Sunday, December 31, 2006

Updates Part II

The Wages Of Win blog on what David Berri sees as "The Decline Of Kevin Garnett." By their measurements, Garnett "is still among the very best in the game. But he’s not quite as far above the competition as he was in years past."

From The Pioneer Press:
Garnett is in the midst of a 16-for-47 shooting slump (34 percent) in the past three games, in part because of double-teams and extra attention from defenses. The Wolves have lost two of those games; on Friday night, he scored 10 points, his fewest in three years, but the Wolves won in a blowout against the struggling Seattle SuperSonics.

The Wolves' defense has let them down, and it did again Saturday against the Nets. When Garnett's game isn't in tip-top shape, the Wolves look even worse.

"I have to think about so many different things rather than myself that I probably need to be a little bit more selfish and think about myself a little bit because it is starting to show," Garnett said.

The Pioneer Press names Eddie Griffin its "LOOP Sports Figure of the Year."

Coach Casey on Mark Blount:
"He's very unassuming in his play, so much so that you think he's not getting anything done until you look at his stat sheet at the end of the game," Wolves coach Dwane Casey said. "I do think he's one of the top big-men outside shooters in the league. He's a very smart player."

Casey on Randy Foye:
"I trust young players," Casey said. "A lot of NBA coaches would probably think I'm dumb. But I enjoy developing young kids. I know that doesn't bode well for job security because a lot of time that doesn't develop into wins. … One night he'll look like a million dollars and the next night, he doesn't know what side of the floor he's on."

Wolves Updates 12/31

Rashad McCants says he could be playing again in "a week-and-a-half, two weeks."
While admitting to some discomfort in his right knee and limitations on bad days, McCants said most of his workouts recently have been good. He said he hopes not to be on a short leash, in terms of minutes, when he does return first to full practices and then to games.

"That would be a rush-back process, wanting to come back if I wasn't ready," he said. "But when I'm 100 percent and the coach knows it, it won't be five minutes here, five minutes there. I'll be ready to play."

On having his UNC jersey honored today:
"I don't know anybody who goes in there hoping to be just another basketball player. I know I wasn't," McCants said. "It's special to be a part of [that tradition], but to be remembered is a great feat."

The Chapel Hill News refers to it as a "special day for North Carolina basketball."

Star Tribune on last night's game:
Marko Jaric sprained his right thumb in the second quarter and was done after a nine-minute stint. X-rays were negative and he is listed as day-to-day for Monday's game.

Coach Dwane Casey said he used Bracey Wright in the second half rather than Troy Hudson because he needed a sturdier body on Vince Carter.

Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune revisits Ndudi Ebi:
Guys drafted after him continue to shine and thrive, rubbing it in as to how helpful they might have been in a Minnesota uniform. Except that last week, two really, really shined and thrived.

Coach Casey on Randy Foye:
"Randy Foye is one of the most talented kids I've been around, and I've been around Rashard Lewis, Desmond Mason, a lot of guys," the Wolves coach said. "He's on that arc. But he's not there yet: One night he'll look like a million dollars and the next night he doesn't know what side of the floor he's on. Typical rookie play."

Casey on the numerous injuries in the league this season:
"We've been on the fortunate end, knock on wood," Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey said by phone from Minnesota before the Wolves dropped Seattle 101-82 Friday. "It hasn't really hit us like it has other teams and the league in general. There's been a lot already, which is very unusual. I don't think there's any real reason for it, just a fluke."

Wolves 92, Nets 100

From Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune:
The Wolves let Moore do a lot, all game long, while losing a game that was there for the taking. That, of course, would have required a little assertiveness, a wee bit of intensity, on a night when the visitors showed none.

"We didn't have the focus and the energy we needed in the first quarter, and we were playing catch-up the rest of the night," coach Dwane Casey said. "Rebounding was somewhere where we were worried the mental toughness would show. Allowing Mikki Moore to come in and pound us -- I think he scored on every offensive board."

AP Recap

Box Score

"I don't think it's a huge gap," Garnett said, when asked where the Wolves are defensively compared to where they want to be. But he added, "I think as far as consistency, there's a little wedge."

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Updates Part II

Rashad McCants and the Bobcats' Raymond Felton and Sean May are among some of the hosts for the 2006 NBA New Year's Eve Players Ball in Charlotte.

Marc Stein/ESPN names Randy Foye the "Rookie Of The Trimester":
Like a lot of Wolves fans, I wish Foye played more. Yet I've seen enough from this guy in a couple of crunch times -- at Dallas in November and Tuesday when he scored the game-winner to save the Wolves after they had blown a big lead to Chicago -- to pick him out of a struggling group that only has one rook (Adam Morrison) averaging better than 10 ppg.

Stephen Litel/SportsPage Magazine talks to Coach Casey and Marko Jaric about Jaric's lack of playing time:
MJ: I mean, it’s not secret that I’m not the happiest person over here. Definitely, I’m trying to show what I can do. I’m trying to prove to him, to prove to everybody, that I deserve more playing time and that I can help this team win. So far, that’s not happening. One game I play 25 minutes, the next game I play 10 minutes and that definitely bothers me. I’m not the happiest person and I’m not hiding that, you know? But, I am definitely going to play for this team. I have learned in my life that if I deserve something, I just expect to get it back. I do appreciate it here, though.

Raptor's coach Sam Mitchell on KG trade rumors:
"I just can't hear him uttering those words (trade me)," said Mitchell. "Everything he's been through thus far he hasn't said it. So why would he do it now? I can't see it. Because he's not the type of guy who's going to give up."

In only his second appearance this year, Bracey Wright got his first basket of the season in last night's win over the Sonics.

Wolves Updates 12/30

Minnesota's Rashad McCants, out since early-summer microfracture surgery on his right knee, has been practicing on a limited basis with the team - and could be ready to return in a couple of weeks. But coach Dwane Casey was cautious about putting a timetable on that, stressing that it will depend on how McCants responds to increased contact and activity.

From Kent Youngblood/Star Tribune:
Two Wolves will be honored during the team's two-game road swing to New Jersey and Carolina.

First, rookie guard Randy Foye will have his high school jersey retired today before the Wolves' game in New Jersey. Foye attended East Side High in Newark, N.J.

On Sunday Rashad McCants will have his jersey hung from the rafters of the Smith Center on the University of North Carolina campus. The school also will honor Sean May and Raymond Felton at halftime of the UNC-Dayton game.

Congratulations to Mike James and his wife Angela who gave birth to a baby girl on Friday morning.

A preview of tonight's game at New Jersey.

Friday, December 29, 2006

KG Bounce, KG Bounce All-Star

Courtesy of SLAM Online, a pic of the new Adidas KG Bounce.

According to Kix And the City and Sneakerfiles, Adidas has also designed the KG Bounce All-Star in preparation for the All-Star game in 2007.

Wolves 101, Sonics 82

From Kent Youngblood/Star Tribune:
The Seattle Supersonics got the triple whammy, and the Timberwolves benefited in a 101-82 victory Friday at Target Center.

The Sonics got to the Twin Cities Friday afternoon a tired bunch. They got whipped Thursday in Denver. Then the combination of snow and mechanical problems kept them on the tarmac until the wee hours before retreating to their Denver hotel. An early wakeup call and flight to Minneapolis had the Sonics sleep-deprived and ready to sleepwalk through the second half of this hellish back-to-back.

And who were the Wolves to argue?

So what if the Wolves spent much of the first quarter trying to play down to Seattle's level? Or that it took Kevin Garnett the better part of the game to find his offensive flow?

With the Sonics misfiring badly, it didn't matter.

AP Recap

Box Score

"I'll take blowouts any time," said Garnett, who went 4-for-15 from the field and barely extended his double-digit scoring string to 349 games. Coach Dwane Casey, respectful of his star's streak, removed Garnett once he reached a season-low 10 points with a short turnaround midway through the fourth quarter.

