Hartman: Wolves owner faces questions for 2013-14

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 15, 2013 - 6:19 AM

Glen Taylor applauded team’s effort despite injuries, but return of the coach, GM and center are uncertain.

Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman

Photo: Danny Johnston, Associated Press

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While the Timberwolves will miss the playoffs this season, their record of 30-50 is better than eight other NBA teams: the Kings, Hornets, Suns, Wizards, Pistons, Cavaliers, Magic and Bobcats.

That is one of the reasons club owner Glen Taylor says he is proud of his team.

“Even with all the injuries, I think there’s a notable difference between this year and last year, and that is the guys play hard throughout the whole game,” Taylor said. “They never quit, and because of that we’ve won some games probably [in which] we were the underdog. I’m really proud of the effort they have had, considering all the injuries they’ve had to deal with.”

There are several big questions for next season. Will coach Rick Adelman return, or will medical considerations for his wife, Mary Kay, lead him to quit? Will David Kahn be retained as president of the team or will Flip Saunders replace him? Can the Wolves find the money to resign free agent center Nikola Pekovic who, when healthy, had helped the team win a number of games?

“We have a little room [on the salary cap] for this next year, but we do have enough so that we can go and talk to Pek, even though we know that this is his chance to get a bigger salary coming up. We have the room to deal with those issues,” Taylor said. “It will sort of depend on a number of issues. I’m just saying that we have enough.”

The Timberwolves have two No. 1 draft choices, their own and that of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Taylor said the team is open to trading one of the draft choices because the team is already so young.

“I think [Adelman] is already working on developing some of our young guys, so perhaps two new ones would be one too many,” Taylor said.

The owner is hopeful Adelman will return as coach.

“As I have said in the past, we communicate a lot, we talk. I just have not pressed him on that issue,” Taylor said. “I know that he has to make that decision at the end of the season when he and Mary Kay spend some time with the people at the Mayo Clinic.”

As for Kahn’s status, his contract expires May 27.

“David and I have been working just to try and get through this year,” Taylor said. “I want to get through the year and stuff like that. He is under contract right now to be the general manager. We’ll look at everything going ahead here in the next month.”

There’s no doubt Taylor has a good relationship with Saunders, the former Timberwolves coach and GM, and has been in contact with him several times on the status of the club this year. So Kahn’s status is up in the air for next season.

Jottings

• The reason Minnesota native Tom Lehman, who was second to Bernhard Langer in winnings on the Champions Tour in 2012, wasn’t in the Masters this year — even though he is the only golfer in history to be named the player of the year on the PGA, Champions and Nationwide Tour — is because Lehman is no longer on the PGA Tour and he never won a Masters championship.

• The Twins hitters who have been in a slump while the team has lost five consecutive games don’t have to hang their heads about losing 4-2 Saturday to Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, who in 22 innings has allowed only six hits and two earned runs while striking out 25. … Two former Twins are members of the Mets: pitcher LaTroy Hawkins and third base coach Tim Teufel.

• The Twins’ spring training facility at Fort Myers will undergo a $45 million remodeling, with the city providing $42.5 million and the Twins $3.5 million. … According to Baseball Prospectus, the chances of the Twins making the playoffs are 0.9 percent, only ahead of AL newcomer Houston, which has a 0.7 percent chance.

• Many fans will remember former Wolves center Al Jefferson, who scored 40 points here on Friday, was traded to the Jazz in 2010 for two future first-round draft picks and Kousta Kofous. Those future first-round draft picks eventually turned into Lazar Hayward, Nemanja Bjelica, Donatas Motiejunas and Brad Miller. None of those five players are on the Wolves roster.

• New Gophers basketball coach Richard Pitino and his staff didn’t take Sunday off, hosting several recruits in their Bierman Building offices. One player who was scheduled to be on hand was Apple Valley superstar point guard Tyus Jones.

• Gophers baseball coach John Anderson won his 500th career Big Ten game Sunday with a 7-1 victory over Northwestern. The Gophers got a three-game sweep this weekend to get their coach his milestone victory.

•  While Gophers hockey coach Don Lucia lost five outstanding players to the NHL, the Gophers coach will host an outstanding freshman class this fall. This group includes Taylor Cammarata of Plymouth, who led all USHL scorers with 38 goals and 55 assists for 93 points in 59 games for Waterloo. The runner-up in scoring was Cammarata’s teammate, Justin Kloos of Lakeville, who came up with 29 goals and 58 assists for 87 points. Then you have two of Lou Nanne grandkids in Vinni Lettieri, who finished 23rd in the league with 28 goals and 28 assists in 61 games, and Louie Nanne Jr., who played for the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League after the Edina season ended, scored 19 goals and had 22 assists in 45 games.

• The new basketball coach at Furman is former Gophers assistant Niko Medved. Medved, who graduated from Minnesota and was on the coaching staff in 1992, spent seven years as a Furman assistant before going to Colorado State, where he served as interim coach.

•  NFL.com reported Sunday that cornerback Antoine Winfield signed with the Seahawks over the Vikings, who released him after last season, even though Minnesota offered him more guaranteed money.

• G.G. Smith, the son of former Gophers basketball coach Tubby Smith, was named head coach at Loyola University on Friday, after serving as an assistant there for six years. Tubby was quoted as saying: “It is a great day for the Smith family. I am really proud of G.G., not only as his mentor and father, but also as his former college coach, watching him grow and mature into the person he is today.”

• St. Cloud State star and Hobey Baker award winner Drew LeBlanc of Hermantown, Minn., has signed a contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, while Huskies teammate Ben Hanowski of Little Falls signed a deal with the Calgary Flames.

 

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

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