It took a while to figure it out, but the Timberwolves had re-sign Nikola Pekovic — the big man provides the traditional post presence at both ends of the court the team needs to allow Kevin Love to do his thing.
But the new five-year, $60 million deal leads to this question: Can the smaller market Timberwolves afford the coming extension for Ricky Rubio next summer then have the money for a new max deal for Love the season after that?
Minnesota decision maker Flip Saunders says not to worry.
See, nothing to worry about. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Everything is just fine.
Rubio will sign an extension.
Saunders was brought in to repair the organization’s relationship with Love, which was not that great during the David Kahn era. So far so good on that, although what will really matter is how the team performs on the court the next couple seasons — does Love see them as a potential contender then or will the grass be greener somewhere else? If the relationship is not being repaired, Minnesota will be in a tough spot because they will not want to trade him.
But that’s down the line. If Minnesota’s key players can stay healthy this season, and with the addition of floor-spacing Kevin Martin, this is a potentially very good team. Certainly a playoff team, and when teams are winning a lot of other stuff seems to magically sort itself out.
Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:
We likely won’t know more about the extent of his injury until tomorrow, but if it was serious, that would be a major loss for the Hornets. Kidd-Gilchrist is their best perimeter defender and an important piece if they hope to compete for a playoff spot this year.
CHICAGO — Derrick Rose is nearing a return to practice with the Bulls. After undergoing surgery on Wednesday to repair a fractured left orbital suffered in practice on Tuesday, Rose’s recovery is going as expected and he’s expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday.
“The follow-up [exam] went very well,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said after practice on Saturday. “They’ve advised him to continue to let that site heal, and they think the best way for him to do that is to stay at home at this time. We plan on him being back on Wednesday morning.”
Rose won’t be able to participate in practice for another week after that — Hoiberg said the previously announced two-week timetable for returning to basketball activities remains on schedule — but with a radically different offense, there’s a lot to learn, and just being around the team to watch practices and learn the new play sets is important.
“We’re going to actually get over there and watch some film with him today,” Hoiberg said. “Because again, like we talked about [Friday], we’ve added new sets, new things, so we’ll get him caught up by a couple of coaches going over and seeing him at his house.”
The two-week timetable puts Rose’s return to basketball activity around next Wednesday, October 14. From there, it will be a matter of getting him back into game shape before Hoiberg is comfortable playing him in games.
Hoiberg said earlier this week that he is optimistic Rose will be able to play when the Bulls kick off the regular season at home on October 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.