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Timberwolves’ revamped roster has a team-first attitude

Ray Richardson, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn. –

Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman is confident the addition of several veterans, including former NBA all-stars Brandon Roy and Andrei Kirilenko, will not lead to a repeat of the player discontent that contributed to a 26-40 finish last season. Adelman also seems relieved that he no longer has players who are “too worried about themselves.”

“Last year, the losses didn’t hurt enough for some guys,” Adelman said Monday, Oct. 1, at the Timberwolves’ media day at Target Center. “When we had injuries last year, guys were too worried about themselves and not what was happening on the floor. We need to respond to things better than that. We’re going to demand it from the very start, and demand it from each other.”

The Timberwolves begin a one-week training camp Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Minnesota State Mankato with seven new players and the belief that Adelman’s system will be more successful with better team chemistry. Adelman and returning Timberwolves players from last season expressed optimism that the offseason changes will lead to significant improvements.

All-star forward Kevin Love recently proclaimed the Timberwolves will make the Western Conference playoffs, even though point guard Ricky Rubio will miss at least the first two months of the regular season recovering from a major knee injury. Despite Rubio’s absence, Love is optimistic about his team’s new look.

“We needed to add veterans, and we’ve done this,” Love said Monday. “Brandon and ‘AK’ (Kirilenko) come

from winning teams. It will help us to have veterans … to take pressure off Ricky when he comes back.”

Love, a member of the U.S.’s gold-medal-winning team at the London Olympics, agreed with Adelman that some players on last season’s roster had different agendas.

“Some guys had a date circled on the calendar, the day to go home,” Love said. “We have guys now who are really going to be hurt when we lose.”

In addition to Roy and Kirilenko, newcomers on the Timberwolves’ roster include veterans Chase Budinger, Lou Amundson, Dante Cunningham and Greg Stiemsma, and rookie Alexey Shved, a native of Russia.

The group replaces five players who were not re-signed (Michael Beasley, Martell Webster, Anthony Randolph, Anthony Tolliver and Darko Milicic) and two others who were traded (Wesley Johnson and Wayne Ellington).

“Seeing the unselfishness is going to be fun,” said veteran guard Luke Ridnour, beginning his third season with the Timberwolves. “It’ll be fun to see older guys here who have been through some battles.”

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