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.
While the clock ticks toward 11:01 p.m. Tuesday night on the Wolves' pursuit of Nicolas Batum, Kevin Love's clock is ticking toward 2015 on David Kahn and Glen Taylor.
Strong-armed into taking that four-year contract extension with a three-year out, Love voiced his growing impatience with Wolves management -- the general manager and owner, not the coaching staff.
When he was named to the Olympic team on Saturday night, he was the only one of the 12 players who has never made the playoffs.
In an interview with Yahoo!Sports' Marc Spears, Love had this to say:
"My patience is not high. Would yours be, especially when I'm a big proponent of greatness surrounding itself with greatness? All these (Team USA) guys seem to have great players around them.
"It's tough seeing all these guys that are young and older who have all played in the playoffs. When they start talking about that, I have nothing to talk about. If I don’t make the playoffs next year I don’t know what will happen."
Greatness surrounding greatness, huh?
"At this point, I’m not afraid to go on the record," Love said. "Being around these (USA) guys, they know the situation I’m in and how competitive I am. I want to win. All the players on the Timberwolves feel the same way, as well. The coaching staff is awesome. They want to win and win now. Hopefully, we can make some stuff happen.
"I would say it's coming down to it for sure (next season). It's no secret I was willing to commit to Minnesota for five years. I'm very happy with my contract. I'd love to be in Minnesota. But like anybody else, I want to win.
"If we don’t make the playoffs, I don’t know it’s going to be me or something, but our management needs to step up and make some moves," Love said. "Chase is good for us. Brandon if he can come in relatively healthy and be back to somewhat of where he was … we can be pretty damn good, especially in the fourth quarter with how he used to be (with the Trail Blazers) with LaMarcus (Aldridge) in the pick-and-roll. If Ricky can come back healthy that would be great.
"But I think our front office and ownership needs to step up and get us some pieces. We need to make some moves. We can't just stand still. We have to make this happen."
You can read the entire story, with reaction from Kahn, here.
It sure looks like Kahn still is aiming for a Batum sign-and-trade as this summer's signature move. If he can't pull it off with a Blazers team threatened that Batum doesn't want to be there -- even for $45 million or more -- Kahn will move on to Plans B, C or D, which could be anyone from Courtney Lee to O.J. Mayo to Brandon Rush.
Meanwhie, their other plans -- Lakers forward/center Jordan Hill and Boston center Greg Stiemsma -- wait for Kahn to resolve the Batum dilemma and its accompanying salary-cap maneuvers before he gets to them.
A sign-and-trade would make things a whole lot easier.
If not, the Wolves will have to get creative -- buy out Martell Webster and/or Brad Miller, amnesty Darko! probably - just to sign Batum to that big offer sheet.
Stiemsma's agent says his client wants to play for the Wolves.
Reports that the Wolves offered a one-year, $3 million deal are nonsense.
Yes, $3 million a year is in the ballpark, but you can't offer a one-year offer sheet to a restricted free agent, for one thing.
Hill's agent says the Wolves "absolutely" are in the chase among a number of teams his client is considering that he said is "getting smaller by the day."
Agent Kevin Bradbury said Hill is interested in the Wolves -- as well as the Lakers, although he didn't say that -- because of "the coach, the roster, it's a good, young talented team" and is looking for "the chance to win, playing time."
"He had a taste of the playoffs with the Lakers and he proved he can do it under pressure."
Hill played for Adelman in Houston for a season-plus.
"He learned a lot playing for Coach in Houston," Bradbury said. "He'd liked to play for him again."
The Wolves are the only team Hill has visited so far, Bradbury said.
Hill has his next court date on a felony-assault charge for a February incident with his ex-girlfriend in Houston later this month.
Not sure how that legal issue -- he faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted -- affect the Wolves' thinking and pursuit, if at all.
Bradbury also represents Chase Budinger. He said he and his client are willing to talk contract extension -- Budinger is set to be an unrestricted free agent next summer -- whenever the Wolves are, but said they'll wait, see how the summer goes, how the team shapes up and see what kind of cap room the Wolves have left after making their summer moves.
