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 news

Team USA World Cup basketball training camp roster finalized

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: July 14, 2014 - 11:21 AM

USA Basketball announced the final training camp roster for the FIFA World Cup, which will be hosted by Spain beginning in early August.

Kevin Love is, of course on the roster. Here are the others, alphabetical order:

Bradley Beal, G, Washington; DeMarcus Cousins, F, Sacramento; Stephen Curry, G, Golden State; Anthony Davis, F/C, New Orleans; DeMar DeRozan, G/F Toronto; Andre Drummond, F/C, Detroit; Kevin Durant, F, Oklahoma City; Kenneth Faried, F, Denver; Paul George, G/F, Indiana; Blake Griffin, F, Los Angeles Clippers; James Harden, G, Houston; Gordon Hayward, F, Utah; Kyrie Irving, G, Cleveland; Kyle Korver, G, Atlanta; Damian Lillard, G, Portland; Chandler Parsons, F, Dallas Mavericks; Derrick Rose, G, Chicago; Klay Thompson, G/F, Golden State.

Among some notable names missing on this list? Washington guard John Wall and San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard.

LeBron's going home to Cleveland, is Kevin Love far behind him?

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: July 11, 2014 - 12:34 PM

And just like that...LeBron James announces he indeed is going home to Cleveland, four years after he left in a depature that turned so bitter.

Here's the essay in which James explains himself, and why he chose now as the time to do what he always thought he would do, go home.

Of course, there are big Timberwolves implications here, if the Cavs indeed do now make a play to put Kevin Love alongside LeBron and Kyrie Irving.

Read the essay and you'll notice this: LeBron talks about how he wants to mentor and raise Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters right. Glaringly, he never made mention of consecutive No. 1 picks Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett.

The price will be Wiggins -- and other pieces inclulding draft pick(s) and perhaps Bennett -- and right now it's not clear just how eager the Cavaliers will be to do so.

Of course, Love would have to be willing to sign long term to stay in Cleveland. For all the speculation that Love wants to play in Los Angeles or a big market, the only thing he has said publicly is that he wants to win.

Now's the time to back up his word.

You'd think swapping Wiggins for Love in a bigger package would be a no-brainer for the Cavs, but...

It'll be interesting to see if Wiggins plays for the Cavaliers team this afternoon when it starts its Las Vegas Summer League play.

And it'll be interesting to see if:

* The Cavs try to get greedy and try to make a deal with the Wolves without including Wiggins.

* And if Flip Saunders gets greedy and tries to use the Cavs and Wiggins to leverage Chicago -- if they lose out on Carmelo Anthony -- into giving him the deal he has sought from them: Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and the rights to Nikola Mirotic.

You also say that about Golden State, but the Bulls now have more incentive to keep Love away from LeBron and the Cavs.

Stay tuned, it's going to be a wild ride...

LaVine is impressive early

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: July 8, 2014 - 4:56 PM

It is a small sampling size. The Wolves only open the doors to the media for the final few minutes of each practice. So you have to be careful not to over-analyze anything.

But it was still hard not to be impressed with the speed rookie guard Zach LaVine possesses. The Wolves summer team roster met for its first workout Monday evening. It was an intense, fast-paced, run-their-legs-off workout that ended with a scrimmage.

Sitting on the sidelines at the team’s workout facility, it was impossible to miss LaVine’s speed. End to end in a flash, even with the ball in his hands. Afterwards both teammates and coaches were raving about him, including head coach Flip Saunders, who – as president of basketball operations – took LaVine with the 13th overall pick in last month’s draft.

“I thought LaVine was exceptional today,” Saunders said. “He has an unbelievable feel for the game. He has speed, but he also knows how to play. How he finds people, his passing ability. He’s got a great feel for the game.’’

He’s also got a great confidence for it, too.

There were some who thought taking LaVine, a 19-year-old coming off an up-and-down freshman season at UCLA, was something of a reach. LaVine can run like the wind and jump out of the gym. But, critics said, he is raw and will need a lot of work.

Turns out LaVine, unlike many pro athletes, readily admits to reading everything written about him that he can find.  He knows what people are saying. So, when asked what his goals were for the upcoming NBA Summer League in Las Vegas – the Wolves’ entry plays its first game Saturday – this is what he said:

“Whenever I step on the court I want to be the best player,” LaVine said. “I have a lot of high goals for myself. There are still a lot of doubters out there. I read all of the things on Twitter. I keep those in my back pocket. I feel I turned a lot of heads since I came out (of college). I’ll still continue to do that.”

Again, it’s a short sample size, but LaVine played a lot of point guard Monday, and will do so in Vegas, too. After Monday’s workout Saunders said he had no question in his mind that LaVine could play both shooting guard and some at the point.

“The way he handles himself and handles the ball, no question he can play one,” Saunders said. “His understanding of what we want him to do, and how to play, to initiate the offense and be creative, there is no question.”

