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NBA Report: Roy close; Hornets fading

Veteran Timberwolves guard ready to practice again. Also, Hornets hit skid and Nets reportedly after Ersan Ilyasova.

Brandon Roy has been cleared to return to practice with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Roy, who started at shooting guard for the first several weeks of the season, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Nov. 19.


Roy’s knee issues led to an early retirement from the Portland Trail Blazers following the 2011 season.


“I’ve been doing a lot of individual workouts with the coaches," Roy told Minneapolis reporters Monday. “I’ve pretty much been able to do everything. Today and tomorrow, I’ll go a little harder. I want to improve my conditioning as much as I can before the first practice.”


Roy is averaging 5.8 points and 4.6 assists.


The Wolves (12-9) were riding a four-game winning streak into Monday night’s game at Orlando. They welcomed back starting point guard Ricky Rubio from a serious knee injury this past weekend, and All-Star power forward Kevin Love from a broken right hand a few weeks ago. (On the downside, Love is  currently sporting a sprained thumb.)


With everyone healthy, the Timberwolves believe they’re a playoff team. They currently hold the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference.


As an aside, Rubio will not play in Tuesday’s game at Miami. The team is prohibiting him from playing in the second game of back-to-backs as a precaution.


Hornets losing buzz


The New Orleans Hornets have lost seven straight, and coach Monty Williams isn’t allowing a relatively young roster (featuring No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis) to become an excuse.


“"I think our young guys need to understand that this is not AAU, high school or college,’’ Williams said. “Nothing is promised to anybody. I want our young guys to understand that they have to bring it every day and we’re always going to find ways to help our team get better. That’s the message we want to send to our fans and people around the league.”


The Hornets’ latest loss came via a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Blazers rookie guard Damian Lilliard on Sunday night.


They could sure use veteran guard Eric Gordon, who has played in just nine games with the team since being traded from the L.A. Clippers before the start of last season.


Gordon has a knee issue, but insiders have suggested he’s also pouting because the Hornets matched a contract offer from Phoenix over the summer.


Sadly, with Gordon, Davis, Ryan Anderson and the up-and-coming Greivis Vasquez, the Hornets might be able to put themselves in playoff contention.


Reporter: Nets after Ilyasova


Milwaukee Bucks beat writer Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal-Times told a Milwaukee radio station the Brooklyn Nets are “trying to find a way to obtain” Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova.


Ilyasova has said he is “very upset” about his new role coming off the Bucks’ bench, and word is he is very open to playing elsewhere. Ilyasova signed a five-year, $40-million contract with the Bucks over the summer, and by NBA rules, cannot be traded until Jan. 15.


The Nets supposedly were interested in trying to sign Ilyasova before he re-upped with Milwaukee.


“It’s going to be hard” for the Bucks and Nets to make a deal, Woelfel told WSSP radio, as Ilyasova is making $7.9 this season. The Nets would likely have a difficult time coming up with the pieces to match that salary.


Ilyasova is averaging 8.8 points and 5.5 rebounds this season -- down from 13.8 points and 8.9 rebounds last year.


Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO