Sunday, April 30, 2006

If Only He Had This Much Fun Playing For The Wolves

Garnett was sitting in the balcony during R. Kelly at the Orpheum on Saturday night for what was undoubtedly the best show of the year. KG's bright, big ass earrings gave him away as they were easily spotted from the main floor. Ticket was dancing in his seat to the "Laffy Taffy" and "Lean Wit It" snippets but couldn't contain his laughter once Kells started performing/lip synching 3 chapters from "Trapped In The Closet."

Friday, April 28, 2006

Mad Dog Blog

In his latest blog post, Mad Dog addresses topics ranging from

his summer plans
I'll head to Nebraska soon to see my sister and her husband and four kids and then out west for a while, but I'm really looking forward to doing my kids basketball camp in Champlin in late June at Champlin High School.

to KG
Personally, I think that the mojave desert would freeze over for ten years straight before Mr. Taylor would trade Kevin Garnett. There is no trade that would give MN equal value for Kevin.

to the playoffs
Just a little while ago I was watching the playoffs on TV. I have to admit that it's very tough to watch other teams still playing. Two nights ago, I got so frustrated that I called one of my friends and we went up to Flagship Athletic Club in Eden Prairie where he rebounded for me to help me work on my jump shot/set shot.

to Kenyon Martin's suspension
I roomed with Kenyon Martin on a World University Games USA college team and this man is a class act. I feel badly for what Kenyon is going through right now and I think his immediate statement that he issued shows he is very contrite.

Unfortunately, he holds out on us as there are no mentions of his performance in the last game of the season.

Wolves Co-Founder Ratner Dies

From The Star Tribune:
Harvey Ratner, half of the team that brought the NBA back to the Twin Cities, died Friday morning in his St. Louis Park home after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 79.

Infrared Wolves Photos

True Hoop has posted a link to some incredible shots of the Wolves. Photographer Tom Dahlin was asked to "shoot some different stuff" and came up with some really cool infrared photos of the players, some of which, like the Garnett one on the left, make very clear and visible the player's tattoos. Click here to see more of these shots.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

NBA Rappers

Courtesy of YaySports, a link to XXL Mag's compilation of hip hop from NBA players. T-Hud is among the "rappers" featured. His track proves to be more listenable than some of the others including those from Kobe, AI, Tony Parker, and Jason Kidd.

Garnett To Receive Citizenship Award

Garnett will be announced as the recipient of the NBA's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship award.
The award recognizes an NBA player or coach for outstanding service to the community. Named for the league's second commissioner, it is presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

"I am happy that I can help make a difference in the communities, and blessed to be in the position where I am able to lend support," Garnett said in a statement.

Although Garnett is very deserving of the honor, it would have been amusing to see an NBA citizenship award presented to Ron Artest who was also among the finalists.

Click here for a list of past recipients.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

City Pages Gives "Best Of" Awards To Garnett

City Pages gives Garnett a couple of their "Best Of The Twin Cities" awards in honor of both his athleticism and his humanitarianism.

Best Corporate Citizen
We here in the Twin Towns like to think we're blessed with a benevolent corporate community: Target, General Mills, 3M, and even the privately owned Cargill are all noted nationwide for their charitable giving. Still, none of them could match the outpouring generated by the one-man corporation known as Kevin Garnett...
In November, Garnett contacted Oprah Winfrey by letter, which the surprised host read on the air. In it, Garnett pledged to contribute to Winfrey's Angel Network and its mission of rebuilding an entire neighborhood in New Orleans. Garnett's pledge was to pay for the construction of one house every month for the next two years—a total of 24 dwellings.

Best Timberwolves Player
His precocious talent forever changed the way society regards high school basketball players. Not yet 30 (that happens at the end of next month), he ranks fifth in total minutes played among active NBA players. In other words, Garnett is a grizzled eminence who happens to be younger than the Twins' Torii Hunter or the duo in the White Stripes.

KFAN's Dan Barreiro gets the nod for "Best Sports Talk Radio Host."

Sam Cassell Interview

HoopsHype interviews Sam Cassell. Below are some of his reactions to being traded to the Clippers.
When you look at what happened to Minnesota this year, do you think you could have helped them to make the playoffs this season?

SC: No doubt in my mind. If I'm healthy, we're making the playoffs. But they made a move. They said that Sprewell and myself were major distractions. I think we were the best guys in the locker room, but that's where they wanted to go. They're there, and I'm here, and everything is going to take care of itself.

Elgin Baylor made some great moves last summer and during this season. Do you think that just that lopsided trade between you and Marko Jaric makes him an Executive of the Year?

SC: I know that the guys up in Minnesota are kicking themselves in the ass right now. Whoever made that decision. Wow.

From The Pioneer Press:
Timberwolves guard Rashad McCants is expected to play in the Howard Pulley pro-am summer league that will begin June 19 with two games a night Monday through Thursday at the Salvation Army gym in St. Paul.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Target Center Sucks

The Wolves sold about 16,000 tickets per game this season but around a quarter of them were no shows at the games.
Wolves President Chris Wright said he hadn't analyzed the no-show numbers, but he acknowledged, after two seasons of missed playoffs and controversy, that the team needs to rebuild its image in the Twin Cities sports market.
A coordinated strategy to sell more tickets will, at its roots, depend on personnel moves that Vice President Kevin McHale has vowed to make this offseason, Wright said.

The 16 year old Target Center is the 7th oldest arena in the NBA.
Other buildings of the same vintage have been replaced or renovated, or hopes and plans are on the drawing boards for their demise.

"We don't expect to hear [about a new Wolves arena] in the near term," (Minneapolis Finance Director Patrick) Born said.
When asked to define "near term," Born said, "Five years."

The Star Tribune also has a list of other NBA arenas built around the same time as the Target Center as well as their current status.

