LA JOLLA, CALIF. – The Timberwolves have taken their show on the road for training camp to San Diego, and what a show it is: Add up players, coaches, trainers, scouts and other front-office personnel, an army approaching 60 people has taken up quarters in gymnasiums at both the University of California-San Diego and San Diego State.
Has it been everything Tom Thibodeau hoped it would be?
“And then some,” he said. “It has been invaluable to us.”
The Wolves coach and president of basketball operations decided to move training camp at substantial cost from the team’s Minneapolis facility to California for eight days for several reasons. It breaks up their long trip to China, where they will play two preseason games with Golden State next week. It solved practice scheduling with the Lynx, who share the practice facility with the Wolves and are playing Los Angeles in the WNBA Finals. And it provides time at nightly dinners and away from the court for a team with eight new faces at training camp to get to know each other.
Two years ago, after he was fired from the Chicago Bulls, Thibodeau visited Warriors training camp for three days in San Diego. “I saw then what a great setup it was,” he said.
When he was an assistant in Boston, the Celtics held training camp in Newport, R.I. When he was in New York, the Knicks went to Charleston, S.C., When he coached in Houston, the Rockets trained in Austin, Texas.
“I felt like the team with a lot of new guys and with the travel to China, it made a lot of sense,” Thibodeau said.
The Wolves are staying a three-point shot away from the Pacific Ocean during a week that has been nothing but wonderfully sunny and warm, but it has been no vacation.
“It’s definitely one of the hardest camps I’ve been a part of,” veteran point guard Jeff Teague said, “but it’s good for us.”
Taylor’s term ends
The NBA on Thursday named Toronto’s Larry Tanenbaum to succeed Wolves owner Glen Taylor as the league’s Board of Governors chairman. Taylor had served for a second time as chairman since April 2014.
“Glen Taylor was a terrific chairman who has a deep commitment to growing our game,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement that announced the change.
• The NBA’s Board of Governors approved draft-lottery reform that will give the teams with the three worst records the same chance — 14 percent — of winning. “I still don’t know if that will deter people from tanking. Hopefully it will,” Thibodeau said. “I just think you have to respect the game. We all have to do that. For the most part, it’s good. It’s saying we’re trying to do something and take care of the game.”
• Wolves forward Nemanja Bjelica didn’t practice for a second consecutive day because he has returned to Minnesota for the birth of his second child, a boy.
• The Wolves’ newly remodeled Target Center team store — at 1,400 square feet, twice the size of the old one — opens at 9 a.m Friday. The team’s new navy blue “Icon” jerseys bearing Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins’ name and number will be available starting with Friday’s opening. Other players’ jersey, including Jimmy Butler’s, will be available in the coming months.
• To counter having only three preseason games this year, Thibodeau said the Wolves will hold an intrasquad game when they return from China that will be played like it is a regular game.