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JoshHoward

It turns out that Josh Howard’s knee is worse than originally expected and reported. We all thought he had a hyperextended knee from his injury against the New Orleans Hornets. He actually has a torn ACL and because his deal is non-guaranteed, the Wolves have waived him from the roster to open up space to bring someone else in.

What’s weird about this is there were thoughts Howard would play Tuesday against the Miami Heat. Maybe it was a partial tear or it tore during his warmups the other day, but it seems odd that he could have a torn ACL and think he was capable of possibly playing on that knee. The Wolves did tests on his knee this morning and discovered the ACL tear.

The roster stands at 14 and it’s likely the Wolves will try to sign a wing player to give Andrei Kirilenko some rest and give them some decent minutes at both the small forward and shooting guard positions. Some available free agents include Michael Redd, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and Ime Udoka. Personally, I’m hoping for a Ricky Davis comeback tour that begins at the Target Center.

Other options could come from the D-League. Travis Leslie is an athletic wing player that was waived by the Clippers before the season started. He jumps out of the gym and has been scoring well with the Santa Cruz Warriors. From the Wolves’ D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Andrew Goudelock is a combo guard leading the team in scoring and Demetris Nichols is the second leading scorer on the team and a 6’6″ wing player.

James Anderson was also recently waived by the San Antonio Spurs to make room for Kawhi Leonard (H/T: @yowhatupT). He’s the best of the lot.

Regardless of where the player comes from, Wolves could use some depth there really soon.

There were reports about a week ago that the Wolves were working out Hassan Whiteside for one of their final two roster spots. They’ve also been linked to trying to bring back Anthony Tolliver or reaching out toward veteran Mehmet Okur to bring in some much needed depth to the interior.

My initial thoughts are I really want Tolliver back. I loved the presence he provided for the team both on and off the court last season and think his talents, skill set and knowledge of the game greatly benefit the team. He can guard multiple positions, is a threat to knock down outside shots, and is more than willing to give up his body.

He’s the cliché that every coach wants in their reserve guys.

But Tolliver is looking for some money right now, and you can’t really blame him. The Wolves are capped out and exception-free after their flurry of moves this offseason to retool the players surrounding a promising core. The best they can offer Tolliver is the veteran’s minimum. For a player with his experience (four seasons), that’s a contract for roughly $915,000. That may seem like a good enough chunk of change to you and me, but he may be trying to fit into a room or mini mid-level exception somewhere to more than double that amount.

The Wolves simply can’t offer him the money he desires unless they make a trade to free up some cap room. The Wolves are about $2.3 million over the cap right now. Unless they trade Luke Ridnour ($4 million this season) or J.J. Barea ($4.4 million) for a draft pick or non-guaranteed deal, they can’t create the room to sign Tolliver. And really, trading one of those guys to bring in room for AT would be a nonsensical move.

Unless the market for Tolliver dries completely up and he decides to come back to the Wolves for the vet’s minimum, the Wolves will have to move their full attention to Whiteside and Okur. Okur is reportedly (Insider) looking for money that exceeds the veteran’s minimum ($1.3 million for his 10-year service), which means the Wolves are basically out with bringing him in too.

Honestly, I’m fine with that because while Okur may be a decent player still, he’s not the type of guy the Wolves need on their roster. He hasn’t been a decent rebounder in three years and he can’t defend the way the Wolves would need him to.

That leaves us with Hassan Whiteside, who may actually be interested in playing for the minimum salary (roughly $850,000 for his two years of experience).

Whiteside is… well… interesting, to say the least.  Continue Reading…

OKAY!

A lot has happened over the couple days and now we’re getting a better idea of the way this roster could look heading into next season. After missing out on Nicolas Batum (when evil Paul Allen wouldn’t let him go despite Neil Olshey wanting to let him go or at least work out a sign-and-trade), the Wolves were left with a plan B. Only nobody really seemed to know what the plan B was. The team missed out on Courtney Lee because… well… let’s just say negotiating issues, and it left the team without many options.

