5:56pm: Coach Rick Adelman said this evening that there are no new updates on the free agent front, adding that he hasn't seen anyone come in yet (Twitter link via the T-Wolves' PR account).
9:36am: The Timberwolves probably won't make a signing until after New Year's Day, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN, who confirms that the team is indeed set to work out James Anderson today (Twitter links). Minnesota is compiling a list of targets to replace Josh Howard, whom the team waived after he tore his ACL last week. Donte Greene and Lazar Hayward are reportedly serious candidates for the open roster spot.
Whoever gets the gig will be on a non-guaranteed deal, according to Wolfson, so there could be more movement on the horizon. With the exception of 10-day contracts, which teams can begin signing on January 5th, all contracts on the books become guaranteed for the entire season on January 10th. That means the Wolves could be waiting until the 5th to ink someone to a 10-day deal, or they could bring a player aboard before the 5th on a de-facto 10-day contract and waive him before the 10th.
Minnesota doesn't have any more than the minimum salary to offer, and the team, which has 14 players, probably won't open up a second available roster spot by waiving injured Malcolm Lee, Wolfson tweets. The Wolves are unlikely to seek a disabled player exception for Lee, either, Wolfson notes. That makes sense, since the exception would be worth half of Lee's second-year minimum salary, not enough money to sign anybody, even a rookie making the minimum. The only way the exception would be of any value to the team is if it traded for a minimum-salary rookie. There's no official word on a timetable for Lee, but Wolfson hears the shooting guard is done for the year with a chrondal injury to his right knee.
The Timberwolves have been particularly hard hit by injuries this season. They entered the year knowing Ricky Rubio would still need time to recovery from his knee injury last March, and Kevin Love missed the first nine games of the season with a broken hand. Chase Budinger is slated to miss three months because of knee surgery, and the team waived Josh Howard this week after he tore his ACL. There's yet more news on the team's injury front, as we detail here along with other Wolves rumors.
- Donte Greene is on the shortlist for the the Wolves as they seek someone to replace Josh Howard, tweets Darren Wolfson. Minnesota is unlikely to sign anyone for another week, but the team worked out Lazar Hayward yesterday and has another audition scheduled on Wednesday for James Anderson, Wolfson reports (Twitter link).
- Minnesota will also probably be without guard Malcolm Lee for the balance of the season, though he has yet to decide whether to have surgery to repair the chrondal injury he suffered to his right knee, notes Ray Richardson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- Wolves GM David Kahn outlined the sort of player he'd like to sign, as Alex Conover of Wolves.com chronicles. "We’ve lost Malcolm — in all likelihood for the season — and we’ve lost Josh, who isn’t here right now," Kahn said. "So when you think of that profile, somebody who is 6'5", 6'6", 6'7", long-armed in Josh’s case, defensive-minded in Malcolm’s case, capable of helping us a little bit offensively in both guys’ case ... we’re missing two people, not one. So I think that’s the profile of who we’re looking for. We’ll obviously move reasonably quickly, but we want to be thorough."
Jason Quick of the Oregonian looks at the friendly rivalry between the Trail Blazers' Nicolas Batum and the Nuggets' Danilo Gallinari that has stemmed from their days as young Euroleague stars hoping to make it into the NBA. Most notably, Quick mentions that Batum's salary negotiations this past summer were influenced by the type of deals that Gallinari, Marvin Williams, and Arron Afflalo had received with their respective teams. With that aside, here are a few more rumblings from around the Association tonight:
- Derrick Rose took part in the non-contact portion of Bulls practice today, although coach Tom Thibodeau has not yet placed a timetable on the superstar's return (Seth Gruen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports).
- Despite a strong start to the season, the Warriors' upcoming stretch against teams that have a notable inside presence will help determine if their interior defensive struggles against the Kings were either minor or a sign of a major problem, writes Marcus Thompson II of MercuryNews.com.
- Rookie Royce White is "hopeful" that he'll play for the Rockets again sometime this season (Mark Berman of Fox 26 tweets).
- 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson confirms earlier speculation via a team source that Timberwolves guard Malcolm Lee will be sidelined for the rest of the year (Twitter link).
- Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune tweeted that Chris Douglas-Roberts is another top option available for the Timberwolves in addition to Michael Redd.
- In his Nuggets Mailbag, Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post discusses why he thinks Gallinari has shown the capability of being a clutch All-Star type of player, why Carmelo Anthony isn't necessarily the clear-cut MVP right now, and the Nuggets' decision to commit to a long-term deal with Ty Lawson.
We'll keep tabs on today's international and D-League-related transactions of note here:
- Malcolm Lee has been recalled from Sioux Falls by the Timberwolves, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. Lee, who has yet to make his NBA debut, was assigned to Minnesota's D-League affiliate for the second time last Wednesday.
