The Timberwolves began practices yesterday for their upcoming Vegas Summer League games, which begin on Friday. The roster for summer league was announced yesterday, and includes both rookies Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyus Jones, second year players Zach LaVine and Adreian Payne, as well as Lorenzo Brown, all of whom have contracts for next season. Othyus Jeffers and Brady Heslip return for another Wolves summer league appearance as well, and there is some very slight rumbling that Heslip could actually find his way onto the roster somehow, though it remains unlikely.
Andrew Wiggins, Gorgui Dieng, and Shabazz Muhammad are expected to practice but not play with the summer league squad.
Darren Wolfson got some tape of Towns and Jones yesterday, which can be viewed here.
In other news: Dieng got in late from overseas and missed the first practice.
Nikola Pekovic was at the facility:
Just saw big Pek stroll through Wolves practice facility with walking boot on. Asked how he was, he replied, "Great." Usually it's "solid"— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) July 6, 2015
The other big Wolves news is that they have reportedly reached an agreement with Nemanja Bjelica on a 3 year, $11.7M deal. Key covered this one yesterday, but that's a good number for the Wolves. In the current economic climate, under $4M a year is a great deal with very limited risk.
I personally like Bjelica, ideally I think as a high quality back up bringing versatility and a pretty wide skill set, though I can also envision him as a starter. He has a lot of skills with the ball and really could emerge as a good playmaking four, with the ability to dribble, pass and shoot from that position.
The Wolves also rescinded the qualifying offer to Robbie Hummel, making him an unrestricted free agent. With Bjelica and presumably Kevin Garnett in the fold, they have 14 guaranteed contracts for next season not including Hummel, so it makes sense not to commit themselves to him. They still seem short a guard to me, and would still presumably like to move either or both of Anthony Bennett and Chase Budinger to ease the roster crunch and balance it better.
Hummel could still conceivably return, as he did last summer, but we'll see. I think he deserves an NBA job, and my guess is someone will give him one.
In other news...
Old friend Mo Williams is returning to the Cavaliers on a free agent deal.
Marc Gasol as expected is staying with the Grizzlies on a five year max contract.
David West, turning down more money from various suitors has accepted a minimum salary deal with the Spurs. Yikes.
Today in history
1456: Joan of Arc acquitted of heresy 25 years after her death
1520: Hernan Cortez defeats Aztecs at Otumba, Mexico
1668: Isaac Newton receives degree from Trinity College, Cambridge
1753: British Museum founded by act of parliament
1754: Kings College (later, Columbia) opens in New York City
1802: "The Wasp," regarded as first comic book, published
1846: U.S. annexes California
1862: Land Grant Act makes federal land available for state colleges
1863: Orders barring Jews from serving under Ulysses S. Grant are revoked
1898: U.S. annexes Hawaii
1928: Sliced bread hits market for first time. Insert joke here.
1953: Che Guevara sets out on his famous journey through South and Central America
1996: Nelson Mandela steps down as president of South Africa
Today's Musical Birthday is composer Gustav Mahler, born in 1860 (d. 1911)