The Western Conference appears to be the stronger than the East once again this season, and the Heat's struggles on their Western road trip further drive home that point. Miami lost again tonight, to the Jazz, and face another stiff test Wednesday against the Warriors. We rounded up news from a couple Pacific Division teams earlier tonight, and we'll do the same for the rest of the Western Conference here.
The Timberwolves appear close to reaching a deal with French forward Mickael Gelabale, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. Minnesota doesn't currently have an open roster spot, but the team may add Gelable on a 10-day deal when Lazar Hayward's 10-day contract expires.
We heard yesterday that Gelabale's team in Spain has granted him permission to travel stateside to negotiate an NBA deal. The 29-year-old has an NBA out in his contract that must be exercised by the end of the month -- otherwise, he'll head back overseas and finish the season with Valencia.
According to Zgoda, Timberwolves president David Kahn confirmed before yesterday's game that the club maintains its interest in Gelabale, and said the Wolves are "working on some things," though he didn't confirm whether an agreement was in place. As our 10-day contract tracker shows, Hayward's deal is set to expire this Thursday, so Minnesota will have an open roster spot at that point.
Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities has reported multiple times that Gelabale is seeking a 20-day guarantee to come to the NBA, so if he signs a 10-day contract with the T-Wolves, it's possible it will be followed by a second 10-day deal. A 2005 second-round pick, Gelabale hasn't appeared in an NBA game since the 2007/08 season, with the SuperSonics.
5:05pm: The team has officially signed Hayward to a 10-day contract, according to Mark Remme of NBA.com.
12:00pm: The Timberwolves are expected to re-sign Lazar Hayward to a 10-day contract, assuming he clears waivers later today, reports Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune (via Twitter). Hayward was released by the Wolves on Sunday.
Hayward, who was playing on a non-guaranteed deal, was cut before his contract became guaranteed for the season. The T-Wolves will have the option of keeping him around for 20 more days (two 10-day contracts) before deciding whether or not they want to sign him for the remainder of the season.
The 26-year-old, who was acquired by the Timberwolves on draft night in 2010, was traded to the Thunder before the 2011/12 season, and then sent to the Rockets in the James Harden deal before the 2012/13 season. The Wolves scooped Hayward back up after he was released by the Rockets.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have waived Lazar Hayward, the team announced on Sunday. Their roster now stands at 14, which gives them room to sign another player to compensate for Kevin Love's hand injury.
Hayward, 26, appeared in two games for the Timberwolves and averaged 1.0 PPG and 1.0 RPG.
Despite Kevin Love leaving last night's game against the Nuggets in the second half, the Timberwolves managed to do something only the Heat had accomplished this season: Win in Denver. The victory pulled the Timberwolves within a half-game of the Nuggets, and into a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. As the Wolves continue jockeying for position in the West, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities rounds up plenty of rumors out of Minnesota. Here are the highlights:
12:58pm: It's a non-guaranteed deal, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (on Twitter). The forward's deal could be guaranteed in a matter of days, however.
11:46am: The Timberwolves announced that they have signed forward Lazar Hayward. Terms of the deal are not yet known but it is likely a non-guaranteed contract.
Minnesota auditioned the Marquette product on December 21st following Josh Howard's ACL tear and subsequent release. The Wolves would like to replace Howard's production off of the bench as he averaged 6.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and nearly 1 steal per game in 18.8 MPG. Hayward agreed to join the Los Angeles D-Fenders just yesterday but hopefully he didn't put his snow boots in storage.
The T'Wolves originally acquired Hayward in a 2010 draft night trade with the Wizards. Hayward played in 42 games as rookie and averaged 3.8 points per contest.
The latest on various moves and happenings from around the D-League on Sunday afternoon:
7:37pm: Ray Richardson of the Pioneer Press reports that although the Timberwolves held a workout today and plan for another one this upcoming Wednesday, GM David Kahn won't look to add another wing player until after the Christmas holiday. Although Kahn did not identify the players on their workout list, Richardson mentions that Lazar Hayward could be one of the team's targets.
Forward Lazar Hayward is in Minnesota today for a workout with the Timberwolves, a source tells Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (on Twitter). It's not yet known if Hayward will be working out solo or against competition (Twitter link).
Minnesota is looking to bolster their bench after Josh Howard tore his ACL and was subsequently waived. 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. Howard gave the T'Wolves some solid production, averaging 6.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and nearly 1 steal per game in 18.8 MPG.
Whoever the Wolves sign to fill the roster spot won't receive a guaranteed deal, according to Wolfson (on Twitter). That makes a free agent such as Michael Redd unrealistic, as he won't sign a non-guaranteed contract (Twitter link).
Hayward, 25, was released by the Rockets prior to the start of the season. The forward has appeared in 68 total games for the Timberwolves and Thunder since being drafted 30th overall in 2010.
3:32pm: Berman confirms (via Twitter) that the Rockets have waived Hayward. In addition to Hayward, Forbes, Brockman, and JaJuan Johnson, Houston has also released Shaun Livingston, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Livingston was under contract for $3.5MM this season, but only $1MM was guaranteed.
With 19 players under contract, Houston has to release four players today in order to reduce their roster to the 15-man regular-season limit. We've heard previously that Gary Forbes and Jon Brockman are expected to be cut. If the team makes that official, and releases Hayward, it would still need to waive one more player.
Hayward, 25, has appeared in 68 total games for the Timberwolves and Thunder since being drafted 30th overall in 2010. He has averaged just 2.9 PPG on 35.4% shooting in his two NBA seasons. Like Forbes and Brockman, Hayward has a guaranteed contract for 2012/13, so the Rockets will need to eat some salary in order to waive him. The Marquette product is owed $1,174,080 for the coming season, and had a team option for $2.12MM, which it seems won't be picked up.