Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
The National Basketball Association has informed the Minnesota Timberwolves that the officiating crew working last night's 117-120 TWolves loss, should have called a foul on that final play.
With just over three seconds to play, Bryant stepped to the line for two free throws. He hit the first to give the Lakers a 117-119 lead. The second hit off the front of the rim and Ricky Rubio grabbed the rebound and quickly raced up court. Ricky let loose with a shot just inside the halfcourt line. As he released the ball Kobe came from behind and hit him across his hands. The referees didn't call the foul as time expired and the Lakers stole the W. Rubio & Adelman pleaded with the officials for a brief period, but it was ultimately for naught.
Another prime example of superstar treatment in a money-driven league. Does the average NBA fan really want to see the lowly Wolves beat the Lakers?! Of course not.
Here's the video of that final play...
So, the NBA reviewed that play and admitted they got it wrong. That's all well and good, but does it even matter? You can say, "yeah, we got it wrong" but it doesn't change the fact that the Wolves lost. If the exact same situation, with the exact same players happened tonight, the result would be the same. The refs wouldn't whistle up Kobe and the TWolves would lose yet again. So you can't say that the NBA reviewing this play will help to ensure that their officials get it right in the future.
That's all for now, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
A few weeks ago I posted about what the 2013-14 Minnesota Timberwolves could look like. We covered all current players and positions, but there's one person I (somehow) left out: Rick Adelman.
Will Rick Adelman be back for the 2013-14 season as the Timberwolves' head coach? I honestly don't know and I don't think he does (yet) either.
His wife's health and another injury-riddled season that, yet again derailed a season of high expectations does the 66-year-old Adelman want to return for a third year in Minnesota?
Adelman missed nearly a full month during the season while tending to his wife who was hospitalized with unexplained seizures. Reports say she's doing much better now.
Owner Glen Taylor said recently that he expects Rick back next season and assuming his wife is doing well, I'd expect Rick back for another year.
Injuries have ruined two consecutive, promising seasons and we have yet to see what this team can do, we haven't seen Kevin Love & Ricky Rubio take the floor together for a full season and add in Andrei Kirilenko & Nikola Pekovic (assuming they'll both be back next year).
There's no doubt that if these team was at full-strength, they'd be a playoff squad. I think Adelman will want to come back to give it another go.
But, what happens if he does indeed decide to resign, who would be the head coach for the 2013-14 season? Would the Wolves look to sign someone on the current assistant coaching staff? Terry Porter? Bill Bayno? Jack Sikma? T.R. Dunn? David Adelman? Or will the Wolves look to other options?
This is certainly a situation to keep an eye on as time winds down on the season. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves continue to get healthier. Andrei Kirilenko & Nikola Pekovic returned from a lengthy absence late last week and now, Thursday should see the return of Chase Budinger.
Budinger was cleared for full-contact practices early last week, but because the Wolves haven't practiced since he was cleared, he couldn't get back on the court. He had said he wanted 1-2 practices before he'd suit up.
He got his one practice in on Wednesday morning in the Twin Cities. Chase said afterwards that he's definitely rusty and the key will be trying to get his legs underneath him (get his conditioning up). Budinger says that as long as he feels good tomorrow, in the morning shootaround, he should play vs. the Kings in Sacramento on Thursday.
Whether his conditioning is 100% or not, he'll be a boost to the struggling Wolves. He'll provide depth at small forward and shooting guard and will hopefully help the Wolves' dismal three-point shooting.
Chase played six games this season before tearing the lateral meniscus in his knee, with one start. During that time, he averaged 11.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.5apg, 1spg and shot .480 FG, .304 3PT & .800 FT in 23.5mpg.
Chase is a restricted free agent this summer and these last 17 games, he'll be working for a contract--or bigger money. The Wolves have said recently that resigning him this offseason will be a big priority. Chase said earlier in the season (before he tore up his knee) that he definitely wouldn't be against returning to the Timberwolves.
Chase tore his knee up in a Nov. 10th meeting against the Bulls in Chicago in an 80-87 loss. He was pushed to the ground by Marco Belinelli and suffered the injury. The Wolves will be facing the Bulls this coming Sunday (3/24) at the Target Center, should be an interesting 'headline' going into that game.
We'll update this post tomorrow morning after team shootaround on Chase's status for the game. Stay tuned for that, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Chase Budinger had a phone interview with his surgeon, Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday and he was cleared for full-contact practices. He says he's hoping to get at least 1-2 practices in before he returns to the court.
