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.

Posts about Wolves news

Wolves sign Hummel to one-year guaranteed deal

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: July 22, 2014 - 4:14 PM

In case you missed it from last night's story on the website:

The Wolves are bringing back forward Robbie Hummel for a second season. The two sides reached agreement Monday on a one-year minimum guaranteed contract on the same day free agent Evan Turner chose Boston over the Wolves' pursuit.

Here's the story from our web site from last night.

Readers have commented on that story, speculating that Hummel was signed to include in a trade.

The trouble with that theory is he can't be traded now until December 15 at the earliest, I believe.

Hummel gives the Wolves another player along with veteran Luc Mbah a Moute who can play some power forward, particularly in Kevin Love is traded away.

He also gives the Wolves' 14 guaranteed contracts now. That leaves one open slot for a 2-for-1 trade involving Love and, oh, say Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett.

Those discussions between the Wolves and Cavaliers appear to be progressing. Yahoo!Sports today reported that the Cavaliers are searching the league for non-guaranteed contracts to make a bigger Love trade work.

Report: Wiggins now on negotiating table for Love trade

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: July 17, 2014 - 3:23 PM

The News-Herald newspaper in Ohio this afternoon reported Cleveland is now willing to trade No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, to the Timberwolves in a deal for Kevin Love.

If the two sides are able to make a deal, it likely will include Wiggins, 2013 No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett and possibly a first-round pick, but the teams will have to figure out how to make the money work, considering Love makes $15-plus million and the Cavs are stretched to the cap limit after signing LeBron James and others.

That process could involve a third team in the trade to make the money work if the Cavs are not willing to include center Anderson Varejao, whose nearly $10 million salary would do wonders to make the deal work.

The Cavaliers own protected 2015 first-round picks from Miami and Memphis to offer, although it might take a pick to get a third team to participate if needed.

I heard rumblings before I left Las Vegas yesterday that Wiggins could be now be in play after multiple reports in the last week citing Cavs sources say they defiintely would not trade the No. 1 pick and all the promise that he holds.

What changed?

Well, James has returned this week after attending Sunday's World Cup final in Brazil and perhaps is making his voice heard.

I haven't got the impression today from checking around that trade discussions have yet advanced enough for the Wolves to know whether Wiggins indeed is obtainable, but it does sound like a breakthrough indeed is possible.

The other issue that needs to be determined: Will Love opt in for the fourth season of his contract or agree to sign an extension next summer. If he really meant it all last season when he said all he wants is a chance to win, he will.

Here's the News-Herald story.Stay tuned.

Stay tuned...

Team USA World Cup basketball training camp roster finalized

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: July 14, 2014 - 11:21 AM

USA Basketball announced the final training camp roster for the FIFA World Cup, which will be hosted by Spain beginning in early August.

Kevin Love is, of course on the roster. Here are the others, alphabetical order:

Bradley Beal, G, Washington; DeMarcus Cousins, F, Sacramento; Stephen Curry, G, Golden State; Anthony Davis, F/C, New Orleans; DeMar DeRozan, G/F Toronto; Andre Drummond, F/C, Detroit; Kevin Durant, F, Oklahoma City; Kenneth Faried, F, Denver; Paul George, G/F, Indiana; Blake Griffin, F, Los Angeles Clippers; James Harden, G, Houston; Gordon Hayward, F, Utah; Kyrie Irving, G, Cleveland; Kyle Korver, G, Atlanta; Damian Lillard, G, Portland; Chandler Parsons, F, Dallas Mavericks; Derrick Rose, G, Chicago; Klay Thompson, G/F, Golden State.

Among some notable names missing on this list? Washington guard John Wall and San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard.

LeBron's going home to Cleveland, is Kevin Love far behind him?

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda Updated: July 11, 2014 - 12:34 PM

And just like that...LeBron James announces he indeed is going home to Cleveland, four years after he left in a depature that turned so bitter.

Here's the essay in which James explains himself, and why he chose now as the time to do what he always thought he would do, go home.

Of course, there are big Timberwolves implications here, if the Cavs indeed do now make a play to put Kevin Love alongside LeBron and Kyrie Irving.

Read the essay and you'll notice this: LeBron talks about how he wants to mentor and raise Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters right. Glaringly, he never made mention of consecutive No. 1 picks Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett.

The price will be Wiggins -- and other pieces inclulding draft pick(s) and perhaps Bennett -- and right now it's not clear just how eager the Cavaliers will be to do so.

Of course, Love would have to be willing to sign long term to stay in Cleveland. For all the speculation that Love wants to play in Los Angeles or a big market, the only thing he has said publicly is that he wants to win.

Now's the time to back up his word.

You'd think swapping Wiggins for Love in a bigger package would be a no-brainer for the Cavs, but...

