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Sam Mitchell: Starting job is Zach LaVine's to lose

Sam Mitchell told his former SiriusXM NBA Radio pals today that he "absolutely" plans to start Zach LaVine over vet Kevin Martin at shooting guard.

He also told reporters that Ricky Rubio will not play in tomorrow night's preseason opener against Oklahoma City at Target Center.

The radio network had former NBA star Eddie Johnson and Mitchell's former broadcast mate Justin Termine in town and at practice for interviews with Kevin Garnett, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio and Zach LaVine, among others, that will air Wednesday from 6 to 8 pm.

Here's the audio.

Mitchell has said these last few weeks that his job is to develop talent, which certainly suggested he might start LaVine at shooting guard.

But Mitchell told SiriusXM NBA Radio that he told LaVine that decision is written in pencil, not pen, and that the job is his to lose or give away.

Mitchell told Martin of the decision before the Wolves began camp practices last week. We'll see what that means for his future here. He's in the same position as Corey Brewer was last year -- able to opt out of the final year of his contract after this season -- and Brewer was traded in December.

Until today, Mitchell had only said opening night is a long way off when asked about who'll start where, although he made it pretty clear he's committed to the team's youth.

Rubio only did some work on the side at today's practice. That means he hasn't participated much in the last three practices and was held out of Monday night's scrimmage as well because of a quad strain the team's training staff considers minor.

Mitchell said it doesn't make sense to push it this early in the season, which means he will start rookie Tyus Jones at Rubio's point-guard spot against OKC.

The Wolves will start two rookies (Towns and Jones), two second-year players (LaVine and WIggins) and a 39 year old (Garnett) tomorrow night.

Everybody else other than Rubio and Nikola Pekovic is expected to be available to play.

A couple other things:

* Third-year swingman Shabazz Muhammad walked out after practice today with agent Rob Pelinka, who also reps Jones. Muhammad apparently switched agents over the summer, from Bill Duffy (who has Wiggins and LaVine among many, many others) to Pelinka.

* Mitchell, Rubio, Towns and Muhammad are among those Wolves attending tonight's Lynx WNBA Finals game.

And on Day 5 of training camp, Wolves now will eat and rest

The Wolves not long ago finished their fourth consecutive 3.5-hour camp workout at their new training facility and they'll take Saturday off so they can bus to Mankato for their annual lasagna dinner at owner Glen Taylor's house.

Don't expect Shabazz Muhammad to chow down. He beefed up to 260-plus pounds last summer after he didn't play the season's final six weeks, but on Friday said he's down to a svelte 217 pounds after working out these last two months with the unorthodox, San Francisco-based trainer he calls "Crazy Frank."

"Maybe just a little," he said when asked about the lasagna. "But I'll have a big salad."

Muhammad declared him fit and his feet as fast as can be after Friday's Workout No. 4, an afternoon when Sam Mitchell held Ricky Rubio and Kevin Garnett out of the session-ending scrimmage just to give them a breather after four long days.

"It's a long season," Mitchell said.

A couple other things:

* Former Wolves coach Rick Adelman watched practice for the second consecutive day. He was affable and chatty in a conversation afterward and seemed happy and relaxed living the retired life in Portland, where he reports his wife Mary Kay is doing well, too. He'll return home Saturday. He was in town visiting his son/Wolves assistant coach David and his new grandbabby.

* Gorgui Dieng talked briefly after practice about a brewing sex scandal at the University of Louisville, where he played college ball. A forthcoming book alleges a UL staffer paid an escort service to provide sex for recruits during the tmie Dieng played there. There's a couple quotes in the notes section of my story about Kevin Martin/Zach LaVine at shooting guard that will hit the web soon but basically he said he knows the staffer accused and considered him a good guy but said he is "unaware" of any such things ever happening at his alma mater.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

< >
  • Oklahoma City at Timberwolves (preseason)

    7pm on 830-AM

  • Wild at Colorado

    8pm on NBCSN, 100.3-FM

  • Lynx at Indiana

    7pm on ESPN2, 106.1-FM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey


  • Gophers football at Purdue

    2:30pm on ESPN, 100.3-FM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey


  • Timberwolves vs. Chicago (preseason)

    6pm on 830-AM

  • St. Louis at Wild

    7pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Lynx at Indiana

    7:30pm on ESPN, 106.1-FM

  • Timberwolves at Toronto (preseason)

    6:30pm on 830-AM

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