Spotlight is on Wolves reserves as contract deadline nears

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA
  • Updated: January 6, 2014 - 11:42 AM

There's pressure for more bench points, plus a Friday deadline for a few Wolves subs hoping to see their contracts guaranteed.

 

– The clock ticks on the Timberwolves, both because of Friday’s approaching date for NBA teams to guarantee contracts for the rest of the season and a need to address the disparity between the burdens carried by their starters and reserves.

The Wolves have two players —veteran guard A.J. Price and rookie forward Robbie Hummel — on their 15-man roster with non-guaranteed contracts. If they are not waived by Tuesday, their contracts will be guaranteed for the rest of the season Friday.

Each has played little — Hummel much more than Price, though — in a season when the Wolves have struggled to get production from their bench. It’s an issue that has percolated in the past week: Kevin Love called for more from his team’s reserves, and backup point guard J.J. Barea, for one, bristled at the public mention.

The team’s bench contributed only five points twice in the past three games — in losses last Monday to Dallas and Saturday to Oklahoma City — and each time all of those points came from Barea.

The return of the injured Chase Budinger and Ronny Turiaf, probably as soon as Monday’s game at Philadelphia or Wednesday’s home game against Phoenix, eventually should significantly reshape the Wolves’ second unit.

Friday’s contract date also allows president of basketball operations Flip Saunders a window to make additional alterations if he feels the need to — and can — by trade or free-agent signing.

Wolves coach Rick Adelman didn’t want to talk about the matter after his team lost a 13-point, fourth-quarter lead and the game Saturday on a night when Thunder star Kevin Durant scored 23 of his 48 points in that fourth quarter. Love missed four free throws in the final 27 seconds of the Thunder loss, including three (the last one intentionally) with 2.2 seconds left in a two-point game.

“I don’t … we’re going to go back and forth on that?” Adelman said. “The starters played great, so we’ll just leave it at that.”

Love played 43-plus minutes Saturday, including the entire second half, and after the game he attributed his uncharacteristic missed free throws that he called “flat and short” partly to fatigue.

Every starter except for Ricky Rubio played 38 or more minutes Saturday. Barea and Dante Cunningham were the only reserves who played more than 10 minutes and each played fewer than 15 minutes. Cunningham, Hummel and Alexey Shved were a combined 0-for-5 from the field.

In Wednesday’s runaway victory over New Orleans, the team’s reserves combined to score 42 points. The Wolves bench has been outscored by the opponent’s 26 times in 33 games this season.

“It’s tough,” Love said after Saturday’s loss. “We look for consistency from the bench. I thought last game they played really well. They had 40-plus points and tonight they were in single digits. We need to find more.

‘‘It’s not me being hard on them or trying to bring them down. It’s me just telling them to take advantage of opportunities but knowing that we are doing the heavy lifting and need help from them. And I think they know that, too.

“It’s not me taking a shot at them. They also know they need to step up. It’s hard for them to find a rhythm.”

Price has been in this contract situation twice before in his five-year NBA career, waiting to see if his team includes his attractive contract in a trade or if it’ll release him to sign another player. NBA veteran Hedo Turkoglu — who played for Adelman his first four NBA seasons in Sacramento — is the latest to hit the free-agent market. Orlando waived him Friday.

The Wolves also could waive Price and/or Hummel and re-sign one or both to a 10-day contract to give themselves future roster flexibility if they clear waivers.

“I know it sounds almost impossible, but you really can’t think about it,” Price said. “You’ve just got to approach every day like it’s your last because that is what has gotten me here. You can’t really think about the date too much but if it comes and goes, I’ll definitely be happy about it.”

  • related content

  • Rand: Rubio, bench hurting team down stretch

    Sunday January 5, 2014

    After looking at some numbers, we have come to the conclusion that two specific things stand out. One shouldn’t be a surprise. One might be a little stunning.

  • Wolves-Philadelphia game preview

    Sunday January 5, 2014

    6 P.M. at PHILADELPHIA • WELLS FARGO CENTER • FSN, 830-AMPreview: The Wolves’ loss Saturday to Oklahoma City marked the...

  • Wolves forward Robbie Hummel — along with veteran guard A.J. Price — is on the team's 15-man roster with non-guaranteed contracts. If they are not waived by Tuesday, their contracts will be guaranteed for the rest of the season Friday.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 23 3rd Qtr 11:40
Dallas 7
Seattle 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 7:00 PM
Nashville
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 55 2nd Half 13:40
Indiana State 30
Cal State Fullerton 9 1st Half 10:12
Wright State 19
Western Ky 2 1st Half 16:37
Saint Josephs 0
Michigan State 5:30 PM
Rider
UCLA 6:00 PM
North Carolina
Marquette 7:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Long Beach State 7:30 PM
Western Mich
Stephen F Austin 8:00 PM
Prairie View
UAB 8:30 PM
Florida
Rice 8:30 PM
Mercer
San Jose St 10:00 PM
Washington
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Memphis
LSU 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 37 1st Half 5:41
BYU-Hawaii 17
Charlotte 10 1st Half 10:06
Montana 16
Illinois 18 1st Half 7:59
(9) Kentucky 22
Central Michigan 7:00 PM
Richmond
Oklahoma 7:15 PM
South Florida
Princeton 7:30 PM
Wake Forest
(19) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Butler
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