Good Times In The Locker Room

Habitat For Humanity has started building houses in Jackson, MS with the money that Garnett donated to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

From Sid Hartman:
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor admits now he might have made a mistake by not suggesting that Dwane Casey keep some of Flip Saunders' assistants instead of bringing in a complete new staff. So look for some big changes on the coaching staff for next season.

One of the top priorities for the future of the Wolves is to try to sign free-agent point guard Marcus Banks. But Banks has made it very clear he isn't going to sign with the Wolves until he tests the market, and from the way he talks it's no cinch he will be back. The same is true of Justin Reed, who also came to the Wolves in the Wally Szczerbiak trade. ... Troy Hudson, who was sidelined most of the season because of ankle problems, said he has decided against surgery and will spend the offseason here rehabilitating the injury to see if he can clear up the problem. ... Swingman Ronald Dupree is a free agent, and even though the Wolves gave the Pistons a second-round draft pick for him they don't plan to bring him back.

From Mad Dog's diary:
Even though it’s been a tough season, we’ve still tried to keep it loose. A few days ago in Indianapolis, Trenton Hassell was counting out loud the number of tickets he needed to leave for family members. “Eight plus three is 11, plus three is 14, plus…” Marko Jaric thought he heard an addition mistake during the process, so he smiled and called out, “The high schools in Europe are as good as the colleges here.” Trenton laughed and reminded the whole locker room that “Marko didn’t even go to high school. He went to ‘basketball school’ instead,” which is common for young professional athletes in Europe. Then Trenton took it one step further and said, “Marko if you’re so smart, then what’s the square root of 169?” “What does that mean?” Marko said. Finally, a teammate went up to the dry-erase board and wrote it up in math lingo and Marko got it right and laughed out loud and said, “Your terminology in the states is different!”

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Wolves Over The Weekend

Click on the 4/21 brodcast to listen to ESPN's Colin Cowherd go on about how Garnett's "value is completely overstated." (Link lifted from KFAN Rube Chat.)

While the NBA set all-time attendance records this season, the Star Tribune reports that the Wolves' numbers went down.
This season the average announced crowd was 16,150, down more than 1,500 from two seasons ago. On many nights there were a significant number of no-shows.

"I think we're going through an image rebuild right now," (Wolves president Chris) Wright said. "Obviously, having gone to the Western Conference finals two years ago and then to have performed the way that we did when expectations were pretty high that we make the playoffs. We're going to go through, really, relaunching our image to the marketplace."

Dwane Casey on Jaric:
"Marko, I think, next year, when he comes back, his legs will be livelier. I thought the World European Games took a lot out of him, mentally and physically. And I think that with this summer's rest -- he's not going to play for the Yugoslav national team -- so he'll be fresh coming in next year."

From the Pioneer Press:
Wolves guard Trenton Hassell plans to play in the Howard Pulley pro-am league this summer.

Retired Timberwolves guard Fred Hoiberg will work in the team's business office as well as the basketball department.

A little birdie says Timberwolves free-agent point guard Marcus Banks is expected to seek $29 million for five years and settle for $17 million for four years.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Wolves Win Coin Toss

The Star Tribune reports on the Wolves winning the tiebreaker with the Celtics to take over the 6th slot in the draft. Both the Wolves and the Celtics have a 53 in 1000 (5.3%) chance of landing one of the first three spots in the May 23 lottery. Once those three are chosen, the 11 teams remaining in the lottery will select their picks in inverse order of their records and with regards to the tiebreakers. The worst the Wolves could do is get the 9th pick.
Teams matched up in tiebreakers Friday will flip draft order in the second round, with the Wolves due to pick 36th or 37th, pending the outcome of the lottery. They also will have the No. 57 pick from Phoenix for their January trade of Nikoloz Tskitishvili.

From The Pioneer Press:
McHale and Garnett spoke at length during Wednesday night's finale, leading to reports that they were involved in an animated discussion inside the locker room.

"My relationship with Kevin's always been what it is," McHale said. "We argue sometimes, don't see eye to eye on some stuff. But he tells me how he feels, and I tell him how I feel, so I don't think that's ever going to change. There's been many summers where Kevin has hardly talked to me because he's been mad at me because at the end of the season, I said we need to work on this or that or whatever. I don't think it's any different than it's ever been."

One prominent member of Glen Taylor's Timberwolves investor group says the co-owners "generally" remain committed to the owner.

The Iowa State Daily has an article on Fred Hoiberg's iconic status at his alma mater.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Nothing But KG Rumors All Summer Long

From the New York Times:
Although the Timberwolves maintain they will not trade Garnett, most league executives believe that Garnett will be moved this summer.

The Nets, Bulls, Warriors, Sixers and probably the rest of the league could make a play for KG.

Despite not playing in the last few games of the season, Garnett won his third consecutive rebound title with an average of 12.7 in 76 games.

McHale Must Go composes a letter to owner Glen Taylor.

EBSports has a funny piece called Mark Madsen: Real Ultimate Power (link lifted from Timberwolves Central).
Whether he's lighting it up at Rucker Part of pimping his own brand of shoes, the Mad Dog brings a complete set of skills to the NBA. Mark Madsen knows exactly how to improve your team.

Dan Barreiro from KFAN has a blog and in the current post he expresses his disgust regarding last night's game.
When Mark Madsen started launching three-point shots in the closing minutes of the 82nd game of the Wolves’ 17th season, he forgot three crucial accessories: A red rubber ball for a nose and a pair of Bob-Lanier-sized clodhoppers for his feet.
Yes, the Wolves sent in the clown.
And remarkably, Madsen, whose nickname is Mad Dog and who is supposed to be one of those serious, no-nonsense, I-never-quit guys, willingly obliged like some kind of whimpering simp.
He quit.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Wishful Thinking

McHale's Staying

In a press conference earlier today, Kevin McHale announced that he was indeed going to remain with the organization.
"I said, 'Glen, this is not the way I want to leave the Timberwolves, a 33-win season,'" McHale said. "I'm coming back and I'm really excited about getting this team back online."

