In a last bit of bookkeeping before Friday's expected NBA player lockout...

The Wolves today exercised the fourth-year contract option for Wayne Ellington and third-year options for Wes Johnson and Lazar Hayward for the 2012-13 season.

Wes will make $4.2 million that season, Ellington $2.1 million and Hayward $1.2 million.

Picking up Wes' option by Thursday's league deadlline was an obvious move?

But why Ellington and Hayward on a roster that's getting mighty crowded?

Well, remember: The options are for the 2012-13 season. They're already committed to all three players for this next season, whenever (or if) that might be.

And also remember that the roster today -- already at the 15 man limit when they sign Derrick Williams and Malcolm Lee -- is not what it's going to look like when a new labor agreement is reached and teams hustle to get ready for the season.

Obviously, the Wolves felt the money guaranteed was worth each player's value, whether to this team going forth or as a trade chip.

As for when that forthcoming season will be played...

Unless there's an 11th hour resolution between owners and players or unless they agree to a negotiating extension, the league's basketball operations will halt at midnight Thursday night.

That's why Kurt Rambis still is coach, because of what everybody expects will be a lockout.

This thing has dragged on forever simply because it's cheaper to keep him employed -- depending the specifics on his contract, he either doesn't get paid at all or just a portion of his $2 million-ish salary (and it's probably not at all because would a portion be worth all the embarrassment this has caused the organization?) -- than to fire him and pay him off.

Perhaps the lockout's arrival will persuade the two sides to come to some kind of financial agreement.

Then again, maybe not...

The question is, how long will this go on before the Wolves name a replacement and give a new coach at least some time to prepare for the lockout's end, whenever that might be.

The longer the Wolves go on with Rambis as coach, the more Glen Taylor presumably is predicting the lockout will be a long one, perhaps even with the entire season lost. 


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