Posted June 29, 2007
Two Down, More Wolves Moves Ahead
Perhaps honeymooning Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is sitting
near the Great Wall in China today applauding vice president
McHale for making two significant additions to the roster and
praying that more improvements are coming. The billionaire from
Mankato left for China earlier this week with new bride Becky and
hopes that his basketball team is in the midst of multiple off-season
moves to end a three year slide that has seen the Timberwolves miss the
playoffs and lose money.
trade on June 14 that brought Juwan Howard to the Timberwolves
and last night’s choice of Corey Brewer as the team’s No. 1 pick
in the NBA draft are good beginnings for a team that had a 32-50 record
in 2006-2007 and was not pleasant to watch the last month of the
season. Howard, a 34-year-old 13 season veteran, brings a reputation
for scoring and locker room leadership. Yup, need that. Brewer, a
21-year-old from the University of Florida, is a high character and
versatile 6-foot-9 athlete who can play shooting guard and small
forward. He makes plays for teammates, scores and can defend point
guards, shooting guards and small forwards. Lord, we need that, too.
we need to ask the Almighty, not to mention McHale and the other Wolves’
personnel guys, for more help, too. The transition from loser to winner
will take more than Howard, Brewer and a guy named
the Wolves after a star player from another team as they look to make
additional moves? “We’re after the five players who can play the best
together that we can get,” Timberwolves president Chris Wright
told Sports Headliners last night.
Wolves are going to make additional changes, right? “I would not expect
this franchise to look the way that it is today at the beginning of next
season,” Wright answered. “It’s obvious that we have to consider doing
something. The question is when you take a look at all the
opportunities that are out there, what is the best opportunity for us?
Wright praised McHale for doing an “incredible job over the last four
weeks” in his management of the potential Garnett trade, noting that the
Timberwolves didn’t initiate transaction rumors but decided to
listen to offers. “He (McHale) has set the bar for if we were to consider
something, what it would be,” Wright said. “Kevin Garnett is the face
of this franchise. He’s the consummate professional. He’s done
everything that he can possibly do for this franchise here. We are not
going to do anything that…harms our ability to be able to compete on
that basketball court with him or without him. What Kevin McHale will do
is analyze every opportunity and he will only do what he believes is in
the best interest of making this team more competitive. …”
Cal Unlikely to Open New Stadium
Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi told Sports Headliners
he’s still trying to schedule an opponent for the TCF Bank Stadium
opener on September 12, 2009. Because of previous commitments and other
factors it’s unlikely the opponent will be a football school with an
elite national reputation, Maturi said.
Dame was his first choice but the Irish have said no. Maturi is a Notre
Dame alum and knows the school’s athletic director so he was hopeful
about a historic Gopher-Irish opener. Notre Dame, however, is already
playing a schedule dominated with Big Ten Conference opponents and
wasn’t interested in adding another, according to Maturi. The two
schools haven’t played against one another in football since 1938.
California, already scheduled to be the Gopher opponent in the second
TCF Bank Stadium game, is probably unwilling to switch from September 19
to September 12, Maturi said. The Golden Bears, who have become a top
25 team, play Maryland on September 5 and Maturi said California prefers
to avoid back-to-back games with the Terps and Gophers.
College football scheduling has become a challenge with schools
demanding big pay days and return games. Plus, most schools are looking
for a mix of competitive opponents and pushovers.
Maturi said there is still discussion in the Big Ten about adding a
ninth conference football game but no decision is imminent.
Maturi said the University still must raise about $26 million as its
share of an $80 million commitment for the $295 million stadium. He
hopes to have the $26 million secured within the next 12 months. Large
commitments already include $35 million from TCF Bank, $5 million from
Dairy Queen, $3 million from Best Buy. Maturi said several individuals
are providing $1 million each.
Notre Dame was Maturi's first choice to
play in the first game at TCF Bank Stadium but
the Irish have said no.
Twins front office is preparing for its groundbreaking event at the new
baseball stadium site on August 2. “We’re still obviously planning,”
said team president Dave St. Peter. “I think that it will be
certainly bigger in scope than your traditional groundbreaking and I
think it should be. I think it’s a chance for the community to come
Peter told Sports Headliners that a concert will be part of the event and VIP’s may include
baseball commissioner Bud Selig, governor Tim Pawlenty,
Twins catcher Joe Mauer, first baseman Justin Morneau and
team alums Tony Oliva, Paul Molitor and Kent Hrbek.
Up to 25 current and former Twins are expected to attend the event which
begins at 5 p.m. with the groundbreaking ceremonies at 7 p.m.
6-8 after winning yesterday against Toronto, is 3-1 in his last four
starts with a 2.90 ERA in those games. The Twins stole three bases in
three attempts yesterday and have now made good on 85 percent of their
Tim Ryan, son of Twins general manager Terry Ryan, is
pitching this summer for the Mankato MoonDogs of the Northwoods League.
Tim, who also plays for the Gophers, had a 0-0 record with
a 5.06 ERA in about 10 innings of work, according to stats listed
earlier this week on the Mankato team’s web site.
Gopher athletic director Joel Maturi, who resides near downtown,
said basketball coach Tubby Smith will live across the alley from
him but hasn’t move into his residence.
Minnesota Lynx web site lists a 13 player roster and a source reports
the team has a $700,000 player payroll.
Sixty-three U.S.-born players, representing a
record 30 percent of the total, were selected in the 2007 NHL Entry
Draft last week. The previous high was 28.2 percent in 2006.
Over the last three-plus decades the
Minnesota High School All-Star Football game has had 57 players who have
gone on to play in the NFL including former Gophers Ben Utecht
and Marion Barber III. This year’s game will be
played tomorrow starting at 7 p.m. at St. Cloud State University. FSN North
will televise the game live.
Photo courtesy of Minnesota Twins
Dave St. Peter
John M. Williams, DDS
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