Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

Johnson departs, Orton cancels, Favors due next

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves draft news, Wolves players, Wolves news Updated: June 16, 2010 - 10:07 AM

Syracuse forward Wesley Johnson is scheduled to leave town in a couple of hours after one more workout at Target Center this morning during his 42-hour visit to the Twin Ciites.

Kentucky center Daniel Orton pulled out of this morning's group workout that also includes Florida State's Solomon Alabi, Tulsa's Jerome Jordan and Gophers forward Damian Johnson.

Georgia Tech forward Derrick Favors is the next big prospect for that fourth overall pick due in, on Thursday.

Johnson was the first candidate for that fourth pick into town. He arrived Monday afternoon, dined with Wolves boss David Kahn and Kurt Rambis, hung with friend and former Syracuse teammate Jonny Flynn (they never played together, but practiced for a season while Johnson sat out after transferring from Iowa State) and worked out solo Tuesday afternoon in a 90-minute session cut a bit short because of a sore toe.

It was quite a crowd watching one guy work out: All the Wolves front office staff and regional scouts were there. So, too, were team owner Glen Taylor and some of the team's limited partners who stuck around to watch Johnson work out after the ownership group met earlier Tuesday.

Johnson is headed to New Jersey next and said he also has a workout schedule with Philadelphia. That's all he has scheduled for now, an indication his camp thinks he'll be picked no further down than the Wolves and No. 4.

Kahn said he's hopeful Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins will visit before next Thursday draft and the team also is working to get Ohio State's Evan Turner in.

Cousins' agent balked at sending his client here because the Wolves frontcourt already is filled with young bigs. There was a bit of a media to-do on Monday over that decision, but such decisions happen like this every year at this time. On Monday, the guy isn't coming in. By the weekend, he shows.

That doesn't guarantee Cousins will change his mind, but Kahn said Cousins' agent has been made aware the team's roster might not look the same next Thursday night as it does today. Kahn said the agent has been "counting bodies" on a team that now includes Al Jefferson, Kevin Love and could include Darko Milicic and Nikola Pekovic once the free agency period commences in July.

Kahn called the team's situation "fluid."

Translated that means expect either Jefferson or Love to be traded in the coming days, the fourth of five "windows of opportunity" to remake the team in a 17-month period as Kahn called them when he was hired in May 2009.

Right now, Johnson looks like the most likely pick and best fit if the Wolves keep and use the fourth pick.

The price to trade up with Philly to get Turner is too high if the 76ers continue to insist someone take Elton Brand's ridiculous contract.

Johnson might be a better fit than Turner anyway because he's a better shooter, one of the team's biggest needs.

This time last year, one team with a high lottery pick -- Washington, at No. 5 -- was dangling its choice and Kahn got it by offering Randy Foye and Mike Miller.

Will Kahn this time parlay a duplication of undersized power forwards into a deal that either brings another lottery pick -- Sacramento at 5 or Detroit at 7? -- or a young perimeter player to balance a roster badly in need of athleticism, length (a guy like Golden State's Anthony Randolph) and perimeter players who can defend and create their own shot?

Stay tuned. It'll be interesting.

 

 

 

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