Scoops: August 2

Updated: 08/02/2012 7:28 PM KSTP.com By: Darren Wolfson

Two quick encounters with Gophers forward Trevor Mbakwe resulted in finding out he will be able to play pickup games with his teammates in about a month. The second saw Mbakwe moving very well side-to-side on the outdoor track. If wondering whether I was stalking him, there is a method to this madness: KSTP left a microphone at the football facility after coach Jerry Kill's news conference, so a return trip was necessary.

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The Gophers men's basketball team is finalizing one contract. After that, the full schedule will be released. The Big Ten schedule should be out late next week.

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The behind-the-scenes word from the Gophers football facility is that left tackle Ed Olson Jr. had the best offseason of anyone. The coaches can't wait to see him in practice starting on Saturday.

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Gophers hockey coach Don Lucia will watch his son, Mario (Notre Dame), at the Team USA World Junior tryouts this weekend in Lake Placid, New York. Don's assistant, Grant Potulny, will have the same role this weekend. Don will also get to watch three of his players: defensemen Mike Reilly and Brady Skjei and forward Travis Boyd. Team USA's head coach is Minnesota hockey legend Phil Housley.

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The Twins never came close to trading first baseman Justin Morneau because they were not willing to eat any of the money remaining on his contract. The Twins tried to get a good return and hand over all of the contract, which was nearly impossible.

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Twins pitcher Carl Pavano (shoulder injury) will throw for Class A Fort Myers on Tuesday if his bullpen session this weekend goes well. The best hope for the Twins is that he's healthy in the next couple weeks, so they can make an August trade. Pavano is a near-lock to clear waivers, paving the way for a transaction if there's interest.

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After every move this offseason, the Wolves are $473,000 under the salary cap. If they so choose, they can either add a player at the minimum or will have to shed salary via a trade.

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The Wolves did not get a TPE (traded players exception) in the Wes Johnson transaction.

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Center Greg Stiemsma's contract is only guaranteed for the 2012-2013 season. If he's still on the roster on a  certain date, an option kicks in for the 2013-2014 season. The Wolves put the protection in just in case his feet continue to be an issue. Stiemsma was bothered by sore feet in Boston for much of the second half of last season.

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A high-level Wolves source said there's a far better chance forward Derrick Williams starts the year with the team rather than someone else. His name has come up a lot in trade talks, more so initiated by the opposition.