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.
Busy news morning on this Thursday for the Wolves...
Forward Dante Cunningham was arrested shortly after 6 a.m. by police in Medina on suspicion of domestic assault. He is not traveling with team on its afternoon flight to Miami today.
Our news story is here.
The team waived little-used veteran point guard A.J. Price this morning, a decision that was made, I'm told, last night before the Cunningham arrest but which clears the way to sign a player to Price's now vacant roster spot for the season's remaining eight games.
It's likely, depending how the Cunningham situation plays out, that player will be a power forward or combo forward type.
Just as FYI: Cunningham's contract -- a $2.2 million salary -- expires after this season and he will be an unrestricted free agent in July. His return next season was a question before Thursday morning's arrest.
Price underwent an appendectomy March 9 and recently was cleared to play again but hadn't made it off the inactive list on game nights.
Nikola Pekovic is out tonight against Memphis at Target Center after he played fewer than seven minutes Monday against the Clippers because of that troublesome ankle but...
Ronny Turiaf is back.
The Wolves' backup center is available to play for the first time since sustained a knee mone bruise in a Feb. 19 game against Indiana.
How much and how well he'll play, well...
He said he's been ramping up his activity the last two weeks, doing more intensive work on the treadmill and 1-on-1, 2-on-2 and 5-on-0 courtwork that has included some spirited 1-on-1 games with executive Calvin Booth.
"I don't know," he said when asked how much he expects to play. "I'm dressing. We'll see what happens."
He'll come off the bench behind rookie Gorgui Dieng, who moves back into the starting lineup with Pekovic out again.
Coach Rick Adelman said he believes Pekovic still is just day to day and not done for the year with just nine games remaining.
Wolves center Gorgui Dieng on Tuesday was named the Western Conference’s Rookie of the Month for March for his double-double performances while he replaced injured Nikola Pekovic as the team’s starter for six games.
Dieng is the fifth Wolves rookie to win the award, joining Ricky Rubio (January 2012), Kevin Love (March 2009), Randy Foye (December 2006) and Stephon Marbury (January 1997).
Dieng averaged 8.6 points and 8.3 rebounds during March, but 12.1 points on 64.5 percent shooting and 12 rebounds a game in the month’s last nine games, including those six starts.
He became the first player since Elden Campbell in 1991 to reach 10 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots in his first NBA start.
His 22-point, 21-rebound game at Houston on March 20 made him the fifth player in Wolves history to reach a 20-20 game. He also became the sixth player in record a 20-20 game within his first three career starts since the NBA started keeping track of starts in 1970. The others: Dave Cowens, Larry Smith, Terry Cummings, Roy Tarpley and Enes Kanter.
Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams was named the East’s Rookie of the Month.
Now Dieng likely will become the team's starter again after Pekovic left Monday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers after fewer than seven minutes and could be sidelined once again because of pain in his ankle.
Greetings for a final time from Target Center
With not much left to play for except pride, it was still difficult to watch the lack of effort displayed by the Wolves in the game-changing third quarter Monday. After the game the players were contrite and coach Rick Adelman was a bit salty. He was clearly upset by his team’s lack of defense and listless offense.
Here are some observations:
--Four Wolves reserves scored in double figures, three – Gorgui Dieng, Shabazz Muhammad and Chase Budinger – doing it in the fourth quarter alone. The starters could take a lesson from the energy the reserves showed tonight. Isn’t that a twist?
--Dieng has now scored in double figures in seven of his last nine games. Since March 16 – when he made his first start – Dieng is the league’s second-leading scorer.
--The Wolves starters were 17-for-52 tonight. Corey Brewer was the only starter to shoot 50 percent.
--I would personally be surprised if Nikola Pekovic plays again this season. He’s clearly in pain, the Wolves are out of the playoffs. But we’ll see.
That’s about it for now. Have a great night. Jerry will be with the team the next two days.
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