Simons Says - April 18, 2013
And finally, it comes to an end. And in the end, with all that’s happened over the course of an 82-game marathon, you gotta’ like this ending.
As the Western Conference rumbled with playoff positioning at stake between the Lakers, Jazz, Rockets and K-Durant sat for the penthouse Thunder, the Timberwolves quietly did what they had to. That is ending with a win after this season of misery.
As games go, it was impressive. To say it had no bearing on the Wolves slice of this NBA world would be incorrect. Players played with purpose. Perhaps to underscore what they were feeling as a collective unit prior to the start of the season. Perhaps, just to end on a high note. Perhaps, we’re all overthinking this one. After a great start and then injuries that threw the team off course, the Wolves have been a better team with many of their collective pieces together. And for fans, so much better than the train wreck that ended last season with just two wins in the final 16 games.
The numbers: 31 wins, 51 losses. No playoffs. Many, many questions as the playoff locomotive moves on without Rick’s Warriors and the team’s front office begins the painstaking task of building a playoff contender. The key domino is coach Rick Adelman. No question about it. Will he return? Is it time for the Coach with his 1,000th career win in his back pocket to hang up the whistle? Time will tell and most likely we’ll be able to measure the moments with the big hand of the watch (sorry if yours is digital).
So. To the mailbag because much of the correspondence and conversations I’ve had this week deal exclusively with the future of this team. I’m no swami but I can sure share with you what I believe might work.
Digging into the SimonsSays e-mail box. This from Billy in South Minneapolis: “Rod, I’m all over internet stories on who stays and goes for the Wolves. What are your thoughts? Thanks and please get more Wolves and Lynx on your GameON! show.”
Billy thanks for your note. Here’s my first take on the Wolves roster:
Unrestricted Free Agents: Chase Budinger, Andrei Kirilenko (can opt-out). If Rick Adelman is coach, he wants them both back and both have told me they feel the same.
Keepers: Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic (he’s a restricted FA and signing him is a priority in my opinion), J.J. Barea, Derrick Williams, Chris Johnson, Greg Stiemsma, Alexey Shevd, Dante Cunningham.
Signed but ball in his court: Kevin Love (more on this in a moment with another note).
Thanks again for your kind thoughts and more hoops to the show for sure.
You know, there’s not a pro athlete for which I’m asked more questions. Kevin Love, All-Star, Olympic Gold Medalist and outstanding NBA player. Injured all season and a resume full of greatness but that one Yahoo.com article continues to stick with fans. Fans wondering about his sincere desire to remain in Minnesota. Fans disappointed by his disappearance off their radar.
This note is a perfect example and close to many of the discussions I have with fans and basketball insiders alike. It comes from Rich in Coon Rapids: “Thanks for taking time out of your GameON! Taping at Cooper Irish Pub (Loved meeting Gophers QB MarQueis Gray…a real gentleman) to talk with me about the Wolves. Please tell me…will Kevin Love be back next season? Is he happy here? My friend who goes to all the games with me wants to trade him and I don’t. As I told you at the taping, I think he’s too good to go and it’d be a huge mistake. Your thoughts. Thanks again and good luck with the show and your Twins work on KTWIN. SKOL.”
Rich, thanks for the note and the well wishes. You cover a lot of ground so let me work on that. First of all, let me be clear, I’m with you and NO, under no circumstances, do you trade Kevin Love. None. I don’t care about the Yahoo this or Yahoo that, if Rick Adelman is back, so is K-Love. I was talking to a number of players and assistant coaches over the past month (from the Wolves and visiting teams too) and they all had a similar takes. You don’t trade a great player when you are trying to make the playoffs and acquire great players. End of take. And you don’t move a player because he was injured, misunderstood or aloof and you don’t trade a player because his opinions were cast out for millions to digest in an internet story.
Love has more to prove to himself than fans this coming season. Can he return to all-star form? Can he mature, stay healthy enough and help lead the team to the playoffs? That’s what the great ones do. Kevin Durant, LeBron, Carmelo Anthony and many of his Olympian teammates. Trades are an easy way out and I’ve always thought that the team doing the trading never gets the better share of the deal. Go easy on Love. I expect him to shine next season and if there’s a way to put money where my mouth is in Vegas, I’ll do it on this one.
Rich thanks again for your take and you must also be a Vikings fans with the SKOL reference. Keep ‘em coming. Thanks.
I’m not doom and gloom about this basketball team. Far from it. In conversations with team players and insiders, they are also waiting on owner Glen Taylor’s decisions and his are decisions that will move dominoes. Here’s hoping for an off-season of energy, positive movement and moves that will elevate the team to new places. It’s time. More to come from this blog that will continue into the Wolves off season and Lynx season. And more from GameON! So, choose the harder walk to make…the one spinning less negative and more hope for the future. It’s tougher to do but more gratifying in the end.
And keep your GameON!
Schedule set for Lynx
It’s nearly here as the 2012 Western Conference Champion Minnesota Lynx kick off their 15th anniversary season in the WNBA at home against Connecticut on Saturday, June 1 at 7 p.m. The 2013 WNBA campaign includes 34 regular-season games, dating from May 24 and Sept. 14. This year’s All-Star Game will be held in Uncasville, Connecticut on Saturday, July 27. The Lynx will play Western Conference teams Los Angeles (three times on the road, twice at home) and Phoenix (three times at home, twice on the road) five times this season, while facing off with San Antonio, Seattle and Tulsa four times each, twice at home and twice on the road. Minnesota will face all six Eastern Conference teams twice, once at home and once on the road. The 2013 Lynx campaign also includes two nationally broadcast home games on July 9 vs. Atlanta and Aug. 24 vs. Indiana.
We’re all on My29!
The Wolves played a franchise-record 78 regular-season games televised locally, 25 of which were on MY29, WFTC-TV and 50 on Fox Sports North. WFTC My29 is also where you find GameON! each and every Sunday at 10 a.m.!
Breaking News!! See you on TV AT A NEW TIME
Catch your Wolves on this Sunday’s GameON! this week!! You don’t want to miss the Emmy nominated GameON! at 10 a.m. this Sunday morning on FOX’s My29 and throughout the weekend on MidCo Sports Net. This week GameON! features former Gophers QB MarQueis Gray, Vikings insider Mike Wobshall on the upcoming NFL draft, afternoon radio host Rider from KTWIN 96.3, University of St. Thomas BB Coach John Tauer and Jane Hirt reporting from Hollywood on the new movie -42-.
GameON! is broadcast in High Definition and can be found on ITunes, on our new GameON! App (free and available for Apple/Android) and online at www.gameontvmn.com. GameON! allows you the opportunity to get up close and personal, to meet your favorite players and fellow fans at our weekly tapings at Kieran’s Irish Pub and its sister locations. GameON! offers in-depth interviews with the top players, great food, sports newsmakers and we get you inside your favorite teams (including the Wolves). You can friend us on Facebook at GameOnTvMN. Drop me a note, Rod@KTWIN.com GameON! is also seen in North & South Dakota and Western Minnesota on MidCo SportsNet several times a weekend. We reserve the right to use your e-mails here in SimonsSays at Timberwolves.com.
And last but not least, please catch Rod after each and every Twins game as he hosts the new Post game show “KTWIN Final Call”. Rod’s joined by longtime Minnesota music aficionado Jason Nagel on 96.3 KTWIN-FM radio during this baseball season.
Keep your GameON! See you soon!