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News » Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2009-03-21

Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2009-03-21

Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2009-03-21
Last summer, the Memphis Grizzles were so determined to dump Brian Cardinal and the two remaining seasons on his contract that they accepted Marko Jaric's longer, more expensive deal from the Timberwolves in a midnight trade on draft night.

Sixty-nine games into a season lost when Al Jefferson went down with an injured knee six weeks ago, Cardinal has gone from a nine-year veteran who wondered last season if his career was over to become a regular contributor to a young Wolves team that coach Kevin McHale deems is in need of Cardinal's steadying influence.

Nine months ago, the Grizzlies insisted Cardinal's remaining $13 million contract be included in any possible trade. Today, after he watched for the season's opening month, he has become a regular in McHale's rotation, playing anywhere from 11 to 35 minutes a night since Jefferson was lost for the season.

"It's tough to just sit over there and watch, but I knew at some point in time something was going to happen because that's just how this league is," Cardinal said. "It's crazy: Some days, you play. Some days, you don't. Sometimes, your number is called. Sometimes, it's not. You have to be ready at all times. I'm just lucky Mac (McHale) has had some faith in me."

Cardinal, 31, admits he wondered last season if his career was over.

He didn't play more than 37 games in any of the past three seasons before this one because of knee injuries and perhaps because of that heavy contract, a five-year deal then-Grizzlies president Jerry West offered in July 2004 after Cardinal had just one breakthrough season with Golden State.

It was obvious his days in Memphis were done, but the Wolves accepted the two years on his contract that pays him $6.3 million this season and $6.75 million next season because they were able to dump the contracts of Jaric, Antoine Walker and Greg Buckner in the trade that brought Love and Mike Miller for O.J. Mayo.

The Wolves in return received a veteran who didn't complain when he didn't play and who has contributed with his defense, his ability to make the right play and even with his three-point shooting, whether he plays five minutes or 35.

"I'm not the greatest of athletes, the greatest of jumpers," he said. "The list of things I'm not very good at goes on and on. I try to make up for that with hard work and just knowing the game. I try to make people somewhat uncomfortable. Anytime you're in your comfort zone, you're at your best. So I try to make the other guy uncomfortable."

ROCKETS 107, TIMBERWOLVES 88: The Timberwolves concluded a three-game Southern swing with Friday night's 107-88 loss at Houston that proved this tour against Western Conference playoff-bound opponents couldn't end fast enough.

The Rockets made 11 three-pointers and everybody, including the seldom-seen Brian Cook and James White, joined in the party.

Ron Artest led seven Houston players in double-figures with 20 points. Artest, Yao Ming (14 points, eight rebounds) didn't play the entire fourth quarter.

Wolves rookie Kevin Love had his 23rd double-double of the season ? and his fifth in the past seven games ? with an 18-point, 12-rebound night. Craig Smith led the Wolves in scoring with 19 points off the bench for a team that lost Tuesday at San Antonio and Wednesday at New Orleans.

Smith, Love and point guard Sebastian Telfair were the only the Timberwolves who reached double-figures on Friday, when the team fell to 20-49 with 13 games remaining in their season.

The Wolves have lost four of their past five games, 14 of their past 16 and 19 of their past 22. They are 3-16 since star Al Jefferson was lost for the season because of a knee injury of Feb. 8 in New Orleans.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 21, 2009


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