Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
Chase Budinger tore his lateral meniscus early in the season after being pushed to the floor by Marco Belinelli in a loss to the Chicago Bulls on November 10th. We found out a few days later that he'd be out for 3-4 months. That makes his return date sometime in March.
Because of this, Josh Howard was signed to a non-guaranteed veteran's minimum offer in mid-November. Less than a month later, in Minnesota's win over the New Orleans Hornets on December 14th he went down with an injury. It was initially thought he had a hyperextended knee and he was hoping to return on the following Sunday in that game in New York. He had an MRI earlier that week and we found out he tore his ACL and it was a season-ending injury. As such, Howard's non-guaranteed contract came off the books (he was waived) and the Wolves now have an open roster spot, they'll be looking to fill with a defensive-minded swingman.
Minnesota is looking to fill that open roster spot with a player that can play both wing positions and whose specialty is defense.
With Malcolm Lee likely out for the season with a 'chrondal' injury in his right knee, the need for another wing player becomes even more vital.
Brandon Roy is expected to return to the active roster this weekend vs. the Phoenix Suns, he'll definitely fill a void in the 'wing department'.
Because Roy is returning very soon, the need for another wing isn't as important. The most likely scenario for the Wolves is they wait until January 5th when teams can begin signing 10-day contracts. The Wolves could then sign a player to two 10-day contracts.
It's sounding as though the player the Timberwolves are most interested in is Mickael Gelabale. Gelabale is played for Valencia BC of the Spanish League. Mickael is a 29-year-old, 6'7" swingman that was in the NBA from 2006-2008 with the Seattle Supersonics. He was originally drafted by Seattle in the 2005 NBA Draft, 48th overall. He has an opt-out clause in his contract on January 30th.
The TWolves could then seemingly sign someone like Lazar Hayward, James Anderson, Donte Greene or Joey Graham to two 10-day contracts and then sign Gelabale at the end of the month, when he can opt-out.
From all the rumors I've heard, that scenario sounds the most likely. However, things can change very quickly. January 30th is a full month away and we could lose a guy like Andrei Kirilenko or Alexey Shved to injury, which would necessitate a trade or a free agent signing immediately.
Those players listed above for the potential 10-day contract targets are some of the names we've heard circling the rumor mill. James Anderson was in training camp with Atlanta before being waived and then signed back with the Spurs, but was waived before his contract became fully-guaranteed (and the Spurs were getting some of their wing players back from injuries). He was put through a workout earlier this week by the Wolves, however just today it was announced he signed with Rio Grande of the D-League. That doesn't mean much, he could still be called up and play in the NBA again this season. Former Wolf Lazar Hayward was also in for a workout. He was traded last offseason to the Thunder and was traded again this past summer from OKC to Houston in that James Harden deal. He was shortly thereafter waived by Houston. Joey Graham is the other player they've had in for a workout. Like I said these are just a few guys whose names have come up in Minnesota's search for a swingman.
A quick note. When the Wolves were looking to sign Josh Howard, they also made the same offer (veteran's minimum) to free agent Mickael Pietrus. Howard responded 'yes' first and was signed. A week or two later, Pietrus signed a veteran's minimum deal with the Toronto Raptors. Thus, he's obviously not an option for a 'free agent signing'.
That's all for now. Again, the most likely scenario is signing a player to a 10-day contract on January 5th--that's definitely a date to remember. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
A TWolves fan, bringing you the daily updates.