Unfortunately it looks as though the Wolves will have only two practices scheduled in the next ten days. That makes Chase's return to the court pretty hard to nail down. Bud says that he won't really have an idea of a return date until he goes through and intense 5-on-5 practice.
Kevin Love is hoping to get clearance for full-contact practices on Wednesday.
I honestly have no idea when these guys will be able to return to the court, but I would expect to have Kirilenko & Pekovic back by the end of this week and Chase & Love back in about a week-and-a-half.
The Wolves may be out of the playoff race and currently the team in the Western Conference with these least amount of wins, but I know we all want to see this full roster on the court together. We haven't seen Chase & Kevin together since the first few games of the preseason. Kevin Love & Ricky Rubio have played less than 30 minutes together this season. We haven't seen Chase and Ricky on the court together at all and I'm still waiting to see extended minutes from our starting frontcourt: Kirilenko, Love & Pekovic! It's been tough to watch this team lately, with just nine healthy players and almost no scorers on the active roster.
That's all for now, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves waived Lou Amundson on February 8th to make room for swingman Mickael Gelabale & big man Chris Johnson, after their 10-day contracts expired.
He was out of work for a while, but eventually landed in Chicago on March 2nd and signed a 10-day contract with the Chicago Bulls. With injuries to some of the Chicago big men, they were looking for some backup. During his 10-day contract, he was available for five games and only played 2 minutes in a blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
The Bulls were prepared to sign him to a second 10-day contract, but he decided instead to sign a rest-of-the-season deal with the New Orleans Hornets. He should certainly get some playing time in NOLA as they have just four big men under contract (Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, Robin Lopez & Jason Smith) and only three healthy big men--Jason Smith is out for the season after undergoing surgery on his shoulder that will keep him out for the remainder of the season.
I think it's fair to say, he should definitely get some solid playing time--likely as the team's backup center.
The Wolves will face the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday at the Target Center for their fourth and final meeting.
Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
While Chase Budinger and Kevin Love continue to make significant steps toward returning to the court, Andrei Kirilenko & Nikola Pekovic have been sidelined and kept out of the lineup for the past couple games. Both AK & Pek don't have timelines for a return and will be re-evaluated next week.
With six players on the injury report, the Wolves have just nine healthy bodies. Guards Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea & Alexey Shved; Forwards Mickael Gelabale, Derrick Williams & Dante Cunningham; and Centers Greg Stiemsma & Chris Johnson.
Because of this, there are rumors that the Wolves are looking at potentially signing another big man to a 10-day contract by way of the 'hardship exception'. If you remember, the Wolves originally applied to the League office for said exception when they signed Mickael Gelabale & Chris Johnson to 10-days (one of them got the hardship exception) and again when they renewed those 10-day contracts for the second & final time. Now, with still a 15-man roster, the Wolves would have to apply for yet another hardship exception. With all the injuries, there's a very good chance the League office would grant them that.
The names currently being floated out for potential signings are: Jeremy Tyler & Eddy Curry. Tyler was traded from Golden State to the Hawks on the Trade Deadline. The Hawks recently waived Tyler so they could sign Shelvin Mack to a 10-day contract. According to Darren Wolfson, Tyler's agent has contacted Kahn, but DK isn't a big Tyler fan--or at least doesn't think he can contribute much. Curry is another name being 'floated' (according to Wolfson).
I'm not sure I understand why the Wolves would want to sign another player. There's a very small chance that they player would actually get any playing time under Adelman (who clearly prefers playing the guys that have been around all season). Chris Johnson was very impressive while Terry Porter was the acting head coach and gave CJ plenty of opportunities, unfortunately since Rick has returned Johnson has struggled to get off the bench. With the abdomen strain to Pek, he's had no choice, but to play him recently, but he still hasn't seen more than 10-15 minutes, despite the Wolves having just nine total healthy players.
I could understand the Wolves signing another swingman, however. Right now, Minnesota has Mickael Gelabale as the only small forward on the roster. Adelman has used some three-guard lineup combinations with Rubio, Luke, J.J. & Shved, but that leaves them at a big disadvantage defensively, especially if they're not playing in a zone. Signing a D-League swingman like D.J. Kennedy, DaJuan Summers, Kris Joseph, Lazar Hayward or Chris Wright (all of whom, show up on the Top 10 D-League prospects 'board').
If Kirilenko and/or Pekovic are ruled out for a longer period after their re-evaluations next week, expect to hear talk of signing another player 'pick up steam'. We'll keep on eye out on the rumor mill and keep you updated! Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
In a post a while back, we talked about Andrei Kirilenko's future with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Today, we'll be taking a look at what next year's Minnesota Timberwolves could look like.
