By Jerry Zgoda
Veteran Antoine Walker’s place behind the Wolves bench, in a suit, for Thursday’s late loss to San Antonio looks like the start of things to come, unless the two sides, as the Wolves did with Juwan Howard last fall, can agree to a contract buyout that would allow Walker to leave by the March 1 waiver deadline so he could land on some team’s playoff roster.
Walker said he and coach Randy Wittman mutally decided he would be inactive for Thursday’s game after that afternoon’s trading deadline came and went with the Wolves unable to trade Walker and his $8.5 million salary that also will pay him $9.3 million next season.
Walker played eight minutes in the first half of Tuesday’s victory over Philadelphia but did not play in the second half. The situation appears unsolvable, with Walker wanting to play a lot and the Wolves having no place for him in their youth movement.
“I can’t do that,” he said of sitting in uniform without playing. “I’m too good a player.”
Walker said he’s not willing to give up much money on his contract and Wolves boss Kevin McHale said owner Glen Taylor isn’t in much of a generous mood. Where that leaves Walker for the rest of the season, other than seated, is yet to be seen.
A trade this summer might be more likely, Walker said, because a team might be willing to take his contract for one season knowing his big salary slot will open up at season’s end.