Team exercises player options, Wolves face Heat tonight, Miami media talks to Beasley and more
From the Associated Press:
The Minnesota Timberwolves have exercised contract options for next season on forwards Michael Beasley (FSY) and Kevin Love, guards Jonny Flynn (FSY) and Wayne Ellington (FSY), and center Kosta Koufos (FSY).
The moves were made Monday. The Wolves also let the deadline pass for offering forward Corey Brewer (FSY) a contract extension beyond this season, meaning he'll become a restricted free agent next summer.
The only one of those that's a bit of a surprise is Koufos, who the Wolves were ready to move on to any willing takers when they accepted his contract in last summer's Al Jefferson at Utah's request.
But from what they've seen so far, they like his size, his agility, his shooting and he's active. And he's young, just 21.
He's also a relatively small number -- $2.2 million -- on their cap space.
Those five are all second- and third-year players who had team options on their contract.
Previews for tonight's game at Miami:
Former Heat forward Michael Beasley addressed the recognizable Miami media members on Monday and put the upcoming contest in simple terms, "It’s an away game, we have to come in and play and win." The juicy storyline revolves around Beasley’s first steps back on to the American Airlines Arena floor where he started his NBA career. The former No. 2 overall pick is not buying the hype and is searching for a win in his new Wolves uniform.
"I feel like if I still had that special feeling, then I’m not giving all I have to my team," Beasley explained. "Miami is in my past – Timberwolves are my future. This is just another regular away game and a game we have to win."
Beasley's future with the Wolves (1-2) became clearer Monday when he was among five players signed to contract extensions through the 2011-12 season. The Wolves also exercised contract options on forward Kevin Love, center Kosta Koufos and guards Jonny Flynn and Wayne Ellington.
Beasley's contract situation was an under-the-radar topic Monday. After the Wolves' practice, Beasley conducted a 10-minute press conference with local reporters anxious to talk with him before tonight's game.
Beasley said he has not had much communication with his former teammates, but he expressed appreciation for veteran forward Udonis Haslem.
When Beasley was traded, Haslem offered congratulations and told him to "be the All-Star that everyone knows you have the capability of being."
"It said a lot about Beas that he showed up to my mom's funeral when she passed away, when he could have just got as far away from Miami and never looked back," Haslem said.
Beasley called Haslem an older brother: "He taught me, and is still teaching me some things that I use in my everyday life. He showed me how to be a professional, how to be a man off the court and work hard on it. So I felt like I owed it to him."
From Shandel Richardson/Sun Sentinel: Timberwolves' Tolliver says he meant no disrespect to LeBron
From Ray Richardson/Pioneer Press: Timberwolves face Heat's powerhouse Big Three as it tries to polish its act
From John Krolik/ProBasketballTalk: Frustrated Beasley calls Minnesota "The worst team in the NBA"
"I don't really worry about too much in the past," said Beasley, the No. 2 pick in the 2008 draft who leads Minnesota in scoring so far at 14.7 points per game. "The Miami Heat is in my past. The Timberwolves are my future. This is just another regular away game. This is a game we've got to win."
It's been an adjustment, Beasley getting used to Minnesota. The Wolves run a triangle offense, which is complex to learn, and Beasley acknowledges that process is ongoing.
But fitting into the locker room has been easy for Beasley, and his lighthearted ways have been embraced.
"He's been great. He's been absolutely nothing but great," Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis said. "He has an enthusiasm for life and an ability to play basketball. He feels like he was just born to play basketball. He loves playing, he loves practicing and he's the guy who keeps our locker room loose. And I'm asking him to do very difficult things. He's got a long learning process in front of him."
Chalmers on what he misses most about Beasley: "He could take a little bit of the blame. Someone I could always be in trouble with."