It'll be interesting to see if Wiggins plays for the Cavaliers team this afternoon when it starts its Las Vegas Summer League play.

And it'll be interesting to see if:

* The Cavs try to get greedy and try to make a deal with the Wolves without including Wiggins.

* And if Flip Saunders gets greedy and tries to use the Cavs and Wiggins to leverage Chicago -- if they lose out on Carmelo Anthony -- into giving him the deal he has sought from them: Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and the rights to Nikola Mirotic.

You also say that about Golden State, but the Bulls now have more incentive to keep Love away from LeBron and the Cavs.

Stay tuned, it's going to be a wild ride...

LaVine is impressive early

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: July 8, 2014 - 4:56 PM

It is a small sampling size. The Wolves only open the doors to the media for the final few minutes of each practice. So you have to be careful not to over-analyze anything.

But it was still hard not to be impressed with the speed rookie guard Zach LaVine possesses. The Wolves summer team roster met for its first workout Monday evening. It was an intense, fast-paced, run-their-legs-off workout that ended with a scrimmage.

Sitting on the sidelines at the team’s workout facility, it was impossible to miss LaVine’s speed. End to end in a flash, even with the ball in his hands. Afterwards both teammates and coaches were raving about him, including head coach Flip Saunders, who – as president of basketball operations – took LaVine with the 13th overall pick in last month’s draft.

“I thought LaVine was exceptional today,” Saunders said. “He has an unbelievable feel for the game. He has speed, but he also knows how to play. How he finds people, his passing ability. He’s got a great feel for the game.’’

He’s also got a great confidence for it, too.

There were some who thought taking LaVine, a 19-year-old coming off an up-and-down freshman season at UCLA, was something of a reach. LaVine can run like the wind and jump out of the gym. But, critics said, he is raw and will need a lot of work.

Turns out LaVine, unlike many pro athletes, readily admits to reading everything written about him that he can find.  He knows what people are saying. So, when asked what his goals were for the upcoming NBA Summer League in Las Vegas – the Wolves’ entry plays its first game Saturday – this is what he said:

“Whenever I step on the court I want to be the best player,” LaVine said. “I have a lot of high goals for myself. There are still a lot of doubters out there. I read all of the things on Twitter. I keep those in my back pocket. I feel I turned a lot of heads since I came out (of college). I’ll still continue to do that.”

Again, it’s a short sample size, but LaVine played a lot of point guard Monday, and will do so in Vegas, too. After Monday’s workout Saunders said he had no question in his mind that LaVine could play both shooting guard and some at the point.

“The way he handles himself and handles the ball, no question he can play one,” Saunders said. “His understanding of what we want him to do, and how to play, to initiate the offense and be creative, there is no question.”

Of course, there are questions. How will LaVine, not a starter at UCLA, adapt to the NBA pace of play? How will his 185-pound body hold up the physical play? (He already knows he has to bulk up. But, as he said, “But if they can’t touch me, that’s a good thing as well.”)

Still, the confident LaVine is looking at Vegas as the starting point to a rookie season that he feels will be productive.

“I’m a confident person, so I feel I can come in and contribute right off the bat,” he said. “I’m not putting my talents below anybody else’s. I’m a competitor. I’m going to go out and do what I can do. Whoever says I can’t play, I’m going to try to turn their heads.”

The Wolves announced LaVine had signed his rookie deal. According to the 2014-15 NBA rookie salary scale, that suggests LaVine signed a three-year deal worth $5,370,000 with $1,713,200 coming in the first year.

Here are some other summer camp notes:

--LaVine and the rest of the Wolves summer league roster will play a scrimmage Wednesday night at Target Center that is open to the public. It starts at 7 p.m.

--Second-year player Shabazz Muhammad has lost about seven or eight pounds and has about eight more to lose before regular training camp begins this fall, according to Saunders. Muhammad, taken by Saunders in the first round last year, is looking for an increased role this season.

“Last year I thought I played pretty well,” he said. “Some said I could have gotten more minutes. Some said I shouldn’t. It’s all about playing hard and being a good teammate. Flip will take care of everything else.”

Muhammad missed the last few games of last season with a sprained MCL in his right knee. He said he returned to working out 100 percent about  a month ago.

--Saunders said center Gorgui Dieng has put on a lot of muscle as he prepares for his second season. “He’s gained a lot of weight and strength,” Saunders said.

--Veteran forward Chase Budinger, who was limited to just 41 games by injuries last season, is set to join the team today and start working out with the team. Budinger missed the first two months of last season after a second knee procedure, and missed the final few games with an ankle sprain. Budinger, who has seen injuries affect his past two seasons, is looking to get some competitive practicing in to get the confidence back in his health. Saunders said Budinger would travel to Las Vegas with the team. He likely won’t play in any games, but will continue to practice with the team.

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