"It was a very frustrating year, a very bad year for us," McHale said. "I'm in charge of the basketball department, so everything that happened is on me. The bad year was my fault, and we've got to go out there and try to improve this team.

"The buck stops with me. There are absolutely no excuses for anything. I wish we had had a lot better year."

McHale also added that Casey is coming back next season and said "Oh, and by the way, Kevin Garnett is staying here."

Click here for an interview with owner Glen Taylor from the Timberwolves site.

Sid Hartman writes that Taylor would be into getting Marbury back in Minnesota and that "if Kevin McHale could find a way to add a great player to complement Kevin Garnett (not somebody with Marbury's type of contract), he would spend the money to make it happen."

Dwane Casey on what went wrong and what he'll do differently next season.

TNT analyst Reggie Miller on Garnett and the Timberwolves: "If I'm [Wolves VP of basketball operations] Kevin McHale, I'd do Kevin Garnett a favor and trade him. He's done everything for your franchise, and he's never come out publicly and said that he wants to be traded, but [Garnett] needs to be on a winner and I don't see him winning any time soon."

Maybe this is why the season sucked:
Three Timberwolves players, including Wally Szczerbiak, regularly attended chapel gatherings before Target Center games this season. After Szczerbiak was traded to Boston on Jan. 26, no more Wolves players attended chapel.

If You Don't Let It Go, You Never Know

I don't know what's funnier. Seeing Mad Dog attempt (and of course miss) 7 three-pointers or watching the Grizzlies bench doubled over in laughter in reaction to those attempts in last night's double ot loss to Memphis.

"That was all in fun," said Casey, who admitted he drew up a couple of plays for Madsen to shoot jumpers. "I didn't want to mess with the game. But guys were over there joking about him shooting the threes. I didn't mean for him to shoot seven, but like I told him, he was open for a reason."

"You know what got into me? He [coach Dwane Casey] drew up a play for me, and they started sagging off," Madsen explained. "So I thought, you know what? I'm going to be aggressive. Greg Foster, my teammate in L.A., told me once, 'If you don't let it go, you never know.' "

"We were fortunate," the Grizzlies forward (Brian Cardinal) said dryly. "Mark Madsen wasn't 'on' tonight."

For his role in last night's game, Mad Dog "The Dance Party" was deemed yesterday's worst by ESPN's Daily Dime.

While Casey said Mad Dog and the team deserved to have some fun in their season finale, Britt Robson/City Pages Sports blog thinks Wednesday's game was a disgrace.
If you thought the 2005-06 Minnesota Timberwolves couldn't sink any lower, well, the franchise saved the worst for last in tonight's game, purposefully losing to the Memphis Grizzlies in order to secure a draft pick rather than risk having it sent to Los Angeles because of the ineptitude of their braintrust.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Wolves Host The Grizzlies

In their last game of the season, the Wolves face the Grizzlies at home on Tuesday night.

"We're taking the court to win," coach Dwane Casey said after Tuesday's practice. "I've said that the last couple weeks. These young guys ... they deserve to win. They're out there fighting, scrapping.
"I'm sure everyone in the world is aware of the standings, but again we'd be going against what we stand for to say, 'Hey, we're going out there and giving up the game.'"

The Grizzlies' win over the Clippers tonight gives them the 5th seed in the Western Conference playoffs and will take them to Dallas to face the Mavs. Pau Gasol sat out the game with a "sore left foot" and is listed as day to day which might mean no superstars on the court in the Target Center tomorrow night.

The Star Tribune gives a recap of the season including positives, negatives, and "must-fixes" as well as some predictions for the post-season.

Here's a link in which you can submit suggestions to the team on the songs you want played during the games. I wish I'd found this earlier in the season as perhaps something could have been done about the fact that those godawful tv theme songs seem to make up the bulk of the music played.

Thanks To Steph & Kate For The Pic

One More Day

Garnett's jersey ranks #16 on the list of best selling NBA jerseys. Dwyane Wade is at #1.

Hoiberg's car dealership in Iowa is apparently "flourishing."

Coach Casey is getting support for his first year of coaching from all over:
"You've got to understand, it's his first head coaching job," veteran guard Trenton Hassell said. "He came to a team that changed a lot from when we were in the Western Conference finals (in 2003-04). And then in midstream we changed the team on him again. I think he did a good job with what he had. We lost some tough games."

Said team scout Rex Chapman, a former director of player personnel in Phoenix: "Most guys that get their first opportunity have growing pains. I think Dwane's done a really good job of trying to learn what it's like just moving into that main chair. I'm sure there's times this year he's felt overwhelmed. But he's worked hard, and he's persevered."

"People know that he can coach," Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "People know he's a good head coach in this league. There've been a lot of mitigating circumstances for them — injuries, a major trade. Probably some unduly high expectations. I've known him a long time and he's an excellent coach. He earned this opportunity and he's going to be in this a long time as a head coach."

Happy Birthday, Coach Casey

Dwane Casey celebrated his 49th birthday yesterday.

Star Tribune on Hoiberg's retirement:
His last "game" came while the Wolves were on a road trip to Boston in January. One of Hoiberg's Chaska neighbors played on a rec team, and they needed a player. Hoiberg accepted an invitation to play and took son Jack with him to the game. "We won the game 110-80 and I scored 60 points," Hoiberg said. "I'll be honest. It wasn't the greatest group of talent that we played against. But [Jack] told me in the car how much fun that was for him and how much he enjoyed watching me play again." They got home and Carol took Jack upstairs to bed, and Hoiberg remembers hearing this: "Jack said to Mom, 'I think he was probably the player of the game,' " Hoiberg recalled. "So the last game I ever played, in my son's eyes at least, I was the player of the game. And that's very important."