Updates Part II

The Sonics are in town:
The Seattle SuperSonics, who had travel issues leaving Denver early this morning, arrived in the Twin Cities at 2:30 p.m. today and are expected at Target Center for tonight's game against the Timberwolves at 7 p.m.

Garnett and McHale spent some of Thursday's practice demonstrating and discussing the "nuances" of the pick and roll for Randy Foye because of the rookie's struggle with it during the Raptors' win.
"Last night, I got beat a couple times on the pick and roll, and they scored some big baskets," Foye said. "Basically, it was like a learning session. They were trying to give me knowledge, and I think it's going to help me a lot."

Wolves Updates 12/29

Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune says that in Wednesday's game at the Raptors, Garnett "felt he pressed to take advantage of matchups that, on paper, were his to dominate and wound up making those Raptors more effective."

"I've just got to relax," he said. "Sometimes, I get so hyped before these games ... I've got to go into my yoga phases and do some of my meditation to just relax."

"I see an opponent across the way and I feel that fear, man ... I've got to relax," Garnett said. "That onus is on me. I'm trying to do too much, I'm trying to take advantage of what I have. Watching film, I knew [the Raptors] would probably trap, but they didn't trap early. They had Rasho play me head-up, and I was anticipating something that wasn't even there."

Stephen Litel/SportsPage Magazine talks to Ben Wallace about Garnett staying in Minnesota:
“As far as him retiring here in Minnesota, I think that this is his city, this is his spot, so I think he should (retire as a Timberwolf), but things don’t always work out the way everybody would like them to.”

“I think that ultimately it is going to be his decision whether he wants to finish here or not,” added Wallace.

KFAN's Dan Barreiro on Coach Casey:
Yes, he deserves heat for recent fourth-quarter meltdowns, but it's not his fault that Mike James is the latest average player whose agent has taken Kevin McHale to the cleaners, Mark Blount would be an All-Star if the entire game consisted of the first quarter, Ricky Davis is still too streaky, two of the five best players are rookies, most of the guards on a ridiculouly guard-intensive roster can't handle the ball or get to the free throw line, and one of those isn't Allen Iverson.

The second returns of the NBA All-Star balloting have Garnett continuing to lead all Western Conference forwards.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mike James Updates

Mike James's wife, Angela, was expecting to give birth to the couple's third child today. Coach Casey says James is still planning to play in Friday night's game.

In an article on the Wolves site, Angela talks about when she and James started dating :
“We were really good friends first,” she said. “Then one day he just said, ‘Will you be my girlfriend?’ He actually said, ‘Will you be my girlfriend!’ And I said ‘Yeah!’ Then he asked, ‘Can I kiss you?’ It was like we were 10 [years old]. I said yeah and we tried to kiss and we bumped teeth... so that’s our story. We were all nervous. We were like two kids.”

The Toronto Sun on Mike James and Wednesday's game:
There was a moment during a break in the first half when Raptor coach Sam Mitchell summoned T.J. Ford to the sidelines for a word. Mike James, Ford's shadow this night, came over as well and stuck his ear into the conversation.

Mitchell just continued to talk to Ford as if James wasn't there but from the fake-pain expression on James' face, and the smirk on Ford's, you knew Mitchell was talking a little smack for James' benefit.

A fan sitting close by, a guy who obviously watched James in action for the Raptors last year, called out as James walked away, "Hey Mike, what's that? Ya never listened when you were here, anyway."

True as that statement might be, that's as close as you'll get to harsh criticism of James in this space. The guy has never pretended to be a true point guard. He's a shoot-first, ask-questions-later kind of guy and there were plenty of nights during last year's sorry Raptor season when he was all they had.

Rob Babcock made a lot of mistakes as general manager but Mike James for Rafer Alston wasn't one of them.

Sonics at Wolves?

Ray Allen missed the Sonics game at the Nuggets tonight to be present at his child's birth. According to Gary Washburn/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Allen will make it to Minnesota for Friday's game. The only question is whether or not the rest of the team will be prevented from travelling to the Twin Cities due to the snowstorm in Denver.

The Sonics are expected to stay the night in Denver and hope the snow clears up enough for them to take off for Minneapolis.

Carnival Of The NBA #39: Holiday Edition

Make sure to check out the revamped Bullets Forever where Pradamaster has assembled a special edition of the Carnival Of The NBA just for the holidays.

Wolves Updates 12/28

Mike James on the reception he received during his return to Toronto:
"They tried to boo me at the beginning, and it was kind of cute," James said after the Wolves lost 100-97 to the Raptors. "That is just all fun."

Garnett on the loss to the Raptors:
"We had a lot of opportunities to win the game," Garnett said. "As long as you give yourself a chance to win, that's all you can ask for. But a loss is a loss."

Stephen Litel on what he sees as Coach Casey's biggest flaw.

Tony Mejia/CBS Sportsline thinks Randy Foye needs to spend less time on the bench:
Foye needs more than the 18 minutes he's averaging this month, because he has to become more aware of ways to overcome his limitations. It has to be trial and error.

In their Western Conference Wrap, SLAM Online names Foye and Craig Smith to their Western All-Rookie Team.

Garnett on why Sam Mitchell and his Raptors are 5-0 against the Wolves:
"I'm sure he gets up for Minnesota," Garnett said of Mitchell, his mentor into the NBA when he arrived in 1995. "Something to prove to [Wolves VP of basketball operations Kevin] McHale. He could have brought [Mitchell] in, interviewed him for a coaching [job]. I know that, when he was an assistant in Milwaukee [2002-04], he was trying to get on the staff here, and I think they went in another direction."

Craig Smith on Foye:
"Definitely, he's always been a big-time player, especially in the clutch. He always comes up with the shots like that. He beat us a couple of times with some game-winners," said Smith about Foye, who scored a career-high 25 points against the Bulls. "He pretty much has seen every situation imaginable. No surprise at all, especially not to me. I knew he was capable of doing this the whole time."

Assistant GM Rob Babcock on Mike James:
"Mike is still adjusting to a new system but I'm convinced he will have a good year," Babcock said.

Wolves 97, Raptors 100

From Britt Robson/City Pages:
So with 10:51 left to play in the game and the Wolves up five, 78-73, on the road in Toronto, coach Dwane Casey crosses all of his fingers and toes in fruitless hope and decides to rest Kevin Garnett for the first time in the second half. You know the rest: 3:13 later, KG is rushed back in because the Wolves have failed to score, ceding the lead via a 7-0 Raptors run. Ricky Davis misses a pair of jumpers and turns the ball over. Randy Foye blows a layup. Marko Jaric jacks a brick. It's the second half, so Mark Blount disappears. And Mike James is next to KG on the bench, waiting for his chance to prove that he's not ready for prime time.

AP Recap

Box Score

"We'll figure it out, man," Garnett said. "We'll figure it out someday."

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Updates Part II

Chris Bosh and T.J. Ford talk about what they expect from former Raptor Mike James tonight as the Wolves face Toronto.

Britt Robson/City Pages recaps yesterday's game:
...right now it is hard to imagine Foye not settling into the role as KG's primary sidekick and staying there until the superstar retires or is traded.

Rick Alonzo/Pioneer Press on last night's win:
The Wolves shouldn't be in a position to need Foye to win games for them, no matter how talented he is, especially not when they've built a 25-point lead in the third quarter, as they did Tuesday night against the Chicago Bulls in what turned into a 100-98 squeaker at Target Center.

Sam Smith lists coaches "seemingly on the firing line."

Bulls coach Scott Skiles on the Wolves:
"They're stronger than us at every single position on the floor, physically stronger, so they've caused us problems," Skiles said. "We've played too slow against them. We've been too deliberate and haven't used our quickness against them, and they've taken it to us."

Steve Kerr/Yahoo makes new year's resolutions for each team.

Wolves Updates 12/27

Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune on Randy Foye having his heart on the right side of his chest:
But when it came to saying the Pledge of Allegiance back in grade school, Foye said he still put his right hand over his left chest. "They wanted me to do it the same way as everyone else," he said.

