The Scoops: Wolves keeping trade talks alive with draft approaching
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While Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders is in Italy for the next few days at the Adidas Eurocamp, there is a good chance he will continue the trade dialogue with fellow executives.
There's still a strong interest from the Wolves in moving up in the June 27 NBA draft to select Indiana guard Victor Oladipo.
According to sources, the Wolves have spoken to Oladipo's camp. No workout has been set up, because Oladipo's representatives need sufficient evidence that the Wolves can move up to Orlando's spot at No. 2, Washington's spot at No. 3 or Charlotte's spot at No. 4.
That might just be gamesmanship between the two sides because, in theory, if the Wolves can prove they have the ability to move up, they just will. Oladipo will workout for the team, assuming the Wolves provide that proof. However, nothing is scheduled as of now.
• A source close to the situation reiterated what was reported in this space two weeks ago: guard O.J. Mayo is a big-time free agent priority this summer for the Wolves. Interestingly, depending on your view, there is no free agent buzz involving the Wolves and guard Kevin Martin. He played for Wolves coach Rick Adelman in Houston.
• Wolves' forward Andrei Kirilenko, who has to decide by the end of the month if he'll opt-in to a $10 million contract for the 2013-14 season, to a Russian reporter this week: "So far nothing has been decided, before the first of July is the time. Let us think. For me, not that good, it's just a one-year (contract with the Wolves). And after a year I have to again decide what's what, I would certainly prefer in this situation have a full contract and did not think about my future."
Sounds like a player giving serious consideration to becoming a free agent. According to a source, the Wolves want him back, but are not in love with paying him $10 million.
• Restricted free agent center Nikola Pekovic will meet with Saunders in Italy on Sunday.
• The Wolves have until July 17 to exercise an option on center Greg Stiemsma's contract for next year. They have until July 22 to do the same with wing Mickaël Gelabale. One or both could be used in a trade in the coming weeks. They both have value as essentially expiring contracts.
• Forward Dante Cunningham also has a team option, but his contract is structured differently. That decision must be made by July 1, and is close to a lock to be exercised.
• Wolves' big man coach, Bill Bayno, will also be in Italy at the Eurocamp.
• A date is unknown, but Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum will workout for the Wolves. Saunders tweeted the following workout schedule yesterday:
June 12 -- Pittsburgh center Steven Adams, Bucknell center and Roseville native Mike Muscala, Indiana big man Cody Zeller and France center Rudy Gobert
June 13 -- Kansas center Jeff Withey, UCLA wing Shabazz Muhammad, Long Beach State wing James Ennis, and Minnesota wing Rodney Williams.
June 17: Ohio State wing Deshaun Thomas, New Mexico wing Tony Snell, North Carolina wing Reggie Bullock, and Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk.
• Wings Glen Rice Jr. of the Developmental League and San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin have also heard from the Wolves. But specific dates are still being worked on to bring them into town.
• Former Wolves point guard Pooh Richardson, while working for the Rival Sports Agency, is heavily involved with Kansas' Ben McLemore, a likely top-5 draft pick.
• The Twins did a fair amount of due-diligence on 30-year-old free agent centerfielder Grady Sizemore in March, and the strong belief is that when he's cleared to play again, the Twins will have interest. Since 2009, Sizemore has undergone seven different surgeries. Currently, he's doing some baseball activities. He should be ready to sign with a team in the next month or two. Sizemore last played in the major leagues in 2011.
• When asked how involved the Twins were last June with then Cuban free agent outfielder Yasiel Puig, Twins vice president of personnel Mike Radcliff said, "We made an effort," but the Dodgers gave Puig a 7-year/$42 million deal.
• The Twins are one of the teams interested in Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. He will not count towards a team's international signing cap, which the Twins have the fourth-most money in MLB to spend. The Twins are expected to have a scout at Gonzalez's showcase on June 20. According to the L.A. Times, Gonzalez is living in Mexico after defecting from the Cuban national team. He's potentially good enough to be pitching in the majors sometime next season.
• It was a moot point, but before the Royals claimed ex-Detroit outfielder Quintin Berry this week, the Twins thought long and hard about doing the same. But because Kansas City has a worse record, they have waiver claim priority.
• Twins outfielder Clete Thomas had an opt-out in his contract for this week if he wasn't promoted to the major league roster. Radcliff claims the decision to add Thomas to the 25-man roster this week was purely coincidental.
• The Twins had some interest in second baseman Kensuke Tanaka last offseason. But he chose the Giants instead. He's with their Triple-A club in Fresno, Calif.
• Radcliff expects to take at least seven pitchers with their first 10 draft picks, and at least 22 pitchers overall. "That's what the crop is and it's our need and desire," he said Wednesday afternoon.
• The Twins hosted draft prospects last Wednesday in Rochester. Among those present: high school catcher Tanner Norton & University of Cincinnati outfielder Justin Glass. The Twins also hosted draft prospects at Target Field on Monday. High school pitcher Hunter Green was supposed to attend, but cancelled after fatigue from other visits.
• It's not nearly as sexy as after the NFL Draft, but the Twins will be heavily involved in signing undrafted free agents. Per Radcliff, they need the bodies for their rookie teams in the Appalachian and Gulf Coast leagues. Because of that, they'll probably sign a few more draft picks, probably at least 22 of their 40.
• Radcliff when suggested his team could be a buyer, not a seller in late July: "To be determined. We're good at the ebbs and flows. ... I believe we can compete."
• The Twins' second round draft pick - LSU's Ryan Eades - has Scott Boras as his advisor.
• Twins catcher Joe Mauer will be at Cretin-Derham Hall, his former high school, on June 11 to present the school a Gatorade prize pack; $10,000 worth of Gatorade product and equipment.
• The Twins' third annual Hope Week -- seven days dedicated to giving back to the community -- is next week. Among the events: Mauer will host a "Picnic in the Park." He'll meet patients from Gillette Children's Hospital at Target Field. Also on Wednesday: pitcher Brian Duensing and outfielder Josh Willingham and their wives will stuff toy-filled birthday gift bags for Cheerful Givers. On Thursday manager Ron Gardenhire and a few players will meet with veterans at the VA Hospital. Then on Friday closer Glen Perkins and other players will take kids from the Boys & Girls Club to Lake Harriet for a morning of fishing.
• A Gophers basketball source said the last remaining scholarship for the 2013-14 season will go to one of two power forwards: Rutgers transfer Derrick Randall or Florida International transfer Rakeem Buckles.
• Gophers basketball coach Richard Pitino is close to finalizing a purchase of a house. He's currently living in an apartment near campus while his wife and child are mostly in Miami for the time being.
• Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague on when the Gophers men's basketball schedule will be finalized: "It's close to being done. We're getting down to the very end."
• As GopherHole.com first reported, 6-foot-6 Nick Pellar is expected to leave Auburn, where he was a walk-on, and fill the same role with the Gophers basketball team. An Auburn coach said, "He's a good, smart kid."
• Gophers basketball recruit Rashad Vaughn (Robbinsdale Cooper HS) took an unofficial visit to UCLA on Sunday. His advisor, Pete Kaffey, said the visit went well.
• Gophers football coach Jerry Kill is cautiously optimistic he'll have his whole team healthy by August 1. The possible exception is offensive lineman Jonah Pirsig, who suffered a knee injury during spring practice. However, "he's doing great in his rehab," Kill said this week.
• Wild goalie Josh Harding will be at the MS 150 on Sunday to cheer on the 3,500 cyclists as they cross the finish line. Harding, of course, is battling multiple sclerosis.