One writer thinks that the Wolves might have played better had the media and fans been more supportive of the team.
The Target Center, the radio and newspapers in the Twin Cities have been full of negativity throughout the season. Have we ever even thought about how the team might play if we were die hard fans like, say, the cow-bell toting Sacramento King crazies? If the air in the arena was full of positivity, maybe, just maybe the result on the floor might be different.

Props to the dude for being such a fan but thinking about the last couple weeks of the season put us to sleep so we weren't able to read the article in its entirety.

ESPN's SportsNation NBA Coach Approval Ratings poll named Flip Saunders the coach of the year. Casey's approval rating is 58%, falling from 81% in November to 18% in March.

Mad Dog's latest diary entry is on Trent Hassell, the team's last road trip, and his summer plans.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Hoiberg To End His NBA Career

According to KFAN, Fred Hoiberg announced today his retirement from playing basketball. Hoiberg will take an unspecified position (VP of basketball operations?) in the Wolves front office.

Hoiberg underwent surgery last summer to repair an aneurysm in his aortic root. Had he decided to return, he would have been the first player in the NBA with a pacemaker.

Very sad but not unexpected news. Though it's very depressing that we won't seem him suited up for a game again, it's been reassuring to see him right behind the Wolves bench and in the timeout huddles all season long. Without a doubt among the classiest dudes in the organization and he will be missed on the court.

Click here to see the Timberwolves press release.

Wolves Over The Weekend

Fred Hoiberg will hold a press conference at 1pm today to announce his decision on whether or not he'll resume his career as a player.

Garnett is in line to be the leading rebounder in the NBA for the third consecutive season. But alas, he does not make Bill Simmons' list of MVP candidates. Simmons says about Garnett that "you can't carry yourself that way for eight months each season without eventually committing a homicide. You just can't. He's wound too tight."

Charley Rosen grades the league's coaches and gives Casey a C-.

Friday- Wolves lose to the Pacers, 89-77.

Sunday- Wolves lose to the Spurs at home. Despite a light practice on Saturday, Garnett and Davis did not play. While KG was nowhere to be seen, Davis did show up during the 3rd quarter to hang out on the bench for a bit with a super cute kid that appeared to be his. McCants returned after missing a couple games with a sprained ankle though he was not in the starting lineup.

Middle age Minnesotan women love the Spurs. We know this for a fact as we were surrounded by them during the game and, as a result, had to move seats during the second half so we could comtemplate in silence why Brent Barry sports that awful mustache. Besides Mad Dog, these ladies were the only people in the house that seemed at all excited. Even Marcus Banks commented that it felt like "they threw us out into the wild and we were on our own."

After the game, Banks hung out with the Spurs Michael Finley for a bit:
"He said he's been watching me, and I've really been playing well," Banks said of his postgame conversation with Finley. "He's just trying to keep me positive about the situation."

Friday, April 14, 2006

League Officials Not Concerned Wolves Throwing Games. That's Probably Because We Keep Winning.

The NBA is not concerned with the absence of both Garnett and Davis in terms of the Wolves throwing off the "competitive balance" within the league:
"It hadn't been a concern, and we understand that players get rested and it would be my preference to have teams show the fans a certain number of players," (Commissioner) Stern said during a pre-playoff conference call with the media. "But I was thinking about this in the context of the Denver football team when they were getting ready for the playoffs in the NFL, and who they decided to play and not play. I think all sports have that issue, but I have no particular concern about it with the way our teams have been behaving."

"I think our view has always been we expect teams to try and win games, and if a player is not injured, you are supposed to play him," NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik said. "And from everything I have heard, these players are legitimately hurt. I think we ought to look at whether and how we allow trades to be made in the future. That is really the issue. But I don't think we have any particular problem with Minnesota right now. But it may be the same reason we have a lottery now is to give teams that don't win games a better percentage in the lottery."

Steve Aschburner has a piece on Marko Jaric in the Strib today.
"Definitely this is very disappointing," Jaric said. "Definitely not the way I expected my season to go and this team's season to go.
"I'm trying to forget. I'm trying to look forward."

The Wolves face the Pacers in Indiana tonight.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Season Ticket Prices Decrease

The Timberwolves have just announced their season ticket prices for the 2006-2007 season.
Of the 18,000 or so seats in the Target Center, the team has reduced the season ticket price for over 12,000 of them.

"As an organization, we realize the importance of the '6th Fan' and what it means to our team on the court, that's why we've reduced two-thirds of our season ticket prices," said Timberwolves President Chris Wright. "We want to make sure that Target Center continues to be one of the best home-court advantages in the NBA."

Translation: As the Timberwolves have the 6th worst attendance record in the league, their most awful finish to a season in years, and people are having difficulty even giving their tickets away, the organization would like to do whatever it can to generate some revenue and have more bodies in the house next season.

Wolves Snap Road Losing Streak In Houston

The Wolves break their road losing streak and lessen their chances of keeping this year's draft pick with an 82-79 win over the Rockets last night.

Coach Casey upon being asked why the team was finally winning when it needs to lose:
"That's insinuating that we're trying to lose, and that's not true," Casey said. "We're trying to compete in every game. I've said that since Day 1. These guys are scratching, clawing, taking charges, they deserved to win that game.
"I thought that was the purpose of playing basketball."

McCants sat out of last night's game with a sprained ankle and is currently day to day but Casey isn't going to rush him back in.

Casey said that he's hasn't received any updates on the injuries of Garnett and Davis.

Hassell on Garnett:
"I hope not. I hope not," Hassell said of the prospect of Garnett ever leaving. "I hope that he ends his career here, because when you think of Minnesota, you think of Kevin Garnett. I just think he needs a little bit of help."
Beginning, perhaps, with this offseason. "There's going to be a lot of uncertainty," Hassell said. "It's uncertain whether I'm going to be here or not. ... If I move on in order for them to get 'Ticket' more help here, so be it. I just want to see him win. Because he deserves it."

