Wolves coach/president of basketball ops and GM Scott Layden introduced their newest player, Jamal Crawford, Wednesday morning at their Mayo Clinic Square practice facility and here’s some of what he had to say:
He consulted with former Wolves guard Zach LaVine – two scorers from different generations, but both from Seattle – before he chose to sign with the Wolves.
“He loved Minnesota, absolutely loved. Obviously, it’s cold, but he said it’s a great city, great people. He enjoyed playing for Coach Thibs. He loved all his teammates. It was cool to talk to him. I talked to B-Roy (Brandon Roy) who played here, I talked to Will Conroy. I remember asking Joe Smith about Minnesota years ago and he loved it. So it’s always been an interesting city to me and now I get the chance to experience first-hand.”
On choosing Minnesota over Cleveland and other title contenders: “It just made sense on every level.”
On what fans should expect. Is there a number of victories he has in mind: “I’m not sure it’s a number. I just think we can be somewhere we haven’t been in a while. I’ll just say that.”
On keep on keeping on at age 37 and how he stays in shape: “Shape has no age.”
On the Wolves’ newish practice facility: “It’s beautiful. It’s really, really nice. I was able to walk around twice. It has everything. There’s no reason not to be in here all the time.”
But he says he hasn’t seen Target Center in the midst of its $140 million remodel yet. “We’re going to have that place rocking this year.”
* Thibodeau already has started to think about a small-ball lineup that’ll feature Jeff Teague and Crawford in the backcourt and Andrew Wiggins, Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns up front: “I don’t know how you would defend that group.”
Thibodeau still wants to sign a backup point guard and two more wing players from a free-agent pool that still has plenty of players left looking for deals.
Amidst all that, looming as well is a contract extension for Wiggins that is expected to be one of the two maximum five-year, designated-player slots the Wolves are allowed under the new CBA. Wiggins is eligible to sign such a deal that's expected to approach $150 million total before the start of this coming season. Towns is eligible for the same before the 2018-19 season.
“We’re working on it right now,” Thibodeau said about Wiggins’ contract extension.