The Scoops: March 8, 2013
Created: 03/08/2013 2:12 PM KSTP.com
As recently as two weeks ago, Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn remained steadfast that his team, even in the far better of the two conferences, will be a long-term fixture in the postseason.
"We have very good players right now," he told his college roommate, Steve Hartman, on Fox Sports Radio. "When we're healthy, we'll be a very good team, and for a number of years."
Kahn has to be uber-positive, mindful his tenure could be ending in less than two months.
In a phone conversation this week, Wolves owner Glen Taylor said there's "absolutely" a chance Kahn's back. Taylor will hear from his minority owners and others in the organization, but ultimately, Kahn's future will be solely his call.
Either way, expect a decision no later than the end of April.
"I owe it to David to get going," Taylor said. "I can't go on for a long time."
As for whether there's movement on the change of ownership front, Taylor said a couple new parties are interested, but he still doesn't have a timetable.
• Taylor wants to keep restricted free agent center Nikola Pekovic this summer. "My hope is we retain him," Taylor said, "that we can work something out." Team and league sources continue to insist that Taylor won't pay him $12 million/year or more on a long-term contract. Pekovic is a priority, but only within reason. The negotiation between Kahn (or whoever the decision-maker is) and Pekovic's agent will be great to follow starting on July 1.
• Taylor, when asked about my note from last week that coach Rick Adelman is expected to agree to do a third year: "I think that's true."
• The Wolves never came close to trading guard Luke Ridnour to Philadelphia, according to Taylor. Ex-Wolves forward Lou Amundson told Fox Sports Florida he and Ridnour were nearly dealt to the Sixers for center Spencer Hawes. Taylor said Adelman had no interest in moving Ridnour. Taylor didn't confirm, but there's reason to believe Kahn was more open to a Ridnour or J.J. Barea trade than Adelman was.
• The Wolves are not putting a waiver claim in on forward/center Jeremy Tyler, who was released by Atlanta this week. However, the Wolves are contemplating adding a big man to a 10-day contract. Much like they did earlier in the season, they can apply for a hardship roster exception. Word has it that 30-year-old center Eddy Curry's name has come up internally, but nothing appears imminent. He's back in the United States after a season in China, where he averaged 23 points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes.
• Free agent slugger Jim Thome, on whom the Twins are keeping tabs, is training at Fischer Sports in Phoenix. "Jim is doing outstanding," trainer and owner Brett Fischer said via email. "I have known him for a while and this is the best shape I have seen him in a long while. He is swinging it great in the cage!" Keep in mind that Thome is Fischer's client, so he has a biased opinion. As long as Thome's available, consider the Twins interested. But if Thome wants to be back in Minnesota, he may have to bend on his expectation of a major league contract.
• Free agent slugger Vladimir Guerrero's camp reached out to the Twins but was told there's no interest.
• The Twins are scouting every World Baseball Classic game. Pitchers Chien-Ming Wang (Taiwan) and Carlos Zambrano (Venezuela) are among the players using the event to land a major league job.
• Ex-Gophers director of athletics Joel Maturi declined comment about the extension given to women's basketball coach Pam Borton in the summer. If dismissed after this season, the "U" would owe Borton a bit more than $500,000. Before the extension, her buyout was approximately $167,000.
• In spite of a local newspaper report, Gophers coach Tubby Smith is not under consideration for Southern Cal's opening.
• Smith took in the Robbinsdale Cooper-Maple Grove playoff game on Thursday night with former Wolves coach Flip Saunders. Smith badly wants Cooper junior guard Rashad Vaughn. There's a chance Vaughn takes an unofficial visit to North Carolina for Saturday night's game against Duke.
• Smith's top assistant, Ron Jirsa, was expected to see DeLaSalle junior Reid Travis on Thursday night. Of the entire Gophers' staff, Jirsa has the best relationship with Travis, another player Smith wants badly. Iowa State and Vanderbilt are expected to make football scholarship offers to Travis in the coming weeks. He's a standout quarterback.
• Kansas assistant Joe Dooley was at Apple Valley's practice Thursday to see recruit Tyus Jones. While in town, Dooley also saw Vaughn's game.
• So much for the idea in last week's column of a soft landing spot for Gophers assistant coach Saul Smith. His brother, G.G., didn't get the Maryland-Baltimore County head coaching job.
• Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams on whether free agent defensive end Dwight Freeney is a possibility: "Dwight still has something left, but I doubt we'll see Dwight in Purple this year. ... We'll all be pining for him, but I doubt we have room for him. ... The D-line is the strength of our team."
• Williams is fighting to keep unrestricted free agent linebackers Erin Henderson and Jasper Brinkley. "I am fighting for all of our guys," Williams said at Monday's Gophers Pro Day. "I'd rather have our guys than someone else's. We'll see. Everybody that is up we'd love to have back." The Vikings will talk to Henderson and Brinkley's agent again on Friday. In fact, they're expected to talk to the agents for all of their free agents one last time before the market opens at 11:01 p.m. Central on Friday. After then, it'll be a free-for-all.
• I heard again this week that the Vikings are very confident that they'll be awarded the Super Bowl in 2018, 2019 or 2020.
• The Packers are now in on free agent defensive tackle Chris Canty, but the Vikings continue to not show interest.
• Free agent defensive end Ray Edwards is training in Chanhassen for his next boxing match, which is Friday, March 15, at the Hinckley Grand Casino against Van Goodman. As for why he was released by the Falcons in December, Edwards said the issue was "style of differences and me not being a yes man like most teams want." It's not happening, but Edwards would love to play for the Vikings again, "It definitely would be a great fit to get back with the guys. ... I had no quarrels with anyone."
• Future Gophers running back Jeff Jones, a junior at Minneapolis Washburn: "I would love to play basketball in college, but it'd be hard to balance the academics part of that. ... I don't think Tubby (Smith) knows about my basketball skills, but he'll find out soon. ... I love (basketball) as much as football." Jones' basketball season ended when his team lost to Richfield in a section playoff game on Tuesday.
• No surprise, but count the Wild as interested in college free agent defenseman Nate Schmidt of the Gophers.
• Former Gophers recruiting coordinator Dan Berezowitz landed the same job with the University of Kentucky. He'll make $135,000 a year. Not bad, considering he took a local sales job with XOS Digital after being dismissed as a part of the Tim Brewster purge.