Craig Smith says he's "working hard" to be like Ron Artest and Shane Battier, "Masters at the art of drawing charges."

Straight Bangin' lists Garnett at #2 on its list of "Ten People Whom We Need to See Much More of in 2007."

Patrick Reusse/Star Tribune:
For all his excellence, Garnett has received more admiration than adulation from Minnesota's sporting public. He never has been embraced as fully in his 12 seasons here as was Kirby Puckett during his 12 seasons with the Twins.

Mike Max/WCCO offers no consolation but some humor:
Not that it matters to finish runner-up, but some inside the Timberwolves organization are convinced they were a second-place finisher in the Allan Iverson sweepstakes.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Wolves 100, Bulls 98

From Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune:
...if not for Randy Foye's floater from the right side with 1.8 seconds left, lifting the Wolves to a 100-98 victory in a game they once had led by 25 points. Foye scored a career-high 25, and wound up in the middle of things moments later.

AP Recap

Box Score

Garnett on almost blowing another double-digit 4th quarter lead:
"We have to figure it out as a team," Garnett said. "I'm sure the coaching staff has to do some things to adjust and make things easier on everybody else, but as players everyone has to do what they can to sustain the lead and stay aggressive in there."

On Foye and his winning shot:
"I just want you all to know that the young fellow has confidence in him," said Kevin Garnett, who played great (as usual) on his way to 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. "What's even bigger than that is that (the) veterans have confidence in him as well. Tonight is a prime example of us trusting him, and him coming through."

Wolves Updates 12/26

WCCO says that the Minneapolis police are still investigating claims that Eddie Griffin went into Santana Foods and made threats against the store's owner, the brother of the man who filed a lawsuit against Griffin relating to his March car accident .
"Yes, Mr. Griffin came into the store and threatened one of my clients," said Michael B. Padden, the lawyer representing the store's owner. "Like the prior incident, everything he did and said is depicted on video with audio."

The Star Tribune on Randy Foye and the fact that he has situs inversus, "a condition in which heart and other internal organs are reversed -- a mirror image of the ordinary body."

The Daily Herald on whether players who skipped college to go straight to the NBA "are missing something.:
Now in his 12th season with Minnesota, Garnett earned one of the highest salaries of his era, but his relative lack of team success and inability to hit a clutch shot in an important game has almost become a running joke.

Mike James on returning to Toronto tomorrow:
"I don't see any reason why (Raptors fans) wouldn't (cheer me)," James said in a telephone interview. "I didn't give them any reason not to cheer for me. I gave my heart to Toronto. Every time I stepped on the court, I played to win. I can't see why fans would hold it against me that I didn't sign back in Toronto. Talk to Colangelo."

Marko Jaric on the team's win in Indiana:
"Some guys said we took the monkey off our back," Jaric said. "But I think we still have a couple more games to win. We have to come back and fight harder the next couple of weeks."

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Updates

Ricky Davis, Justin Reed, and Crunch spent part of Christmas Eve delivering presents to single mothers and their families selected by St. Paul YWCA's transitional housing program.

Mutoni at SLAM Online thinks that while KG often "insists on sticking to the offense and the coach’s plan instead of imposing his will on the game," the game at the Pacers was a "'to hell with it' moment for Garnett."

Garnett on the bench players who helped out in the win in Indiana:
"I think the second group has been tested," said Kevin Garnett, who led all players with 29 points and 19 rebounds. "They got the opportunity to play the majority of the minutes [Saturday]. You can't ... moan about things you can't control. Everybody wants to play. But this was the [perfect example that] if you're not ready other guys will play."

Garnett on Randy Foye:
"Randy is a strong guard," Garnett said. "I think Randy has the rare [combination] of strength, agility, quickness. If he can get the midrange [shot] down, I think he'll be one of the best guards ever to play this game."

Coach Casey on Saturday's win:
"One of these nights we're going to get our offense and defense going together," he said. "I was happy our guys were able to get a road win in a tough place."

A letter to Santa from Scott Skiles as imagined by the Chicago Tribune, asking for Garnett to be delivered to the Bulls.

A preview of tomorrow's game against the Bulls.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Updates Part II

Garnett says the fact that's he's been with his current team longer than any other active player shows that he has "got the most patience in the league."

Said Garnett: "That's just who I am. That's my makeup. Sometimes it flows into your everyday life and some of your business sense. I believe that loyalty is a sense of pride and a sense of patience at the same time. It doesn't mean it's not frustrating at times."

KG on the team having to "fix what's wrong with no outside help."
"We have no choice," Garnett said. "You get tired of coming in the locker room, talking about the same things. Some things do get old. You have to adjust. Our practices are great practices. We just have to find a way to apply some of the practices to games and we'll be OK."

AP sports writer Jon Krawczynski offers a "holiday 'thank you' to KG."

Swingman Ricky Davis was rumored to have bitten Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut during the fourth quarter of Friday night's game at Target Center...
"I had heard that I bit somebody," Davis said. "Didn't nobody bite nobody."

From The Pioneer Press:
It appears the days are numbered for Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey, who would be the scapegoat for a team that simply doesn't have the talent to contend.

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is willing to pay his former coach Flip Saunders $1 million, but no more than that, as part of the offset contract deal when Saunders was hired by the Detroit Pistons.

Wolves Updates 12/24

According to Sid Hartman, owner Glen Taylor thinks the Wolves have more potential and talent than demonstrated in their recent performances. Taylor says that Garnett agrees with him and is "disappointed too."

Hartman also says that "if this team continues to lose, Randy Wittman will be coaching the team in short order and Casey will get his walking papers."

The owner on Garnett:
Taylor said there hasn't been any talk about trading Garnett and in fact said nobody has called about such a deal because nobody believes the Wolves would trade their star.
Taylor continues to maintain that because of Garnett's big salary ($21 million this season and $22 million next season), the cap problems to hard to work.

Patrick Reusse/Star Tribune on the Iverson rumors:
The Star Tribune wound up with less tarnish than most outlets. Steve Aschburner, the Timberwolves beat writer, chose to stick to the fact nothing was happening on a Wolves-Iverson front, rather than pander to the pipe dreams of the local basketball crowd.

Garnett on getting a Ferrari customized to fit his tall frame.

Hoopsworld looks at Garnett's contract and explores possible trades of the player to the Lakers.

Stephen Litel/Sports Page Magazine and his holiday "gifts" to the team.

Store Owner Claims Eddie Griffin Made Threats

Abed Hassuneh, brother of the guy suing Eddie Griffin and owner of the store near which Griffin's infamous car accident occurred, called police on Thursday night saying Griffin and a friend had come into his store, called him at home via a store employee, and "threatened him and called him names."

"It's an uncivilized way of settling something," Hassuneh said Saturday. "He started making threats that he'd have people to deal with me."

Griffin confirmed to a reporter that he went to the store and had spoken with Hassuneh on the phone. "I went there yesterday and asked him why he was doing that," Griffin said late Friday. He said he told Hassuneh that an allegation that he was masturbating at the time of the accident was false and that nobody should have said that.

As for an assertion that he was angry and yelling on the phone, Griffin said, "They can say what they want."

Wolves 78, Pacers 71

The Wolves snapped their four-game losing streak with a win last night in Indiana.

From Kent Youngblood/Star Tribune:
Garnett, meanwhile, scored 15 points in the first, 14 in the second. He finished with 29 points, a season-high 19 rebounds, two blocks and three assists. Oh, and a newfound admiration for the Wolves' second string.

"They were the difference in the game," he said. "They came in with energy. In the second half, man, we were like a machine. We were communicating on defense. It was beautiful."

As pretty as a game can be when a team shoots 39.2 percent on the road -- and wins.

AP Recap

Box Score

With the Timberwolves reeling, Garnett decided it was time to dominate.
"I just said I'm not going to let us be like this," Garnett said. "I'm going be assertive more than ever. To hell with the offense."

