Wolves Notes: Bjelica on his way, Hummel drawing interest, and more


As we hurtle ever closer to the NBA’s deadest two months of the year, there has been a smattering of Wolves-related news in the past couple of days, both regarding free agency and players currently on the roster.

Sead Galijasevic of the Wasserman Media Group has given us photo evidence that Serbian forward Nemanja Bjelica is indeed on his way to the United States, presumably to sign his contract and eventually be part of a press conference officially announcing his presence on the Wolves roster.

It had already been reported that Bjelica will not be appearing in Las Vegas Summer League games but that there was a chance he’d practice with the team. With Andrew Wiggins just arriving in Vegas to practice with the team, it doesn’t seem impossible that Bjelica could also meet his new teammates there before heading to Minneapolis for a press conference.

Elsewhere, Wolves forward Anthony Bennett shared his excitement for the upcoming Pan American Games in which he will be one of the most-relied upon players for the Canadian team. Of course, Bennett was conspicuously absent from the Wolves’ Summer League practices and scrimmage last week that featured other third-year players like Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad.

It still seems more likely than not that Bennett is moved off the roster by training camp in October, but it’s not like it’ll be a walk in the park to find a team that’s willing to take on that contract.

The Wolves had withdrawn their qualifying offer to Robbie Hummel after the free agent moratorium period came to a close and the Wolves finalized agreements with Bjelica and Kevin Garnett, and it looks like the forward has already attracted quite a few suitors on the open market (and rightly so).

Hummel would be a good fit with pretty much any team, but it would be great to see him end up as a ninth or tenth-man on a contender like the Cavaliers. Denver, Portland and Sacramento are all in various phases of a rebuild, so Hummel would probably be given more playing time but would also be exposed a bit more if asked to play more than 20 minutes per game. On a team like the Cavs his value would be much more apparent as a versatile backup forward, so let’s root for an outcome such as that.

Lastly, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune wrote an article on second-year forward Adreian Payne, focusing specifically on his longe-range shooting ability. While Payne still looks lost far too often on the court, it was refreshing to someone in a Wolves jersey shoot 3 of 5 from beyond the arc as Payne did on Saturday night, even if it was in Summer League.

Zgoda also grabbed quotes from point guard Tyus Jones and Summer League head coach Ryan Saunders regarding Payne’s ability as a stretch-four. Indeed, if the three-point shot is something that Payne a) is allowed to take by Flip Saunders and b) he can convert at a reasonable rate, he becomes an infinitely more intriguing player.

As a reminder, the Wolves face off against the Utah Jazz at 9:30 p.m. Central Time on Monday night. We’ll have a recap here at DWW following the contest.

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