Hartman: Taylor hopes NBA can avoid a lockout

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 23, 2011 - 7:43 AM

The Wolves owner is hopeful a new CBA can be reached and is letting his GM make coaching and draft decisions.

hide

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor

Photo: David Brewster, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

While the NFL lockout continues, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor -- who also is chairman of the NBA Board of Governors -- says there could be an NBA lockout next season.

"I don't know what is going to happen," said Taylor, who claims one reason a new collective bargaining agreement is needed is because 24 of the 32 NBA teams lost money last season.

"I would just tell you we're meeting with the union every week and I'm real positive," Taylor said. "We've had nice, good meetings, but there's still a long way to go. I'm going out on Tuesday for another meeting, then we have another one set for early June."

The $64 million question to ask Taylor is about the status of Wolves coach Kurt Rambis, who has two years left on his contract and, according to Taylor, will have to be paid the remaining $4 million he is owed for this coming season and the following season if he is fired.

Everything points to Rambis being let go, something I don't agree with, just like I didn't think Brad Childress should have been fired as Vikings coach. But Rambis didn't make the recent trip to Spain with Wolves boss David Kahn to scout the flop of the 2009 draft, point guard Ricky Rubio. And Rambis hasn't been involved in any of the scouting for the upcoming draft and has instead been doing analyst work for ESPN during the NBA playoffs.

Draft decisions will seemingly be made by Kahn, whose job is secure, according to Taylor.

"David hasn't talked to [Rambis] and hasn't said what they're going to do yet," Taylor said. "I'm still waiting there."

Taylor said if Rambis was fired, he would still get paid his salary even if there was a lockout next season.

"He is like everybody else," Taylor said. "They all get paid, but if we don't play in any games, then they'll get paid a little less. Everybody is like that."

Taylor said he is excited about the Wolves' recent luck in getting the second pick in the draft. Most mock drafts list Duke point guard Kyrie Irving and Arizona forward Derrick Williams as the top two picks. Taylor said he believes the team will retain the draft choice.

"I think it's most likely we'll keep [the pick] ... but we're open to look at a trade," said Taylor, who will let Kahn make the final decision. "But most likely we'll keep [the player who is drafted]. I just think when you get a pick that high, you would want to keep it for the future."

The Wolves won 17 games last year, the worst record in the league, and Taylor said some changes will have to be made if the team is to improve.

"I think we'll make a few changes this summer that will help, but at this stage we have a long ways to go," Taylor said, then added: "I'm OK with Kahn."

Kahn cut the payroll, but the Wolves still lost as much as $20 million last year. Despite that loss, Taylor said none of his partners has left the ownership.

The only way partners can sell out is to find somebody to buy them out, and I have to believe that even though Taylor is going to stay with the ownership, new stockholders in the Wolves are hard to find.

Mauer mystery

The most recent update on the health of Twins catcher Joe Mauer is that after working out in Fort Myers, Fla., he can't throw because of a sore arm.

Twins General Manager Bill Smith's answer to a question about Mauer's health was: "He's going through this whole process. We're trying to get legs and knees and shoulders and elbows and trying to get everything in shape and ready to play. We're going to keep making progress and keep working with Joe to get him on track here.

"We hope it's not too long. But he's doing everything he can down in Fort Myers, and it's been a struggle and a frustration for everybody involved. And nobody more so than Joe Mauer."

Jottings

• Bill Pohlad, the film producer and owner of the Twins along with brothers Jim and Bob and the son of the late Carl Pohlad, got a great bit of news Sunday when the Terrence Malick movie "Tree of Life," for which he provided financial backing, won the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in France. Pohlad accepted the award for Malick.

• On the recent Twins seven-game road trip, Justin Morneau batted .276 by going 8-for-29 and hit his second home run of the season. His average is up to .237 as he gets healthy, and he is starting to look like the player at the plate and at first base that he was last year before he suffered a season-ending concussion July 7.

