Juwan Howard: A reluctant -- but respectful -- Wolf

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 28, 2007 - 9:13 PM

Juwan Howard would like to be traded. But if the Wolves can't make a deal, the veteran will be a mentor to his young teammates.

New Timberwolves forward Al Jefferson on Friday fondly remembered watching present teammate Juwan Howard play for the University of Michigan when Jefferson was just a "little boy."

That age disparity on a remade franchise that now features eight players 25 years old or younger as well as the 34-year-old, 13-year NBA veteran left Howard a reluctant Timberwolf when players reported for Friday's media day and today's first training-camp practice.

Nearly a teammate of Kevin Garnett's four years ago, Howard finally become one in June -- for about six weeks -- after a trade with Houston. A mammoth swap that sent Garnett to Boston for five players and two draft picks in late July left Howard "sad" and "disappointed" and led him to ask the Timberwolves for a trade to a select handful of teams where he could possibly, finally win an NBA title.

On Friday, Howard wore a Wolves uniform for the first time and respectfully declared his intentions the same.

"I'm like Kevin," Howard said. "He wanted to win a title before he is done playing, and I feel the same way. But now to come to a young team that's building for the future."

The way Howard calculates it, the Timberwolves are two to four years away from being a playoff factor.

"I'm just being honest here," he said. "Do I have that left in my career. Four years? No, I don't think so. I would love an opportunity to play for a contender. I know if I were 27 or 30 years old, this situation wouldn't be bad at all because this is a young, talented group of players that has a chance to be special. And I mean that."

Howard said he took his request privately to Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale and owner Glen Taylor and did not voice it publicly. McHale concluded he couldn't strike a fair deal with the short list of teams Howard provided, a decision that made its way to the media.

"Now I know at times that sounds selfish when you hear it from athletes," said Howard, who has played for six other teams in his NBA career and never has approached an NBA championship. "I'm not trying to be selfish at all. I'm not trying to create a distraction to this team. I respected this franchise and I respected my teammates. That's why I tried to do things behind the scenes.

"I've always told the organization that it's a compliment they're paying me, saying they want me to be here to teach the young guys how to be a pro. Kevin McHale and Glen Taylor, they understood what I asked, the reason why. I'm here today as a Minnesota Timberwolf. If I continue to play throughout the season as a Minnesota Timberwolf, I will respect that decision by Mr. Taylor and Kevin McHale."

McHale said he is willing to fulfill Howard's request, if he can strike the right trade. He said Howard's short list of teams complicates the situation.

"He doesn't really want to go to just any team," McHale said. "I had a long talk with Juwan and I told him, 'I understand where you're coming from.' Your career is a finite thing. And when it's over, you can't go back and re-do it. ... But it's got to be a deal that fits what we're trying to accomplish. If that handful of teams can come up with what we need, we'll try to get something done."

For now, McHale said he expects Howard to play well and play hard for his new team, which could use both his low-post game and his veteran presence.

"Juwan is a real consummate professional," McHale said. "Very intelligent. Very articulate. A very good guy."

Howard nearly signed as a free agent with the Timberwolves in 2003 -- "very close," he said -- but chose Orlando after he couldn't reach Garnett to learn whether the soon-to-be MVP planned to stay in Minnesota.

"I wanted to be sure he was going to re-sign," said Howard, a 6-9 power forward. "I wanted to play with him."

The Magic traded Howard to Houston a year later. After three seasons there, Howard was traded by the Rockets to the Wolves in June for guard Mike James. At the time, Howard considered it the fulfillment of a long-standing wish. Instead, the trade places him in a similar situation to nearly two seasons spent in Denver more than five years ago, when the Nuggets' roster included seven rookies.

"I've played this role before," said Howard, who played in the NCAA title game his first two collegiate seasons with Michigan's "Fab Five" but never won a championship there. "Who's going to be able to take that pressure. Who's going to be able to stand up after you've lost by 20 points the night before and you're on a three-game losing streak? Are you still going to come out and compete and stay positive and not point the finger, thinking it's that guy's fault or this guy's fault? It's not an easy process. It's a challenging process."

  • TIMBERWOLVES media day

    Season opener: vs. Denver • 7 p.m. Nov. 2 • Target Center • Ch. 45, 106.1-FM

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: D. Otero 0
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 6 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: E. Butler 5
Boston - LP: R. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 7
Milwaukee 1 Top 9th Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: J. Cosart 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 2
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: C. Archer 3
Cleveland 7 Top 7th Inning
Minnesota 2
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 10
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: J. Motte 8
San Francisco 0 Bottom 6th Inning
San Diego 3
Texas 0 Bottom 5th Inning
LA Angels 3
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(21) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
(18) Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Appalachian St 14 4th Qtr 0:12
Southern Miss 21
Miss State 34 4th Qtr 2:23
(8) LSU 16
Utah State 14 4th Qtr 0:30
Arkansas State 14
Ball State 3 2nd Qtr 15:00
Toledo 20
(14) So Carolina 27 4th Qtr 10:58
Vanderbilt 24
(4) Oklahoma 31 3rd Qtr 1:04
West Virginia 27
Ga Southern 28 4th Qtr 3:21
South Alabama 6
UNLV 7 3rd Qtr 7:13
Houston 30
Miami-Florida 21 3rd Qtr 2:00
(24) Nebraska 31
New Mexico 24 3rd Qtr 4:20
New Mexico St 21
(22) Clemson 10 3rd Qtr 8:52
(1) Florida State 10
California 14 1st Qtr 9:47
Arizona 0
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 0 FINAL
Portland 3
Houston 0 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
New England 0 FINAL
Columbus 1
San Jose 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
Seattle 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
D.C. 3 2nd Half 5:00
Chicago 3
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close