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Timberwolves Off on North American Odyssey

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The Wolves won't be back at Target Center until November 19th as they head off on a multi-country, multi-time zone trip.

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On Saturday, November 1st, the Wolves lost to the Bulls in heartbreaking fashion at Target Center.

They won't play before a home crowd again until November 19th. That's right, the Wolves are off on an odyssey that will take them not only to several other NBA cities, but another country as well, and I'm not talking about Canada.

The Wolves next play on Wednesday in Brooklyn against the Nets and old friends Kevin Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko, then head to Florida to face both teams there before their apparently now annual trip to Mexico City. Hopefully they will actually play the game this time after last year's planned tilt against the Spurs got cancelled due to a fire at the arena.

This time they are scheduled to face the Rockets, and while the crowd is likely to be mostly pro-Houston, it is listed as a Wolves "home" game.

They come back to the U.S. (sort of) to face the Pelicans and Mavericks on the road before finally playing at Target Center again against the Knicks on November 19th.

It will be interesting to see how this goes. I can imagine a three week disaster which leaves the team reeling when they finally return to Minneapolis with 5 or 6 losses on the trip, but I can also see them managing a 3-4 trip which would not be too bad.

Elsewhere, as reported yesterday, it looks like Thad Young will be good to go after his neck strain on Saturday in the Bulls game. It looked like it might be bad, but apparently it's not a long term problem. We should expect him to be available on Wednesday.

I guess I haven't weighed in on the Ricky Rubio contract extension. I'm pleased. Sure, I would have liked to get him for less than $13.5M a year, but in today's world of escalating NBA salaries and the anticipated salary cap increases coming over the next few years I'm not too worried about the money. It was essential to keep him. He has a large positive effect on outcomes and the Wolves really aren't in a place to create another hole in the lineup. There are only so many tools available to repair the existing holes, and I'm not sold on Flip Saunders as a master repair man.

There is value in not letting him get to RFA, even though the incumbent team has the control in that situation. Committing to Rubio is a good thing. It lets him play without this hanging over him, and helps set expectations that he clearly wants to meet. More tangibly, letting him get to the summer of 2015 with the opportunity to play one more year on a QO and hit unrestricted free agency in what should be a massive cap increase year in 2016 is too big a risk to take.

One more note: Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Timberwolves first ever game in the NBA. They lost to the Supersonics 106-94 in Seattle. Ty Corbin led the team with 20 off the bench. The immortal Scott Roth, also coming off the bench, scored 19.

I'll have more hopefully later today on the Wolves early season statistical trends.

Today in history

1394: Jews expelled from France by Charles VI
1493: Columbus "discovers" island of Dominica
1534: English parliament accepts Henry VIII as head of Church of England
1796: John Adams elected president
1868: First black congressman elected in Louisiana
1964: LBJ defeats Goldwater in presidential election
1975: Good Morning America premieres on ABC
1992: Bill Clinton elected for first time

Today's musical birthday is Adam Ant, born in 1954

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Have a great Monday.