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.
Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders did meet with Memphis coach Dave Joerger today in an undisclosed location, according to a source. Next step is for Joerger with meet with owner Glen Taylor sometime this weekend.
From there, you've got to except the Wolves will proceed toward finalizing a contract with Joerger, provided the Wolves and Grizzlies can come to agreement on compensation considering that Joerger is still under contract in Memphis.
The question is whether the Wolves are willing to surrender a draft pick and flip-flop picks to a team that has backed themselves into a corner with a coach they don't want back but who still has two years left on his contract
The Wolves own three second-round picks in next month's draft.
Or as long as Joerger doesn't make a bad impression with Taylor. But given their shared small-town Minnesota roots, you got to believe the two men will hit it off.
In other news:
Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng today was named to the NBA's All-Rookie second team.
In balloting done by 125 sportswriters and broadcasters, Dieng received 21 first-team votes and 54 second-team voties. That put him firmly in the middle of a second team that included Boston's Kelly Olynyk, Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo, Charlotte's Cody Zeller and Oklahoma CIty's Steven Adams.
Dieng got there with a late-season push made possible because of both increased playing time provided by Nikola Pekovic's hurting ankle and the fact he no longer picked up two quick fouls anymore whenever he got on the floor.
That finishing flourish wasn't quite enough to make a first team comprised of Philadelphia's Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando's Victor Oladipo, Utah's Trey Burke, Brooklyn's Mason Plumlee and New York's Tim Hardaway Jr.
Other Wolves who were named All Rookie, second team: Kevin Garnett, Kevin Love, Felton Spencer, Craig Smith, Jonny Flynn, Wes Johnson and Derrick Williams.
Rick Adelman met with the media before tonight's regular-season finale against Utah at Target Center and it sure didn't sound like he's ready to announce his retirement either before or after the game.
That might be an entirely different matter.
Adelman said he will meet soon with Flip Saunders and Glen Taylor to discuss the future. Both sides have two weeks now to opt out of Adelman's fourth and final contract year next season, but Adelman suggested it won't take nearly that long.
"Then it will be determined," he said.
Still, he wouldn't say before the game that this is it for him, for this reason:
"As I said before, I want these guys to finish the season out and I've asked them to stay with it," he said. "Don't start looking ahead, thinking about what's going to happen tomorrow. Get this win tonight. That's how I tried to approach it. If I did it any other way, I wouldn't be doing what asked them to do."
For now, he reiterated that it's important to focus on the one game remaining and getting the Wolves to .500 -- at 41-41 if they win -- for the first time since 2005.
"It would mean something for sure," Adelman said. "It's not what we wanted to do but certainly finishing .500 is improvement over last year, I guess improvement over the last 10 years here."
An interesting tidbit: Coaching superagent Warren LeGarie is in the house tonight. He represents George Karl and many other coaches and said he's here to see and lend support to Alexey Shved's European agent, who's also in town. He gave the distinct impression that Karl isn't interested in a rebuilding job like this one. We'll see...
The Wolves are getting their starting Kevins -- Love and Martin, of course -- back in the lineup for tonight's game at Sacramento.
Love is expected to start after he missed Friday's 112-110 victory over Houston because of a hypextended elbow injured two nights earlier against Chicago.
Martin is back after five games away because of what the team called a sore foot but which he said before tonight's game probably is some of the dreaded plantar fasciitis as well.
Meanwhile, Rudy Gay is out for the Kings and former Wolves forward Derrick Williams will start.
Just in time for Williams, who has a couple of his most active games against the Wolves this season.
In fact, since he scored 26 points against them at Target Center on March 16, Williams has scored 48 points in 12 games played -- exactly 4 points a game -- and didn't have more than eight points in any of those.
He played just five minutes -- none in the second half against a small opposing lineup -- and scored two points in Saturday's loss to the Clippers in L.A.
Kings guard Isaiah Thomas is available to play after he missed the last 10 games because of a quad contusion.
Wolves forward Dante Cunningham has joined the team in Orlando for tonight's game against the Magic.
Coach Rick Adelman said Cunningham will play and he not only played, he started when Kevin Love was a late scratch because of back spasms following last night's double-overtime victory at Miami.
According to the NBA's labor agreement with its players, Cunningham has a right to go back to work while the legal process plays out in his felony domestic assault charge submitted Friday in Hennepin County Court.
Cunningham declined comment through a team spokesman and almost certainly will not say anything about it while the process progresses.
The NBA doesn't discipline players for their legal matters until a player pleads guilty or is found guilty.
Other news tonight:
* Nikola Pekovic again won't play tonight and with the clock ticking on the season's end, it's getting more and more likely with each passing game that he doesn't play again this season. If he's still going to have to play through pain, what's the point?
* Chase Budinger will start in Kevin Martin's place at shooting guard.
Martin will miss his second consecutive game because of what he calls a shooting pain in his heel that started bothering him after Wednesday's Memphis game.
Budinger is the better fit against Magic guard Arron Afflalo rather than J.J. Barea, who started last night in Miami.
* Shabazz Muhammad won't play tonight because of what he called a sprained knee injured Friday in Miami when Chris Andersen fell into his leg.
Muhammad said he's hopeful the injury heals in a matter of days, but there's not many days left.
Busy news morning on this Thursday for the Wolves...
Forward Dante Cunningham was arrested shortly after 6 a.m. by police in Medina on suspicion of domestic assault. He is not traveling with team on its afternoon flight to Miami today.
Our news story is here.
The team waived little-used veteran point guard A.J. Price this morning, a decision that was made, I'm told, last night before the Cunningham arrest but which clears the way to sign a player to Price's now vacant roster spot for the season's remaining eight games.
It's likely, depending how the Cunningham situation plays out, that player will be a power forward or combo forward type.
Just as FYI: Cunningham's contract -- a $2.2 million salary -- expires after this season and he will be an unrestricted free agent in July. His return next season was a question before Thursday morning's arrest.
Price underwent an appendectomy March 9 and recently was cleared to play again but hadn't made it off the inactive list on game nights.
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