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.
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.
This tough November schedule the Timberwolves find themselves in gets even tougher starting tonight.
In the next six games, the Wolves are playing opponents that are winning at a 75-percent clip.
That includes the 12-1 Pacers tonight as well as 12-1 San Antonio, 10-3 Miami, 9-3 Oklahoma City and 9-5 Dallas.
The cupcake of the bunch is 6-6 Denver at home on Wednesday,
"I know, we're very aware of that," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said, "and most of the team are on the road. That's just the way the schedule breaks and of course one of the home games is not at home. Every is going the other direction. It's a challenge and opportunity both."
The home game that's not a home game to which he refers is the Dec. 4 game against the Spurs in Mexico City.
A couple other things:
* Expect another physical -- chippy, if you will -- game between these teams. The last couple years have produced such games more often than not.
"I think there have been a few chippy games," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "They play physical. We play physical. So anytime you have two teams that play that style of play, it's going to be a little edge, a little chippy. We welcome that."
* Former Strib columnist Dan Barreiro went on his KFAN radio show this afternoon and said Derrick Williams is as good as gone. He didn't have any more specifics, but he does have the Batphone line directly into Flip Saunders' office and home.
It's no secret Adelman doesn't see a place for him on this team and Saunders has been searching for a deal.
I was told this afternoon nothing is imminent.
One team that is looking to make a deal and wants to get younger is Sacramento, which would offer a veteran such as swingman defender Luc Mbah a Moute or Adelman favorite Chuck Hayes. Maybe the deal would even include reserve shooter Jimmer Frederette.
I haven't heard the Kings or any names specifically, it's just an educated guess on who wants to deal now and what's out there that Williams might bring in return.
Well, the Wolves might gotten a break on the second half of these back-to-back games while tonight's opponent has been waiting at home in Houston since Wednesday:
Rockets star James Harden won't play tonight because of a sore foot.
Point guard Jeremy Lin will start in his place beside starting point guard Pat Beverley.
The Wolves clobbered Brooklyn last night and rested their starters the entire fourth quarter before making the two-plus hour flight south after the game to play their fourth game in five nights once again.
"Well, he's their best player," said Wolves guard Kevin Martin, who returns to the Toyota Center arena where he played nearly four seasons with Rick Adelman as his coach. "Anytime your best player sits out, other guys step up. When he's out, they play pretty good. THere's more shots to go 'round for everyone else."
By the way, Wolves rookie Shabazz Muhammad is available after missing the last five games because of a sprained ankle. That doesn't, of course, mean he'll play.
Kevin Garnett was back at Target Center this morning, and once again drawing a crowd.
He was one of the relatively few healthy Brooklyn Nets who were at the team’s shootaround this morning. (The Nets, by the way, will be without guard Deron Williams (ankle), forward Andrei Kirilenko (back), center Brook Lopez (ankle) and guard Jason Terry (knee) for tonight’s game with the Wolves).
The Nets are struggling to find a rhythm, with so many new faces and so many injuries making it difficult for them to get to know each other. The Nets are 3-8, 1-6 on the road and have lost three straight overall heading into this game. The Wolves, meanwhile, have lost two straight.
But back to Garnett, who, along with Paul Pierce and Terry, were traded from Boston to Brooklyn during the off-season.
“It’s always good to come back to Minnesota,” Garnett said, surrounded by both New York and Twin Cities media members. “The Twin Cities have always been like a second or third home. Always enjoyed the fans here.”
Garnett had nice things to say about the Wolves, calling Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love one of the best 1-2 punches in the league. He called the Wolves “electrifying.’’
“They play with a real fast pace,” Garnett said. “Kevin Love is in an unbelievable groove…. They’re playing with a lot of confidence. And trying to slow any of these guys down is going to be a task for all of us tonight.’’
But Garnett deflected any questions about where he is at in his career. When asked if he has contemplated retirement after this season, he said, “Next question.” A question about whether he could see a scenario in which he finished his career in a Wolves uniform got the same response.
