By Jerry Zgoda
Al Jefferson returned to practice today and scrimmaged regularly on the Target Center main floor, but teammates Jonny Flynn and Wayne Ellington were missing because they went to the doctor with flu-like symptoms.
Jefferson vowed he’d play in Wednesday’s season opener against New Jersey and said he’d probably have to monitor his Achilles tendon for most of the season to make sure it doesn’t get inflamed like it did in the last week.
Flynn and Ellington will be evaluated daily. Their availability for the opener remains uncertain.
The Wolves reach today’s 5 p.m. roster deadline with their 15-man roster set with no changes.
That means Jason Hart is on the team — at least for now — and so is Mark Blount, but that’s in name only.
Blount never came to training camp and won’t show up now. He’ll stay home in Miami but keep getting paid to allow the Wolves what David Kahn calls roster “flexibility” in case his $7.9 million salary slot can be involved in a trade between now and the trading deadline.
He didn’t end up waived like Antonio Daniels was last week because Daniels was willing to give back some money in a buyout of his $6.6 million contract so he can sign with another team (Cleveland?) once he clears waivers.
There’s not another job out there at the moment for Blount, so he’s not willing to give back any of that nearly $8 million salary.
So he’ll stay on the roster, but remain far, far away.
Kahn also sounded like he might wait right up until Saturday’s deadline before deciding in one swoop on players with contract options.
Kevin Love’s extension for the 2010-11 season is what Kahn called a “no brainer.” Corey Brewer’s option almost certainly will be picked up as well.
The question is Oleksiy Pecherov, at nearly $2.4 million. Kahn said he still must consult with the coaches.
Last week, Kurt Rambis called Pecherov a “unique” player because of his size and his skils and he moved him into the starting lineup with Jefferson, but whether he’s $2.4 million unique is another question entirely.
One other little interesting tidbit: Kahn is having breakfast and lunch catered for players when they’re home for practices and games to ensure they eat nutritionally and perhaps a bit to build camaraderie.
“We want them to be here early and stay late, ” Kahn said.
Btw, I will be doing a live chat to preview the opener and the approaching season on Wednesday at 1 p.m. Stay tuned for more details.