So here are the four transactions that have gone/will go down:

1. Greg Stiemsma signs with the team.
2. Wayne Ellington is dealt to the Grizzlies for Dante Cunningham.
3. Wes Johnson and a 1st round pick are part of a 3-team deal that brings back Brad Miller’s contract (CJZero corrected me that he’s going to Phoenix), Jerome Dyson, and a couple of picks.
4. The Wolves sign Andrei Kirilenko for two years and roughly $20 million.

Let’s look at these in order of importance:  Continue Reading…

It’s officially official that Darko Milicic is no longer a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The team used it’s one time amnesty provision during the life of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement to rid themselves of his cap number and roster space so they could have the room to make the 4-year, $46.5 million offer sheet to restricted free agent Nicolas Batum.

Darko Milicic has been somewhat of a lightning rod for some reason. When he was blocking shots two years ago and missing left-handed hooks, there were Wolves fans that wanted to believe he was a defensive stopper for this team. There were those that thought people were too critical of David Kahn and wanted to find the good in this insane contract that was given to a big man that had rarely shown any desire to improve his game and matter for good reasons in this league. There were people that wanted this team to be good so badly, they were willing to look past the warts to appreciate any positives he gave the team.

I don’t necessarily fault fans for doing this. We want to see the good in a player. We want him to realize his potential. We hope the Wolves’ players all come together and figure out how to win while playing their best. It’s part of wanting this team to be good. And Darko wasn’t completely useless a couple seasons ago. He DID block shots and he was okay on defense, overall. He can pass the ball, although not with the ability and proclivity that David Kahn once told Chris Webber. However, that’s where the “production” ended and where his true story begins.

Darko is not a good NBA player. Part of the reason he’s so noticeable in his awful play is because of where he was drafted and how he was hyped. This is unfair because Darko didn’t make the Pistons draft him ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He didn’t write the encouraging scouting reports pre and post-draft that made you wonder if he’ll be an All-Star big man. He didn’t really have anything to do with his popularity, other than possessing a certain agility, size, and skill set that GMs looking to save their jobs pray for drafting.

And it’s not his fault that David Kahn gave him an unwarranted four-year, $20 million contract two summers ago.

However, Darko Milicic is guilty in appearing to not really care whether he’s good or not. There is a certain work ethic and determination that is expected with this job and he seems to possess none of it. He sets himself up for failure by appearing to not have passion for getting better. Of course, that’s me assuming what’s inside his head and that may not be a fair assessment. Maybe he’s tried as hard as he’s capable of trying and has just hit a ceiling that was completely misjudged.

Actually, it’s that line of thinking that keeps giving him a pass in some respect. Some people have been making minor excuses for Darko for quite a while, trying to minimize the trouble and maximize the “what-if” factor. Darko Milicic is a horrible NBA player and mostly everybody has known it for years  He’ll still get chances in this league if he wants them because he’s tall. People will talk themselves into him being a decent backup big man and say, “you can do worse than Darko as your backup.”

Let me tell you that you can’t. I can throw out stats like his 54.1% in the restricted area (tied for 61st amongst centers) or his WS/48 of .003 last season or his assist percentage of 6.2% that was good for 34th amongst centers during 2011-12. I could tell you about the time he got injured on jump balls twice or how he injured himself during his conditioning test. But it’s unnecessary to waste our time breaking down his game.

Darko is apathy incarnate. I don’t mind if other teams take a chance on him. That actually helps the Wolves. And while I’ve been somewhat remorseful over the departure of certain disappointments over the years (Beasley being the most recent), there isn’t an iota of regret in seeing Darko having the exit held open for him.

Danny Chau has been driving the Alexey Shved bandwagon for as long as I’ve known Danny. He writes for Hardwood Paroxysm and has a fantastic knowledge of everything that is Alexey Shved on a basketball court. I asked him to give a brief scouting report on Shved so Wolves fans can get more familiar with his game. You can follow Danny on Twitter here

I just got through finishing a couple victory laps around my house. Russian guard Alexey Shved has agreed to a deal with the Wolves. Get excited.

