Getting back at it

Posted on February 18th, 2008 – 4:49 PM
By Jerry Zgoda

The Wolves, as expected, have recalled Chris Richard from their Sioux Falls, S.D., NBA Developmental League affiliate in time for tonight’s practice that resumes the season after last weekend’s All-Star break. Richard, the rookie forward from Florida, averaged 10.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 28.3 minutes in six games there.

There are three days left before the NBA trading deadline. Looks like the Jason Kidd deal with go through, if a bit reconfigured: Devean George stays in Dallas, Keith Van Horn comes back from the great beyond (an end-run on the salary cap rules if there ever was one…and don’t bring up Joe Smith’s name). On the block: Ron Artest, Ben Wallace, Vince Carter, Jermaine O’Neal, Mike Miller and possibly Ben Gordon, Michael Redd, Andrei Kirilenko, among others. The massive contracts of Wallace and Carter make them nearly impossible to move, O’Neal poor health makes him suspect.

The Wolves, if they do anything, might trade wishful Gerald Green, who won’t return to the team when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, if he can fetch anything. The Wolves find themselves in much the situation with Antoine Walker as they were when they inevitably bought out Juwan Howard rather than trading him: With a limited player who makes too much money ($8.5 million) to get anything but other team’s unwanted goods in return. The interesting question is whether the Wolves could use their only real valuable bargaining chip — Theo Ratliff’s expiring $11.6 million slot — and a couple of their young pieces to fetch something substantial (say, Memphis’ Miller, who just turned 28) rather than save it for down the road for free-agent signings or to pay for new contracts for the likes of Randy Foye, Ryan Gomes or Sebastian Telfair. (Miller makes $8.25 million this season and has two seasons beyond this one left, topping out at $9.75 million; the Grizzlies, as their trade of Pau Gasol showed, are looking to dump salaries.)

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