Dennis Rodman kicking a Target Center cameraman during a Timberwolves game is among the "Top 50 Blowups" in sports history that will be shown on Fox Sports Net North at 10:30 p.m. Friday.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

KG's Funhouse

Check out the Timberwolves official site (bottom left of the main page) for a bizarre but amusing animated video that seems to be part of a series called "KG's Funhouse." This particular episode is called "Baby Doll" and features Davis, Mad Dog, and Jaric in dresses.

Another Road Loss, This Time In Memphis

The NBA continues to look into the Wolves' lack of use of Garnett and Davis for competitive balance, but there had been no resolution as of Tuesday.

From Marc Stein/Daily Dime:
I'm told that the league office, while cognizant of the fact that every loss gives the Wolves a better chance of securing a top-10 pick in the May draft lottery -- and knowing that Minnesota must send its first-round pick to the Clippers if it falls outside the top 10 -- is unlikely to challenge the Wolves' decision to sit Garnett for the final five games.

The rest of the league thinks it's totally awesome:
"It's only an advantage for us if we win," (Grizzlies coach) Fratello said beforehand. "Last time I checked, they won their last game, didn't they?"

The Wolves ended up losing in Memphis, 92-76. McCants left the game in the 4th quarter with a sprained ankle.

Coach Casey on the loss:
"To come in here for our young guys and compete the way they did, it's a tough task. But this gives our young guys a taste of what playoff basketball and playoff-ready teams (are) about."

Apparently when you're brought in from the D-League as is the case with Bracey Wright, it's referred to as a "Gatorade Call-Up."

The Timberwolves are expected to bid on unrestricted free agent and former Gophers center Joel Przybilla of the Trail Blazers this summer, but Portland is expected to make the highest bid to retain the 7-foot shot-blocking artist.

Look for Wolves forward Eddie Griffin to undergo corrective eye surgery next month. If not, his days in Minnesota could be numbered.

Good times: The Wolves (minus Garnett and Davis) face the Rockets (minus T-Mac and Yao) in Houston tonight.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Wolves News From The Pioneer Press

Although Casey has denied benching Garnett and Davis to protect their conditional first round pick, the NBA began "looking into" the situation on Monday. But because teams can now place any player on the inactive list, the Wolves are not likely to incur any penalties. Regardless, Mad Dog says "everyone is still treating each game like a playoff type of game."

Kevin McHale and Dwane Casey are expected to return next season. The Wolves are also expected to hire an assistant coach like Randy Wittman who has had previous experience as an NBA head coach.

Don't think for a moment that the Timberwolves' franchise player, Kevin Garnett, wasn't perturbed by his limited playing time Friday against Utah to give younger players on the team more minutes. And don't think that Garnett's absence on the Wolves' bench Sunday against Atlanta was because he needed to rehabilitate a knee.

The PiPress also has an article on (surprise, surprise) whether KG will stay on next season.
"The word trade has never even come up," coach Dwane Casey said. "That's not even been discussed with me, with (owner) Glen (Taylor) or with (team vice president) Kevin (McHale), with anybody. That's not even a part of the equation whatsoever. Our main thing is developing and giving these young guys minutes."

"Kevin Garnett's one of the great players in NBA history," NBA hall of famer Bill Walton said. "There's no question about it. But he's in the same situation as LeBron James, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant. It's not how good you are, it's how good your teammates are. And how do you get out of that rut of where it's not happening?
"San Antonio is the classic example. You get guys like Nick Van Exel, Robert Horry, Michael Finley and Brent Barry to take less money to come in and be a part of something special. That's the challenge for Kevin Garnett and Minnesota is to create that environment where people say 'Hey, I want to go play with him.' "

Monday, April 10, 2006

KG And Davis Skip Roadtrip

Garnett and Davis stayed in town to get treatment on their respective injuries while the team traveled to Memphis to face the Grizzlies tomorrow night. The Grizzlies and Pacers are especially psyched that the Wolves are going to spend the season remainder developing the younger players.

Fred Hoiberg was in Portsmouth with the Wolves "evaluation staff" helping to scout for the team.
"There is still a small possibility of playing," Hoiberg said. "That's what I'm going to shoot for."
"This is where I want to be, long-term," he said. "If [playing] doesn't work out, hopefully we'll get something worked out on the business side, or in basketball operations."

From The Atlanta Journal Constitution:
I almost forgot to tell you about my new standing on the whole tights ban that the NBA will institute for next season. Mark Madsen ruined any chance of support for the hip-to-toe leggings by donning a pair Sunday at Target Center. I wasn’t the only person in attendance repulsed by the sight of dude looking like a bulldozing ballerina. I was actually willing to put up with this peculiar fashion turn prior to seeing Sir Pasty himself sporting a pair of black tights under his game shorts. But enough is enough. Next thing you know he’ll be wearing corn rows. So Madsen has done something no one else could; he has me siding with the establishment. NO MORE TIGHTS.

On a practice day during the Lakers-Wolves first round series in April 2003, a smiling Bryant stood in the Target Center and freely admitting recruiting Garnett for the Lakers.
“Minnesota people may not like it, but I said it,” Bryant told reporters from the New York Times and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “He just laughed. You know K.G.”

According to someone familiar with the Timberwolves’ thinking, it would take Garnett going to Taylor and saying, “Get me out of here,” for anything to happen this summer.

Garnett Possibly Out For The Season

Coach Casey on playing the less experienced players for the rest of the season:
"I've been told that we're going to be here next year, in this together," he said. "I'm on board with it. We're on the same page. And so we're doing this to develop, for me to coach next year. I haven't signed any [document], but we've talked about it. But Kevin [McHale, vice president of basketball operations] has said we're going to be back next year, so I take that man at his word."
As for trading Garnett, the coach said: "That is not part of the equation whatsoever."