NBA teams can start signing players and making trades at 11:01 p.m. Twin Cities time Tuesday, the end of the league's 11-day moratorium period.
One other thing before I go:
University of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar tweeted Saturday a congratulatory message to former Husky point guard Will Conroy -- a long-time D Leaguer -- for landing with the Wolves.
Summer-league spot, right?
Somebody tweeted back to Romar asking that and he said no.
Yet another point guard?
Conroy was in camp with the Wolves last December and he'd no doubt be a minimum salary player if he indeed is being signed for the long term.
If so, could that mean the Wolves have plans to Luke Ridnour or J.J. Barea soon, even though the timing of Ricky Rubio's return to full health is still uncertain.
This week could bring lots of developments, even if a lot of it officially may be delayed for some time while the Wolves try to put together the pieces.
Brandon Roy wore a Timberwolves cap briefly on draft night 2006.
Now the team that drafted him and quickly traded him in a deal that sent Roy to Portland for Randy Foye and a big chunk of cash appears poised to get in the hunt for the former All Star who essentially retired last December because of bad knees.
The Wolves were interested in making a bid on Roy last December after the lockout ended and it appeared he was amnesty candidate who might keep playing on those bad knees.
The Blazers did use their amnesty clause to wipe the remaining $63 million off his contract, but Roy retired instead.
He recently used a friend's Twitter account to say he is plotting a comeback and expects to play this coming season.
Yahoo!Sports Monday night reported Chicago, Dallas, Indiana, the Wolves and Golden State are seriously pursuing Roy and 1500espn.com here in the Twin Cities reported the Wolves are prepared to offer Roy a two-year deal in a move being pushed by assistant coach Bill Bayno, a former Blazers assistant, and coach Rick Adelman.
Roy is an unrestricted free agent who can sign with any team any time now and does not have to wait until the NBA's free-agent moratorium that begins July 1 and end July 11.
Yahoo reported that Roy's bad knees -- he retired basically because he had no cartilage left in either knee -- have been helped recently by the platelet plasma therapy producure that Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady and baseball's Alex Rodriguez sought out.
Yahoo also reported the Pacers might have an edge because former Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard is now in Indiana's front office and Roy trusts him from their days together in Portland.
Golden State's GM Bob Myers used to be Roy's agent.
The Wolves certainly need a shooting guard and Roy would be worth the risk, depending on the price, of course.
The Wolves will hold their final draft workout on Tuesday, when Syracuse center Fab Melo is one of six players due into Target Center.
On Monday, Memphis' Will Barton was one of four players who worked out.
Melo, Barton and Royce White are the only candidates for the Wolves' 18th pick whom the team worked out at Target Center.
That might suggest how much they intend to trade the pick.
Or it simply could be a symptom of drafting 18th -- and having trouble getting players to agee to come for workouts who believe they're going higher than 18th -- this year rather than second, third or fourth as the team has done in recent years.
Malcolm Lee was recalled by the Wolves this morning from the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA Development League.
Lee averaged 9.7 points and six assists in three games for the Skyforce. The 6-5 rookie guard from UCLA was the Bulls' second-round pick last summer and came to Minnesota in a draft-day trade. He had a torn meniscus in his left knee repaired shortly after training camp opened and was basically rehabbing in the D-League.
NBA teams can assign first or second-year players to the D-League a maximum of three times per season.
The Wolves practice this afternoon.
Point guard Ricky Rubio made only one shot Wednesday, but folks were still talking about Rubio’s drive to the basket in the third quarter.
Rubio got the ball on the perimeter, ball-faked Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey into the air, then did a behind-the-back move with the ball as he went in for the layup. Afterwards Rubio insisted he did it to avoid having defenders get their hands on the ball.
Wolves coach Rick Adelman, a former NBA guard himself, smiled at that notion. “It’s just natural,” Adelman said. “He does things that other guys might think about doing by themselves in the gym. But he does it on the court. It’s just the way that he plays. I’ve seen him make passes that other guys aren’t even going to think about. It comes natural to him.”
