The Scoops: Wolves may be interested as Cavs shop Anderson Varejao
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Since president of basketball operations David Kahn joined the Minnesota Timberwolves in May 2009, he has made an absurd number of trades -- 25.
The strong belief in league circles is No. 26 will come by the Feb. 21 deadline.
Yes, Kevin Love, there is some sort of plan.
However, team sources maintain that Kahn is not making any calls for now until he sees how point guard Ricky Rubio looks, beginning with his expected season debut on Saturday against Dallas at Target Center.
That hasn't stopped Kahn from answering the phone, though. League sources insist both Cleveland and Toronto have reached out in recent weeks.
The Cavaliers are gauging interest in center Anderson Varejao, whom I'm told the Timberwolves like a lot. He's signed through 2015 at less than $10 million per season.
Before he suffered a one- to two-month elbow/wrist injury earlier in the week, the Raptors were putting out feelers about big man Andrea Bargnani.
On the Love situation
A league source was quick to remind me of a statement Kahn made at a breakfast with reporters in June 2009: "On a championship-contending team... Kevin (Love) might be the fourth-best player."
The source's informed theory is that statement, combined with seeing good friends Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose get five-year extensions, continues to have Love irked. It's definitely not the money.
A front office executive spelled out how Love will benefit financially in the future: "The reality is that while the difference in guaranteed money between the four-year max deal that Love received and the five-year designated player max that Westbrook received is $17,769,374. (Rose was named MVP, so he was able to take advantage of the designated player max where his first year salary is 30% of the salary cap).
"If Kevin does not exercise his option after the 2014-2015 season, he can become an unrestricted free agent and either re-sign with the Timberwolves for five years or another team for four and receive a salary which starts at 30% of the salary cap. Consequently, Kevin may end up getting more money that Russell over the same period."
As for whether Love will sign an extension before the summer of 2015, the source said, "Kevin could sign an extension prior to declining his option for the 2015-16 season. That extension would be for three years and he could not get any additional money in '15-'16 unless the Wolves were under the cap, which they won't be.
"I don't consider Kevin signing an extension a likely scenario -- see Atlanta's Josh Smith. The extension can only be for four years, including the current years of the contract. If he waits until the end of the '14-'15 season and becomes a free agent, he can re-sign with the Timberwolves for five years (likely for $100 million-plus) or another team for four years. Most players at that stage of their career are prepared to wait and sign for five, or four years."
• Look for the Timberwolves to announce an interesting addition to their scouting staff in the next week.
• Obrad Fimic, Alexey Shved's agent, via email, retracing how his client came to be on the Timberwolves: "The first person to show interest in Shved was David Kahn. Shved really peaked when Kahn watched him play at the Euro Championships in Lithuania. David felt his style of play would work well with Rubio's. There was just interest then. Later into the season we knew during the Final 4 in Istanbul that Shved was closer to going to the NBA. Honestly, the whole deal was done thanks to David, who convinced us that Shved is a perfect fit for coach Rick Adelman's system. Alexey and I liked what we heard and here we are." A team source said to not leave out Timberwolves European scout Pete Philo in this equation.
• A league source maintains Timberwolves guard Brandon Roy did kick the tires on retirement. Roy denied doing so on Thursday. "That's Kahn spin doctoring," the source said. "He has bent over backwards for Roy -- he gave his friend, Will Conroy, $100,000, and hired another friend, Steve Gordon, as a scout. What normal person wouldn't consider retirement in B-Roy's situation? His knee has been operated on numerous times, he has lots of money, and he has no visible ties to the Timberwolves organization. ... Who really believes it never came up? That defies logic."
• We should have closure on the Martell Webster compensation claim case very soon. Look for the Timberwolves to get cash and/or a second-round pick from Portland.
• The Timberwolves worked out center Hassan Whiteside this summer, but they had nothing to do with him ending up on their D-League affiliate, Sioux Falls.
• The Twins called about, but never made formal offers to, pitchers Ryan Dempster (two years, $26.5 million deal with Boston) and Brandon McCarthy (two years, $15.5 million deal with Arizona).
• The Twins will be among the teams at free agent pitcher Brandon Webb's throwing session after the holidays. A former Cy Young winner, he hasn't thrown a major league pitch since 2009 because of shoulder issues.
• The Twins are maintaining healthy dialogue with free agent Brett Myers' camp.
• A Twins source, when asked if they have talked to the Mets about a trade for Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey: "We are looking at EVERY pitching option."
• Gophers basketball coach Tubby Smith is expected at Friday night's Cooper-Wayzata game. Cooper guard Rashad Vaughn is the sole reason. Kansas coach Bill Self dropped by Vaughn's practice on Tuesday before going to watch Apple Valley guard Tyus Jones.
• Gophers assistant coach Vince Taylor was in Chicago earlier in the week for a recruiting trip. Among the players he saw was big man Jahlil Okafor, Jones' good friend and like Jones, a top-five 2014 recruit. Okafor and Jones are saying they're signing with the same school.