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.
Kevin Love's status for Saturday's game against the Heat at Target Center is uncertain after the Timberwolves star left the team today because of the death of his grandmother.
The Wolves flew back to Minneapolis today after their Wednesday night game against the Spurs in Mexico City was scrapped because of a fire in the arena.
Love's maternal grandmother, Carol Lee Craig, passed away Wednesday. The Wolves released this statement this afternoon:
“The Timberwolves organization is deeply saddened to learn of the passing late last night of Carol Lee Craig, Kevin Love’s maternal grandmother. The Timberwolves send our condolences to the Love family in this difficult time. Kevin will not be at practice on Friday, and his status for Saturday’s game against Miami at Target Center is presently unknown.”
"Regrettably, Kevin will not be able to fulfill his scheduled community appearances on Friday at East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center in Minneapolis, and the Sprint store location in Roseville. He was scheduled to be at each location to meet and greet fans and gather coats for the annual Kevin Love Coat Drive."
It's game day here in Mexico City, where the Wolves and San Antonio Spurs will tip off at the new Mexico City Arena (I wonder how much the town spent for those naming rights?) Arena at 8:30 p.m. Twin Cities time.
The late start isn't because of a designated time slot for an ESPN or TNT game.
No, rather it's cultural: Mexico City residents work until 6 pm usually and the rush-hour traffic in a metropolitan area of nearly 30 million people is horrible, so dinnertime isn't until 8:30 or 9 and so, too, is the timing for sportnig events.
Tonight's game is on FSN by the way, or NBA TV as well if you're elsewhere.
One thing you watch for: Mexico City is situated at 7,300 feet, a good bit higher than even Denver.
Rick Adelman had his players scrimmage to start Tuesday's practice here, just to see what effect the altitude at this height might have . And he noticed it quickly.
Kevin Martin said he noticed it when the team arrived on Monday. He was just lounging around his hotel room and felt out of breath and knew he wasn't that out of shape.
We'll see if that gives the younger Wolves an advantage.
In case you missed it in the paper or the web site, here's some catching up from the last two days here ni Mexico City:
* Spanish-speaking Ricky Rubio and JJ Barea drew a media crowd at Tuesday's practice. Here's my story for today's paper on the scene and the Wolves getting adjusted to that altitude. There's the Wolves Daily video for this morning -- from high above Mexico City's Paseo de la Reforma -- attached as well.
And if you're not on the mobile site, go to the links to the right of the story and click on the photo of Pek and AJ Price showing off the latest in Latin America fashion.
* If you're wondering why the Wolves have gone all the way to Mexico City to play a regular-season "home" game, here's the explanation from Tuesday's paper.
There's also Tuesday's Wolves Daily video attached to that, too.
Look for Thursday's Wolves Daily video and hopefully some post-game locker room video after tonight's game, if the iffy Internet down here obliges.
The Wolves get their second look at the Thunder in a month tonight in Oklahoma City, but this time the Thunder has All-Star guard Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook didn't play the last time these teams played, on Nov. 1 at Target Center because of a second knee surgery that kept him out of the season's first two games.
The Wolves held Kevin Durant to just 13 points that night -- well, Corey Brewer mostly did -- and the Wolves thumped the Thunder 100-81.
He's back now, in a big way after hitting that desperation three-pointer from the corner that beat Golden State by a point on Friday at home.
The Thunder, btw, tonight end a six-game homestand, one of two they have this season.
While they've been home for nearly two weeks, the Wolves will have played eight games in six different cities and six of those games were in three sets of back-to-backs.
"It's good to be home," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, whose team is undefeated at home (8-0).
Rick Adelman didn't plan to play newcomer Luc Mbah a Moute 26 minutes -- and nearly all of the fourth quarter -- in Saturday's victory at Dallas, but did so because his team had the lead and the defense of both Mbah a Moute and Dante Cunningham helped them keep it.
It'll be interesting to see tonight how much he uses Brewer on Westbrook and Mbah a Moute on Durant.
Flip Saunders met with the media this afternoon to explain the trade that sent former No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams to Sacramento for veteran defensive specialist Luc Mbah a Moute.
Here's the video our shooter David Brewster did from the gathering, including a little standup bit that Jim Souhan and I did. Turned out kind of funny the way David edited it.
Here's a bunch of this and that, most of it taken from my Twitter feed today:
* Mbah a Moute will wear No. 12 for the Wolves after wearing No. 33 in Sacramento.
* Flip said there's a chance LMM plays Wednesday night vs. Denver. "We're hoping," he said. The new guy is due in town tonight and will undergo a physical exam in the morning.
* LMM didn't have a physical done before the league was finalized. Flip said his team had done extensive background on LMM's knees and are confident there's no issue after he underwent surgery in May 2012 to resolve tendinitis.
* Flip said he and Rick Adelman concluded Derrick can't play small forward in Adelman's system -- didn't rule out that he couldn't play it in other coach's system, including Sacramento's. And he asked if Williams's value would be any greater in a month or at the February trade deadline if he wasn't playing much, which he wasn't of course.
* Flip said contrary to popular opinion on Twitter, Adelman actually likes Derrick and think he'll be a good player in this league. Said he doesn't hate him. Implied, though, that Derrick never won Adelman's trust and team needs to find bench guys Adelman can trust to play more to relieve stress on the starters.
* Interesting that when talking about adding one of the league's best individual defenders, Flip singled out Dante Cunningham as the team's best defender pre-LMM.
* I asked Flip if he would have preferred to deal Derrick to add bench scoring and he said sometimes your scoring from your defense.
* Asked Flip about D League for Shabazz or Robbie Hummel but he said notion that they'll sit on bench now isn't necessarily true. Said they want to expand bench play beyond eight guys to help out starters.
And one more thing:
My compatriot Jason Jones of the Sac Bee put up this posting on the trade this afternoon. It's a good read from the other side of the deal.
That's all for now. Carry on...
The Wolves have reached agreement with the Kings to trade former No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams to Sacramento for defensive-minded swingman Luc Mbah a Moute, a league source confirms.
The deal could be finalized as soon as Tuesday morning, pending physicals with both players.
Mbah a Moute, a former second-round pick, will be reunited with former UCLA teammate Kevin Love.
The trade sends away a once highly regarded draft choice who clearly didn't fit with coach Rick Adelman.
WIlliams lost weight so he could better play small forward, but saw the backup role there to Corey Brewer go to Robbie Hummel and Williams will play little with Kevin Love and Dante Cunningham at his natural power forward spot.
ESPN's Marc Stein first reported the teams were in advanced discussions.
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