Minnesota signs Mickael Gelabale to help depleted front line


Minnesota needs some depth along the front line — Kevin Love had hand surgery this week and is out at least two more months, and also out injured are Chase Budinger, Brandon Roy, Josh Howard and Malcolm Lee.

So Minnesota reached overseas and signed French national Mickael Gelabale, reports the Associated Press. He is expected to join the team Friday.

Unless you watch a lot of Spanish league ball (he had been playing for Valencia), you most recently may have seen Gelabale playing for France in the London Olympics (and looking pretty good doing it.

Gelabale played a couple seasons for the Sonics, most recently back in 2008.

Minnesota is hoping he can step in and fill the role they hoped Howard would, as a small forward with a little punch off the bench. Gelabale came to the NBA with potential but never really developed — four years getting a lot of burn in Europe seemed to change that, from what I saw during the Olympics (admittedly, a small sample size). This could be a good move for the Timberwolves, but it’s not some dramatic game changer.

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.