Trent Hassell was out with a stomach flu so the team was forced to change their starting lineup for the first time this season, with Justin Reed starting in Hassell's place.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Updates Part II

Garnett said he wasn't surprised by the reports that Iverson had asked for a trade. He also added:
"We've always spoke about how we've always wanted to play (together)," Garnett said. "It's no different from Chauncey (Billups, Detroit guard) and myself speaking on playing again with each other. … We all understand the reality of it and how the salary cap works, the exclusiveness of players and all that stuff, him being loyal to Philly and vice versa here with myself."

Garnett isn't concerning himself with that now that Iverson is a Denver Nugget.

"It's time to move on, man," Garnett said. "Like I said, I've learned not to put too much hope into situations, especially when it comes to management getting things done."

Garnett on the loss to the Bucks:
"Sometimes we get caught up in a newfound offensive rhythm," Wolves forward Kevin Garnett said. "At the end of the day, our bread and butter is our 'D,' and we have to get back to that."

A preview of tonight's game at Indiana.

Wolves Updates 12/23

Britt Robson/City Pages recaps last night's loss and gives his take on Coach Casey. He writes that "there is no justice if Casey is canned and McHale stays on."

Owner Glen Taylor on Coach Casey:
"My thing with Case is, I'll come in here and talk. 'How's it going? Is there anything I can do to support you?' As upset as I get when they go through a difficult time, I know that Case and these guys are probably not sleeping.

"I don't have to tell them anything that they don't know. I try to be a positive person. 'Let's go!'"

Taylor added that he will ask Casey to explain certain decisions and strategies. "I don't try to tell him how to run the team," he said. "To put in this guy or that guy, or any of that type of stuff. That's not my deal."

After years of sitting on the baseline near the team's bench, Taylor now watches from one of the new VIP seats along the sideline, two spots from Casey.

Coach Casey on last night's loss:
"It goes back to our defensive approach, our defensive identity against a quick, jump-shooting team," coach Dwane Casey said. "Whether it's transition, halfcourt, whatever ... we've got to get some pride back into our defensive game."

On the Iverson trade, Marc Stein/ESPN explains why he thinks that "no team (or fan base) out there was hit harder by this deal than the Wolves."

The Painted Area compiles a list of current players who have the longest tenure with a single team. Garnett leads the list. (Via True Hoop)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Wolves 107, Bucks 113

From Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune:
...the Wolves, missing key shots and failing to get key stops late, failed to make good on the pledge, promise, challenge or whatever it was to wind up with the victory.

AP Recap

Box Score

Tempers flared with 5 1/2 minutes to play. Andrew Bogut pushed Wolves guard Ricky Davis under the basket, drawing a technical foul. Garnett came to Davis' aid and pushed Bogut after briefly jawing at him. Garnett and Davis also received technical fouls on the exchange, with officials being extra vigilant in the wake of the brawl between the Nuggets and Knicks last week.

In an eyebrow-raising scene before the game, Wolves owner Glen Taylor sat in on Casey's pregame interview session with the media, listening intently as Casey broke down the collapse against the Lakers and what needed to be done to turn things around.

Taylor interjected a few times, saying that he remained supportive of Casey despite his frustration with the team's record.

Updates Part II

Craig at NBA Fanhouse posts video of the annoying dance Vladimir Radmanovic did during the Wolves/Lakers game on Wednesday.

From Rick Alonzo/Pioneer Press:
It's happened before, and it will happen again this season. The Wolves must live and die by the jump shot, but they also must look for other ways to win when they aren't making those attempts.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Sometimes, though, there can be friction at the point where athletic ambitions intersect with a Mormon's religious obligations. A mission might cost an athlete two prime years out of a potential pro career. Former Stanford basketball star Mark Madsen says many athletes, himself included, are hopelessly out of shape when they return...

"It's impossible to understand how out of shape you are after a mission,'' Madsen said. "On a mission, no one's lifting weights, no one's running, no one's drinking supplements. There's no time to work out.''

Madsen also had to make a pronounced psychological transition. "A mission really mellows a person out,'' he said. "So much of Christianity is the kindness. On the court, you've got to have a mean streak, not in a dirty way but a very competitive way. That was an interesting thing to rediscover.''

Mike Trudell at the Wolves site talks to assistant coach Bob Ociepka about tonight's game against the Bucks.

Wolves Updates 12/22

A preview of tonight's game against the Bucks.

Mad Dog describes today's game as a "must win" for the team:
"This is where the character of our team is going to come together," Madsen said. "We were very upset [in practice]. There was a lot of running, there was a lot of high intensity. That's what you want after a game like [the loss to L.A.]."

Sid Hartman says that he's never seen owner Glen Taylor "more upset about a loss" as he was on Wednesday night. Hartman believes that the loss to the Lakers "will mean some changes in the near future."
It might be the end of coach Dwane Casey, who has had little to do with putting together the personnel on this club, or it might be a big trade -- even one involving Kevin Garnett, for whom the Chicago Bulls are willing to give up some valuable players.

Hartman adds that "even some of the team's big corporate sponsors have had it."

The Beacon Journal points out that Autograph Collector Magazine ranked Garnett #1 among the "worst sports signers."

Kent Youngblood/Star Tribune on how Trent Hassell prepares for his matchups:
So Hassell will watch basketball just about every night. He'll pick a game featuring an upcoming opponent, hunker down in front of the TV with his wife, Tiffany, and take mental notes.

Hassell on the "five toughest guys he has to cover."

This week's's power rankings have the Wolves at #13.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Updates Part II

KG after yesterday's game:
"I don't feel like we have an identity to what we are," Garnett said. "I think at times we show glimpses of being a defensive team. But when that fails, it just seems like we're average. We need to get an identity and stick to that. I think some nights we want to be offensive when we know the defense is very much better than (our) offense."

From Inside The Lakers:
There were a couple of jokes made after Wednesday's game about Kevin Garnett immediately demanding a trade after the Timberwolves' implosion. A couple of jokes also were made about the Lakers showcasing the package of Vladimir Radmanovic, Maurice Evans and Andrew Bynum they would offer Minnesota for Garnett.

During an ESPN chat with Chad Ford earlier today, a reader asks if the Iverson trade will have "an effect on what Minnesota could get for Garnett?"

Chad Ford: (12:08 PM ET) On your question about Garnett, I think it matters this way ... Garnett is more frustrated than ever I'm told that the Wolves couldn't land AI ... not sure he'll ever ask for a trade, but I think he sees how hopeless the situation in Minnesota really is.

Some of the Wolves believe the Iverson trade is good for Denver.

Wolves Updates 12/21

Britt Robson/City Pages recaps last night's loss to the Lakers:
To be a good head coach in the NBA essentially is a matter of massaging egos and establishing a consensual pecking order in the locker room and putting your players in the best situations to succeed on the court. The presence of Kevin Garnett makes the first of those duties much easier for second-year coach Dwane Casey. Tonight's hide-your-face loss to the Lakers--in which the Wolves were annihilated 7-34 in the 4th quarter en route to a 94-111 pasting--was primarily attributable to Casey failing in the second of those duties.

Fred Hoiberg and Lakers forward Ronny Turiaf compared their heart surgery scars when they first met earlier this season. Hoiberg says the two talk at least once a month and that he checks Turiaf's stats after every game.

Eddie Griffin is one of the nominees for The Austin-American Statesman's 2006 Hootie Awards which celebrate "silliness and stupidity in the world of sports."

Fox Sports looks at the Wolves from a fantasy perspective.

The Mesabi Daily News believes not acquiring Iverson was a "smart move" on McHale's part.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Garnett on Iverson trade

KG said he was a "little bit" disappointed that Iverson did not end up in Minnesota.
"That's pretty much how it goes around here," Garnett said. "I've learned not to put too much belief and hope in things until they're concrete and done. ... It would have been a very, very nice Christmas present."