Casey said he hasn't determined whether Garnett and Davis will see the court again before the season ends.
"With Ricky's groin the way it is and to save miles on Kevin's knees, it's just better to go ahead and not even be tempted to give them those minutes," Casey said.

"We owe it to our fans to develop and to be ready for next year, so that we don't go through the same thing next year," Casey said.

The tights Mad Dog wore in yesterday's game were borrowed from McCants to "ease a sore left calf muscle."
"It feels really good, so I think I'll stick with it," Madsen said. "And next year, if the NBA tries to outlaw it, I'm going to try to get some signatures [on a] petition."

The Wolves have called up Bracey Wright from the D-League. He'll join the team on their road trip this week.

Hoopsworld has an article on Banks titled "The Timberwolves Point Guard Of The Future"

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Garnett-less Wolves Get A Win Over The Hawks

Garnett, who hasn't missed a game since Feb 2001, broke his streak of 351 games started when he sat out of today's game with tendinitis in his right knee. That might explain why one of the ticket brokers/scalpers standing on the corner gave me a free, lower level ticket for the game.
I don't think I was the only one in attendance who was still expecting KG to go through with his pregame powder dusting bit but that didn't happen.

Ricky Davis was also out with a sore groin.

Starting lineup: Justin Reed, Eddie Griffin, Mark Blount, Marcus Banks, and Rashad McCants.

McCants season high 28 and Hassell's jump shot in the last couple seconds of the game sealed the win with a final score of 84-83. Mad Dog, sporting tights for what I think is the first time this season, also got more playing time than usual. His slam dunk earned him a half-assed standing ovation. And unlike Friday's game against Utah where most were booing and yelling for KG to come back in the game, the crowd, prompted super heavily by the announcer, was exceptionally psyched under the circumstances of no star players and no playoff potential.

Mad Dog Hearts KG

From The Star Tribune:
At the morning shootaround in Charlotte on Tuesday, the Wolves were having a spirited debate on the merits of Florida big man Joakim Noah, who led the Gators to the NCAA men's championship the night before. There were strong opinions on both sides as to whether Noah, if he came out, would be a first-round pick, in a boisterous argument that seemed largely recreational.

Finally, one player tried bringing the banter to a halt: "C'mon, Mad Dog was a first-round pick!" As in, if Mark Madsen could be taken in the first round (No. 29, Lakers, 2000), then surely this young, defensive-minded 7-footer match that when the time comes.

Kevin Garnett, at that point, made it clear he had Madsen's back. "Mad Dog has two rings, y'all! Dog has two rings!" he said, noting the two championship teams on which Madsen played in Los Angeles.

Asked about Garnett, Madsen didn't hesitate. "In terms of players in this league who command respect in all circles, from sponsorships, ownership ... there's probably two other guys in the echelon with Kevin Garnett, in respect from peers. That's something, through his hard work and the way he treats people, he has earned. You should see the rookies, the vets, how they go to Kevin Garnett with personal issues, for advice, with basketball questions."

Wolves Over The Weekend

On Friday, Garnett reached 61st on the NBA's all time scoring list with 17,337 points, one point ahead of McHale.
"Good; I can talk some (trash) to him," Garnett said. "That's probably the reason he's not returning my phone calls. It makes a lot of sense."

Mad Dog on his lack of playing time:
"I guess my expectations are always the same — be ready when your name is called," Madsen said. "I feel like, in that aspect, I've been 100 percent successful. When the coach has called my name, I've been ready, and I've gone in there and done my job. That's my role, and I embrace it."

"Mark Madsen's been a pro," Casey said. "He plays hard every day in practice. He knows his role."

First-year Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey, asked how he is doing these days with his faltering team: "I'm hanging tough. The alternative is six feet under, and I'm not ready for that."

Anthony Carter pleaded guilty Friday in Hennepin County District Court to a fourth-degree misdemeanor for driving with a blood-alcohol level over 0.08 percent March 3 in downtown Minneapolis.
Carter received a $1,000 fine and will do 112 hours of community service.

Carter also got an MRI on his injured foot. While results won't be in til Monday, he could be out for the rest of the season.

Troy Hudson had a cortisone shot last week in an attempt to regain full range of motion in his right ankle.

McHale attended the 9th Annual Nike Hoop Summit this weekend.

The Wolves Fall To The Jazz

The Wolves lost to the Jazz on Friday night, 103-95. Now that the team is officially out of playoff contention, Garnett, along with Ricky Davis, spent half of the game on the bench.
"(Casey) told Rick and I that he was going to drop minutes, and that guys have to be ready," Garnett said. "So it wasn't like out of the blue."
"I can't even remember the last time I played 24 minutes," Garnett said. "My knees are thanking Case at this point right now."

"I'm developing players," Casey said. "That's the mission and the charge I've been given by the organization is to make sure I improve (Rashad) McCants, improve Marcus Banks, improve the young talent we have. I'm working my tail off doing that. There's always risk when you're a coach."
"Kevin's going to get his minutes," Casey said. "He's our franchise guy, but we need to see what we have (from young players) under pressure."

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Wolves Host The Jazz Tonight

KG and Ricky Davis on playing fewer minutes for the season remainder in order to give more playing time to their less experienced teammates:
"Fine with me," the All-Star forward said Wednesday, after playing fewer than 32 minutes for only the fourth time this season. "Let some of the young guys get some reps. Get some game experience. And I can rest these bones."

Davis, in the disappointment of the last-second defeat, seemed less thrilled. "I think lately we've been playing a lot of young guys, taking a look at people and seeing what's going on," he said. "But I'm out there to win games; I'm not out here to baby-sit."

...I've got to come out sometime," Garnett said, adding: "We've got to find a way to mesh -- when Ricky's out, I'm in or when I'm out, Ricky's in, so we have some leadership out there."