There are a few players we know for certain will be on the roster...
Ricky Rubio has been deemed as one of two 'untouchable' Timberwolves players. Ricky is Minnesota's starting point guard of the future. He'll still be on his rookie contract which will pay him $4,002,120 next season. That salary for next season is a team option as is Ricky's salary ($5,070,686) in 2014-15. He's clearly an integral part of the Wolves' long-term plans.
The second of two 'untouchables' is Kevin Love. While he has plenty of Timberwolves fans hoping the Wolves will trade him, he'll quickly put those rumblings to rest assuming he returns to his All-Star form. I have no doubts he'll do just that! He'll be a Wolf until he makes it clear that he doesn't want to anymore.
The Wolves currently have two 'backup' point guards on this season's roster: Luke Ridnour & J.J. Barea. There's a very good chance that only one of those two will be on the roster in 2013-14. I assume that one will be moved this summer (likely around the Draft). Both players were rumored to possibly moved before Thursday's (2/21) Trade Deadline. The most likely of the two will be Luke Ridnour. Ridnour will make $4,320,000 in 2013-14 and will be an unrestricted free agent after next season. That expiring contract will increase his trade value even more. While J.J. Barea can be quite 'bipolar' on the court--meaning you never know who you're getting out on the floor. Some nights he'll fearlessly drive to the rack and either finish extremely difficult layups or dish to a wide-open teammate, while also playing smothering D and knocking down threes. Other nights, he flops all over the place, plays less than stellar D and can't hit any shots. I assume Barea will still be on the roster come 2013-14.
Brandon Roy has played five regular season games for the Wolves since signing his two-year $10.4million contract. Those five games are likely the only five games he'll play as a Wolf and potentially the last five he'll ever play in the NBA. Roy's $5million-plus he's owed next season is non-guaranteed and assuming he isn't bought out sometime in the near future, no matter what, he won't be on the roster next season. Yet another failed signing by the maestro David Kahn.
Malcolm Lee had yet another season filled injury. His rookie campaign was marred by a knee injury that kept him out for the first part of the season. This time, he was seeing consistent minutes because of so many injuries, but unfortunately he went down with a knee and hip injuries that forced him into season-ending surgery. He's currently under contract for 2013-14 at a discount, owed just over $880,000. Assuming the Wolves don't need the roster spot for someone else they really like, he'll be a Wolf in 2013-14.
Alexey Shved is the last guard on the roster we haven't discussed. Shved was one of the offseason's most underrated signings. He's under contract for another two years at the conclusion of this season and is most certainly in the Wolves' long-term plans. If Alexey can add some bulk and become a more physical player he could very well be the team's starting shooting guard, otherwise he'll remain a very excellent sixth man off the bench. He has all the tools to turn into Manu Ginobli 2.0!
We've discussed Andrei Kirilenko's future previously, but when it's all said and done, it's doubtful that he leaves over $10million on the table as he won't get an offer anywhere near that number. While it remains a possibility that he could opt out of that final year and look for a longer deal that guaranteed a price tag around $6million to $8million for three to four years. I do hope that AK opts out and signs a longer deal at a lower price, but when it's all said and done I just hope he's a Minnesota Timberwolf in 2013-14.
Mickael Gelabale was signed mid-season after Josh Howard tore his ACL and Lazar Hayward's second 10-day contract expired. He was brought in on two 10-day contracts of his own, before being signed for the remainder of the season. There have been some rumors that he is signed through 2013-14 or (more likely) he has a team option for next season. If he does have that team option, it'll be for no more than the veteran's minimum. He's been 'all right' in his short time in Minnesota. After falling out of the League a few years back and playing internationally, the Wolves gave him a chance and because of so many injuries, he's been given a pretty big role. I wouldn't mind him being back next season as a reserve forward playing behind AK & (hopefully) Chase.
Chase is an unrestricted free agent this summer and according to multiple reports the past couple months, resigning him this offseason is a MAJOR priority. He's getting closer to returning to the court and the last 15-20 games he's able to play will be a pretty big factor in the annual dollar amount he'll demand in free agency. He's said he wouldn't mind staying in Minnesota and some reports I've read expect the Wolves offer to be around $2million a year. I feel like he's showed some great potential and skill during his time in the NBA and I wouldn't be surprised if another team offers him a $4-$5million a year contract annually. As a specialist stand-still spot-up shooter and automatically Minnesota's best three-point shooter. So long as they can get him for the 'right amount' I'm hoping he's a TWolf come 2013-14.
