The Trail Blazers and Timberwolves seem to share a link greater than just their placement together in the Northwest Division. They were at opposite ends of a tug-of-war over restricted free agent Nicolas Batum last summer, around the same time former Blazers star Brandon Roy came out of retirement to sign with the Wolves, a move that cost Portland owner Paul Allen $17MM in insurance money. Earlier this season they "amicably" resolved a dispute over a trade the two clubs made back in 2010. Both clubs are in the news again, with news involving Roy and former Blazer and current Wolf Chris Johnson. Here's what we know:
- Wolves coach Rick Adelman hasn't been expecting Roy to return this season, but after spending the last two weeks hard at work in practice, Roy will ask Adelman if he can return to game action, reports Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Roy, who says his oft-injured right knee is improving, will almost certainly hit free agency this summer, since he's played only five games this season and his deal is non-guaranteed for 2013/14. He suggested earlier this year that he'd retire if he couldn't come back healthy by the end of this season.
- Johnson and Mickael Gelabale also have non-guaranteed deals with the Wolves for next year, and they appear to have a shot at returning to the club, notes Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune. "This summer will be big for them," Adelman said. "We like them both."
- The Blazers will send their first-round pick to the Bobcats if it's not in the top 12, and as our updated tentative draft order shows, Portland is in line for the No. 12 pick, separated by three games from the Mavericks for the No. 13 spot. Despite the motivation to lose and improve the team's chances of keeping its pick, Blazers coach Terry Stotts insists that's something his squad won't do, as The Oregonian's Mike Tokito observes. "We've played every game to try and win," Stotts said. "The draft picks — I just think you start doing that you're (messing with) basketball karma or whatever. I think you gotta be true to the game and true to your players, and that's never been a concern of mine or our team."