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Omri Casspi set to make Wolves debut tonight vs. San Antonio

Not having played in an NBA game in nearly a month and still wearing a small brace on his mending right thumb, Omri Casspi said he was excited to be wearing a Wolves jersey, his third in a month’s time.

“I made a joke yesterday,’’ said Casspi, 28, who was signed by the Wolves Monday for the rest of the season in the wake of a season-ending injury to Nemanja Bjelica. “Within a month I had three different jerseys on. From Feb. 20 to March 20, I was in Sacramento still, then going to New Orleans, and now here. But it’s just playing basketball. It’s fun and I’m going to enjoy this ride.’’

The veteran stretch-four figures to play some in the Wolves’ game with San Antonio at Target Center – it’s an 8:30 start, remember. And he figures to fill much the same role as Bjelica did off the bench.

“We need shooting,’’ Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We knew that.’’

Thibodeau pointed to the way Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins are being defended. Even Ricky Rubio – whose scoring  and shooting has improved – is starting to see some double teams off pick and rolls, according to Thibodeau.


“So shooting is critical,’’ he said. “We think (Casspi)  can open up the floor. He’s shown throughout his career he’s been a really good shooter. We’ve always liked him. So we’ll get a look at him.’’

And Casspi will get a look at the Wolves. Casspi knew he could get minutes right off the bat by signing here. But another draw was the Wolves willingness to sign him to a deal that included no obligation guarantees for next season. So Casspi will have flexibility come this summer.

But, over the rest of the season, Casspi will give the Wolves a reliable shooter – he’s a career 36.9-percent three-point shooter – and some veteran experience.

The biggest draw, according to Casspi?

“Being able to play under coach Thibs, and kind of being in a situation to help the team win and compete for the playoffs – though it will be tough, to be realistic,’’ he said. “I thought my talk with coach was great. I felt like it was the right situation for me.’’

He said he has other offers. And while joining a team clearly headed for a playoff run was tempting, he wasn’t sure he’d be able to crack the rotation on such a team with such little time left in the regular season.

Thibodeau and some of the Wolves players walked through some plays at the team’s practice facility Monday. There was more of that at today’s shootaround. Thibodeau wouldn’t say how much he thought Casspi could play.

Casspi admitted there would be rust, but said he was ready. “Tonight is a big game, so I’m going to do what I do,’’ he said. “I come off the bench to bring energy and get rebounds and get out and run and shoot the open shots. ‘’

Casspi will a small brace on his thumb, but he said it wouldn’t affect his shot. “I want to share some of my experience and help this team win basketball games. Learn how to play with them, and enjoy this ride and see where it goes from there.’’

Here are some other notes from this morning:

--Bjelica is scheduled to have surgery on a fractured navicular bone in his left foot in New York today. Bjelica sustained the injury in the second quarter of the March 15 game Boston.

--There is a reason why Casspi wears the No. 18. The number 18 has spiritual meaning in Judaism.

NBA announces Wolves' 'Global Games' in China in October

The NBA officially announced Monday that the Timberwolves will play Golden State in preseason games in Shenzhen on Oct. 5 and Shanghai on Oct. 8 as part of its Global Games China 2017 series.

It will be the first time the Wolves have played in Asia since they opened the regular season against Sacramento in Tokyo in 1999.

There has been discussion the Wolves might hold training camp on the West Coast -- possibly Seattle -- before flying across the Pacific, but nothing has been determined. The Wolves likely will play a game or two stateside in a season when training camps will start a week earlier in September this time around.

The season is being lengthened to ease the number of back-to-back games and 4-in-5 nights situations.

Young Wolves stars Karl-Anthong Towns, Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio already have visited China at least once each on promotional tours associated with their sponsor shoe companies.

The two preseason games against the 2015 NBA champs is the most visible examples in the Wolves' aim to make themselves something of China's Team, now that Shanghai sports-marketing exec Lizhang "John" Jiang is the first Chinese minority owner in major North American sports.

He bought five percent of the team from Glen Taylor last year.

Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau visited China regularly to work out Yao Ming when he was a Houston assistant coach and he fully endorses the concept of such overseas trips.

"Those experiences for your team are invaluable," he said. "It's great team-building, but it's also learning about different cultures. For young guys particularly, it's a great experience."

TV Listings

Local Schedule

< >
  • Baltimore at Twins (spring training)

    6:05 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at L.A. Lakers

    9:30 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Vancouver at Wild

    1 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Minnesota United FC at New England

    1 pm on Ch. 29, 1500-AM

  • Gophers men's hockey vs. Notre Dame

    2:30 pm on ESPNU, 1500-AM

  • Twins at Baltimore (spring training)

    5:05 pm on 96.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Portland

    9 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Wild at Detroit

    11:30 am on Ch. 11, 100.3-FM

  • Boston at Twins (spring training)

    12:05 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Twins at Pittsburgh (spring training)

    5:05 pm on 96.3-FM

  • Tampa Bay at Twins (spring training)

    12:05 pm on FSN

  • Timberwolves at Indiana

    6 pm on FSN PLUS, 830-AM

  • Washington at Wild

    7 pm on NHLN, 100.3-FM

  • Twins at Boston (spring training)

    12:05 pm on 96.3-FM

  • Twins at Tampa Bay (spring training)

    12:05 pm

  • L.A. Lakers at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Ottawa at Wild

    7 pm on FSN PLUS, 100.3-FM

  • Rochester at Twins (exhibition)

    11:05 am

Today's Scoreboard

  • Atlanta

    Detroit

     

    - Top 6th

    0

    2

  • Philadelphia

    NY Yankees

     

    - Top 6th

    2

    1

  • Tampa Bay

    Pittsburgh

     

    - Bot 5th

    0

    3

  • St. Louis

    Washington

     

    - Bot 5th

    0

    0

  • Boston

    Toronto

     

    - Bot 6th

    2

    3

  • Houston

    NY Mets

     

    - Bot 5th

    1

    0

  • Cleveland

    Chicago Cubs

    3:05 PM

  • Milwaukee

    Cincinnati

    3:05 PM

  • Arizona

    LA Dodgers

    3:05 PM

  • Chicago White Sox

    Oakland

    3:05 PM

  • San Diego

    Texas

    3:05 PM

  • San Francisco

    Colorado

    3:10 PM

  • Kansas City

    Seattle

    3:10 PM

  • Washington

    Miami

    6:05 PM

  • Baltimore

    Minnesota

    6:05 PM

    FSN

  • Seattle

    LA Angels

    7:10 PM

No NFL games today

  • Cleveland

    Charlotte

    6:00 PM

  • Brooklyn

    Washington

    6:00 PM

  • Detroit

    Orlando

    6:00 PM

  • Denver

    Indiana

    6:00 PM

  • Phoenix

    Boston

    6:30 PM

  • Atlanta

    Milwaukee

    7:00 PM

    NBA

  • Philadelphia

    Chicago

    7:00 PM

    WGN

  • New Orleans

    Houston

    7:00 PM

    FSN

  • Sacramento

    Golden State

    9:30 PM

  • Minnesota

    LA Lakers

    9:30 PM

  • NY Islanders

    Pittsburgh

    6:00 PM

  • Tampa Bay

    Detroit

    6:30 PM

  • San Jose

    Dallas

    7:30 PM

  • Winnipeg

    Anaheim

    9:00 PM

No MLS games today