Scoops: Wolves Tried To Acquire Harden
Created: 11/09/2012 12:00 PM KSTP.com
By: Darren Wolfson
Center Nikola Pekovic almost didn't have the most noticeable beard on the Minnesota Timberwolves.
According to team sources, they made a few inquiries about guard James Harden before Oklahoma City traded him to Houston days before the season started.
Mostly because of a reluctance from the Thunder to make a megadeal within the division and Houston's continuous phone calls and attractive pieces, talks never became serious.
However, one Wolves source said they would've sacrificed forward Derrick Williams, future first-round picks and more if it came down to it.
As for other Wolves trade talks, all is quiet. But the internal belief is that dialogue will pick up after all teams play 15 games.
The Wolves are still expected to be busy before February's trade deadline. Williams and guards Luke Ridnour and J.J. Barea are the names cited most by the sources.
Wolves owner Glen Taylor said point guard Ricky Rubio should return in mid-December and feels good in his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
"They really have to hold him back," Taylor said of the team's medical staff. "I talked to him on Wednesday and he's getting really excited."
Meanwhile, All-Star forward Kevin Love should return in early December and doesn't have any swelling in the right hand he broke last month, Taylor said.
Asked if he believes Love's knuckle push-ups story, Taylor said, "I take his word."
• Taylor on the team's MVP through four games, forward Andrei Kirilenko: "He brings leadership. When you meet him, even though he's a foreigner, he's very thoughtful and helpful. He shares that with the guys."
• Taylor on guard Brandon Roy: "He's still getting accustomed to playing again (after missing the 2011-2012 season). He doesn't have the speed he had before. He's smart enough. I still have confidence in him."
• Taylor on selling the team in the near future to one of several unnamed people who have expressed interest: "I might get a deal within this year." He was quick to add that if that transaction comes to fruition, he will remain with the organization for five to six years, slowing transitioning from majority to minority owner. Taylor added, "Nothing's done. ... The process is slow. ... I'll be patient to get the deal that I want."
More Wolves scoops
• Free agent forward Kenyon Martin's camp was told by the front office that Love's timetable was positive enough they'll pass on Martin.
• Big man Antonio McDyess is making a comeback but doesn't have the Wolves on teams he wants his agent to pursue.
• Free agent guard Mickael Pietrus has a fan in director of personnel R.J. Adelman. But he won't sign for the minimum. In other words, don't look for him in a Wolves uniform anytime soon.
• The front office has reached out to free agent pitcher Brandon McCarthy's representative. They've done the same with free agent pitcher Anibal Sanchez, but as someone close to Sanchez put it, "Do you really think Minnesota will pay up?"
• More realistic targets are free agent pitchers Joe Blanton and Ryan Dempster, whom the Twins have contacted, or another free agent pitcher, Brett Myers. The Twins reached out to Myers and expressed interest in having him transition back to being a starter. The response they got was that, yes, Myers' focus is to sign with a team that will use him in its rotation.
• The Twins continue to have daily conversations with Scott Baker's agent, Alan Nero. Re-signing Baker is still a priority.
• Free agent Brandon Webb hasn't pitched in the majors since 2009, but that hasn't prevented the Twins from inquiring.
• Talks are underway with reliever Jared Burton's camp about a contract extension. Burton can be a free agent after the 2013 season.
• In addition to contacting free agents, the Twins are having daily talks with numerous teams about trades. Teams with available arms include the Rays, Braves, Mariners and Phillies.
• Free agent pitcher Jon Garland threw for at least 10 teams in September, but the Twins were not present. They've yet to express any interest.
• The Twins have inquired about pitcher Randy Messenger, but it's worthless for the time being. Following up on last week's note, Messenger's team in Japan, the Hanshin Tigers, will not allow him out of his contract. He went 10-11 in 196 2/3 innings pitched in 2012 with 166 strikeouts, 65 walks and a 2.52 ERA.
• In spite of a connection to ex-Reds general manager and Twins special assistant Wayne Krivsky, the team has not called on free agent reliever Bill Bray.