Ray Richardson, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn. –
As the Timberwolves wonder if Kevin Love will play in the team’s final six games, Michael Beasley made it clear he wants to play with the all-star forward next season.
Beasley is a restricted free agent after the season, and the Wolves have yet to decide if they will offer him an extension or pick up the $8.172 million he is due in the final year of his contract, in 2012-13.
“I would love to come back and be a Timberwolf,” Beasley said Thursday night, April 12, before a 95-82 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at Target Center. “I love it here. I can genuinely say that from the bottom of my heart….From my teammates, to the city, the coaches, the staff. Everybody is so welcoming here. I’m just going to let the situation play out.”
Beasley appeared to be upset after the Wolves’ 113-107 loss at Denver on Wednesday night. He played only nine minutes, 56 seconds, and sat out the entire second half when the Wolves’ reserves, led by Anthony Randolph (28 points), battled back from a 24-point deficit and were in position to win.
Beasley went scoreless and had no rebounds but was not critical of Wolves coach Rick Adelman.
“One thing I’ve learned about being in this league a couple of years is that your minutes are not decided by you,” Beasley said. “The coach plays who he feels comfortable with. Those guys made a run last night (Wednesday), and they kept the run going. He went with the chemistry and the flow of the game.”
Beasley, nearing the end of his third season in the league, had been starting for the Wolves until a foot injury in January cost him 11 games and led Adelman to bring him off the bench. He had 14 points and 10 rebounds in 31 minutes Thursday.
Beasley is averaging 11.2 points and 4.3 rebounds and shooting 43.8 percent from the floor.
Worried about Pekovic
Adelman expressed concern for Wolves center Nikola Pekovic, who the coach said has not “been the same player” since he was diagnosed last month with bone spurs in his right ankle and bronchitis.
Pekovic had been one of the Wolves’ most productive players.
“He’s going to have to get that fixed in the offseason and start all over again in the summer,” Adelman said of the possibility of surgery for Pekovic. “His ankles are still sore, but he’s trying to fight through it.”
Pekovic led the Wolves in scoring Thursday with 17 points.
In the aftermath of JaVale McGee’s elbow to Love’s head Wednesday night, Wolves players recalled similar experiences.
Forward Anthony Tolliver said he suffered a concussion “when I was younger.”
“The first night you have to be awakened every couple of hours to answer basic questions, then they let you go back to sleep,” he said. “You’re not supposed to sleep the first night all the way through.”
Beasley said he caught an elbow to the head from Shaquille O’Neal when O’Neal played for Phoenix.
“I didn’t want to play anymore,” Beasley quipped.
Wolves point guard J.J. Barea needed eight stitches at halftime after suffering a cut lip late in the second quarter. Barea started the second half. … Wayne Ellington missed his second straight game because of back spasms.