"But it is what it is," Garnett said.

Garnett also commented on A.I. and Carmelo playing together:
"It's going to be real interesting to see the two top scorers on one team with one ball," Garnett said. "I'm looking forward to watching them play. Denver has a fun style to play against. I know Andre Miller [traded to the 76ers] made a lot of things easier for those guys. I know 'A' is going to make it easier for Carmelo, knowing you have to attend to another scorer. So things should open up.

"As a fan, I'm looking forward to watching them play. As a competitor, I'm looking forward to playing against them."

Wolves 94, Lakers 111

From Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune:
Through three quarters, Minnesota was humming along at 61.7 percent field-goal shooting (37 of 60). Its jump shots were things of beauty, with GPS systems to boot.

Then, in the fourth, the Wolves made only two of their 19 attempts. They got outscored 34-7 in their most miserable 12 minutes of their 2006-07 season. So far. Seven points in a quarter?

Gee, maybe the Wolves could have used Allen Iverson after all.

AP Recap

Box Score

"We went from diving on the floor and being really scrappy in this game to, I looked up and we were down," Garnett said. "It's very frustrating."

"We can't keep depending on our coaches to make decisions," Garnett said. "We've got to use our IQs and our basketball knowledge to figure things out and maybe call timeouts and maybe go to a zone."

Wolves Updates 12/20

A preview of tonight's game against the Lakers.

Stephen Litel is soliciting questions to ask Coach Casey and the players. Click here to submit suggestions.

Rick Alonzo/Pioneer Press discusses some of the reasons Iverson didn't end up in Minnesota.

Dan Barreiro/KFAN posts his thoughts on the Iverson matter, saying yesterday "should forever be known as Terrible Tuesday" for Wolves fans.

It didn't take too long for Sam Smith/Chicago Tribune to counter the Wolves not getting Iverson with this:
The trade isn't bad news for the Bulls, who are believed to have harbored hopes of a Minnesota meltdown that could make Kevin Garnett available.

In addition to the irony of Joe Smith helping the Nuggets get Iverson, my friend TK points out that former Wolves scout Rex Chapman was one of the "aggressive new deal-makers" in Denver who made the trade happen.

Golden State Of Mind suggests this trade for Garnett.

Iverson Aftermath

Britt Robson/City Pages believes the team "never really had a great chance to land Iverson."

In addition to mentioning Joe Smith's part in the deal, Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune writes that now that the Iverson trade is complete, the question becomes "what will Garnett bring" to a team:
Fact is, for the rest of the NBA, the next brass ring is Garnett, who now has a blueprint -- should he want one -- for how to expedite his move to another team in 12 relatively easy days.

As for Joe Smith's inclusion in this deal -- a player McHale, Garnett and owner Glen Taylor had a near-lethal fascination with from January 1999 to June 2003 -- we'll leave that alone.

Ironic is a word that comes to mind, though.

Cruel is another.

Stephen Litel/Wolves Hoops Blog thinks that not getting Iverson was a good move for the Wolves.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

McHale's Statement On Iverson

From the Pioneer Press:
Now that all-star Allen Iverson is headed to Denver, Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale acknowledged Tuesday that his club was in the running for the all-star but wasn't able to make a trade...

"Obviously, we weren't able to make a deal with Philadelphia for Allen Iverson," McHale said in a statement issued by the Wolves. "We looked at many different scenarios and explored many different options, but at the end of the day it was Philadelphia's decision to make. We will not be discussing this in any further detail as it's not in the best interest of our team. As always, we will continue to look for ways to improve our basketball team."

ESPN: Iverson To Denver

From Marc Stein and Chris Sheridan/ESPN:
The Denver Nuggets have reached an agreement in principle with the Philadelphia 76ers to acquire Allen Iverson, according to NBA front-office sources.

The trade, pending league approval, some two weeks after Iverson demanded a trade in Philly, would send Andre Miller, Joe Smith and two 2007 first-round picks to the Sixers for Iverson and perhaps another minimum-salaried player or two. It was expected to be completed later Tuesday barring any snags.

The Sixers had been hoping to take back only expiring contracts in any Iverson deal, unless they were receiving a top-flight young player like Minnesota's Randy Foye or Shaun Livingston of the Los Angeles Clippers.

But with Philly and Denver struggling to find a third team to join in to make the deal more financially enticing for the Sixers, they decided to end an auction that began in earnest when Iverson's demand to be traded was confirmed by Sixers chairman Ed Snider on Dec. 8...

Wolves Updates 12/19

KG, T-Hud, and Trent Hassell had dinner with Latrell Sprewell while in Milwaukee last weekend:
"He's doing great," Hudson said. "Spree's in great spirits. He looks like he could play 48 minutes right now."
"He just said he's enjoying his time off," Hudson said.

The Wolves are planning Rookie Day for a Jan. 19 home game. Bobblehead dolls of Randy Foye were ordered, and Craig Smith will be part of the plans as well.

Craig Smith is at #6 and Randy Foye is at #9 in this week's's overall rookie rankings.

USA Today also ranks the top rookies and both Smith and Foye show up on the list.

Click here for an interview with former Wolves play-by-play announcer, Kevin Harlan, the person who came up with the nickname "The Big Ticket."

Rex Kalamian on the Denver suspensions:
"It's going to take a toll on them," said Wolves assistant Rex Kalamian, a former Denver assistant. "The last six weeks of the season, they're going to have a lot of road games. It could affect (the division race). We're going to have to see how the other guys on their bench do."

Iverson rumors:
The Philadelphia Inquirer: For now, the Sixers are still hoping that the Timberwolves change their minds and include Foye, the rookie from Villanova whom 76ers president Billy King has coveted most, in a potential trade. Minnesota is not inclined to include Foye in a trade for Iverson, but the Wolves haven't taken him completely off the table, either.
However, Minnesota will likely still need to find a third team to facilitate a deal.

Denver Post: With suspensions to deal with, the Nuggets have a pushed the pause button on any Allen Iverson talks, according to an NBA source.
A Western Conference executive maintained the Nuggets, Minnesota, Boston and the Los Angeles Clippers were the main teams interested in acquiring Iverson, who has asked to be traded. Miami coach Pat Riley said Monday the Heat has pulled out of the race.

Mad Dog on Stern and the MSG brawl

Mad Dog talks about the team being on a plane, "huddled around KG's plane seat trying to see a little bit of what happened" at Madison Square Garden last weekend. (Apparently there was no tv in the visitor's locker room at the Bucks' arena.)
I think universally, all of us felt bad about the incident and the players, fans and coaches that were involved.
What happened out there was wrong and I think that every player involved would tell you that.

Madsen also answers a reader's question about whether he thought the players involved should be fined by their team in addition to the league's penalty.
As far as each team fining their own players, that could get awkward for a few reasons. First the player is already getting fined a huge sum because they go on "unpaid" leave from all games. Secondly, their punishment in the media is incalculable. It would be tough for a GM to come into the locker room and give the player a third tier of punishment. That's just my opinion though.

From the Star Tribune, more comments from Mad Dog on the brawl :
Forward Mark Madsen, who has given and taken hard fouls, talked about an unwritten rule that starters sit and reserves play as hard as they can late in lopsided games.

"I don't know why those [Denver] guys were on the court at the time," Madsen said. "But at the same time, it's not my place to try to get inside the defender's psyche to find out why that would happen."

Madsen said he could relate to Collins, a rookie trying to impress a coach who values toughness. He also said he could relate to Smith, who had a flashy dunk not long before his final breakaway.

"Guys are showmen," he said. "You might not like it. You might want to pay them back. But you pay them back [next time] with basketball, not fighting."

Mad Dog talks about switching back to the old ball and offers his thoughts on the league commissioner:
The one thing about David Stern is that he has always put player input at the highest priority. At the rookie transition camp, he came in and he said, "Here is my email address," only to players. He said, "Email me whenever you have a concern, whenever you have something that you think can make this league better." Over the course of my career, I've emailed him five or six times.