Adelman was asked if he ever did a move like that. “By myself, in the gym,” he said.
So what is the big news from the Wolves shootaround today? That's easy. Ricky Rubio got a haircut. Stop the presses.
Greetings, Youngblood here after the Wolves morning shoot.
Yes, the excitement around the rookie has reached the point where Rubio has to be asked about his hair. He went with Kevin Love to get it snipped yesterday, and some of the players were giving Rubio a hard time about it today.
Which, according to Love, is just as well. "I didn't think he needed a haircut," Love said. " The guys are giving him some grief today about it, which he needs. He's a rookie. Derrick (Williams) needs some of it, Malcolm (Lee) as well. So he needed it today, to be brought back to Earth a little bit, like we all do sometimes."
OK. We've got that out of the way. What else? Here are some nuggets before tonight's game at Target Center against the Memphis Grizzlies:
--Love, Rubio and Michael Beasley are on the All-Star ballot. There are 60 players from the East and 60 from the West on the ballot. Players were chosen by a four-member media panel: Bill Simmons of Grantland, Sekou Smith of nba.com, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star and Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated.
--Memphis PR says star forward Zach Randolph will not play tonight because of an injured knee.
--It does not appear guard J.J. Barea (hamstring) will play tonight for the Wolves.
--Veteran Luke Ridnour might be appreciating what's going on here the most. And you might not think that, given that Rubio is garnering all the attention. But Ridnour is the oldest player on the Wolves' active roster, and he's played on playoff teams before. I think last year with problems both on and off the court drained him. He appears rejuvenated right now. He talked today about how much he loves the way the Wolves are moving and sharing the ball. "It's fun to come in, just the atmosphere in the locker room, the fans," he said. "It's something we definitely were missing last year. To have that back? I've been lucky enough to be on teams that won. You can sense the atmosphere. It's totally different this year."
--Wes Johnson is coming off a perfect 6-for-6, 14-point performance against San Antonio. Johnson struggled with his shot over the first four games, and it was a relief for him to finally hit some. "It did feel good, seeing my shot falling," he said.
--Rubio will be able to get together with Memphis center Marc Gasol tonight. Maybe. Gasol and Rubio are both from Barcelona, Spain, and have been friends for years. They played against each other as professionals and with each other on Spanish national teams. Memphis is staying in town tonight rather than flying out right after the game. "We'll hang out after the game," Rubio said. "If we win."
Rubio was asked which Gasol -- Marc or Pau -- was the better player. Rubio was way to savvy to fall for that one. "I don't know how to say, I played with both of them. Both have great skills."
Rubio also had another interesting thing to say. He was asked if, while sitting on the bench in the first quarter, he heard fans calling for him to play. "Yeah, but I don't like that kind of stuff," he said. "Because, I don't know how to say, there are five players playing on the court and we have to focus on them. And Luke played very well and he did a great job for us. He gave us a victory."
--One final note, this one from Anthony Tolliver. He was asked about coach Rick Adelman having him and Kevin Love on the court at times, spotting up for three-pointers and how that forced teams to adjust. Tolliver had an interesting response: " We're making teams adjust to us rather than always adjusting to them," he said. "That was something we didn't do last year, I think, very much. We never dictated things last year. We were always adjusting to the other team. Now we're making the other team adjust to us. That's a huge reason why we're having some success."
That's about it for now. I'll get back to you tonight.
|Vikings (12)||Wolves news (802)|
|Bears (1)||Packers (3)|
|Super Bowl (2)||Injury report (1)|
|On the road (45)||Rookies (25)|
|Roster moves (3)||The draft (40)|
|Trade talk (2)||NBA playoffs (1)|
|Wolves coaches (67)||Wolves draft news (42)|
|Wolves guards (40)||Wolves injury report (293)|
|Wolves management (105)||Wolves players (413)|
|Wolves postgame (263)||Wolves practice news (130)|
|Wolves pre-game (285)||Wolves trade talk (70)|
|Wolves training camp (40)||Adrian Peterson (3)|
|Sidney Rice (2)|