Mad Dog has replaced Richie Frahm as the Wolves' players union representative.

The Wolves will wear their blue jerseys tonight at home rather than the standard white. It's a tie-in with the team's "True Blue" marketing slogan this season.

Szczerbiak will miss the rest of the Celtics season due to surgery on an injured knee.

The Timberwolves host the Jazz tonight in a game to which none of the many, many people I asked wants to accompany me, free ticket/Big Ticket or not.

Mad Dog On MySpace And Immigration Laws

After reading Mad Dog's latest blog entry, Sactown Royalty has this to say: Screw Paul Shirley. Mark Madsen is easily the funniest white guy in the league.

Mad Dog goes from this:
So today after we had done all of this intense stuff, it got quiet while we were shooting free throws. Then Kevin looks straight at me and says, "Dog, you on" I paused for a second and didn't say anything while I thought back........I remembered I had just signed up about five days and Kevin both started laughing hard and I said, " seems like whatever I do, you know about it." He laughed and told me that he has a lot of friends who are always telling him what's going on.

To this:
When I read today that lawmakers are going to do something so that illegal immigrants can take one of three paths to become legal here in the US I was very happy. Of course there has to be order to the immigration (which everone agrees on) and there must be excellent border control to reign in terrorists threats and to keep the unsavory out. However, when they were talking about making illegal immigration a felony I was in shock.

He then quotes the poem on the Statue Of Liberty and asks:
In the end aren't we all immigrants?

Mad Dog gets our sincerest gratitude as he's the only one who can make the fans laugh in the wake of a season like this.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Watch KG Coat Sid Hartman With Powder

(Pic from Garnett Tribute site.)

Perhaps in an effort to revive fan interest, the Timberwolves have have given their site a long overdue makeover.

Currently, the coolest thing on the site is a video in which KG details his pregame ritual.

There are also lots of "fun facts" about the dancers but, unfortunately, not too many irrelevant items on the players such as the awesome videos that can be found on the Mavs site.

An article on the revamped site notes that the Sioux Falls Skyforce, one of four CBA teams joining the NBA D-League, will be the Wolves D-League affiliate next season.

Hawks Trap Wolves

Last night's 101-99 loss to the Hawks made it 13 consecutive road losses for the Wolves, the team's longest streak since 1994.

Childress was wide open, and hit the game-winning layup at the buzzer.
A professional team should never allow a play like that in that situation, and what made it even worse was Minny coach Dwayne Casey admitting afterwards that he didn't know who was supposed to be guarding Childress.

"That's how our season is going," Kevin Garnett said afterward. "That's our year right there."

There were some creative titles for the various game recaps:
T-Wolves Suffer Sorry Loss To Hawks

Late Lollygagging Leads To Another "L"
Timberwolves Find Another Way To Lose

Coach Casey on claims that KG is being "too unselfish":
"I think he's making his best basketball play," Casey said Wednesday before his team faced Atlanta at Philips Arena. "I don't think he's being too unselfish. If somebody has a better shot than you, you've got to make the play."
"If he sees somebody open, he's going to make the pass," Casey said. "He's very unselfish, which is what you want in your superstar."

Casey was also asked about his thoughts on ESPN's coach approval rating poll in which he is currently second to last, just ahead of Larry Brown:
"I don't pay any attention to it," Casey said. "I just do my job.
"Talking to Kevin [McHale, Wolves vice president of basketball operations], everything has been about next year. Nobody's said anything about possibly not being here next year."

Assistant coach Vince Taylor had a collision with Hassell during the pregame warmups that resulted in a broken nose.

McHale and Larry Bird were seen "chatting all night" yesterday at the Portsmouth Invitational pre-draft camp.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

There's Way Too Much Baseball News

The pic is from this site which has photoshopped NBA players into family portraits. Thanks to YAYSports for the link.

From WCCO:
It might be more than speculation about Stephon Marbury going from the New York Knicks to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The word is New York is doing background checks on some of the players who would be available in a trade with the Wolves.

Twolves scout Rex Chapman, a former University of Kentucky star, is one of the "NBA types" UK guard Rajon Rondo talked to before deciding to end his college career and enter the draft.

The Wolves face Hawks in Atlanta tonight.

Update: A local couple are getting married during halftime of the Wolves/Jazz game this Friday. The bridal party will be decked out in Twolves jerseys. Crunch will be one of the groomsmen and Little Crunch will be a ring bearer.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

McHale Loves Cribbage

The Wolves lost to the Bobcats in Charlotte tonight.
"I think you have to have a focus on the road, a mental toughness on the road, that I think we're trying to find," said Minnesota coach Dwane Casey. "That's the story of our season."

Britt Robson's article on Kevin Garnett is an awesome but depressing piece on the future of the Wolves:
But regardless of how specious or cynical the campaign has been to pry KG away from Minnesota, it wouldn't have caused a ripple if bad luck, penalties from an illegal contract, and a long string of idiotic personnel moves hadn't combined to sabotage the future of this franchise—with or without Garnett on the team. Because the dispiriting bottom line behind all the trade talk is that, now and for the next three to four years, the Timberwolves are screwed whether they trade KG or keep him.

Click here for an interview with Garnett in which he discusses the team, Kobe, and who should be MVP.

Coach Casey on T-Hud who probably will not be back this season:
"Once he gets back and gets healthy, he won't [be at a disadvantage from playing so little]," Casey said. "You don't lose the experience he has. He's playoff-tested. He just needs to get his body right, physically ready to endure 82 games."

From C.J./Star Tribune:
Word has is that Timberwolves operations veep Kevin McHale spends a lot of time playing cribbage -- when some would argue that every second of his workday should be devoted to improving this sorry team.
"He's not going to call you back, and he doesn't spend that much time playing cribbage," a McHale assistant said Monday.

Congrats To The Gators!

