Scoops: July 25

Updated: 07/26/2012 1:56 PM KSTP.com By: Darren Wolfson

If the Twins trade outfielder Denard Span, and right now they're taking more calls than they're making, his preference is to play in the National League. The Reds and Nationals are interested.

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From a Twins source: "We have a few" offers for pitcher Francisco Liriano. I would put the chances at 95 percent that he's going somewhere by Tuesday's 3 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline. Toronto, Texas, Baltimore, Boston, the Yankees, Angels, Mets, Washington, and Atlanta have scouted him over the last month.

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Yes, Gophers freshman quarterback Philip Nelson had a hamstring injury. But he's fine now. In fact, word is he shouldn't miss any practice time.

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A lengthy statement from Tartan cornerback Keelon Brookins, a 2013 recruit, on why he's switching his commitment from the Gophers to the Badgers:

“I don’t think people realize this but I have been visiting Wisconsin since last September. Not a secret, just no one has asked. I have been there several times including junior day. Each time I was there I liked it. The coach that was originally recruiting me Bob Bostad left but Wisconsin always maintained contact with me as they went through the staffing changes. During that whole situation, the Minnesota offer came. I was honored that Minnesota offered because I had not heard from them until that point. At the time it was the right decision for me. I didn’t have a reason to decline their offer.

In May Coach Strickland came here and saw me in action during some practices at school. Then someone from Wisconsin saw my performance at the Nike Training Camp in Champaign.  Shortly after that on a Thursday Wisconsin contacted my coach and asked me to come to a one day camp the following Monday so Coach B. could see me in person. I discussed it with my parents and told them I wanted to see how I would do since I couldn’t go last year. It was a last minute decision because I had no plans to do camps at any school this summer. We drove down and I did well and earned an offer. Was I surprised, somewhat but, like I said they have always maintained contact with me and each time I have visited I liked it more and more. On my last visit I went down to check out the school itself with my parents because my mom had never really been down except for junior day. While there this time it felt really good. I visited the College of Education, met with people in student support services, toured the city, and met in detail with Coach B. and his staff. At that point I realized that I had never really considered leaving home to go to school due to the offer from Minnesota. My parents said it would be wise for me to seriously consider all of the offers that I had. 

After my visit my parents and I discussed for days and hours and looked at both programs in detail. They visited Minnesota again and we discussed some more. We left it alone for a while and then came back and discussed some more. I concluded that the opportunity to leave home for school was an experience that I wanted and the Wisconsin offer gives me that.

I still believe that there is no place like home but, there’s also nothing like being given additional opportunities that are worth pursuing. I’ve always said there’s no place like home and that I was going to keep my options open. It made sense to take time and look at both of my options and then make an informed decision. That’s what I did. Don’t get me wrong, I love MN and Coach Kill and Coach Jay are great. My decision has nothing to do with  the Minnesota coaching staff. They are doing some great things with their program but, I have decided to earn my degree and play college football at the University of Wisconsin Madison. My time as a high school student is scheduled to end this fall as I am planning to graduate early and start my college career in January 2013 as a Badger.  I look forward to going to Wisconsin and being there with a close family friend Riley Dearring from Hopkins, who committed to play basketball at Wisconsin last week."  

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The Gophers men's basketball schedule is expected to be released by mid-August. They are still working on finalizing one non-conference game and one exhibition game.

---WOLVES NUGGETS REPRINTED FROM MY 1500ESPN.COM COLUMN---

It's not Nic Batum, Pau Gasol or Andre Iguodala, but the Minnesota Timberwolves made the long-discussed, singular big move on Wednesday.

A high-level Wolves source confirmed on Wednesday night the team has a verbal agreement with free agent Andrei Kirilenko on a two-year, $20 million deal that includes a player option for 2013-14.

The source fully acknowledged that "it's too much money." But the best way to lure above-average unrestricted free agents is to win a bidding war, so that's what Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn did.

The source said that back-and-forth wasn't with the Golden State Warriors or any other NBA team. It was with CSKA Moscow. Kirilenko was seriously wrestling with whether he wanted to leave the Russian team he played for last year.

Before a few days ago, the Wolves had made no contact with Kirilenko. Keep in mind the Wolves called on double-digit free agents from July 1 through July 4. Kirilenko only became an option when the Batum attempt failed.

It was Kahn who made the initial phone call to Kirilenko's agent, but coach Rick Adelman was on board. This move has equal fingerprints on it.

To create the necessary cap space, the Wolves will send wing Wesley Johnsonand a future first-round pick to Phoenix in a three-team trade. The selection will likely be Memphis' pick, which the Wolves got via Houston. It has lottery protection through 2016.

As of late Wednesday night, the deal was not ready to be sent into the league office. The Wolves are expected to get two future second-round picks from New Orleans plus guard Jerome Dyson, who is just a throw-in.

Tidbits

• When asked if Kirilenko, Brandon Roy, Greg Stiemsma, Alexey Shved and Dante Cunningham would complete the offseason transactions, the source said, "I think we're done" -- but was quick to add that it's fluid, because Kahn loves talking to agents and a big man could still be needed. Free agents Carl Landry and Anthony Tolliver are still on their radar.

• The source had a strong feeling that Kahn will move a point guard, likely Luke Ridnour, before the start of the 2013-14 season. The Wolves could be busy again at the February trade deadline.

• The Wolves never made a serious run at restricted free agent Brandon Rush.

• While there has been social-media chatter about the Wolves not keeping Cunningham, the source said that has not come up internally. He fills a need.

• The Wolves never made a formal offer for Courtney Lee because the price was too high. Kahn and Lee's agent, Stu Lash, spoke face-to-face in Las Vegas, so Kahn knew exactly what Lee wanted. Lee ended up in Boston on a four-year, $21.5 million deal.

• Kahn had initiated text-message contact with free agent Jodie Meeks' agent in the last two days. But a source close to Meeks said on Wednesday night that Meeks is now off the Wolves' radar. He will sign soon with an Eastern Conference team.

• There is internal fear the Blazers next summer will extend an offer sheet to restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic.