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.
You didn't really expect anything else, did you?
The Wolves came out of Tuesday night's draft lottery right where they were slotted going into the evening -- with the ninth overall pick -- and new boss Flip Saunders said he was perfect satisfied, as long as the team didn't drop a spot to 10th (or worse).
Saunders doesn't agree with the notion that this is a lousy draft. But it has been perceived as that, he says, because it lacks top-end superstar power yet has the kind of depth in which a team picking 12th might get as good a player as one picked sixth.
So he says he's perfectly fine picking ninth.
The Wolves' most glaring need is shooting guard, so they'll take a shooting guard, right?
Not so fast.
Oh, the Wolves will have their options, even after the top shooting guards -- Kansas' Ben McLemore and Indiana's Victor Oladipo -- go top 5 probably.
They could choose Lehigh's C.J. McCollum, who's a great shooter but is point-guard sized at 6-3, or Georgia's Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who would fill Wolves need for both shooters and real 2-guard size.
But don't be surprised if the Wolves end up going for a shotblocker -- Maryland center Alex Len if he drops that far, or maybe 7-2 French center Rudy Gobert -- for a team that lacks a rim defender.
The Wolves could go that route if they think they can add a veteran shooting guard through a trade (Boston's Courtney Lee perhaps?) or free agency (J.J. Redick, O.J. Mayo and Kyle Korver all will be on the market, but can the Wolves afford any of the three).
Saunders mentions backup center and rim protector as the obvious need for a shooting guard who's bigger than 6-1.
Current backup center Greg Stiemsma's contract isn't guaranteed for next year -- I believe the Wolves have until mid July to make it so -- and Saunders is keeping all options open.
"No decisions have been made," he said.
Saunders said teams always look to add size, particularly if you want to compete in the West where the Spurs have Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter, Memphis has Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph and the Clippers have Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
"There will be movement on the roster," Saunders said. "If that happens, it could open up a spot. We really don't have a big who protects the rim."
Saunders then mentioned Kevin Love and NIkola Pekovic, neither of whom is a natural shot blocker.
Is Stiemsma as much of a shot blocker as the Wolves have.
"He's a little bit," Saunder said. "We'll evaluate everything. When you win 31 games, you pretty much put everything on the table. We like Greg a lot, but you have to look and see what's available. Right now, he's No. 2 on the depth chart. That doesn't mean he's out. Other things can happen, but if we can find somebody somebody at any position....power forward, shooting guard, the only position we really have log-jammed is point guard."
Robbie Hummel, the Timberwolves' only pick in the NBA draft in June, said he will play in Europe next year.
Hummel told the Lafayette (Ind.) Journal and Courier he will play in Spain for El Obradoiro.
He was taken 58th overall in the draft after a storied career at Purdue that was marred by ACL surgeries in his right knee two times in one year. Hummel said he didn't feel 100 percent last season, his senior year with the Boilermakers.
Hummel told the newspaper that he has the Timberwolves' blessing to play abroad.
He is already listed on El Obradoiro's roster.
According to Mark Bartelstein, Hummel's agent, the decision was made "in conjunction" with the Wolves and was made with playing time in mind. Hummel was going to have a difficult time getting minutes this season, and extended playing time is crucial for the 6-8 forward right now. While Hummel wasn't 100 percent as a senior at Purdue, he is back to 100 percent now, Bartelstein said. But he needs minutes to get his complete game back.
"It's always the second year after a torn ACL that you get your game back at a high level," Bartelstein said. "Now he's entering that phase, getting back to being an elite-level player again."
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.
I'll take all your questions on tonight's NBA draft, the free-agency period that starts Sunday and all other things Timberwolves related at noon today, just six short shorts before New Orleans takes Kentucky's Anthony Davis first overall.
Just follow the link at startribune.com.
Join me, won't you?
Brandon Roy wore a Timberwolves cap briefly on draft night 2006.
Now the team that drafted him and quickly traded him in a deal that sent Roy to Portland for Randy Foye and a big chunk of cash appears poised to get in the hunt for the former All Star who essentially retired last December because of bad knees.
The Wolves were interested in making a bid on Roy last December after the lockout ended and it appeared he was amnesty candidate who might keep playing on those bad knees.
The Blazers did use their amnesty clause to wipe the remaining $63 million off his contract, but Roy retired instead.
He recently used a friend's Twitter account to say he is plotting a comeback and expects to play this coming season.
Yahoo!Sports Monday night reported Chicago, Dallas, Indiana, the Wolves and Golden State are seriously pursuing Roy and 1500espn.com here in the Twin Cities reported the Wolves are prepared to offer Roy a two-year deal in a move being pushed by assistant coach Bill Bayno, a former Blazers assistant, and coach Rick Adelman.
Roy is an unrestricted free agent who can sign with any team any time now and does not have to wait until the NBA's free-agent moratorium that begins July 1 and end July 11.
Yahoo reported that Roy's bad knees -- he retired basically because he had no cartilage left in either knee -- have been helped recently by the platelet plasma therapy producure that Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady and baseball's Alex Rodriguez sought out.
Yahoo also reported the Pacers might have an edge because former Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard is now in Indiana's front office and Roy trusts him from their days together in Portland.
Golden State's GM Bob Myers used to be Roy's agent.
The Wolves certainly need a shooting guard and Roy would be worth the risk, depending on the price, of course.
The Wolves will hold their final draft workout on Tuesday, when Syracuse center Fab Melo is one of six players due into Target Center.
On Monday, Memphis' Will Barton was one of four players who worked out.
Melo, Barton and Royce White are the only candidates for the Wolves' 18th pick whom the team worked out at Target Center.
That might suggest how much they intend to trade the pick.
Or it simply could be a symptom of drafting 18th -- and having trouble getting players to agee to come for workouts who believe they're going higher than 18th -- this year rather than second, third or fourth as the team has done in recent years.
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