Kevin Garnett's string of 30 consecutive double-doubles is the longest in the NBA since Moses Malone had 44 straight for Philadelphia from Nov. 27, 1982, through March 4, 1983.

KG on whether the team would have a better record had the trade with Boston been made way earlier in the season:
"I don't know," Garnett said. "Shoulda, woulda, coulda.
"The sooner you start something, nine times out of 10, it works. If two people are dating, if two people are interacting, sooner or later the chemistry comes together."

McHale will meet with Taylor after the season to discuss his future. That meeting could determine the direction of the franchise.

The Wolves play the Bobcats in Charlotte tonight.

"It's a little bit tougher on the road," point guard Marcus Banks said. "Basically, it comes from not closing the games out. We're doing a better job at home than on the road. We just have to carry that out to the road."

Player Appearances:
Saturday, April 8- Mark Madsen at the Eden Prairie Verizon Wireless store from 2pm-4pm
Monday, April 17- Trent Hassell at the Shorewood Cub Foods from 6pm-7pm

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Timberwolves Over The Weekend

The Wolves won in overtime against Golden State at the Target Center on Sunday afternoon. It may have had something to do with the fact that their dressing room "pulsed with the sounds of hip-hop music" before the game.

In response to the team going from being the league's 9th worst team to its 10th worst with today's win and the effect that could have on their draft pick, Garnett said:
"I'm not going to give up any games," Kevin Garnett said. "If they want to go in that direction, they need to come talk to me. As long as I'm on the floor, I'm trying to win the game.
"... I'm a player. I don't work upstairs, I don't sign papers, I don't type, you're not going to catch me in a cubicle. Nothing like that. I'm trying to win some games."

Daily Dime/Marc Stein says the Wolves won't trade KG before next season. He also recalls an interview with Ticket in which he says the things he hates doing the the most are "sleeping and eating."

KG and Coach Casey chatted with Coby Karl, son of Nuggets' coach George Karl, during the Wolves trip to Denver. Coby was Boise State's leading scorer in hoops last season and just underwent surgery after being diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer.

Coach Casey wants free agent Marcus Banks to join Rashad McCants and Bracey Wright in playing for the Wolves in the Las Vegas summer league provided the team can re-sign him.

The Wolves held a players meeting with union representatives to discuss gun safety and pertinent laws governing firearms. A representative from the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office also was on hand.
That may be due to the shooting across the street from the Target Center on Friday night but don't know for sure.

Christian Laettner injured himself at a YMCA court and had to be taken to the hospital to get stitches. The former Timberwolf has been working out "with hopes he might get picked up by a NBA team for the playoff run."

Sam Smith/Chicago Tribune thinks that KG and Allen Iverson would be good together.

Casey on rookie McCants:
"I never thought I'd say this, but he's one of our best defenders behind Trenton [Hassell] right now, as far as having a focus, paying attention to detail on the defensive end," Casey said.

Garnett on Reggie Miller's jersey being retired by the Pacers:
"You never know, man," Garnett said. "That's one of the biggest compliments anyone can give you. It's like you're almost the mascot or the symbol of who you play for. When you think about the Lakers, you think about Magic. When you think about Boston, you think about Bird and McHale. When you think about Chicago, you think about Jordan. And when you think about Indiana, you think about Reggie Miller."

KG on how long he'll be in the NBA:
"I don't know," Garnett said. "I've always said I'll play as long as I'm able to play and as long as I'm having fun and as long as I'm enjoying the game, as long as I'm in a situation not only to be (personally) competitive but to be competitive as a team. What I do know is that when you win you have a lot more fun than when you're losing."

Saturday, April 01, 2006

"They're tights, man"

KG reacts to reports that the league is going to ban players from wearing tights ala Kobe next season:
"For players, it's more [therapeutic]," Garnett said after the morning shootaround. "Our legs swell when we fly. We have so much swelling of the joints and stuff. When you have elbows with bursitis going on, swelling of the knees ... you need those tights. "

"So I don't understand what's the real problem. That's the way guys are able to stay loose, be mobile, stay agile for 48 minutes. I don't know what the beef is. It's getting ridiculous."

"They're tights, man," Garnett said. "People don't understand how hard it is to prepare for a game, not just mentally but physically. Getting your body to go."

Eddie Griffin was reaching for his cell when he hit a parked car on Wednesday morning. After he and the owner of the car exchanged info, the cops drove Griffin home.

"They weren't really worried about it," Griffin said. "They just took me home."

While cited for not having a valid license, Griffin escaped with no court dates or team penalties resulting from the accident.

News from the Florida Flame/D-League:
Since returning from a foot injury that caused him to miss eight games from February 23-March 18, Bracey Wright has averaged 22.0 points, 7.3 assists, and 4.7 rebounds in the Flame's last three games. The 6-3, shooting guard on assignment from the Minnesota Timberwolves has led Florida in scoring in all three games...The D-League's #2 scorer (21.8 ppg), Wright is averaging 23.0 points, shooting 47% from the field (66-140) and 48% from three-point range (12-25) in his last nine games played.

Wolves Fall To The Nuggets

The Wolves get their 11th consecutive loss on the road in Denver, losing 106-94.

"Denver played physical and aggressive on the boards," Minnesota coach Dwane Casey said. "They got a lot of offensive boards and second possessions and Carmelo [Anthony] was very aggressive. They played like a team needs to play that is getting ready for the playoffs."

"I trusted our team would figure out what we needed to do to win since we started out kind of slow back and forth," Denver coach George Karl said. "We wore them down physically in the fourth quarter, and that made a big difference. Our activity on the offensive glass was great and getting to the free throw line was also good."

Asked if Minnesota would be better off rebuilding with or without Garnett, Denver coach George Karl said: "If was an owner or a coach [there] I probably would die with KG because I love him that much as a player. I don't know if there's been a professional intensity for that long by a player that, I think, [is] a top-five player."