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.
The Wolves have reached agreement with the Kings to trade former No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams to Sacramento for defensive-minded swingman Luc Mbah a Moute, a league source confirms.
The deal could be finalized as soon as Tuesday morning, pending physicals with both players.
Mbah a Moute, a former second-round pick, will be reunited with former UCLA teammate Kevin Love.
The trade sends away a once highly regarded draft choice who clearly didn't fit with coach Rick Adelman.
WIlliams lost weight so he could better play small forward, but saw the backup role there to Corey Brewer go to Robbie Hummel and Williams will play little with Kevin Love and Dante Cunningham at his natural power forward spot.
ESPN's Marc Stein first reported the teams were in advanced discussions.
This tough November schedule the Timberwolves find themselves in gets even tougher starting tonight.
In the next six games, the Wolves are playing opponents that are winning at a 75-percent clip.
That includes the 12-1 Pacers tonight as well as 12-1 San Antonio, 10-3 Miami, 9-3 Oklahoma City and 9-5 Dallas.
The cupcake of the bunch is 6-6 Denver at home on Wednesday,
"I know, we're very aware of that," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said, "and most of the team are on the road. That's just the way the schedule breaks and of course one of the home games is not at home. Every is going the other direction. It's a challenge and opportunity both."
The home game that's not a home game to which he refers is the Dec. 4 game against the Spurs in Mexico City.
A couple other things:
* Expect another physical -- chippy, if you will -- game between these teams. The last couple years have produced such games more often than not.
"I think there have been a few chippy games," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "They play physical. We play physical. So anytime you have two teams that play that style of play, it's going to be a little edge, a little chippy. We welcome that."
* Former Strib columnist Dan Barreiro went on his KFAN radio show this afternoon and said Derrick Williams is as good as gone. He didn't have any more specifics, but he does have the Batphone line directly into Flip Saunders' office and home.
It's no secret Adelman doesn't see a place for him on this team and Saunders has been searching for a deal.
I was told this afternoon nothing is imminent.
One team that is looking to make a deal and wants to get younger is Sacramento, which would offer a veteran such as swingman defender Luc Mbah a Moute or Adelman favorite Chuck Hayes. Maybe the deal would even include reserve shooter Jimmer Frederette.
I haven't heard the Kings or any names specifically, it's just an educated guess on who wants to deal now and what's out there that Williams might bring in return.
Well, the Wolves might gotten a break on the second half of these back-to-back games while tonight's opponent has been waiting at home in Houston since Wednesday:
Rockets star James Harden won't play tonight because of a sore foot.
Point guard Jeremy Lin will start in his place beside starting point guard Pat Beverley.
The Wolves clobbered Brooklyn last night and rested their starters the entire fourth quarter before making the two-plus hour flight south after the game to play their fourth game in five nights once again.
"Well, he's their best player," said Wolves guard Kevin Martin, who returns to the Toyota Center arena where he played nearly four seasons with Rick Adelman as his coach. "Anytime your best player sits out, other guys step up. When he's out, they play pretty good. THere's more shots to go 'round for everyone else."
By the way, Wolves rookie Shabazz Muhammad is available after missing the last five games because of a sprained ankle. That doesn't, of course, mean he'll play.
What an interesting game that was.
I don’t know how many of you remember the game played here between Boston and the Wolves in late March of 2012. Kevin Love had had a monster March. There was talk about whether he might eventually be the best forward named Kevin to play here. And then Garnett and the Celtics came to down, Garnett clearly out-played Love, and then did a little trash talking on the way out of town.
Two seasons later, Love got at least a measure of revenge. This time Garnett, now with a Brooklyn team that, already old, is riddled with injuries, got out-played by Love. And it was Garnett who lost his cool, throwing a forearm at Love early in the third quarter, got called for a flagrant foul and a technical foul, then watched the Wolves use that to kick-start a 16-0 run that put the game away.
Here are some thoughts on the game:
--The Nets’ plan tonight was to not let Love get the ball. They never left him, not on pick and rolls, never. As a result the Wolves played off Love much of the night, and all five starters scored in double figures. Love, who had a career-high 11 first-quarter rebounds, scored his first nine points on second-chance opportunities and finished with 17 points and 16 rebounds.
--Ricky Rubio got into early foul trouble, but rallied to score 12 points with eight assists.
--It was a fun night for the Wolves bench, which played the entire fourth quarter. It scored 35 points. In all, 11 players played and scored. Perhaps all that rest the starters got – Love (31:21) was the only player to play more than 30 minutes – will help them tomorrow in Houston.
--The Wolves played very good defense tonight, holding the Nets to 39.7 percent shooting and forcing 20 turnovers, which resulted in 22 points.
That’s about it for now. Jerry will pick up the team tomorrow in Houston. Have a great weekend.
--Greetings from Target Center, where the Wolves are about to try to end a two-game losing streak against a banged-up Nets team missing three starters and a top reserve.
--First, here is a statement from the Wolves organization on the passing of Vern Mikkelsen:
“The Minnesota Timberwolves organization is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Minneapolis Laker and NBA Hall of Famer Vern Mikkelsen. During his playing days at Hamline University and the Lakers, Vern was a dominant force on the court and one of the game’s great power forwards. Vern was a great friend to our organization and we offer our condolences to his family.’’
--I asked Wolves coach Rick Adelman – who was a 12 or 13 when Mikkelsen finished playing, if he was a fan of the Lakers growing up. Not until they moved to Los Angeles, he said.
--Meanwhile, it appears we made be about to watch Kevin Garnett’s final game on the Target Center floor.
“He’s been a great player,” Adelman said. “He plays with such dedication, and he works so hard. That’s why they’re a dangerous team. They can put a game together. He’s been terrific for so many years. What can you say about him? All Star all the time, MVP of the All Star game when I coached him. I think he really energizes his teammates.”
--This is yet another pretty big game for the locals, playing on the front end of their second back-to-back this week. The team will board a plane to Houston after tonight’s game.
“You can’t slide backwards, the schedule doesn’t get any easier tomorrow. This is a big game for us.’’
And it’s winnable. The Nets are without Jason Terry, Brook Lopez, Andrei Kirilenko and Deron Williams. The Wolves need to come out and put this one away early.
--One final thought: I believe Kevin Love, who is coming off a tough shooting day Wednesday, is primed for a big one tonight.
That’s about it. I’ll get back to you after the game.
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