Wolves have several key dates this summer
MINNEAPOLIS – The second round of the NBA playoffs might be the most exciting basketball going on right now, but for a team like the Timberwolves that missed the playoffs, there’s a lot to look forward to as the postseason fades into summer.
Minnesota president of basketball operations David Kahn and coach Rick Adelman will spend a much of their time this summer focused on tweaking the team’s roster for the 2012-13 season, and Adelman plans to travel from his home in Portland to both Los Angeles (where many of his players are training) and Minneapolis (where the team will conduct draft workouts). And though solidifying the squad for next season will be at the forefront of the team’s concerns, there’s much more than just roster moves to look forward to in the next three months.
An offseason calendar, from the last night of the season through the Olympics in August:
April 26: The Timberwolves’ season ended with a 131-102 loss to Golden State. Without Ricky Rubio and for seven games Kevin Love, the team faltered in April, finishing the season’s final month with a 1-12 record.
April 27: Because of a past trade and Utah’s playoff berth this season, the Timberwolves hold the Jazz’s first-round pick in the 2012 draft. Utah, Dallas and New York all finished the season with the same record, so the NBA held a drawing on April 27 to determine the teams’ draft order. Utah – and therefore the Timberwolves – received the 18th overall pick.
April 29: This was the deadline for NCAA underclassmen to enter or withdraw their names from the 2012 draft.
May 15: Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic missed time in March and April because of bone spurs in his right ankle. He underwent surgery on May 15 to remove those bone spurs, and Dr. Martin O’Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York performed the operation. Pekovic is expected to resume training this summer.
End of May: Ricky Rubio will follow up in Vail, Colo., with Dr. Richard Steadman, who performed his ACL repair surgery in March.
May 30: The NBA draft lottery will take place. Although the Timberwolves should have a lottery pick, it belongs to the Hornets. That pick was originally traded with Sam Cassell to the Clippers in 2005 in exchange for Lionel Chalmers and Marco Jaric, but the Clippers included it in their trade for Chris Paul trade last December.
This year’s lottery will be held in Times Square in New York City, and it will be televised at 7 p.m. on ESPN. The event hasn’t been held in New York City since 1993, and this year’s lottery will be the 28th in league history. With its 7-59 record, Charlotte has a 25 percent chance of winning the draft’s top pick, followed by Washington with a 19.9 percent chance. With its own lottery chances and the Timberwolves’, New Orleans has a 14.8 percent chance of winning the top pick.
June 6-10: The NBA predraft camp will take place in Chicago. This camp is a chance for potential top picks to work out together and showcase their skills for teams.
Mid-June: The Timberwolves will begin hosting workouts in Minneapolis for potential draft picks. Draft workouts can take place as early as now and can go up until the day of the draft, June 28. Picking 18th, the Timberwolves plan to bring in players who are projected as late first-round and early second-round picks.
June 18: This is the deadline for international players to withdraw their names from the draft.
June 30: The team has until June 30 to make qualifying offers to forwards Michael Beasley ($8.1 million) and Anthony Randolph ($4 million). If the team makes qualifying offers, Beasley and Randolph will be restricted free agents, and the Timberwolves can match any offers they get from other teams. However, if they choose not to make qualifying offers, the two will become unrestricted free agents. The team also has until June 30 to buy out Martell Webster’s contract for a fraction of his $5.7 million salary.
June 26: This is the last possible day for the last game of the 2012 NBA Finals. In 2011, the Finals ended on June 12 with a 105-95 Dallas win over Miami. That series lasted six games.
June 28: The NBA draft will be held at 6 p.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The new collective bargaining agreement, which was ratified in 2011, instituted no changes to the draft, so it will be held under the same eligibility rules as established in the 2005 CBA. Kentucky’s Anthony Davis is widely projected to be the top pick in this year’s draft, and other notable names include North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes and John Henson, Syracuse’s Fab Melo, Duke’s Austin Rivers, Kansas’s Thomas Robinson and Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger.
The Timberwolves have the option of trading the No. 18 pick, but if they don’t, players like Rivers, Washington’s Terrence Ross, Illinois’s Meyers Leonard, St. John’s Moe Harkless, North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall, Syracuse’s Dion Waiters and Kentucky’s Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague are projected to be the top possibly available picks at that spot.
July: At the end of the season, Pekovic said he plans to return to the United States in July in time to join the team for summer league play in Las Vegas.
July 6: USA Basketball training camp will begin in Las Vegas for the Olympic team. Kevin Love is one of 22 finalists for the team, which will compete in London in July and August.
The USA Men’s Select Team, made up of top players who will not be on the Olympic roster, will compete against the Olympic team during training camp. The squad will comprise the following players: Ryan Anderson (Orlando), DeJuan Blair (San Antonio), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto), Derrick Favors (Utah), Paul George (Indiana), Taj Gibson (Chicago), Gordon Hayward (Utah), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio), Jeremy Lin (New York), Klay Thompson (Golden State) and John Wall (Washington).
July 7: USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo announced in May that the deadline for the final selection of the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team was extended from June 18 to July 7. Training camp will begin the previous day, and the team will be narrowed from 22 to 12 by the end of camp’s second day. Of the 22 finalists, three are injured (Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, the Clippers’ Chauncey Billups and Chicago’s Derrick Rose). One, Dallas’s Lamar Odom, was put on the Mavericks’ inactive list on April 9 for the remainder of the season and seems an unlikely choice.
In addition to those four, the finalists for the team are Carmelo Anthony (New York), Chris Bosh (Miami), Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers), Tyson Chandler (New York), Anthony Davis (University of Kentucky), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City), Rudy Gay (Memphis), Eric Gordon (New Orleans), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), James Harden (Oklahoma City), Dwight Howard (Orlando), Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia), LeBron James (Miami), Love, Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers), Dwyane Wade (Miami), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City) and Deron Williams (New Jersey).
July 11: Free agency begins. Webster, Beasley, Randolph and Anthony Tolliver will be free agents.
July 13-22: The NBA summer league will take place in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center and COX Pavilion at UNLV. Summer league began in 2004 and featured just six teams (Boston, Cleveland, Denver, Orlando, Phoenix and Washington). It wasn’t held last summer, but in 2010, 22 teams took part in the league, which boasted a 58-game schedule. The Timberwolves have not finalized which players will compete with the team in the summer league.
July 29-Aug. 12: The basketball portion of the London Olympics will take place from July 29 to Aug. 12. The gold medal game is scheduled for 9 p.m. Aug. 12, the bronze medal game for 5 p.m. that same day.
Follow Joan Niesen on Twitter