, but well into them.
The Lakers also have interest Michael Beasley, who could be the established player in such a deal.
If such a trade for Gasol is made, it might come closer to training camp than draft night, but we'll see.
I''m not sure how to read this latest development: Is it a sign of movement toward a deal or an indication that one could be hard to strike if the Lakers aren't interested in Williams himself.
Meanwhile, the Wolves move on from Thursday toward the start of free agency on Sunday.
On Friday we should find out if Portland shooting guard Jamal Crawford has opted out of his contract for next season and if the Wolves will pursue signing him along with Brandon Roy when free agency begins Sunday.
Someone, including the Wolves, could still trade for him before that decision comes, too.
If the Wolves are able to pull off a deal for such a big salaried player as Gasol, they'd try for that shooting guard upgrade by signing a Crawford or Roy for the team's mid-level or mini mid-level exceptions.
The NBA's 2 p.m. trade deadline has come and gone and Michae Beasley and his sore big toe are still here.
Portland blew up their team, firing coach Nate McMillan today and trading Gerald Wallace to New Jersey and Marcus Camby to Houston in a deal that brought back former Timberwolves guard Jonny Flynn.
But Jamal Crawford stayed put, never making it to Minnesota in that three-way deal with the Lakers that would have sent Beasley to L.A.
From what I've been able to gather today, that's the only proposed deal the Wolves came close to making and ultimately the deal fell apart because the Lakers as their part of the deal wanted the Wolves to take back a guaranteed salary for next year.
The Wolves ultimately decided Crawford wasn't that much of an upgrade over Beasley, not at the price of adding $3 million or more to their payroll next season and the fact that Crawford just might be a two-month rental.
He has a player option for the second year of the contract he signed with Portland in December and every indication is he will opt out from that $5 million salary and test the free-agent market again.
I don't believe Luke Ridnour -- or Steve Blake -- were ever part of the trade discussions.
Blake was rumored to be headed to Portland in that three-way deal, but what the Blazers wanted for Crawford was one of the two first-round picks the Lakers own this summer. And the Wolves weren't giving up both Beasley and one of the two they own from Utah and Memphis.
The Lakers did find takers for salaries they wanted to dump for luxury-tax purposes: They dealt Luke Walton's $6 million for next season, Jason Kapono's expiring and their own first-round pick to Cleveland for Ramon Sessions to address their point-guard problems, then sent Derek Fisher's $3.4 million contract for next season and Dallas' first-round pick to Houston for forward Jordan Hill.
All of that means Beasley remains a Timberwolf through this season.
He will be a restricted free agent this summer. Don't expect the Wolves to extend him a whopping $8 million qualifying offer, but they could still decide to re-sign him as an unrestricted free agent to a lesser salary come July.
That's what I've been saying all along: GIve him the entire season -- including possibly playoffs -- to prove himself and then decide whether you want him to be part of your future, and at what price.
Don't expect to see Beasley tonight at Utah: Even though he's still with the Wolves, that big toe was hurting him at shootaround this morning and it's doubtful he'll play.
The Wolves are chasing Houston and Dallas for that eighth and final playoff spot. The Rockets added veteran Camby and Fisher, but could still just waive Fisher as the price to pay for getting that Dallas' pick.
"I like it as it is," Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said about his team before the deadline passed. "The other night we scored 127 points. We have ways to score and ways to play, so I like the group we have."
The Lakers didn't pull off a deal for Beasley, but they did get Sessions (and Hill).
Other trades included:
* Denver dealt away Nene just three months after signing him to a huge deal in a three-way deal with Washington and the Clippers that sent JaVale McGee to Denver and Nick Young to the Clippers.
* Golden State sent Stephen Jackson to San Antonio for Richard Jefferson.
* Leandro Barbosa went from Toronto to Indiana.
The Timberwolves are pursuing a three-way trade that would send Michael Beasley to the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland guard Jamal Crawford to Minnesota and Steve Blake to the Blazers before Thursday's 2 p.m. trade deadline approaches, league sources confirmed this afternoon.
Not sure yet what other elements -- namely, draft pick(s) -- might be involved.
The Timberwolves just concluded practice in Phoenix before flying to Utah this afternoon, and Beasley was there shooting at the end and then walked up and climbed on the bus with his teammates.
I saw it with my own eyes.
The question is, will he still be a Timberwolf this time tomorrow?
"Twenty-four hours from now? Whooooo," Beasley said, his voice rising when asked if he still expected to wear a Wolves uniform Thursday night at Utah. "I mean, of course. But if I'm not, I'm not.
"I'm just a pawn in this game. L.A. Boston, New Jersey, Orlando, anywhere they decide to move me, then I've got to go. I'm not saying I want to, but that's something I have no control over. I'd love to stay here. It don't make it no easier if I've got to up and move. I got a nice-sized house with a lot of things inside of it, but I'd rather stay. If I've got to go, it's just business."
Beasley said he talked with Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn but said Kahn made no promises either way if he'd be traded or not.
"Nothing important," he said about their conversation. "We'll see what happens."
He said he has talked to his agent, Jeff Schwartz.
"I heard a little bit, but nothing so far," Beasley said. "I'll just wait to hear from him. I don't watch the sports channels or read the newspapers."
Asked if he updates his Twitter account regularly to follow the latest rumors, he said, "Nah, I try to stay out of the world."
Yahoo!Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski first reported today that a Beasley-Crawford swap was gaining momentum.
One thing to remember if this deal goes through: The Wolves play the Lakers at Staples Center on Friday night.
The Wolves pursued Crawford as a free agent in December. I talked to Crawford before the game in Portland earlier this month and here's how he said the Wolves' courting him went down: They had alread signed J.J. Barea to a four-year deal and wanted to sign him, too. They asked him to remain patient while they dealt with other matters, but he said he wanted to be in training camp on time and narrowed his list to Portland and Sacramento before choose the Blazers, who are just down the freeway from where he grew up in Seattle.
"I really thought they were a team on the rise," Crawford said then. "Their young guys have gotten better, obviously with Rubio coming in. I'm a big fan of Coach of Adelman. He's really laid back. He's an old-school coach. He's got some great, great, great stuff offensively. I can't take credit and say I saw them being right there in the thick of things (a playoff race) but I definitely saw them being a lot better than they were last year.
"Toward the end of it, I wasn't sure how interested or serious they were. I think they wanted me to be more patient and at that time, I was kind of running out of time."
Here's what Rick Adelman said when I asked him then why the Wolves pursued Crawford: "He's a scorer. He's a volume scorer. The thing I was always impressed with was, when the game is on the line he can make shots. He can make something happen. He's a great free-throw shooter. He's got great range. He's just a very good offensive player, someone you can go to."
A little of this and that from Wednesday's 106-94 victory over Portland at Target Center.
* Don't look now but if the season ended tonight, the Wolves would be in the playoffs.
The Wolves now have won three straight, five straight at home and eight of their last 11 and at 21-19, they are eighth in the West.
They're tied with Houston there, but the Wolves already have won the season series 3-1 from the Rockets, so if they do end up tied for eighth six weeks from now, the Wolves would win the first tiebreaker for head-to-head record.
* Here's the game story from Wednesday night.
* Wes Johnson's 19 points on 8 for 11 shooting were a season high.He now has made nine of his last 14 threes after going 3 for 4 Wednesday while also scoring on a couple very nice putback dunks.
This was just his sixth double-digit scoring game this season and only his second since Feb. 3 at New Jersey.
And get this: The Wolves now are 8-2 when he scores nine or more points.
Some stuff from Wes after the game...
"I wasn't down, I wasn't losing confidence in my shot, it just wasn't going in. I just tried to stay with it. Tonight, it was going in. I felt it as soon as the first shot, especially in warmups. I had a bounce in my step. I told Luke because he was running around the locker room, `How you feel? and he said, `I feel good,' and I told him, `I do, too.'
"I was just out there playing. My mind was clear of everything, I wasn't thinking about much of anything, just out there playing basketball, that's what I was doing.
"You think about shots not going. You try not to think about it, but when it's out there playing, it kind of messes with me. But now I just have to realize `Don't worry about it,' eventually it's going to go in. After that, the shot was going in. I knew from the first one. You just have to see one."
Adelman on Wes: "He was huge. He made big shots, got the offensive boards(3), defended well. Just had a solid game. He has just got to keep taking his shots. If they are open, he needs to take them. He is capable of making them and it's just a matter of getting comfortable and having the confidence that when it comes to him, he just shoots it."
* Luke Ridnour had yet another productive night -- 22 points, 5 assists in nearly 37 minutes -- and made all the right plays when the Blazers knocked a 14-point deficit down to six midway through the fourth.
He scored seven straight for the Wolves and pushed the lead back to 11.
There's been a lot of chatter nationally about the Wolves acquiring Blazers guard Jamal Crawford before next week's trade deadline since I had a couple items on Saturday that Crawford sounds like he regrets not signing with the Wolves in December and the Wolves definitely still have interest in him.
I don't know if other scribes nationally are putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with Ridnour-for-Crawford talk, but I understand there's been a bit of it and I just don't see the Wolves trading Ridnour, not in that deal.
What would they do if Rubio went down?
Here's my colleague Pat Reusse's column on Ridnour from the game. You can find it here.
J.J. Barea is fragile -- as witnessed by yet another injury tonight -- and much more the world's smallest shooting guard than he is a point guard.
Malcolm Lee hasn't even played an NBA minute yet and Crawford can play some point, but you wouldn't want to have to rely on him much there.
* Barea sprained the same ankle he hurt earlier this season and he did it midway through the fourth quarter.
Afterward, he said he'd be back as soon as possible, but it was swollen and red and he said it hurt worse than the first time he did it.
So this could be another week or two thing.
If it is, expect the Wolves to call Lee back from Sioux Falls in the D League. You might even see him make his NBA debut sometime soon if Barea is out for any significant time.
* Michael Beasley played fewer than eight minutes and you really got to wonder if he's still around when the trading deadline passes next Thursday.
Adelman was asked about Beasley's future with the team after the game and here's what he said, "He's one of the team. There is no, I don't comment on the future. I used him tonight. He made shots tonight (2 for 3). I'm going to play the people who can win the game and Michael's certainly one of them."
* I've already touched on Wes, Ridnour, Beasley and haven't even mentioned Kevin Love.
He had 15 points in the first quarter, 20 by halftime, 24 by the end of the third and finished with 29 and 16 rebounds, which compared to his games Saturday at Portland and Monday against the Clippers seems like just a routine game.
He played 44:34 and Adelman was asked if he can keep playing Love that much.
"He is right now," Adelman said. "He's got tomorrow off."
If you're into those manufactured stats that the Elias Sports Bureau puts out...Love tonight became the first player in NBA history to record 25 points, 10 rebounds and three three-pointers in three consecutive games.
Of course, as my colleague Pat Reusse points out, that NBA history only dates to 1979, when the three-point line was introduced.
Love now has scored 110 points in his last three games. That's one point shy of the club record set by Kevin Garnett, who scored 111 in three straight games once.
He outdid Blazers All Star LaMarcus Aldridge for the second straight game. Aldridge scored 22 -- most of them on first-half jumpers -- but the Wolves held him to just five points after halftime, and only two in the fourth quarter.
* The Wolves' 13 threes are a season high. They went 13-for-23 and now have made 36 threes in their last three games.
* When should we start talking about Rick Adelman for Coach of the Year?
