Wolves send Hayward to Thunder; Crawford no longer in mix

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 13, 2011 - 11:40 PM

The Timberwolves traded a former first-round draft pick to Oklahoma City and found out they won't be getting a coveted free-agent shooting guard.

The Timberwolves cleared roster room Tuesday evening for J.J. Barea's arrival later that night by trading little-used, former first-round pick Lazar Hayward to Oklahoma City.

At about the same time, they apparently fell out of the running for free-agent shooting guard Jamal Crawford.

Earlier in the day, Wolves basketball boss David Kahn indicated in a radio interview that the team was pursuing Crawford and others but needed to create "roster flexibility" to do so.

Agent Andy Miller said by text message Tuesday night that Minnesota is no longer a possible destination for Crawford, who unless the Wolves get back in the race now is expected to sign with Portland, New York, Sacramento or possibly Chicago.

The Wolves made space for Barea -- who they still haven't officially signed -- by trading Hayward for two second-round picks and Robert Vaden, a guard whom they immediately released.

In doing so, they received the Thunder's 2012 second-round pick. If that pick is 46th or higher -- highly likely -- the Wolves also will receive Oklahoma City's 2013 second-round pick.

They also gained about $1 million in cap space by ridding themselves of Hayward's contract, which is guaranteed for the next two seasons, and receiving Vaden's non-guaranteed deal in return.

Hayward was the last player taken in the 2010 draft's first round, but he never found a position -- shooting guard or small forward? -- or playing time in Minnesota.

His departure and Barea's arrival keeps the team at 15 guaranteed contracts, the roster limit come opening night on Dec. 26. The Wolves still haven't acknowledged they have signed Barea, but he tweeted at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday that he has arrived safely in Minnesota.

Friend, not foe

Wolves 6-7 shooting guard Wes Johnson, for one, sounds happy that Barea is leaving the defending NBA champion Mavericks.

"That's one less guard we have to worry about running around chasing," he said of the little, waterbug combo guard. "I actually got matched up with him in a couple sequences in the game and I was looking around. I had to look down and he was in front of me and I was like, 'Oh, man ...'

"He didn't run me around too much, but you don't want to get caught running around with Barea. He's just too fast."

Whether coincidental or intentional, Barea's presence will give rookie Ricky Rubio a Spanish-speaking teammate. Barea is from Puerto Rico.

"It's going to help because it's important to speak well with teammates," Rubio said. "My English is not so good so for sure it's going to help me have a guy who helps me speak English. I know him a little bit. I hear a lot of good things about him."

First look

Training camp invitees Bonzi Wells and Will Conroy both have been cleared by FIBA after last playing professionally overseas, and each practiced on Tuesday for the first time.

When asked if Wells looked in shape, Wolves coach Rick Adelman said, "He played well today. We'll see how he holds up. That's going to be the key. We'll see if he's sore tomorrow. He's still explosive. He's still tough around the rim. We'll have to see how he takes it each day."

Wells is 35 and hasn't played in the NBA since 2008.

Etc.

Kevin Love banged his elbow in Tuesday's practice and wore a wrap on his wrist, but Adelman said he didn't consider Love's bumps and bruises serious.

• The Wolves waived free-agent invitees Dominique Johnson and Shaun Pruitt. Johnson is a 6-3 guard who plays for the Texas Legends in the D League. Pruitt is a 6-10 center who has played professionally overseas since 2008 after playing collegiately at Illinois.

• Former Los Angeles Lakers guard Norm Nixon is in town this week to continue his mentoring work with Michael Beasley.

  • related content

  • Hayward sent to Thunder; Crawford no longer in mix

    Tuesday December 13, 2011

    The Timberwolves cleared roster room Tuesday evening for J.J. Barea's arrival later that night by trading little-used, former first-round pick Lazar Hayward to Oklahoma City.

  • Lazar Hayward

  • WOLVES NOTES

    Exhibition opener: 7 p.m. Saturday vs. Milwaukee • Target Center • TV: FSN alternate (830-AM)

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