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NBA money flows freely as Thibodeau begins courting potential Wolves

We all knew the big jump in the salary cap would result in some amazing contracts when the NBA free agency bargaining period started at 11:01 Central Thursday night.

Even so, some of the numbers are hard not to shake your head at.

As my colleague Mike Rand already blogged today, If the Knicks, as reported, are ready to give Joakim Noah a four-year deal worth $72 million, then more power to them. I don’t really understand this deal, for a 31-year old center who has injury issues. His calling card was always defensive intensity that made up for certain offensive shortcomings. I wonder if he has the ability to bring that on a nightly basis any longer.

But, knee-deep in the first day of negotiations, it’s clear that teams are spending wildly. Bradley Beal is a talented young player, but he’s been injury-prone, appearing in just 55 games last year. And yet Washington moved quickly to keep him by offering a reported 5-year, $130 million deal.

Meanwhile, it looks like Chandler Parsons will get max money from Portland, Nicolas Batum got $120 million to stay in Charlotte and the Lakers, for some reason, agreed to terms with  bench-warming Cleveland center Timofey Mozgov on a 4-year, $64 million deal.


But that, folks, is the new normal.

Meanwhile, with the Wolves, president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau is supposed to talk with Luol Deng today. We should know by tonight how that went. Also, it appears the Wolves have at least contacted Atlanta G/F Kent Bazemore, Lakers F Brandon Bass, former Gophers star Kris Humphries, Chicago guard E’Twaun Moore and Brooklyn PF Willie Reed.

New Timberwolves, Lynx minority owners formally announced

The Timberwolves and Lynx officially announced two new minority team owners Wednesday morning.

Lizhang (John) Jiang, founder and chairman of Shanghai Double-Edged Sports Company in China and Meyer Orbach, chairman of the Orbach Group in New York City.

Jiang, who becomes the first Chinese citizen to have an ownership stake in the NBA, has acquired a 5 percent stake in the team.  Orbach has acquired a 9.5 percent share from Glen Taylor, who will retain his majority stake in the team.

“I am extremely excited to welcome both John and Meyer to the Timberwolves and Lynx family,’’ Taylor said in a statement released by the teams. “These gentlemen are not only elite businessmen, but also are extremely high quality people who our franchises are proud to be associated with moving forward.’’

One of the unique benefits of having Jiang as a minority owner is the potential for growing the teams’ brands in China, something Taylor also addressed.

“John has shared his passion to grow the popularity of the Timberwolves and Lynx in China, which speaks to the global interest in not only our brand, but the game of basketball as a whole,’’ he said.

Taylor said Orbach attended the draft lottery and the NBA draft in his new capacity. ‘’It is infectious to see his enthusiasm and passion for our team in the short time since he has become a part of our family,’’ Taylor said.

Said Jiang: “As a passionate sports fan, I’m excited to become a part of the Timberwolves and Lynx organization and honored to be the first Chinese citizen to have ownership in the NBA. My goal is to bring China and this great league closer, and build the Timberwolves and Lynx fan base in our country.’’