In what looks like a very optimistic exercise, the NBA on Tuesday released its 2011-12 schedule. Timberwolves highlights, if the league's labor issues are resolved and the season starts on schedule:
• They are scheduled to open the season at home, on Nov. 2 against Atlanta, which incidentally is the former team of Mike Woodson, who is interviewing for the Wolves coaching job.
• LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Miami will make their lone Target Center appearance in March. Maybe by then they'll actually be playing games again. Derrick Rose and Chicago are set to arrive Feb. 10.
• Even with the arrival of No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams and Ricky Rubio, the Timberwolves appear on national television just four times: a Nov. 25 game that features the return of new Houston coach Kevin McHale to Target Center is set for 6 p.m. on ESPN2, and three NBA TV games (Dec. 21 at Phoenix, Jan. 25 at Boston and March 3 at Portland).
Defending NBA champion Dallas has 30 nationally televised games scheduled, the Bulls 29, the Heat 28 and the Lakers and Thunder 27 each .
All Wolves home games are set for 7 p.m. except: The Nov. 25 game against Houston and Sunday games Jan. 29 and Feb. 19 against the Lakers are 6 p.m., and a March 25 Sunday matinee against Denver is at 2:30 p.m.
Nearly three weeks into the NBA's labor lockout, the Timberwolves have laid off between 10 and 12 employees on the operation's business side, a league source said.
Those decisions follow the NBA's move last week that reduced 114 employees to save $50 million long term as well as layoffs made by other NBA teams.