Shved has become a more familiar name this summer thanks to the interest from several NBA teams, but scouts have been gawking at Shved’s potential for more than half a decade. It wasn’t that long ago that he was dominating Europe’s youth circuit and thought of as a potential lottery pick in the NBA draft. The Wolves are looking at a legit 6’6” combo guard with dynamite athleticism and creating ability. Something of a revelation last season was Shved’s fantastic 3-point percentage in the Euroleague (50 percent). This probably won’t translate directly (especially considering the difference in distance between the NBA/FIBA 3-point lines), something Shved himself admitted to in an interview with Euroleague.net:

“I don’t think that the shot is my strongest asset! I like best to be in pick-and-roll situations; I like to pass the ball. It just happened that I have good shooting percentages in the Euroleague. If you look at my stats in other tournaments, I am not shooting as well. I can just say that it’s great that I am making 50% of my shots.”  Continue Reading…


He has so many arms!*

This morning, we had this tweet from @sportsruenglish, a Russian sports website saying that Alexey Shved was going to become a member of the Wolves:

Then, I sent out our field reporter Andrew Renschen (@infraren) retroactively (or you know… he was tweeting with the agent of Shved on his own before a lot of this even broke… believe whichever version you’d like) to see if he could extract any information from Shved’s agent Obrad Fimic.  Continue Reading…

Regardless of whether or not Nicolas Batum ends up on the Wolves or stays in Portland, he’s going to get paid $45 million over four years (with the possibility of bonuses). Let’s just pretend the contract is going to be four years and $50 million because of the bonuses. That puts Batum’s annual salary at an average of $12.5 million per year.

Is Nicolas Batum worth $12.5 million per season?  Continue Reading…

Jason Quick of The Oregonian tweeted that Brandon Roy has come to a decision regarding his comeback.

It has since been confirmed by a lot of reporters and the figures are out. Brandon Roy is signing with the Timberwolves for two years and $10.4 million. It sounds like a lot for a player who recently retired due to his knees being unfit for court time, and possibly it is. Personally, I don’t think you can have bad contracts if they’re two years or shorter. Two year deals are a risk worth taking because the reward for a player like Roy regaining even 75% of his form for half of the time he was used to playing per game is immense.  Continue Reading…

It appears that the decision on Anthony Ranolph and Michael Beasley has been made. From the Wolves:

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team will not extended qualifying offers to forwards Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph. With Minnesota not extending qualifying offers to Beasley and Randolph by today’s deadline, both players will become unrestricted free agents on July 1.  

Two points about this. First, the financial angle. The move frees up just over $12 million in salary for next season, enabling the Wolves to continue their pursuit of Pau Gasol or another well-salaried veteran. Second, the move reveals that, like Zach, the team has finally given up on Beasley. There’s a lot to think about here. The bursts of brilliant offensive play; the absent-minded defense; the serious lack of focus; the beautiful/ridiculous things the guy would say. Most of all: a massively talented player who just couldn’t figure it out. The right decision if you ask me, but a sad story nonetheless.

 


The AP reports (via ESPN.com):

The Minnesota Timberwolves are trying hard to land Pau Gasol. If they have to part with the highest draft choice in franchise history after just one season, the Wolves appear ready to do it. That much became clear leading up to the NBA draft on Thursday night, when Minnesota offered Derrick Williams in hopes of landing the second pick from the Charlotte Bobcats to help get Gasol from the Los Angeles Lakers, two people with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press.

Teaming Gasol with Ricky Rubio has long been a dream of David Kahn’s–and evidently the Wolves are still looking to make a deal to land the big Spaniard. I have no doubt that a Gasol-Love frontcourt as coached by Rick Adelman is a nice idea. But I wonder: does giving up on the second pick in the draft in exchange for a 32-year-old star smack of impatience? After all how old, and how effective, will Gasol be when Rubio reaches his prime?