Monday, December 18, 2006

T-Hud Sets Record Release Date

According to Rick Alonzo/Pioneer Press, Troy Hudson has set March 13, his birthday, as the tentative release date for his new record, "Undrafted." T-Hud spent the summer rehabbing his ankle and working on the album which features collaborations from Bun B, Twista, David Banner and Trick Daddy.

"This will be my third album, but this will be the first one that will be mainstream, worldwide," said Hudson, who has his own record label, Nutty Boyz Entertainment. "This will be the one that really tries to get me over the hump."

Trent Hassell gave the record his stamp of approval:
"It's a nice album," Hassell said. "He's real talented. He's got something to do after he gets through playing basketball."

You can check out a few of the songs on T-Hud's myspace page.

Wolves Updates 12/18

Owner Glen Taylor on the possibility of getting Iverson:
"I have to feel at the end that we have a better chance towards a championship with that lineup than the present one."

Paul Shirley talks about his top 10 favorite records of the past year.

Rob Babcock on seeing second round pick Loukas Mavrokefalidis play in Belgrade:
Loukas played a much better game than the first one we saw in Zagreb and we were able to meet with him after the game. He is a very nice young man who just joined the Lottomatica team this year. It is his first time living away from home and he is learning Italian, a new culture and a new league all at the same time. He is a hard worker and I was impressed at the adjustments he has made in just the week since we last saw him.

Iverson rumors:
AP: Philadelphia 76ers team president Billy King told the Associated Press on Sunday night he would not rush to deal Iverson...

The Philadelphia Inquirer: The weekend brawl between the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks might have an impact on the Allen Iverson talks if the league's punishment for Denver includes any delay in the Nuggets' capability to make trades during what should be lengthy suspensions for several players...

Meanwhile, the Sixers continued to talk on Sunday with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who appear to be their next-best hope for rerouting Iverson.

Interestingly, the Timberwolves have not completely ruled out dealing rookie guard Randy Foye, the young player the Sixers covet most of all, according to a source. But Minnesota is deliberating long and hard about whether the potential short-term rewards of teaming Iverson with Kevin Garnett - who has publicly advocated making the deal - are worth the risk of dealing away the franchise's future, Foye.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Wolves 104, Bucks 108

From Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune:
It was a risky pass to begin with, but one Kevin Garnett had made countless times before. One Trenton Hassell had caught countless times, too, from one side of the floor to the other, on a line from Garnett's hands.

Trouble was, neither of the Timberwolves saw Charlie Bell.

The Milwaukee Bucks reserve guard shot into the gap, intercepted the pass, raced the length of the court, got fouled by Mike James and wound up with a three-point play. It proved to be the pivotal moment in the Wolves' 108-104 loss Saturday night at the Bradley Center.

AP Recap

Box Score

"Plain and simple, I played like [garbage]," Garnett said, despite a team-high 26 points with nine rebounds. "I felt like I was too passive in the second half. I haven't been in a rhythm for a while. I don't like the way I'm playing right now. I've got to continue to watch film and try to get better.

"I do know that this team will get better as I get better, and I've got to initiate that."

Wolves Updates 12/17

Click here for video of last night's brawl between the Knicks and Nuggets at MSG.

Mad Dog says he really doesn't think "there was much of an upset feeling in the locker room over" Garnett's excitement over the possibility of bring Iverson to town.

Madsen also remarks that he doesn't believe there's "any way that the Timberwolves organization is going to trade Randy Foye or Craig Smith" for Iverson.

On his new site Wolves Hoops Blog, Stephen Litel posts a Rudyard Kipling poem hanging in the Wolves lockerroom.

From Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune:
Beginning Dec. 26, the Wolves will play 21 games in 37 days. Their first 21 games this season were spread across 49 days.

Eddie Griffin had to miss last night's game because of a death in the family. Mad Dog was with the team but spent the game rehabbing his shoulder.

Coach Casey on Mike James:
"He's been playing a lot better and is shooting the ball a lot better," Casey said. "He has found his way in the offense. That's one of the dilemmas of a scoring point guard - he gets caught between setting the table and getting his shot, and that caused a lot of off-balance (situations).

From Sid Hartman:
Unless the Wolves find a way to win consistently and fill Target Center, Taylor could lose up to $30 million this year.

(Pre-brawl) Iverson rumors:
Denver Post: The Nuggets are leading a tight three-team race for Philadelphia 76ers star guard Allen Iverson, according to a Western Conference executive.
The executive said Friday the Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics, in that order, have the best chance of landing Iverson.
...The source said Minnesota is offering the Sixers guards Mike James, Marko Jaric and Ricky Davis and swingman Trenton Hassell.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Wolves Updates 12/16

A preview of tonight's game at Milwaukee.

Assistant coach Bob Ociepka also discusses the matchup.

Kent Youngblood/Star Tribune on the half-season Mike James spent with the Bucks.

Iverson rumors:
Newsday: When the Denver Nuggets play the Knicks Saturday night at the Garden, could a certain electrifying scorer famous for his cornrows and tattoos make his debut for his new team?
That might be a stretch -- but two people with knowledge of the situation said Friday that Denver was closer than any other team to completing a deal for Allen Iverson, which would involve a third team as a facilitator.

Fox Colorado: NBA league sources say that the Denver Nuggets are close to a deal that would bring All-star point guard Allen Iverson from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Mile High City.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Mike James On The Drug Policy

Chad Hartman/KFAN talked to Mike James yesterday, mostly about the NBA drug policy. James started out by saying that rules are rules and people should abide by them. Then he got fired up and almost defensive, suggesting that the media and anyone else involved with the sport should also be required to get tested.

Hartman asked if he thought the policy was agressive enough and James responded that it was a little rough. His argument was that when it's time to be tested, the player may not be able to go to the bathroom because he may have already gone. James said that the player's focus should be on preparing for the game, but with a drug test looming, the focus turns to whether or not the player will be able to go to the bathroom.

You can listen to the interview here.

Wolves Updates 12/15

The Wolves spent time with over a dozen kids currently in foster care yesterday afternoon. The kids watched practice and went on a shopping spree with the team. Click here to see video.

Garnett currently leads all Western Conference forwards in the first returns of the All-Star balloting. posts player and team salaries for this season. KG tops the list of the highest paid players. The Wolves currently have the 6th highest payroll in the league. Each players' salary is listed here.

Kent Youngblood/Star Tribune on yesterday's team practice:
Most of the Wolves' time Thursday was spent watching film of their 95-82 loss to the Spurs, a game in which they led by double digits in the first half only to be pressured into submission by the Spurs' full-court trap in the second.

10,000 Takes marks the 12 Days Of Christmas.

3ManLift ranks KG as one of the top 5 power forwards in the league.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

One Week Later...

Iverson Rumor
Marc Stein/ESPN: It might not be a fast race, true, but it does sound as though Denver, Minnesota and Boston are all jockeying to come up with the large expiring contract that can clinch victory in the Iverson Sweepstakes...I've also been warned not to ignore the gate-crashers from Miami.

Jim Souhan/Star Tribune believes the team "should trade anybody and everybody on their roster other than Garnett for Iverson by, oh, yesterday."

Buck Harvey/San Antonio Express writes that commissioner Stern should intervene and get Iverson to Minnesota.

Main Line Life says that by trading for Randy Foye, the Sixers could "finally start to get on the right path to being committed to winning, instead of just wanting to, because up until now they haven't been."

Updates Part II

Britt Robson/City Pages recaps last night's game.
To reiterate what I said in my last post, when James, Ricky Davis and Kevin Garnett can establish crisp, unselish ball movement, everybody benefits. When James and Davis can't break down defenses or otherwise compel opponents to stop double-teaming and trapping KG, their stats are ugly and the Wolves lose. So it was Wednesday night.

