With so much changed, team heads to Turkey for more unfamiliarity

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 29, 2007 - 9:45 PM

TOM WALLACE ¥ twallace@startribune.comASSIGN#113200 SLUG: 1wolf.#1133200Chris Richards passes the ball during drills at the Wolves first preseason practice at the Target Center Saturday.

Photo: Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Timberwolves flew by chartered aircraft Saturday afternoon to Istanbul, Turkey, with a copy of the 1978 film "Midnight Express" in hand and newly acquired Greg Buckner, newly signed Chris Richard and ailing Ricky Davis on board.

The team traded starting small forward Trenton Hassell to Dallas on Friday night for Buckner in a swap of veteran defensive specialists intended to give the remade Wolves some salary-cap flexibility and an even more different look.

"We're pretty committed to making some changes," said Kevin McHale, the vice president of basketball operations, who dealt Kevin Garnett to Boston for five players in July and is considering more changes to a team that has 16 players on guaranteed rosters and only 15 available spots. "We're very committed to change some of the personnel to give us a different look, a fresh look and a different look, and that's what we did."

McHale was otherwise evasive when explaining a trade involving two players with similar styles. The main differences: Hassell, 28, has been a starter for most of the past three seasons on a team now committed to playing its younger players, and Buckner, 31, is a reserve accustomed to playing fewer minutes. Hassell also will make $4.35 million this season compared to Buckner's $3.5 million, and Hassell's contract is guaranteed for three more seasons compared to Buckner's two.

Wolves coach Randy Wittman praised Buckner's professionalism, leadership and versatility. Buckner's lighter contract also might make him a better candidate to have his contract bought out if the Wolves cannot otherwise reduce their roster from 16 to 15 or fewer by opening night Nov. 2.

"Both guys are known more for their defense than their offense; Greg can play multiple positions while Trenton was more of a 3," said Wittman, suggesting Buckner can play both forward and guard while he considers Hassell more of a small forward. "The more versatile you can be on this team, the better chance you have to play. That's what this team is evolving into."

Richard, a second-round pick from the University of Florida who missed Friday's media day, signed Saturday morning and then participated in the team's opening practice of training camp at Target Center. Davis missed both media day and Saturday's opening practice because he was ill, team officials said, but he joined his teammates later in the day for the overnight flight to Turkey, where the Wolves will start a 10-day overseas trip intended to promote the NBA globally.

Wittman also took with him to Turkey a copy of the grim motion picture that depicts an American student held in a Turkish prison for smuggling drugs. Rumor was, he planned to show the movie -- which unflatteringly portrays Turkish people -- on the long flight across the Atlantic.

"That could be a rumor, might not be," he said. "It's a good movie. I like that movie. That's coach's decision."

Progress?

Wittman addressed his players at the end of Saturday's 2-hour, 45-minute practice and told them they got better as a team in that short time. Somebody asked new forward Al Jefferson how he knew that to be true.

"We learned a play, one play," he said. "That was something we didn't know before today."

Moving on

Saturday was the first practice day in 13 seasons without Garnett on the floor.

"I think I'm over it," Wittman said. "I'm ready to move on with this team. I wasn't anticipating him behing here, so there was no thought to it. We're both going in different directions. It was exciting to be out here today."

  • related content

  • Wolves: It had to be asked

    Saturday September 29, 2007

    Uncertainties about the rebuilt Wolves start up top, where the point guard is young and confident, stretch to the wings, where an injury sets the backdrop, and extend to the...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 14 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 5
Boston 3 Bottom 5th Inning
Baltimore 1
Milwaukee 2 Bottom 6th Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Toronto 3 Top 7th Inning
NY Yankees 5
Washington 3 Top 6th Inning
Miami 2
Chicago WSox 4 Top 5th Inning
Tampa Bay 3
NY Mets 0 Top 5th Inning
Atlanta 0
Cleveland 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Minnesota 1
Detroit 4 Bottom 2nd Inning
Kansas City 0
Seattle 0 Top 3rd Inning
Houston 1
Arizona 1 Bottom 3rd Inning
Colorado 0
Cincinnati 1 Top 3rd Inning
St. Louis 2
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan 8:35 PM
Oakland - J. Lester
Texas - L. Bonilla 9:05 PM
LA Angels - H. Santiago
San Francisco - T. Hudson 9:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
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
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 0 2nd Qtr 9:45
So Florida 14
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 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
Colorado 9:00 PM
Real Salt Lake
Toronto 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
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