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Minnesota signs Mickael Gelabale to help depleted front line

BASKET-EURL-CAJA LABORAL-CEDEVITA-ZAGREB

Caja Laboral’s guard Fernando San Emeterio (L) vies with Cedevita Zagreb’s Mickael Gelabale during the Euroleague basketball match Caja Laboral Vitoria vs Cedevita Zagreb at the Fernando Buesa Arena sportshall in Vitoria on December 14, 2012. AFP PHOTO/ RAFA RIVAS (Photo credit should read RAFA RIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Minnesota needs some depth along the front line — Kevin Love had hand surgery this week and is out at least two more months, and also out injured are Chase Budinger, Brandon Roy, Josh Howard and Malcolm Lee.

So Minnesota reached overseas and signed French national Mickael Gelabale, reports the Associated Press. He is expected to join the team Friday.

Unless you watch a lot of Spanish league ball (he had been playing for Valencia), you most recently may have seen Gelabale playing for France in the London Olympics (and looking pretty good doing it.

Gelabale played a couple seasons for the Sonics, most recently back in 2008.

Minnesota is hoping he can step in and fill the role they hoped Howard would, as a small forward with a little punch off the bench. Gelabale came to the NBA with potential but never really developed — four years getting a lot of burn in Europe seemed to change that, from what I saw during the Olympics (admittedly, a small sample size). This could be a good move for the Timberwolves, but it’s not some dramatic game changer.