The Scoops: Lazar Hayward returns, among Wolves' workouts on Friday
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Since the world is supposedly ending in a few minutes, I won't waste time thinking of a creative lede. Without further ado, this week's Scoops:
It's possible the Wolves bring in a few guys for looks on Friday. But Chris Douglas-Roberts, who has NBA experience and scouts say is the best small forward available in the D-League, is not under consideration.
Whomever the Wolves sign to fill the roster spot vacated by forward Josh Howard will get a non-guaranteed deal. In other words, the new player could be a short-timer.
Running with the Wolves
• When the Wolves play their next back-to-back games Jan. 2 and 3, look for point guard Ricky Rubio to be available both nights. Rubio, who's still not all the way back from an ACL injury, sat out the second of back-to-back games earlier this week in Miami.
• Even though he's gone from ESPN, Ric Bucher still has great contacts, so my tentacles went up after he briefly mentioned the Wolves in connection to Orlando shooting guard J.J. Redick. Well, after digging, the Wolves are big fans. If the Magic decide to move Redick, consider the Wolves heavily in the mix. One league source said that it'll take more than forward Derrick Williams to get a deal done.
• Cleveland's Anderson Varejao is still very much on the Wolves' trade radar.
• Sacramento's Tyreke Evans, whom Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn liked a lot entering the 2010 Draft, is not on the Wolves' trade radar.
• Look for the Wolves to soon announce that guard Malcolm Lee (knee) is lost for the season. He's not in danger for now of losing his roster spot because he has guaranteed money for next year.
• Howard's contract with the Wolves was not guaranteed. However, he'll make some money through insurance.
• The Wolves and Portland Trail Blazers had attorneys working diligently on the Martell Webster compensation claim case for months. Well, a source says we have closure. The Wolves were hoping for financial and/or draft pick reimbursement after they contend that that they got Webster (back injury) as damaged goods in June 2010. What the Wolves got is unknown for now.
• Since the Yahoo! story hit, the Wolves actually have gotten no calls from teams inquiring about All-Star Kevin Love's availability.
• There's a good chance European forward Nemanja Bjelica is with the Wolves next year, so here's a scouting report from an executive who saw him recently: "Great wing scorer who uses length to score over defenders. Great touch from deep three and has a nice one-two dribble drive with a step back game. Offensively, he's solid and will score in the NBA. Defensively, he will struggle guarding quick 3s and 4s and he has to learn to play angles. He will struggle in this department though he can be coached up. But one can't correct slow feet. He's a great kid with talent."
• Wing Chase Budinger will be back in the Twin Cities the middle of next week. He's been rehabbing his knee in Tucson.
• The Twins are talking to free agent pitcher Rich Harden about a minor league deal. A source said, "Discussions are ongoing. Rich would love to pitch for the Twins."
• One Twins source referred to free agent starter Freddy Garcia as just another guy, not someone who they like a lot. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported earlier in the week that the Twins are one of a few teams in the mix for Garcia.
• Two known free agent starters still very much on the Twins' radar: left-hander Joe Saunders and right-hander Brett Myers. There might be others as well, but those two are verified through multiple sources.
• The reason the Twins didn't land pitcher Joe Blanton -- he ultimately signed with the Angels for two years and $15 million. If the Twins had offered a third year, he would have been here. Their two-year offer came in at a bit less than the Angels'.
• The Twins have kicked the tires on free agent pitcher Manny Parra, but a source said he's likely heading elsewhere. The Twins don't have a sense of urgency with him.
• In spite of daily dialogue, the Twins never made a firm offer for pitcher John Lannan. He ended up signing with the Phillies for one year and $2.5 million.
• Free agent Brent Lillibridge is someone who interests the Twins as they continue to search for a backup third baseman.
• Before utility man Mark Teahen signed a minor league deal with Arizona, the Twins made a run at him.
• The Twins don't seem to be in on free agent infielder Freddy Sanchez. They've yet to request his medical records.
• A Gophers football source said MarQueis Gray will get plenty of snaps at quarterback in next week's bowl game vs. Texas Tech.
• DeLaSalle's Reid Travis, a basketball recruit of the Gophers and Michigan State, will be in attendance at Williams Arena when the two teams meet in the Big Ten opener on Dec. 31.
• Gophers basketball assistant coach Vince Taylor has a great relationship with big-time recruit Rashad Vaughn of Cooper. One problem: Taylor will be in a position to land a Division I head coaching job next offseason. "It's a goal to be a Division I head coach," Taylor said. "I feel like I'm ready." Taylor has been a finalist for the Central Michigan, UNC-Wilmington, Illinois-Chicago and Western Kentucky jobs in the last couple years. It's inevitable that he'll get a job soon.
• It's possible that Gophers forward Trevor Mbakwe will not have to wear a knee brace anymore starting with that Big Ten opener. If not then, it'll be soon thereafter.
• Gophers athletics director Norwood Teague was at Thursday's Wolves-Thunder game to see Oklahoma City point guard Eric Maynor. Maynor was a star at VCU when Teague was there.
• In addition to spending time in recent week at Vikings, Wolves and Gophers men's hockey practices, Wild coach Mike Yeo has also bonded with the Gophers women's hockey team.