After an 11-year NBA career, Cuttino Mobley announced his retirement in December 2008 when he was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart condition. Although Mobley hasn't appeared in an NBA game in nearly five years, he'll be attempting to make a comeback this year, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.
Kennedy reports that ASM Sports, an agency that represents Kevin Garnett, Serge Ibaka, and Jeff Teague, among others, is holding a workout on May 31st for their draft prospects and veteran free agents. Mobley is one of a handful of veteran ASM clients expected to participate in drills and five-on-five scrimmages that day. According to Kennedy, Josh Howard, Rasual Butler, and Christian Eyenga are among the other free agents who will be in attendance.
It will be an uphill battle for Mobley, who will turn 38 before the 2013/14 season begins. I'd be surprised if he lands a spot on an NBA roster, but he did demonstrate exceptional scoring ability during his 11-year career. In 747 total contests for the Rockets, Clippers, Magic, and Kings, Mobley averaged 16.0 PPG to go along with shooting percentages of .433/.378/.835.
Ever since the Wolves released Josh Howard following news of his ACL tear yesterday, we've heard plenty about potential replacements, as a roster spot on a team contending for a playoff spot has many NBA hopefuls salivating at the opportunity. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN has provided many of the updates via Twitter, and he's collected those rumors along with plenty of other Wolves-related scuttlebutt in his latest piece. We'll round up the highlights here.
The Timberwolves have waived Josh Howard after an MRI revealed a torn ACL, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (Twitter link). CBS's Ken Berger also tweeted that Howard will need season-ending surgery. The 6'7 swingman, who had been signed last month, suffered his injury in a game against the Hornets just a few days ago. Since joining Minnesota, Howard had averaged 6.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and nearly 1 steal per game in 18.8 MPG, reaching double figure scoring in three out of 11 games.
After hearing the news of Howard's injury, head coach Rick Adelman told reporters that the team is now in need of a back up small forward who is capable of guarding wing players, but also mentioned that there haven't been any discussions regarding what management will do next. While Michael Redd may not be known for his defensive abilities, Zgoda suggests that the former Bucks and Suns player could be a possible consideration. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN added that whether or not it will be Redd, a new addition will be likely (all the Twitter links).
You can count NBA commissioner David Stern among those who are none-too-pleased about Spurs coach Gregg Popovich's decision to rest his stars against the Heat tonight. Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida relayed a statement by Stern which indicated that "substantial sanctions will be forthcoming" as a consequence for San Antonio (Sulia link). Earlier, Popovich told reporters: "It has nothing to do with the Miami Heat, or TV, or anything...You deal with the schedule as best you can and do the wisest thing for your particular team” (Jeff McDonald of Spurs Nation reports). On another note, here's what we're hearing out of the Western Conference tonight:
The latest news and notes from around the NBA on Friday evening:
FRIDAY, 10:29am: Howard has officially signed with the T-Wolves and is expected to be in uniform tonight vs. the Warriors, according to the team's PR Twitter account.
THURSDAY, 9:25am: The Timberwolves have reached an agreement with Josh Howard on a one-year deal, reports ESPN.com's Chris Broussard (via Twitter). According to Broussard, the contract will be worth the minimum salary.
Having suffered a rash of early-season injuries, the T-Wolves had been eyeing reinforcements, particularly at the wing, where the team will be without Chase Budinger for three months. Mickael Pietrus and Raja Bell were among the other possible options, though as I suggested earlier this week, Howard made the most sense, since Pietrus wanted more than the veteran's minimum and Bell's contract made him an undesirable trade target. As Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities tweets, it was always a matter of getting a player to accept the minimum, which is all Minnesota could offer.
Howard, 32, isn't the player he once was, but could be a useful piece for the Timberwolves as a bench player. In 43 games for the Jazz in 2011/12, the Wake Forest product averaged 8.7 PPG and 3.7 RPG in 23.0 minutes per contest.
With a full 15-man roster, the Wolves will have to make a corresponding roster move to clear a spot for Howard. Will Conroy is the most likely candidate to be cut, as he's the only Minnesota player without a fully guaranteed contract.
WEDNESDAY, 7:06pm: Wolves GM David Kahn said the team isn't currently planning on adding a player, even though the team is down to nine healthy bodies for tonight's game with the Bobcats, tweets Ray Richardson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. We heard earlier today that an agent has told Wolfson he believes the team is working on a trade.