- The Spurs have recalled Cory Joseph from their D-League affiliate in Austin, tweets Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. Joseph, who was assigned to the Toros less than a week ago, returns to San Antonio following T.J. Ford's neck injury.
- Former NBA veteran Antoine Wright has joined the D-League in hopes of returning to the NBA, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Wright, a 15th overall pick in 2005, played for the Nets, Mavericks, Raptors, and Kings, last appearing in the NBA in November 2010. The 28-year-old averaged 5.4 PPG in 297 career games.
With point guard Raymond Felton underperforming, the Trail Blazers are looking to shore up their backcourt ahead of next week's trade deadline. And while their name has been in the mix for names such as Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo, Luke Ridnour, and Steve Blake, Hasan Alanam of Canada.com points to their reported interest in Raptors point guard Jose Calderon and explores several trade scenarios.
Alanam mentions possible trades involving Felton and either Gerald Wallace or Jamal Crawford, with Portland possibly also taking back Linas Klezia. In one scenario, the Timberwolves participate in a three-team deal with Malcolm Lee going to Portland and Anthony Randolph going to Toronto.
Calderon is making approximately $9.8MM this season and has one year left on his contract, which will pay him $10.5MM in 2012/13. He is averaging 10.7 PPG and 8.7 APG this season.
We'll round up today's notable international and D-League-related transactions here, with the latest up top....
- Josh Powell has signed with Swiss team Neuchatel, according to Sportando. Powell played most of this season in China, and was thought to be drawing some interest from NBA teams. He appeared in 54 games for the Hawks a year ago.
- The Timberwolves have assigned Malcolm Lee to the team's D-League affiliate in Sioux Falls, according to the team (Twitter link). It's Lee's second D-League assignment this season.
- Spain's Gran Canaria has signed Zabian Dowdell to a contract for the rest of the season, according to the team's website (hat tip to Sportando). Dowdell signed a pair of 10-day contracts with the Suns a year ago before the team brought him aboard for the remainder of the season. After appearing in 24 games in 2010/11, he was cut by the Suns prior to this season.
- Via Mike Trudell of Lakers.com (Twitter link), the Lakers announced last night that they've recalled Devin Ebanks from the L.A. D-Fenders, their D-League affiliate. Ebanks, who started four games for the Lakers earlier this season, had been assigned to the D-Fenders two weeks ago.
We'll track the day's D-League and international transactions of note right here....
- Former Trail Blazers draft pick Joel Freeland has agreed to a contract extension with his Spanish team, according to La Opinion de Malaga (hat tip to Sportando). The report suggests Freeland would have to pay a hefty buyout to Unicaja Malaga if he wanted to get out of the contract to pursue an NBA career. However, Portland's acting GM Chad Buchanan told Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge (Twitter link) that the Blazers still hope to have Freeland next year, and that nothing is finalized between Freeland and Malaga.
- The Timberwolves have recalled Malcolm Lee from their D-League affiliate in Sioux Falls, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. Rehabbing following early-season knee surgery, Lee played in three games for the Skyforce after being assigned by Minnesota last week.
- North Carolina basketball fans will remember Sean May, who was drafted 13th overall in 2005 by the Bobcats after graduating from UNC. May, who saw his last NBA action in 2010, has signed with Italy's Sutor Montegranaro, according to the team's official site (hat tip to Sportando).
On this day in 2008, the Heat parted ways with Shaquille O'Neal, shipping him to Phoenix in exchange for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. Although Shaq saw a boost in his production for the next year and a half, he didn't win a playoff series in Phoenix -- the Suns fell to the Spurs in the first round in 2008, then failed to make the postseason a year later. Here are a few items of note from around the league, starting with one of Shaq's former teams:
- In a perfect world, the Heat would add a bulkier center and a veteran point guard, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
- Teams can begin signing players to 10-day contracts today, as Chuck Myron outlined in our primer over the weekend. At SB Nation, Scott Schroeder looks at a few D-League players who are candidates for NBA contracts.
- The Timberwolves have assigned Malcolm Lee to their D-League affiliate in Sioux Falls, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. A 2011 second-round pick, Lee had knee surgery in December and has yet to make his NBA debut.
- John Hollinger of ESPN.com (Insider link) wonders if the 76ers could clear cap space and pursue Eric Gordon this offseason.
- Magic GM Otis Smith shouldn't have acted on Dwight Howard's personnel suggestions and signed Glen Davis this offseason, argues Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel.
- Meanwhile, Chris Paul, who's all too familiar with trade rumors, has some words of advice for Howard, as Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel writes.
- Stephen Jackson told Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he couldn't say whether or not he's asked Bucks management for a trade.