Now, we're into the our reserve power forwards: Derrick Williams & Dante Cunningham. One will be back next season and one won't, can you guess which is which? Well, Dante has a team option for 2013-14, while Williams will be entering the third year of his four-year rookie contract. Still unsure? I'll give you a hint, the guy with the team option will be a Wolf, while the guy on his rookie contract is as good as gone. Dante Cunningham is a favorite of Rick Adelman as one of the team's most versatile defenders who, if he will develop his low-post offense, could become one of the Wolves' best reserves. Darren Wolfson said in a report from 1500 ESPN that it's already been decided that Dante's option will be picked up and he'll be a Wolf next season. Derrick Williams' future could be more uncertain as we head into the offseason. He's been playing very well as of late in the absence of Kevin Love and even more recently: Andrei Kirilenko & Nikola Pekovic. In an injury-ravaged season, Derrick Williams' steady improvement has been a bright spot. I only hope he'll continue his higher level of play for the remainder of the season as it's more than likely Williams will be traded this summer and him playing well, clearly improves his 'value'. Don't be surprised if DWill is moved around the Draft come June for a high(er) pick in the Draft to get a guy like Oladipo or McLemore or, conversely to obtain a veteran shooting guard.
Reserve center Greg Stiemsma. It's no secret that I'm not a big Stiemsma fan and would more than happy to see him leave this summer. He's got a team option for the 2013-14 season and according to the same 1500 ESPN report from Wolfson that said the Wolves would be picking up Dante's option--said the Wolves would be picking up Greg's option, as well. That option will pay him just under $2.7million for 2013-14. The Wolves will be paying Stiemsma almost $3million dollars to play 10 minutes a night, pick up 4 fouls and have every guy on the other roster want to punch him in the face. You could pay Jason Collins the veteran's minimum for fouls and intimidation. Unless there's a major spike in his overall game this summer, I can't fathom paying him that kind of money for the kind of production you receive.
Reserve center Chris Johnson. We saw some great play from Johnson during that stretch under Terry Porter (as acting head coach) when Adelman was with his hospitalized wife. He's just 27 years old and he's still got some potential to become better. His game relies on elite athleticism and he's got plenty of it! From everything I've heard, the Wolves will look to bring him back next season. If he can add a bit more weight & strength, he'd be a 'leaps & bounds' upgrade over Greg Stiemsma as the backup center. CJ has a similar skillset & body to Anthony Randolph and I remember saying the same things about him during his season-and-a-half with the Wolves.
Starting center and the continually improving Nikola Pekovic. It'd be a shame if the Wolves were to lose Nikola Pekovic this summer. It leaves a big hole in the middle and if the Wolves honestly believe Timofey Mozgov is the answer as his replacement...I have my doubts. If the Wolves can resign him for a contract that pays him $10million a year, he'll be a Wolf, but if a team makes him the kind of offer that Roy Hibbert got this past offseason or DeAndre Jordan got two seasons ago, he'll be donning a different uni come 2013-14. His agent is Mark Bartelstien--the same as Kevin Love & former Wolf Al Jefferson. If you remember the contract Big Al got, Mark will be looking to get the same kind of deal for Pek. From all the reports I've heard, Pekovic loves playing in Minnesota and would definitely like to stay. If he's willing to take less than the $12million another team will likely pay him. Just remember this, the Houston Rockets gave reserve center Omer Asik a contract this summer that paid him just over $8.3million a year for the next three years. That was for an unproven center that showed he had potential, but was buried behind Joakim Noah and averaged less than 2 points & 4 rebounds a game! For a guy that has shown steady improvement each of his three years in the League and is currently averaging just under 16 points a game and 9 rebounds, someone is going to make him a big offer. Some teams that will be interested: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats, Dallas Mavericks, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers (if they don't bring back Bynum) and the Portland Trailblazers. The Blazers remain the most likely as they're in the market for a quality center (they signed Hibbert to an offer sheet this past summer that Indiana matched) and would love to 'get back at Minnesota' for that Nicolas Batum offer sheet this past summer as well as the Martell Webster debacle & Brandon Roy fiasco. All in all, Pekovic IS my FAVORITE Timberwolf and I pray the Wolves can resign him this summer.
I know we're all tired of the continual roster turnover and letting Pekovic leave via free agency would be another step backwards. I think we can all agree a starting unit of Rubio, Kirilenko, Love, Pekovic and a shooting guard that we either draft or trade for would (when healthy) be a playoff team in 2013-14. The key to that: being healthy. Not like that's any great surprise.
I've rambled on far enough. Hope you enjoyed. Do you have a difference of opinion, something I say rub you the wrong way, do you agree with me fully? Let me hear it in the comment section below! Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
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