Indeed, Garnett said, he is not thinking much about the past or the future. He’s worried about the present. Namely, trying to get the Nets back on track. “You deal with reality,” he said. “You deal with the current (situation). I don’t think outside of whatever I’m doing at the time. And the focus needs to be (there). ‘’
Garnett said he’s maintained a relationship with Flip Saunders, his coach when he was here and currently Minnesota’s president of basketball operations.
Here’s one final Garnett quote: “There is a lot of emotions that come with this building,” he said. “A lot of emotions that come with some of the stuff that’s in here. But, obviously, different time, different personnel, different times.”
In other items:
--Kirilenko met with Alexey Shved Thursday night. The two players, both from Russia, were very close last season, and Kirilenko said he’s been trying to help Shved through his struggles early this season. The two talk once or twice a week. “He’s in a tough position now, game-wise,” Kirilenko said. “But for young guys he has to use every opportunity. If you play five minutes, go hard. If you play 10 minutes, go hard. Play one minute, go hard. And if you aren’t playing, cheer for your teammates. Be positive and wait for a chance.”
--Kirilenko said he’s happy with the Nets, but admits that he sometimes wishes things had gone differently in the summer. Kirilenko opted out of the second year of his deal with the Wolves – one that would have paid him a little over $10 million – to become a free agent after last season. He rejected a multi-year offer from the Wolves at a lesser salary. Ultimately he ended up signing a two-year deal with the Nets that will pay him $3.2 million this year.
--Kevin Love got two stingers in his right arm during Wednesday’s loss to the Clippers, but said this morning that the arm is fine. “It didn’t affect my shooting,” he said of Wednesday’s game. “It was just an off night. But I feel good today.’’
It will be interesting to see the two Kevins tonight. They last faced each other in Target Center two years ago at the end of March, 2012. Love had played amazingly well in the month and there was talk about whether he might ultimately turn out to be the best forward named Kevin to play for the Wolves. Garnett got the better of things that night, scoring 24 points on 12-for-18 shooting with 10 rebounds in Boston’s 100-79 victory. Love scored 22 with 11 rebounds but shot 5-for-18 that night.
It’s my guess that Love will fare better tonight.
That’s about it for now. I’ll get back to you just before the game.
Wolves are about to tip it off here in Washington against the Wizards in a game that starts another five games-in-seven days stretch.
And there's all kind of storylines here on a night when rookie Shabazz Muhammad again is unavailable because of a sprained right ankle:
Flip Saunders came in early for the game, arriving Sunday to check out the condo he still owns here from his Wizards' coaching days and to visit his son Ryan, a Wizards assistant coach.
A.J. Price is back in the arena where he played last season and hoped to return this season but the Wizards showed no such mutual inclination.
Also here is Wolves GM Milt Newton, a Wizards' executive until Flip hired him away last summer.
Wizards coach Randy Wittman is coaching against the team he once coached both as an assistant and as head coach and chatted with old friend Flip earlier today.
And Kevin Love is playing against the first guy who ever coached him in the NBA, an experience that Love didn't feel too fondly about when Wittman coached him starting in 2008.
Asked if he still hears Wittman yelling "No!" at him now when he shoots threes, Love before tonight's game said, "I'm past that now. That was a long time ago."
|Vikings (12)||Wolves news (877)|
|Bears (1)||Lions (1)|
|Packers (3)||Super Bowl (2)|
|Injury report (1)||On the road (50)|
|Rookies (26)||Roster moves (3)|
|Vikings draft (41)||Vikings trade talk (2)|
|NBA playoffs (1)||Wolves coaches (69)|
|Wolves draft news (50)||Wolves guards (41)|
|Wolves injury report (308)||Wolves management (135)|
|Wolves players (467)||Wolves postgame (271)|
|Wolves practice news (138)||Wolves pre-game (321)|
|Wolves trade talk (77)||Wolves training camp (48)|
|Adrian Peterson (3)||Sidney Rice (2)|