Coach Casey on taking McCants on the team's recent road trip:
"It's something we'd like to keep him around closer as time gets closer to him coming back," Casey said.

Garnett on the upcoming switch back to the leather balls:
"The ball issue is very sensitive but a very important issue," Garnett said. "It's how we make our living. It will be good to see the old leather back."

From Sid Hartman:
The Timberwolves are one of the teams affiliated with the Sioux Falls CBA basketball team, and now that ex-Gopher Vincent Grier has joined the Skyforce, there's a good chance he could wind up with the Wolves if they have an opening.

Fred Hoiberg, Timberwolves assistant general manager, describes the recent performance of Marko Jaric as "phenomenal."He's actually had a good season for us the whole year," Hoiberg said. "I think Marko Jaric may lead the league in deflections. You know, a lot of teams chart deflections, and he does as good a job as anybody getting his hands on balls."

Iverson rumors:
Boston Globe: With no deal in sight, Iverson's stock appears to have fallen dramatically. Possible suitors now sound skittish about acquiring the talented but notoriously difficult All-Star guard. Minnesota, Golden State, and Denver remain the front-runners, with Dallas, Indiana, Chicago, and the Clippers other possibilities. Boston could reemerge in the Iverson sweepstakes, but likely only as a trading partner in a three- or four-team deal.

CBS Sportsline: Minnesota's chances hinge on their willingness to part with rookie Randy Foye, which sources say isn't likely.

Wolves Updates 12/14

The Wolves and Bobcats will be the first teams to use the leather ball this season when they meet in Charlotte on Jan 1.

Though the team still has no time frame for his return, Rashad McCants went on his first road trip of the season.
"We get to interact with him a little more," Garnett said. "It's probably good for his confidence to be around the team. It's good to see him in good spirits."

KG apparently hasn't forgotten his "history" with Francisco Elson.
Asked in October about the Spurs, Garnett eventually mentioned their frontcourt: "The inconsistencies with the middle men ... whatever the guy who they have now."
Someone tried to help him out: You mean Elson?
"Whatever his name is."
Yeah, Elson.
"Whatever his name is," Garnett said pointedly.

Bill Simmons believes that Iverson plays with an "intensity that only KG and Kobe can match (although MJ remains the king of this category). "

The Wolves are the only team in the league that has used the same starting lineup all season.

Iverson rumors:
InsideHoops: Late Wednesday night a source informed editor Jeff Lenchiner that the Minnesota Timberwolves are the current favorite to trade for Allen Iverson. The source is on the Philadelphia side of the fence. In no way does this mean the Wolves are definitely landing him. The info is merely that right now, they've got the best shot.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Today's installment of the Allen Iverson trade saga had the Denver Nuggets exploring an alternate way to obtain the 76ers' all-star guard, and the Golden State Warriors taking a step back and perhaps getting ready to drop out.
A source said today that the Nuggets might be trying to involve a third team, the Portland Trail Blazers, in the deal.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wolves 82, Spurs 95

From Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune:
Before halftime, they shot 60.5 percent (23-for-38), had 13 assists to six turnovers, led by as much as 16 points and matched their season high for points to the game's midpoint for a 56-48 lead.

After halftime, the Wolves shot 31.3 percent (10-for-32), had a crippling 17 turnovers to just five assists, got outscored by 21 points and set a season low for third- and fourth-quarter scoring (26 points) and for any San Antonio foe.

AP Recap

Box Score

"I've seen them do [it] in the past," said Garnett, who scored 17 points before the break and just two on free throws after. "I've come in here with different Timberwolves teams and we'd flow real nice in the first half. Then 'Pop' would make an adjustment to the pressure, to dictate and change the flow."

Never quite like this, though. "I watched three, probably four films on 'em and I ain't never seen them make no adjustment like that yet this year," Garnett said. "It was almost like a secret tool or a secret strategic move that they brought out."

"I thought we had an excellent game in the first half," Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey said. "In the second half they turned up the juice and we didn't respond. ... That is the best pressure I've seen all year."

Updates Part II

Though Mike James is a fan of the synthetic ball, Mad Dog shares that some of his teammates were pretty happy to find out about the upcoming ball switch:
"K.G. went up to Ricky (Davis) and said, 'Hey, we got the old ball back!' I wish you could have seen the look on Ricky's face — excitement..."

Tom Powers/Pioneer Press argues that the Iverson speculation has made the Wolves "relevant again."
Notice that in every story dealing with the Iverson rumor, it's also mentioned that the Wolves have been playing great lately.

Iverson Rumors:
The Boston Globe: Other NBA teams also think the Sixers are looking for too much in exchange for Iverson, said league sources. As a result, Philadelphia general manager Billy King may need more time than he originally hoped to complete a deal. Minnesota, Denver, Golden State, Dallas, Indiana, Chicago, and the Clippers remain possible suitors, though a different front-runner emerges daily, if not hourly.
The favorites yesterday came out of the Western Conference, namely the Warriors and Timberwolves.

The New York Times: At least four Western Conference teams remain interested in Iverson, according to several executives in the league: Denver, which expressed interest in acquiring Iverson last season; Memphis; Minnesota; and the Los Angeles Clippers. In the East, Boston and Indiana are interested.

The Detroit News: The Timberwolves appear to have fallen to the end of the line. Randy Foye has some value to the Sixers, but apparently that's where the intrigue ends for King.

Wolves Updates 12/13

A preview of tonight's game at San Antonio.

Trent Hassell is one of the Wolves who views the Spurs game as a "test" of where the team stands:
"On the road in San Antonio. That will let us know if we've turned the corner. Things can change quickly, we know that. We can't get too big-headed [about winning four in a row]. We have to stay focused, realize it's a long season, and be ready for San Antonio."

Iverson rumors:
Marc Stein/ESPN: Iverson, sources say, would welcome a move to either Minnesota or Boston, but the issues confronting the Wolves and Celtics haven't changed. The Wolves don't have a first-round pick to package with the young lead guard Philly covets (Villanova alumnus Randy Foye)...

Newsday: Minnesota has been more involved than widely reported, according to a source who characterized Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor's statements to the contrary as "a smokescreen."
"If Kevin Garnett goes in to Taylor and says, "I want this to happen,' then this is going to happen," the person said.

Mike Max/WCCO: The Timberwolves would love to trade Ricky Davis to Philadelphia or another team. The reason is that his contract is attractive to others and character is more than a small issue.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Updates Part II

Mike James gives advice on the Wolves and Iverson, the relationship between league commissioner and the players, and on whether diamond earrings or Wolves tickets make a better gift.

Rick Alonzo/The Pioneer Press on what the Wolves are "doing right."

Bob Sansevere/Pioneer Press believes Garnett is being "self-centered" in his excitement over Iverson.

Assistant GM Rob Babcock writes about going to see second round draft pick Loukas Mavrokefalidis play in Croatia.
Loukas did not shoot the ball well in this game, but had a solid rebounding and defensive game and made some great passes.

Trent Hassell on the team and A.I.

Iverson watch:
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Sources indicate that Indiana, Boston and Minnesota continue to express interest in Iverson, with Denver and Sacramento also in the mix. But in some cases, King would likely have to take a player he wouldn't necessarily want in order to get rid of Iverson.

Boston Globe: According to a league source, the Celtics remain on the list of teams in contention for Iverson's services, along with Golden State, Minnesota, Indiana, Chicago, Denver, Charlotte, Sacramento, Dallas, and the Clippers. According to another league source, Golden State is the front-runner...

New York Post: ...the Timberwolves remain in the hunt, if only to appease Kevin Garnett...

Wolves Updates 12/12

Mad Dog says "it was a great day" because of the news that the league is reverting to the leather balls and because of the following:
...the NBA is going to form a committee including a wide range of NBA players getting a cross-section of superstars and role players to be part of any ball decisions in the future. I think what the league is saying is that if we do away with the leather ball down the road, let's work together to find a solution that works for everyone. Michael asked me to approach Kevin Garnett to see if he would like to play a major role on the committee.

