MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- At the end of this morning's shootaround at Bradley Center Wolves coach Kurt Rambis pulled his team together and had a conversation.
There wasn't a lot of information Rambis could give his team about the widely-reported trade involving the Wolves, one in which the Wolves played a supporting role in sending Carmelo Anthony from Denver to New York. The Wolves' part would include sending Corey Brewer to the Knicks while getting at least one player, Anthony Randolph, in return. (Plus Eddy Curry's expiring contract). Rambis just wanted to say something, and make sure his team stayed as focused as possible given the situation.
"We had a conversation," Rambis said. "We spelled out to them what we know, which is basically nothing right now. So, it's an unfortunate set of circumstances for Corey and our team. But that's how things are done now."
What a weird situation. Brewer flew with the Wolves to Milwaukee last night, but was left at the hotel as the team boarded the bus to go to the morning workout; Rambis said that was the call of David Kahn, the Wolves' president of basketball operations. So the Wolves move forward, for now, without Brewer even though the deal isn't official yet. Brewer, meanwhile, sits back in the team hotel, in limbo for now.
"It's all a part of it," Rambis said. "You have the basketball side of the NBA and the business side of the NBA. This is part of the business side of things. It's an absolutely horrible spot (for Brewer) to be in. It's something that has weighed on his mind for a while now. You could just see it. It's awful that that's what happens to guys in this league. But, again, that's a part of the business side of it."
Meanwhile, Wolves players talked about what it was like playing with Brewer, and what it might be like without him.
Rookie Wes Johnson, fresh off a nice performance in the rookie game over All Star weekend, will move into the starting lineup in place of Brewer. "He worked hard every night," Johnson said of Brewer. "There was not one game where he didn't go out there and give it his all. So I think everybody on the team can learn from him."
Michael Beasley will return to action after missing five games with an ankle injury. But he won't be playing with Brewer.
"It's difficult, this situation," Beasley said. "Especially here, on the road. Corey really doesn't have anywhere to go, doesn't really know what to do. And he might have to fly home with us. It's strange, but it won't be weird, because he's our friend. It's just a situation you don't really want."
Kevin Love has played with Brewer the longest. Love praised Brewer's energy.
"It will be tough (if Brewer leaves)," Love said. "I value Corey's friendship, I value Corey as a teammate at a very, very high level. He plays hard, he plays to win. He goes really hard on defense, brings it every day in practice. I don't know what's going to happen with Corey, but we're just hoping with Randolph that he'll add the same kind of spark to us. (Randolph) is a guy who adds value, as far as potential for this team. But we'll see what will happen with him, as far as playing time and whatnot. But I'm definitely going to miss Corey. It was me and him from the (Kevin) McHale era, and now it's only me."
I know it's standard for coaches and teammates to say good things about a fellow as he's headed to another team. But with Brewer, effort was never in question.
"Corey has a great attitude," Rambis said. "He works hard, he plays hard. He has a tremendous enthusiasm for the game, his team, his teammates. He's been nothing but great. I think he's made improvement as a ball player, he works hard on his deficiencies, works hard to develop his skills. From a professional standpoint, he's been nothing but great."
I'll keep you posted as things move forward. There were a couple other items to report from morning shoot:
--Luke Ridnour didn't fly with the team to Milwaukee; he stayed home to see to his family. He was scheduled to get here this afternoon in time for the game. Seeing as Jonny Flynn isn't playing tonight, if Ridnour gets hung up, Sebastian Telfair could be in for some big minutes.
--As I said, Flynn is out.
--Martell Webster is with the team, but his back makes him doubtful for the game tonight.