By Jerry Zgoda
Wolves restricted free agent Ryan Gomes hit the trail on the team’ summer promotional caravan today, showing up at the first stop in Mankato. Does that mean a deal is near with the Wolves?
In a word: No.
“I made a commitment at the end of the season to do this,” Gomes said from Mankato. “They (the team) asked me if I’d like to do this and I’m a community guy, so I said yes. I don’t know where I’m going to be yet. I made a commitment and stuck with it.”
Gomes’ agent continues to seek from other teams an offer sheet that the Wolves would be hard pressed to match. He reportedly has sought the full mid-level salary exception — $5.6 million next season — and Gomes said Tuesday it’s possible he will sign a two-year deal if the team willing to make the best offer also wants to keep its salary-cap flexibility for 2010, when a big crop of free agents, including LeBron James, becomes available.
Gomes said his agent is talking both to the Wolves and with other teams. He said he hopes to strike a deal “sooner than later” now that other free agents such as Ronny Turiaf and Kelenna Azubuike — players he considers in that same next level of free agents down from the Elton Brands as he is — have agreed to deals. Golden State signed Turiaf away from the Los Angeles Lakers with a four-year, $17 million contract and Azubuike has signed an three-year, $9 million offer sheet with the Los Angeles Clippers that Golden State has until Thursday to match.
Gomes said he likes the off-season moves the Wolves have made and would like to stay in Minnesota because “in a few years, this is going to be a special team.” But he said his main objective is financial security. He and his wife, Danielle, had their first child last month, a girl named Ryelle (a combination of their two first names).
“I’m trying to put myself in the best situation to get the most out of this,” Gomes said. “There’s a lot of (negotiation) whispers going on right now. I have to look in the mirror and see what’s the best situation for me.”
The Wolves have seven days to match an offer sheet if Gomes signs with another team.
The carvan is schedule to stop in Willmar on Wednesday and Brainerd on Thursday.
In another matter, Sebastian Telfair and Kevin McHale will hold a Target Center news conference Wednesday morning to announce that the two sides on Monday reached agreement on a new contract.