Madsen also remarks on the unresolved Iverson situation:
This morning in our locker room, we were all kind of aware that if the longshot odds come true and A.I. comes to Minnesota then some of us might be packing our bags.

Kent Youngblood/Star Tribune lists factors contributing to the Wolves improved performance.

Draft Express has a progress report on Randy Foye.

HoopsWorld interviews Ricky Davis about decreased playing time from previous seasons, Iverson rumors, and helping out an injured kid in Charlotte.

Britt Robson/City Pages talks to MPR about the pros and cons of Iverson joining the team.

The Wolves move up to #9 in ESPN/Marc Stein's Power Rankings.

Coach Casey on the team's 4 game winning streak:
"We're playing together and getting to know each other, and that's been the key," said head coach Dwane Casey after Monday's practice. "We're doing the same things, with the same sets, guys are just getting into a rhythm going with each other."

USA Today talks Iverson and Garnett.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Leather Balls Make A Comeback

Marc Stein/ESPN reports that the new synthetic basketballs will be replaced by the old leather basketballs after multiple complaints about the current balls causing cuts on players' hands.

NBA commissioner David Stern, in a stunning reversal, has decided to shelve the new microfiber composite basketball after just a few months of use and switch back to the old leather model for all games starting Jan. 1, according to sources close to the situation.

Updates Part II

The Bleacher Report ranks the five "whitest guys in the history of professional sports." Mad Dog comes out on top thanks to his infamous dancing.
Interestingly, the dance also qualifies Madsen as the blackest missionary in the illustrious history of the Latter Day Saints, which, well—

Sam Smith says it might be time "to let the dream die:"
But after watching Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves dismantle the Bulls on Saturday night at the United Center, even I'd have to wonder why the Timberwolves would trade Garnett to the Bulls, much less anywhere else.

T-Hud on his "reduced role" with the team:
"I'm just grateful and glad that I'm healthy," Hudson said. "I'm handling it well. I'm positive. When I get out there, just be positive. If you're negative, when you get out there it's going to show in your play. So I'm going to stay positive."

Trent Hassell on being team captain, going to high school with Shawn Marion, and getting less minutes this season:
"It's frustrating," conceded Hassell, who's seen his playing time reduced this year — from 32.6 mpg last year to 27.6 — as the Wolves search for a winning combination. "But the one thing about this is that we've got another year.

Wolves Updates 12/11

Follow up to the Jim Gray story:
The New York Times and USA Today talked to ESPN's Gray about being fooled by an Iverson "impostor" on the phone. The person to whom Gray spoke said he hoped "this deal with Minnesota works out." Gray said he'd talked to Iverson at least 200 times and was "confident it was Allen."

After announcing the conversation about the Wolves on the air, Leon Rose, Iverson's agent, called to tell Gray that Iverson said he had not been on the phone with him. Gray then had to go back on the air to correct his earlier statements.

Gray was asked if he still thought it was really Iverson on the phone that night:
"Anything is possible," Gray said. "But the good news here is that it didn't involve anything earth-shattering."

Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune cautions about putting too much stock into rumors regarding Garnett and Iverson:
Proceed with caution. Because whatever you think of Kevin McHale and his track record as Wolves vice president of basketball operations, one thing McHale is not is a leaker. Certainly not to the media.

Aschburner also remarks that the speculation surrounding Iverson isn't just "harmless fun" for all:
Any time Iverson gets mentioned in connection with one team or another, there are players (such as Minnesota's Randy Foye) whose worlds get rocked. Someone has to get shipped out, after all.

Britt Robson/City Pages on the Bulls game and his thoughts on Glen Taylor possibly spending money on Iverson.

Mike Trudell at the Wolves site talks to Yao Ming and Andrei Kirilenko about, among other topics, playing against Garnett.

From Sid Hartman:
Timberwolves assistant general manager Fred Hoiberg credits the coaching staff for coming up with a better rotation, leading to the team winning seven of 10 games. "The guys are starting to figure out when they're going to go into games and when they're going to get their rest, and that has contributed very well to this four-game winning streak," Hoiberg said. "I think [the players] are starting to get comfortable with their roles."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

ESPN Source: Wolves Not Seriously In The Running

From Chris Sheridan/ESPN:
A source close to Iverson has told that Sixers brass met Sunday to go over the various trade proposals that have come in over the past few days. One or two three-team trade proposals were expected to be explored Monday, and the source said the Sixers were inclined to pull the trigger shortly thereafter -- either Monday night or Tuesday.

While the Sixers are apparently looking to pull the plug on the trade quickly, Iverson will be inactive for Monday's game against Portland.

The source indicated the Minnesota Timberwolves were not seriously in the running, and the attention being paid to Denver and Boston was being overblown...

Amid speculation that Davis, or Mike James, and rookie Randy Foye might be the centerpieces of a deal that would send Iverson to Minnesota, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor on Friday night told the St. Paul Pioneer-Press: "There's no trade. It isn't that I don't like him, just money-wise it wouldn't work out."

And although Taylor backed off those comments somewhat on Saturday,'s source, who because of his closeness to Iverson was being kept abreast of all developments, indicated the 76ers weren't enamored of either Davis or the additional pieces they'd have to take back from Minnesota to make the salaries match.

KG To Chicago Rumors

From the Daily Southtown:
Bulls general manager John Paxson inquired about Garnett prior to the draft in June, but Timberwolves operations chief Kevin McHale said he was off limits at the time.
Contrary to recent reports, the chances of Garnett in a Bulls uniform this season are slim at best.
According to a league source, if the Timberwolves (10-9) finally decide to part ways with Garnett in the near future, they would want the best possible chance to land phenom center Greg Oden in return. The Ohio State freshman is expected to turn pro next spring.
In that case, the Timberwolves would wait until after the draft order was finalized in the lottery before they pursued any such deal.

From the Chicago Daily Herald:
League sources indicated the Bulls and the Timberwolves have had some preliminary discussions about Garnett — and the price would be Luol Deng, Tyrus Thomas and possibly a first-round draft pick.

From Sam Smith/Chicago Tribune:
"I never get discouraged by anything when it comes to Chicago," Garnett said about frequent speculation he might be a trade target of the Bulls. "It always has been a second home for me. I never get discouraged by anything, West Side, South Side, nothing."

Carnival Of The NBA

Check out the newest Carnival Of The NBA at Cavalier Attitude.

Owner Taylor "Softens His Stance" On Iverson

From the Pioneer Press:
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor softened his stance on the possibility of acquiring Philadelphia 76ers all-star Allen Iverson on Saturday, saying it could be something to consider.

"The only reason to do something like that would be to see if you had a better chance of winning the championship," Taylor said. "I don't think you want to just go out there and do it if it won't help you win a championship, even though initially there might be some fan interest to watch him play. Would adding him and deleting other people on your team, do you have a better chance of winning the championship? If people made a proposal to me, that's the only way I'd look at it, and no one's done that."

The Pioneer Press also weighs the pros and cons of trading for Iverson.

Mad Dog likes keeping up on the Iverson trade rumors but doesn't want to leave Minnesota.

Mike James also says he doesn't want to be traded:
"If that was the case, I would have made a different decision," he said, regarding chosing to sign with the Wolves this summer.

KG on AI:
"We have a connection," Garnett said. "We consider each other friends. I go to some of his outings when I have a chance. I know his people, his family."

Garnett also said he's been "unaware of all the Iverson drama," but knows that Trent Hassell will keep him informed.
"Management will do whatever they're going to do. It's out of my hands. I come here to hoop, get double doubles, make sure guys are doing what they should do, try to wreak havoc."

The Philadelphia Inquirer believes the Sixers need serious help so the Wolves might not be an option:
That means no trade with Minnesota, whose 2007 first-round pick already has been traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. That means no deal that brings players with big contracts that extend beyond 2007 or, at worst, 2008.