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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — With the playoffs in sight and Ricky Rubio on the sideline for the rest of the season, the Minnesota Timberwolves had several conversations going on Thursday to try to bolster the team.
In the end, nothing came together and the Wolves will try to chase down their first postseason berth since 2004 with the roster as is.
Minnesota entered the day in ninth place in the West, 1.5 games behind the Houston Rockets for the eighth and final playoff seed. They lost point guard and leader Ricky Rubio to a torn ACL last weekend, leaving them with only one true point guard in veteran Luke Ridnour.
“We’re done with it now and we don’t have to keep speculating,” coach Rick Adelman said before the Wolves played the Jazz in Utah. “You can’t wait and hope for something to happen to make your team better. You just coach the people who are there.
“We know who they are and the players know they’ll be here so we just need to figure out how we can get on a roll these last 20-plus games.”
The Wolves also have a glut at small forward and were considering trading scorer Michael Beasley to try to land a more prototypical shooting guard like Portland’s Jamal Crawford to help balance out the roster. A possible three-team trade was discussed that would have sent Beasley to the Los Angeles Lakers and brought Crawford to Minnesota, but the Lakers wanted to include veteran Derek Fisher in the deal.
Fisher has an option in his contract that will pay him $3.4 million next season, and the Wolves didn’t consider Crawford a big enough upgrade over Beasley to make the deal worth it to them.
“There were so many rumors out there about Michael so we sat down with him to see how he felt,” Adelman said. “He told us where he was, and he was pretty good. Then we told him we need him to play both ends of the court.”
The Lakers ended up trading Fisher and a first-rounder to the Rockets for Jordan Hill.
The Wolves also never were going to give up Ridnour in any deal. President David Kahn and Adelman, who greatly values Ridnour’s contributions on both ends of the floor, considered him too important to trade.
Beasley is averaging 11.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game this season and has moved from the starting small forward to the team’s first man off the bench. It’s taken him a while to grow acclimated to the role, and the inconsistency has yet to subside.
“He is an offensive player, an extremely gifted offensive player,” Adelman said. “But if that’s not going well for him, we still need him engaged in other areas. He’s one guy, especially off the bench, who can really give us a spark in these last 20 games. That’s what we talked about.”
Beasley scored 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting in a win over Phoenix on Monday, but had averaged just 5.0 points per game in five of his previous six games. Crawford can be just as streaky, although being a more traditional shooting guard role would have helped smooth out Adelman’s rotation.
The Timberwolves were in Utah on Thursday night for the second of a seven-game road trip.
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