Battered Wolves agree to terms with Josh Howard on one-year deal
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The Minnesota Timberwolves, ravaged by injuries, have added a fresh body.
The Wolves have agreed to terms on a one-year, veteran's minimum deal of $1.2 million with forward Josh Howard, sources told 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson. Howard is scheduled to arrive in Minneapolis on Thursday for a physical.
To make room on the roster the Wolves waived guard Will Conroy.
Coach Rick Adelman said after practice Thursday that he expects Howard to play Friday against Golden State. Howard hasn't played a game since last season and didn't have the benefit of a training camp, but Adelman is hopeful the veteran can give them five or six minutes a half in order to give Andrei Kirilenko a break after playing 44 minutes each of the past two games.
"We obviously need him to play behind (Kirilenko)," Adelman said. "(We) watched him work out last week (in Dallas) and hopefully he can give us some spot minutes to start until we see where his conditioning is at."
"He is a versatile defender, he's long, he should fit in and help us."
Adelman isn't concerned about Howard picking up the offense because the playbook has been scaled back significantly due to injuries. After Friday's game, the team has four days off for Howard to really get acclimated with the system.
"He should be familar with what we do," Adelman said.
Howard also gives the Wolves more versatility while they wait for bodies to heal. Once Chase Budinger went down, that only left Kirilenko to play small forward. This frees up Kirilenko to play some power forward now as well.
Howard, 32, spent last season with the Utah Jazz, where he averaged 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds on 40% shooting in 23 minutes per game. Howard was once a catalyst for a high-scoring Dallas Mavericks team from 2003 to 2009, once averaging 20 points and 7.0 rebounds during the 2007-2008 campaign.
The Timberwolves played Wednesday night's game against the Charlotte Bobcats with only nine healthy players. J.J. Barea (sprained foot), Brandon Roy (sore knee), Nikola Pekovic (sprained ankle), Chase Budinger (torn meniscus), Kevin Love (broken hand) and Ricky Rubio (ACL) are all currently sidelined.
The Wolves were hopeful that a combination of Barea, Roy and Pekovic could return Friday, but Adelman expressed doubt after an abreviated practice Thursday that was mostly spent on shooting after the team missed 17 free throws the night before.
"I have no idea (if any of them will play)," Adelman said. "I stopped asking. Right now, I'd say no."