• After enduring an 0-for-15 four-game stretch, Twins third baseman Danny Valencia went 6-for-13 in his next three games against Oakland and Arizona and hit a home run in back-to back games Friday and Saturday against Arizona.

• Jim Thome was named the nicest player in baseball in a poll of 290 MLB players, with 21 percent voting for the Twins designated hitter. ... Apparently outfielder Ben Revere, a 2007 first-round draft choice, is not ready for the major leagues. He was sent down to Class AAA Rochester, along with infielder Luke Hughes, on Sunday after hitting .242 with a .265 on-base percentage in 15 games.

• Henry Blanco, who caught for Arizona against the Twins on Sunday, was Mauer's backup in 2004 and has been with nine major league teams. He is hitting .308 in 10 games this season. ... Former Twin Jason Bartlett recently tied a San Diego Padres club record when he recorded an RBI in nine consecutive games from May 8-17.

• Fifty percent of the new panels have been installed in the Metrodome roof. Bill Lester, executive director of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission, said it's a cinch the roof will be completed by Aug. 1 unless weather delays the 62 workers. A party is scheduled for Aug. 20 to celebrate completion of the work.

• The bad academic situation Jerry Kill inherited with the Gophers football team came out a lot better than he expected after the spring semester. Still, Kill said some players have work to do in the classroom to reach team standards.

• Mario Lucia, Wayzata hockey forward and son of Gophers hockey coach Don Lucia, will definitely play junior hockey next year. Mario is expected to be a first-round NHL draft choice this year. ... Don Lucia also reported that Nick Bjugstad, a freshman forward for the Gophers last year and the 19th overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft by the Florida Panthers, will definitely stay in school and not sign a pro contract for the 2011-2012 season.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 79 FINAL
Cleveland 110
LA Lakers 103 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Sacramento 124 FINAL
New York 86
Houston 96 FINAL
Atlanta 104
Utah 93 FINAL
Memphis 82
Washington 92 FINAL
Chicago 97
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
Denver 106
Nashville 1 FINAL
New Jersey 3
Calgary 3 FINAL(OT)
Philadelphia 2
Washington 5 FINAL
Columbus 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Toronto 3 FINAL
Florida 2
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 3
NY Islanders 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 3
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Arizona 1
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
Edmonton 2
San Jose 6 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Ole Miss 82 FINAL
Alabama 74
Eastern Mich 67 FINAL
Ball State 60
Kent State 81 FINAL
Bowling Green 80
Ohio 66 FINAL
Buffalo 93
Georgetown 60 FINAL
Butler 54
Toledo 77 FINAL
Central Mich 85
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
Dayton 75
Youngstown St 67 FINAL
Detroit 77
North Carolina 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 49
Loyola-Maryland 45 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Iowa 77 FINAL
Indiana 63
Akron 63 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 70
Army 52 FINAL
Navy 56
Maryland 60 FINAL
Rutgers 50
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
USC Upstate 90
Jacksonville 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 81
Lipscomb 76 FINAL
Northern Ky 73
Stetson 67 FINAL
North Florida 81
Wright State 57 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Northern Ill 65
Nebraska Omaha 80 FINAL
North Dakota 78
Houston Baptist 71 FINAL
Abilene Christian 83
NC State 66 FINAL
Clemson 61
Texas A&M 62 FINAL
Florida 66
Kentucky 72 FINAL
Georgia 64
West Virginia 69 FINAL
Kansas 76
Auburn 61 FINAL
Missouri 63
Michigan 78 FINAL
Northwestern 82
Villanova 76 FINAL
Creighton 72
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
NJIT 51 FINAL
UMass Lowell 60
West Virginia 55 FINAL
Kansas State 59
TCU 45 FINAL
Texas 79
Fresno State 61 FINAL
Air Force 41
San Jose St 76 FINAL
Boise State 91
Nevada 61 FINAL
Colorado State 68
UNLV 61 FINAL
San Diego State 76
Wyoming 61 FINAL
Utah State 57
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: Which is your favorite 'return' by a Minnesota athlete?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close