Capitals

Wolves, Josh Howard agree to 1-yr deal

201211142214800476590-p2.jpeg

Wolves, Josh Howard agree to 1-yr deal

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) With only nine healthy players on the roster and six of their top seven out because of injuries, the Minnesota Timberwolves were in search of any warm body to help lighten the load for the few players still able to hit the court.

They turned to a player many Wolves fans thought they should have drafted almost a decade ago.

The Wolves agreed to terms on a one-year deal with free agent forward Josh Howard on Thursday, pending a passed physical. Howard arrived in the Twin Cities on Thursday afternoon and the plan was for him to be in uniform against Golden State on Friday night.

``We need somebody at that spot,'' coach Rick Adelman said. ``We looked around and he seemed to be a good candidate.''

The 32-year-old Howard worked out for the Wolves on Monday in Dallas. Howard averaged 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 43 games with Utah last season. He has also played for Washington and Dallas, which drafted him 29th overall in 2003. The Timberwolves passed on Howard, who was a star at Wake Forest, in favor of high schooler Ndudi Ebi, who was a bust.

Howard went on to make an All-Star team in his seven seasons with the Mavericks, emerging as a potent scorer and athletic defender. He has dealt with numerous injuries in recent seasons, but the Wolves are hoping he can take some of the minutes from Andrei Kirilenko, who has played 44 minutes in each of the last two games.

``He's a versatile player. He's long. He's a good defender,'' Adelman said. ``He should fit in and help us.''

At this point, any forward will be welcome. All-Star forward Kevin Love (broken right hand) and dynamic point guard Ricky Rubio (left knee) aren't expected to make their season debuts until December. The Wolves also lost valuable swingman Chase Budinger for three to four months because of a torn meniscus in his left knee, have seen Brandon Roy's chronic knee issues return to keep him out of the last three games and also have been missing Nikola Pekovic (sprained left ankle) and JJ Barea (sprained left foot).

Despite the deluge of injuries, the Wolves won five of their first seven games. The issues appeared to finally catch up with them in an 89-87 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night, so the Wolves went out and added Howard for the veteran's minimum of $1.2 million.

They waived point guard Will Conroy to make room for Howard.

``It's been hard, but you have to give our guys credit,'' Adelman said. ``We talked to them today about the fact that we can win games, even though you're short-handed.''

Adelman said he expects Howard's transition to be fairly seamless given his experience. They'll just have to ease him in a little bit since Howard did not have a training camp to get into game shape. Once he's up and running, the Wolves hope he can give them a spark at both ends of the floor.

``Offensively, we don't have a lot of firepower,'' Adelman said. ``But if you defend well enough, it helps your offense.''

Pekovic, Roy and Barea are all questionable for the Warriors game, though Adelman said he doubted any of them would be ready. The Wolves have four days off after Friday night, which may tempt them to sit that game out to give them an additional five days of rest and rehab.

If Pekovic has his way, he'll be in the lineup. He did some running on Thursday and said he felt some pain, which didn't seem to bother the big Montenegrin.

``I can't make it any worse,'' he said. ``I'm just trying to help.''

---

Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter:http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski

Quick Links

Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

capture_jerabek.png
USA TODAY Sports

Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

Defenseman Jakub Jerabek is really happy about the opportunity to play with the Washington Capitals, but it could have come at a better time. The trade came with his parents already on their way from the Czech Republic to visit him.

“It was crazy days past three days because I had my parents on the way to Montreal and they didn't know so it was a big surprise for them,” Jerabek told reporters Saturday after his first skate with the team.

A native of the Czech Republic, Jerabek signed his first NHL contract with the Montreal Canadiens in May 2017. After spending some time in the AHL and struggling to consistently earn a spot in the Canadiens’ lineup, he knew a trade was possible.

“My family, maybe we expected some trade. When its come with Caps and it was Washington, I was really happy.”

RELATED: TRADE DEADLINE STORY TIME WITH ALAN MAY

Jerabek said he came into the NHL with no expectations and was simply happy for the opportunity, but it is fair to wonder if he was not just the least bit frustrated with how he was utilized by Montreal.

For a player with experience playing for the national team, the Czech league and the KHL, getting only 25 games with a bad Montreal team seems a bit low.

“In first two weeks, I didn't know what's going on because the coaches just told me that I played well, but we just make some competition between the [defensemen] and that I have to wait for my next chance,” Jerabek said. “It was hard, but now I'm happy down here.”

Washington now offers a very different opportunity. In need of help on the blue line, Jeraebek has the chance to earn consistent playing time for a team on pace to reach the postseason.

Jerabek will not play in Saturday’s game against Buffalo, but he was hopeful he would be in the lineup for Monday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

MORE CAPITALS: IS IT TIME FOR GRUBAUER TO START IN PLACE OF HOLTBY?

For now, Jerabek and head coach Barry Trotz are unclear as to what his ultimate role on the team will be. With eight defensemen now on the roster, Trotz cautioned any lineup decision could not be rushed because of the trickle-down effect it will have on the other players.

“You always look at chemistry and all that with your group depending how high that player goes up the lineup, it affects different people,” Trotz said. “In a forward group, if you get a guy that you all of a sudden stick on the first line, there's four other guys that are bumped down and one guy's bumped out.”

The addition of Jerabek, however, offers the Caps another defenseman who can quickly move the puck out of the defensive zone, something the team has struggled with immensely throughout the season. Though he shoots left, he also said he is comfortable playing on the right said and has played there regularly over the past few years. That provides the lineup with some flexibility on the third pair behind Matt Niskanen and John Carlson.

As for Jerabek’s parents, they will be arriving in Washington on Saturday.

“I tried to figure out the situation with them to get them to here and they will come today,” he said. “So I'm really happy.”

Quick Links

Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

usatsi_9095555.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

PODCAST: WIZARDS MAKE A FREE AGENT SIGNING

The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

RELATED: DURANT MAKES HUGE DONATION TO PG COUNTY SCHOOLS

Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS