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.
Timberwolves star Kevin Love said today he hasn’t told the team he will opt out of his contract in summer 2015 and sign elsewhere, as a series of Internet Tweets reported after Wednesday’s 104-91 home victory over Indiana.
Love told reporters this after practice today: “We laughed about it today. It’s a media-driven story. For the past couple years, I can’t believe some of the stuff that has come out. We went out and played hard last night, great performance as a team. To see some stuff like that is just kind of disheartening.”
Love spoke with the media this afternoon, just before the NBA’s trade deadline came and went without the Wolves making a deal.
That means Love is still a Timberwolf and one who’s about to play more center now that backup center Ronny Turiaf is hurting, too. He sustained a bone bruise on his right knee in the fourth quarter and is out indefinitely, the team said today.
Longtime NBA columnist and commentator Peter Vecsey in a series of unsourced tweets Wednesday night said Love told Wolves boss Flip Saunders before the All-Star break that he has decided to play elsewhere when he can escape a four-year contract a year early in July 2015. He said expect Love to be traded by Thursday’s trade deadline or in this upcoming off-season and said Love wants to play only for teams with a winning culture and mentioned Boston and Chicago as possible teams that would have assets to trade for Love and that would fit his criteria.
Saunders called the report “false” in a tweet that responded to Vecsey’s tweets just after the Wolves beat the Pacers.
Love said he and Flip laughed about the report, but Love did confirm part of Saunders' tweet sent out Wednesday night. Saunders said the last conversation he had with Love was about Love telling him how bad his sport coat was.
"I did say that," Love said. "Anyone who saw him, it was pretty bad."
Love told GQ magazine in an interview released this week that he’s having “fun” in Minnesota and that the Wolves are better positioned to win than the Los Angeles Lakers, the team so many assume he will sign with in 2015.
“Basically all I said is our foundation and our team is better than a lot of teams that you guys and Peter Vecsey and whoever the hell else says I’m going to,” Love said.
Speculation about his future will continue until Love either opts out in July 2015 and re-signs with the Wolves or another team or until the team trades before that.
“It comes with the territory,” Love said. “I just don’t want to talk about it. It takes away from the team. It takes away from what Coach is trying to do. At the end of the day, I just want to play basketball. I don’t want to think about whether I’m going to be here or somewhere else in 2015, 2016 or whatever it is.”
When Wolves coach Rick Adelman was asked Love requesting a trade, he said, “Really? C’mon? You know, he got 42 points last night and we won the game. Some of this stuff comes out of nowhere. That’s so far in the future, I don’t even worry about that. I just worry about the fact, it didn’t look like he was going anywhere last night and that’s the direction I wanted. In this world today: `What’s LeBron going to do next year? What’s Carmelo going to do next year?’ Who cares? It’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. In Kevin’s situation, he’s here with us. I’m glad as the coach that he is with us. I’ve never heard anything about that. He certainly hasn’t said anything to me, so I don’t dwell on that.”
The Wolves leave Friday for a five-game Western trip in which Adelman will have to cobble together a lineup at center now that Turiaf is out and Nikola Pekovic still hasn’t yet returned.
Pekovic participated in drills and other court work during Thursday’s semi-practice and is expected to do more on Friday, Adelman said. But Adelman said Pekovic’s return remains unknown and indicated it isn’t imminent.
“I welcome it as long as I’m not taking any more shots to anywhere on my body,” Love said about playing more at center. “It’s another thing that comes with the territory. We pray that guys come back as soon as possible.”
The Wolves reconvened today at Target Center after six days away for All-Star break and practiced for the first time in a week, but starting center Nikola Pekovic didn't practice with them.
He's not yet ready for such on-court work yet, even with the extra week's worth of rest.
He hasn't played since a Jan. 27 game at Chicago. He is not expected to play Wednesday night against Indiana at Target Center.
That'd be his 10th consecutive game missed.
He was not in a protected boot while walking around at practice Tuesday. He was seen wearing one last week just before the Wolves went on their break.
"I'm not surprised," Wolves coach RIck Adelman said when asked about Pekovic not practicing Tuesday. "They're hoping to get him more activity over the next few days and see what happens. LIke I said before, he's got to get on court and practicing. It's not only the injury, it's the practicing. It's something we really have to look at."
THe Wolves probably will practice both Thursday and Friday before flying to Utah to begin on a Saturday a five-game Western trip.
"He's getting better, I think he'll be back soon," teammate J.J. Barea said. "I think he's making sure when he's back he'll be ready to play. Yeah, we miss him. You know we miss him."
Guard Kevin Martin is still scheduled to revisit his doctor on Friday to see he gets clearance to play with that healing fractured thumb on that upcoming road trip.
Meanwhile, Thursday's trade deadline is now just two days away and you know Flip Saunders is working hard to do something, whether it's pursuing Denver exiled point guard Andre Miller or that Yahoo!Sports reported deal on Monday that said the Wolves have discussed a Barea-Chase Budinger for Tayshaun Prince-Tony Allen deal with Memphis.
Budinger declined to talk with reporters Tuesday, walking past them and saying, "I'm not talking about any rumors."
Despite all the building national speculation, here's one thing you can bet on: The Wolves aren't trading Kevin Love.
At least not yet, not by Thursday.
Rick Adelman will not coach tonight's game against his former Rockets team because of what the team is calling "personal reasons" and assistant coach Terry Porter will coach for him instead.
Adelman is expected to be back for Wednesday's game against Denver, a team source said.
Kevin Love is he will play tonight even though his leg is still hurting him after he took a hit from former teammate Greg Stiemsma in Friday's game at New Orleans.
"The rest did me some good," said Love, who didn't play Saturday against Portland. "I can bend the leg a little more, but still not 100 percent but I'm going to go out there and give it a go."
The Wolves have been through this before without Adelman. Porter coached 11 games for him in January 2013 while Adelman was away from the team to be with his wife while doctors sought to diagnose why she was suddenly experiencing seizures.
The Wolves went 2-9 in those games.
The Houston Rockets tonight make their first Target Center visit this season, which means Dwight Howard comes to town for the first time as a Rocket.
It also means, of course, that Kevin McHale is back in the arena and the state he once called home.
But don't expect him to gush all warm and fuzzy about it because once again, he won't.
"It's cold, I know that much," he said when asked about the emotions of his return. "It hasn't warmed up much."
Somebody tried to engage him in a conversation about the 10th anniversary of that 2003-04 Wolves team he assembled that reached the Western Conference finals with Kevin Garnett, Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell leading the way.
Don't go there, man.
"I'm not going to 2003," he said. "I forgot 2003. OK? Next question."
When asekd what his memories of Minnesota - and presumably the Wolves are - he said, "Best memories? Fishing, being with my dad hunting in woods. Those are my best memories of Minnesota."
He was better talking about Howard and how the Rockets are getting used to playing with a legitimate low-post scorer for the first time and he was better talking about how the power-forward position has changed since he played and Kevin Love has expanded the part of the "stretch 4" position.
Asked if he could see this kind of career coming for Love (whom he made that draft-night deal in 2008), McHale said, "Nah, if anybody drafts anybody besides LeBron and they tell you they saw all this, they're lying to you. But everybody lies in this business. I thought Kevin would be a double-double guy. He could really rebound, rebounded outside his area, had great hands and a really good 15 to 17 foot jump shot. And I said with that alone he could be a 15-and-10 guy. But like I said, he took it to a whole new level. Good for him. Good kid."
No word yet on whether Love will play tonight. It all depends on how much his battered and bruised body has gotten better with two more days' rest.
Wolves didn't shoot this morning and are having a 4:30 p.m. walk-through instead, so I'll know more when pre-game availablity starts at 5:30 pm.
Don't expect Nikola Pekovic or Kevin Martin to play until after the All-Star break, though.
Kevin Love still is recovering from Tuesday night’s nasty fall, but said after this morning’s shootaround in New Orleans that he will play tonight against the Pelicans in that 8:30 pm ESPN game.
“I’m feeling a little bit better, still pretty sore,” he said. “But I’m going to give it a go tonight.”
Love said he’s “very stiff, very sore” from his whiplashed neck down through his back and into his hip, on which he landed after getting fouled hard by Lakers center Robert Sacre while going to the basket late in Tuesday’s victory.
“Our training staff does a good job, so they’ll get me ready to play by tonight,” Love said. “I’m not going to talk about it too much, just keep my mindset that I’m going to play and play well.”
Love said he did hit his head on the floor Tuesday, but said he had no concussion symptoms.
“It snapped back pretty good,” he said. “I watched the replay once and that’s all I could watch it. It was a scary moment for me.”
He received treatment before Wednesday’s game at Oklahoma City right up until the team’s pre-game meeting and decided about 20 minutes before the opening tip that he was too sore to play.
Asked if there’s a chance he won’t play, he said, “There’s always a chance but I’m pretty set on playing, so I’m good to go.”
Meanwhile, Corey Brewer was not at shootaround today. He is scheduled to arrive in New Orleans early this afternoon after missing Wednesday’s game so he could stay behind in Minnesota and be with his newborn son.
|Vikings (12)||Wolves news (926)|
|Bears (1)||Lions (1)|
|Packers (3)||Super Bowl (2)|
|Injury report (1)||On the road (52)|
|Rookies (28)||Roster moves (3)|
|Vikings draft (41)||Vikings trade talk (2)|
|NBA playoffs (1)||Wolves coaches (70)|
|Wolves draft news (50)||Wolves guards (42)|
|Wolves injury report (321)||Wolves management (135)|
|Wolves players (493)||Wolves postgame (281)|
|Wolves practice news (151)||Wolves pre-game (367)|
|Wolves trade talk (78)||Wolves training camp (49)|
|Adrian Peterson (3)||Sidney Rice (2)|