* Go figure this: The Wolves hadn't beaten the Blazers in nearly five years, and now have done it twice in five days. "That kind of crazy," Williams said.
* Another good start against the Blazers: They scored 40 in Saturday's win at Portland and had 37 in the first Wednesday.
* The Wolves last won five straight at home from Dec. 26, 2006 to Jan. 7, 2007, when they beat Chicago, Seattle, San Antonio, Philadelphia and Houston.
* The Wolves now are two games over. 500 for the first time this late in the season since they had a winning 44-38 season in 2004-05, the season after that run to the Western Conference finals.
* The Wolves now are a combined 9-2 this season against Portland, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. They were 2-57 against those four teams in the previous four seasons.
* They're now 16-10 against Western Conference teams. They were 15-89 against the West in the last two seasons.
That's it for tonight from Target Center.
The Wolves will practice lightly Thursday -- Kent will blog and write about that -- and then they've got a Lakers team that just lost at Detroit and Washington on consecutive nights coming in Friday night.
The Wolves already have ended long losing streaks against Portland, Dallas and Spurs this season. Can they do it again, this time against the Lakers?
I'll be back Friday for that game and we'll see.
And so, it's now back to work for Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams.
And on to L.A.
Kevin Love completed the Wolves' triple play at All Star weekend with a 17-point, 7-rebound performance that included back-to-back threes in Sunday night's All Star Game that the West won 152-149 in a tense finish after it had led by 20 early in the fourth quarter.
Here's Love talking about the evening and the tuxedo he rocked because, he said, it was Oscar night.
Love shipped his three-point contest trophy home to Target Center right after winning it Saturday night and then caught a small private jet he chartered for family and friends out for L.A. after the game.
Rubio and Williams are shlubbing it to the West Coast by commercial flights, just like a certain intrepid reporter you might know.
Their teammates are gathering back in Minneapolis this morning after a long weekend away and will fly to L.A. this afternoon in time for a 5 p.m. Pacific time as they prepare for a four-game Western trip.
That trip includes three games in three nights, starting Tuesday against the Clippers.
They play the Lakers Wednesday and at Phoenix on Thursday against a Suns team that will be playing its first game back after the break while the Wolves will be finishing their last of two back-to-back-to-back stretches in this demanding season.
All Star weekend's conclusion means we're now fast approaching the March 15 trade deadline.
We'll see if Michael Beasley is still with the team by then and if the Wolves can get themselves involved in brokering a big trade that will send Dwight Howard away from Orlando and possibly to L.A. in a deal that presumably would bring Pau Gasol to the Wolves and his pal Rubio.
A Beasley trade -- which could be part of a bigger deal -- is quite probable, given it's better to get something than nothing if they decide not to pursue re-signing him this summer.
Given his role lately, that pursuit seems unlikely.
A Gasol deal doesn't make sense to me, simply because you'd be investing so much -- assuming his huge $18 million plus salary and likely dealing away No. 2 pick Williams -- for a big man when they already have Love and Nikola Pekovic.
Wouldn't that investment be better placed in a wing player who can actually handle the ball, defend and shoot?
I'll check back with you when I get to L.A. after a 5 1/2 hour flight from Orlando.
|Vikings (12)||Wolves news (803)|
|Bears (1)||Packers (3)|
|Super Bowl (2)||Injury report (1)|
|On the road (45)||Rookies (25)|
|Roster moves (3)||The draft (40)|
|Trade talk (2)||NBA playoffs (1)|
|Wolves coaches (67)||Wolves draft news (43)|
|Wolves guards (40)||Wolves injury report (293)|
|Wolves management (106)||Wolves players (414)|
|Wolves postgame (263)||Wolves practice news (130)|
|Wolves pre-game (285)||Wolves trade talk (70)|
|Wolves training camp (40)||Adrian Peterson (3)|
|Sidney Rice (2)|