View Full Version : Rumors swirl on potential Timberwolves deal

01-17-2006, 10:52 AM
Kent Youngblood, Star Tribune
Last update: January 15, 2006 8:09 PM

After Timberwolves practice Sunday at Target Center, in a hurry to catch a plane to New York, center Michael Olowokandi declined to talk with reporters. He left the locker room and headed down the hall.

Would it be one of the last times he would make this walk?

A report in Sunday's Star Tribune suggested that Olowokandi was part of a potential Wolves trade that was, if not imminent, at least brewing.

Reached at his home Sunday, owner Glen Taylor acknowledged that the Wolves were attempting to make a deal to upgrade the team.

"I would tell you, we're out there actively talking to other teams," Taylor said. "But we don't have anything going right yet."

After practice Sunday, Kevin McHale, Wolves vice president of basketball operations, wouldn't comment on any trade talk. But he said he is always looking for ways to improve the team.

"We've lost a lot of close games this year," said McHale, when asked if he was content with the makeup of the team right now. "I think when you do that, you lose some confidence. ... We've lost so many close games. But our defense is very solid. I would like to add a little more scoring for us to have a little more punch in those games."

On Friday, ESPN reported that Orlando was seeking a trade with the Wolves involving Wally Szczerbiak in exchange for suspended Magic guard Steve Francis. But in the Sunday report Taylor said the Wolves were not interested in Francis. Taylor also said he didn't think the Wolves were going to be the team successful in working a deal for Indiana's Ron Artest.

If the Wolves are indeed looking to increase scoring, it would seem unlikely they would part with Szczerbiak, the team's second-leading scorer.

Speculation surrounds Olowokandi chiefly because he has fallen out of the starting lineup and didn't play in the past two games.

Coach Dwane Casey has been adamant that the reason Olowokandi has sat is matchups; Chicago and Denver -- the Wolves' past two opponents -- played with small lineups.

"Michael has done nothing wrong," Casey said. "We still need him. He'll have matchups in the next two games."

Neither McHale nor Taylor would comment on Olowokandi.

But it's clear the Wolves have not gotten what they hoped when they signed Olowokandi to a three-year, $16.2 million contract before the 2003-04 season. In the final season of that deal, Olowokandi has a $5.9 million salary this season. He would be attractive in a trade with a team that considers itself out of the running this season, one willing to acquire Olowokandi primarily to be able to use that salary slot next season and willing to give the Wolves a player in return for that.

Meanwhile, Casey has to figure out how to get the most out of the lineup he has right now.

"I don't know what's going on, and I don't want to know," Casey said about a potential trade. "As a coach, I'm prepared to coach the team that I have. I'm happy with the team I have. I like each player, I have confidence in each player."


01-17-2006, 11:02 AM
Olowokandi-Blount swap being discussed

By Shira Springer, Globe Staff | January 17, 2006

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- According to two league sources, a deal that would send Mark Blount to Minnesota or Memphis could be completed soon. One source described a deal as ''imminent." The most likely scenario would have the Celtics shipping Blount to Minnesota for 7-foot, 270-pound center Michael Olowokandi. The Celtics play the Timberwolves tomorrow night at the TD Banknorth Garden.

It is less clear whom the Celtics would receive from the Grizzlies for Blount, if they went that route. Lorenzen Wright, a 6-11 center, might be one possibility because he is in the last year of his contract. Although the salary numbers work, one source said 6-8 Memphis forward Brian Cardinal is not a candidate.

The Celtics reportedly tried to deal Blount to Memphis last offseason. Memphis was one of the teams that aggressively pursued Blount when he was a free agent.

After an extremely disappointing 2004-05 season, Blount and his agent Mark Bartelstein talked with coach Doc Rivers and executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge last summer. Blount arrived at training camp determined to reclaim the form he showed when playing for his current six-year, $40 million contract -- a contract with a 15 percent trade kicker.

Blount was in the starting lineup for the first 11 games this season. But his inconsistent play, particularly on the glass, led Rivers to demote Blount to the bench. Blount did not play (coach's decision) Nov. 25 against Charlotte, and he has bounced between the bench and the starting lineup.

In yesterday's 94-84 loss to the Pistons, Blount scored 12 points (6 for 11) and grabbed 3 rebounds in 31 minutes as the first player off the bench. He also led the Celtics with 4 turnovers. For the season, he is averaging 13.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.2 turnovers in 29 minutes per game.

If the Celtics complete a deal for Olowokandi, it would put them in a much better position financially. Blount is making $5.5 million this season and has four years remaining on his deal; Olowokandi, who is making close to $6 million, will become a free agent this summer.

The Celtics could waive Olowokandi, who is averaging 6.5 points and 5.6 rebounds in 24 minutes per game.

If a third team becomes involved, one source said, Marcus Banks appears a likely addition.

01-17-2006, 01:15 PM
Interesting. Does this trade set up something else...a la Artest?

01-17-2006, 01:19 PM
Wait...is a trade actually going to go down this season!??!?!?!?!

01-17-2006, 01:48 PM
Olowokandi for Blount is a wash if you ask me.. two fairly unmotivated players with pretty low basketball IQs..

01-18-2006, 09:13 AM
Francis/KG would be a valid combination IMO because of KG's unselfishness.. hope it doesn't go through

01-18-2006, 11:26 AM
i like blount he is a very good mid range shooter, so I think minn would get the better of the deal