5:52pm: Representatives for Pietrus weren't surprised the team worked out Howard, Wolfson tweets, adding that there's no workout scheduled for Pietrus.
Jerry Zgoda speculated earlier today that, with Chase Budinger out for three months, Pietrus, Howard, or Raja Bell could be a fit for the T-Wolves. As I suggested at the time, Howard may make the most sense of the three, since Pietrus is seeking more than the minimum while Bell's salary makes him an undesirable trade target.
MONDAY, 4:08pm: A day after we heard that the Timberwolves could reach out to Mickael Pietrus in their search for wing help, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities reports (via Twitter) that the team has spoken to Pietrus' camp. According to Wolfson, the T-Wolves are interested in signing Pietrus, but money is still an issue, since Minnesota can only offer the veteran's minimum.
Last Wednesday, Wolfson reported that Pietrus' camp expected the former Celtic to sign with an NBA team in the next week to 10 days. It seems likely that the 30-year-old could find an offer if he were willing to accept the veteran's minimum, either from Minnesota or another club. However, agent Bill McCandless said earlier this summer that there was "no chance" his client would sign a minimum-salary contract. It seems that stance hasn't changed much, even three and a half months later.
If the Wolves were to add Pietrus or another veteran, the team would need to make a corresponding roster move to clear a spot. Minnesota currently has 14 players on guaranteed contracts, with Will Conroy playing on a partially guaranteed deal.
We heard almost a month ago to the day that the Lakers had made Steve Blake and Chris Duhon available via trade, and that hasn't changed even with Steve Nash out, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link). Mannix reports that the Lakers have continued to dangle the two point guards in trade talks, but, unsurprisingly, neither player is drawing much interest. Here are a few more updates out of the Western Conference:
The Wolves are concerned about the health of Chase Budinger, who twisted his right knee in last night's loss to the Bulls, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. There's no word on how long he'll be out yet, but the team is continuing talks with agents for other players who might be brought in to replace him, according to Wolfson, who says the team will call on Mickael Pietrus and perhaps Josh Howard along with others should the need arise (Twitter link).
X-rays showed nothing out of the ordinary for Budinger, who is expected to undergo an MRI today, reports Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. Replacing him will be a challenge, Wolfson points out, since the team only has the minimum salary at its disposal. Wolfson called Pietrus a long shot for the Wolves a few days ago, given agent Bill McCandless' insistence in July that Pietrus won't sign for the minimum, but the Minnesota is apparently not giving up. Howard seems more likely to bite on a minimum offer, judging by his recent comments about his willingness to find NBA work.
The Wolves have been hit hard by injuries in the early going this year, with Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, J.J. Barea and Brandon Roy all missing time. Rookie Alexey Shved was the team's only healthy shooting guard last night against the Bulls, and coach Rick Adelman used 6'9" forward Andrei Kirilenko to guard Richard Hamilton for significant stretches.
Free agent swingman Josh Howard is anxious to get back in the NBA as he trains in Dallas, and doesn't care which team gives him a shot, he tells Michael Lee of The Washington Post. The 6'7" 32-year-old has been linked to the Warriors, who will be without Brandon Rush the rest of the season, and Howard points to the Pacers, who are expected to be without Danny Granger for three months.
“I’ll be happy to play on any team that wants me. Indiana or anybody else, I’d be very appreciative to get there,” Howard said. “I mean, I think ultimately, most guys care where they end up. I just want to be some place where guys come in, night in, night out and play hard. That’s ultimately how I want it. Of course, I’d like to be on a championship team if that can happen, but I’m going to give it my all, no matter what.”
Howard's tone in Lee's report is similar to the one he took a couple weeks ago when an earlier story surfaced about his intent to return to the NBA. Howard told Lee his left knee is fully recovered after a loose chip was found in it, requiring surgery over the summer. It's the same knee in which Howard suffered a torn ACL in 2010.
Lee mentions the Nets, Bobcats, Sixers, Knicks, Spurs and Bulls as teams that had interest in Howard this past offseason, but Howard never received an offer, Lee writes. Howard averaged 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 23.0 minutes per game for the Jazz last year. Howard was an honorable mention of sorts when Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors looked at free agents likely to sign for more than the minimum in September, but it seems likely the only deal Howard could get now would be for the minimum.