Of course, there are questions. How will LaVine, not a starter at UCLA, adapt to the NBA pace of play? How will his 185-pound body hold up the physical play? (He already knows he has to bulk up. But, as he said, “But if they can’t touch me, that’s a good thing as well.”)

Still, the confident LaVine is looking at Vegas as the starting point to a rookie season that he feels will be productive.

“I’m a confident person, so I feel I can come in and contribute right off the bat,” he said. “I’m not putting my talents below anybody else’s. I’m a competitor. I’m going to go out and do what I can do. Whoever says I can’t play, I’m going to try to turn their heads.”

The Wolves announced LaVine had signed his rookie deal. According to the 2014-15 NBA rookie salary scale, that suggests LaVine signed a three-year deal worth $5,370,000 with $1,713,200 coming in the first year.

Here are some other summer camp notes:

--LaVine and the rest of the Wolves summer league roster will play a scrimmage Wednesday night at Target Center that is open to the public. It starts at 7 p.m.

--Second-year player Shabazz Muhammad has lost about seven or eight pounds and has about eight more to lose before regular training camp begins this fall, according to Saunders. Muhammad, taken by Saunders in the first round last year, is looking for an increased role this season.

“Last year I thought I played pretty well,” he said. “Some said I could have gotten more minutes. Some said I shouldn’t. It’s all about playing hard and being a good teammate. Flip will take care of everything else.”

Muhammad missed the last few games of last season with a sprained MCL in his right knee. He said he returned to working out 100 percent about  a month ago.

--Saunders said center Gorgui Dieng has put on a lot of muscle as he prepares for his second season. “He’s gained a lot of weight and strength,” Saunders said.

--Veteran forward Chase Budinger, who was limited to just 41 games by injuries last season, is set to join the team today and start working out with the team. Budinger missed the first two months of last season after a second knee procedure, and missed the final few games with an ankle sprain. Budinger, who has seen injuries affect his past two seasons, is looking to get some competitive practicing in to get the confidence back in his health. Saunders said Budinger would travel to Las Vegas with the team. He likely won’t play in any games, but will continue to practice with the team.

Wolves sign first-round pick Zach LaVine

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: July 8, 2014 - 3:43 PM

Zach LaVine, the Wolves' first-round draft pick in last month's NBA draft (the 13th overall pick) has signed his first contract with the team. The team didn't reveal specifics of the deal, but the 2014-15 NBA rookie salary scale suggests LaVine signed a three-year deal worth $5,370,000, with $1,713,200 coming in the first year.

LaVine will make his Wolves debut at the NBA Summer League, which takes place in Las Vegas on the campus of UNLV, Nev., from July 11-21. MInnesota plays its first game against Dallas Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

Fans will be able to get a good look at LaVine Wednesday, when the team will hold a scrimmage open to the public at Target Center starting at 7 p.m. The scrimmage will include the entire summer team roster, including LaVine and second-round draft pick Glenn Robinson III. 

LaVine, Muhammad, Dieng, Shved highlight summer-league roster

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: July 6, 2014 - 12:16 PM

The Wolves' summer-league team reports for four days of workouts starting tomorrow at Target Center before it flies to Las Vegas.

Games there in the Vegas Summer League begin on Saturday.

Here's the roster, highlighting from this summer's draft picks Zach LaVine and Glenn Robinson III and last summer's picks Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng.

Third-year guard Alexey Shved also will play, as will former Utah center Kyrylo Fesenko.

Sounds like Wolves assistants Sidney Lowe, Sam Mitchell, Ryan Saunders and David Adelman all might take turns coaching the team, in some combination or other.

Here's the roster:

No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate Most Recently NBA Exp.
30 LaRon Dendy F 6-9 230 12/18/88 Ferro-ZNTU (Ukraine) R
24 Mamadi Diane F 6-5 205 11/09/86 Boulogne (France) R
5 Gorgui Dieng F/C 6-11 245 01/18/90 Minnesota Timberwolves 1
44 Kyrylo Fesenko C 7-1 280 12/24/86 Canton Charge (NBDL) 5
3 Brady Heslip G 6-2 180 06/19/90 Baylor R
31 Dennis Horner F 6-9 230 02/05/88 Bakersfield Jam (NBDL) 1
4 D.J. Kennedy G 6-6 215 11/05/89 Hapoel Holon (Israel) 1
8 Zach LaVine G 6-5 180 03/10/95 UCLA R
25 Jordan Morgan C 6-8 250 09/15/91 Michigan R
15 Shabazz Muhammad G/F 6-6 222 11/13/92 UCLA 1
22 Glenn Robinson III F 6-6 220 01/08/94 Michigan R
1 Alexey Shved G 6-6 182 12/16/88 Minnesota Timberwolves 2
7 Markel Starks G 6-2 175 02/21/91 Georgetown R

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT