• Glen Taylor reports Timberwolves interim coach Sam Mitchell, General Manager Milt Newton and all the assistants have one-year contracts that expire at the end of the season. Taylor, who owns both the Wolves and the Star Tribune, also reported that NBA rules call for each team to have a minimum number of players insured. So injured center Nikola Pekovic, who signed a five-year contract for $60 million and has two years left after this season totaling $23 million, is being paid 80 percent of his salary from insurance. Incidentally, Wolves home attendance is 17 percent ahead of last season, with applications for 2016-17 season tickets coming in at a pace unseen in recent years.
• As I’ve noted before, the Gophers football schedule for next season is so much softer than it was in 2015. It opens with three nonconference home games, against Oregon State, Indiana State and Colorado State. Big Ten play alternates between home and road games, and it begins at Penn State, followed by Iowa at home, at Maryland, Rutgers at home, at Illinois, Purdue at home, at Nebraska, Northwestern at home and end the season at Wisconsin. It’s the first year of the nine-game Big Ten schedule.
• Lou Nanne of hockey fame now has a steakhouse in Edina named after him, but local restaurant owner Michael McDermott is the big money behind it. Incidentally, Nanne would be my candidate for the Gophers athletic director job, at least for a short period, but he has no interest in the job. He lives for the university and has done so much for it already.
• Gophers men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino was asked about the two transfers who he believes will start next season. “Reggie Lynch [6-9 from Illinois State] has the opportunity to be one of the best bigs in the conference next year. He catches everything, has very good low-post moves, he’s extremely big, has a long wing span, can block shots. De’Vonte Fitzgerald [6-8 from Texas A&M], can shoot the ball, has great athleticism. I think both guys will be major components for what we’re doing.”