Bucks Vs. Timberwolves: Minnesota Opens Preseason Against Milwaukee

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Lazar Hayward Traded To Oklahoma City Thunder From Minnesota Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves made another move on Tuesday, deciding to send former first round pick Lazar Hayward to the Oklahoma City Thunder and a pair of second round picks. The team also acquired veteran shooting guard Robert Vaden in the move, but Vaden was immediately released.

Hayward was one of the older rookies in the NBA last season as he began his career with the Timberwolves as a 24-year-old without any prior professional experience, but his advanced age wasn't quite enough to help him crack Kurt Rambis's rotation.

Hayward appeared in 42 games for the Timberwolves during his only season with Minnesota, averaging 3.8 points on 36 percent shooting during 10 minutes of court time per game. ESPN's John Hollinger summed up his deficiencies on Monday -- and there were a lot.

Hayward's 9.3 rebound rate is pretty impressive for a 6-6 forward, but that's about the end of the good news. Offensively, Hayward was bad from every spot on the floor; he shot only 56.8 percent at the rim, and didn't make more than a third of his tries any place else. He didn't draw fouls at a high rate or do anything as a ball handler to offset his putrid shooting.

The bigger surprise was his defensive struggles. Synergy's stats rated him the worst player on the team by a wide margin; according to 82games.com opposing small forwards had a 17.5 PER against him. Hayward had a rep as a tough defensive ace in college but was defending mostly 4s and 5s. Matched up against wings, his lateral quickness may be deficient.

Depending on how heavily protected the second round picks are, this may end up being a good deal for the Wolves. Hayward obviously wasn't in the team's future plans and second round picks in a deep draft certainly can't hurt.

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Minnesota Timberwolves Schedule Opens With Kevin Durant At Target Center

The Minnesota Timberwolves released their 2011-12 NBA schedule on Tuesday night, and while it could have been worse, it definitely doesn't start out easy for the team and new head coach Rick Adelman. The Wolves will open on Dec. 26 with a match-up at home against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Target Center.

The Wolves' schedule features two stretches where they will play three games in three nights, the first of which features road games against the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors before hosting the Chicago Bulls at home on a Tuesday night.

The team will have six total games broadcast on national television with the first being televised on ESPN as the Wolves take to the road for a match-up against Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 2. The Wolves will host the Phoenix Suns in April for a game to be played on ESPN 2 while four games -- against the Orlando Magic, twice against the Portland Trail Blazers and finally a game between the Wolves and New Orleans Hornets -- will be played on NBA TV.

The Wolves will not have to visit the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers or Chicago in the East -- research first pointed out by the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda.

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NBA Free Agency 2011: Shane Battier, Jamal Crawford And Chuck Hayes All Options For Minnesota Timberwolves

NBA free agency began in earnest on Monday morning as teams were finally able to contact players themselves. The Minnesota Timberwolves were reported to make a few interesting contacts with the top players being Shane Battier, Jamal Crawford and Chuck Hayes.

Crawford averaged 14.2 points per game last season while playing for the Atlanta Hawks while Chuck Hayes registered career-highs in both points (7.9) and rebounds (8.1) for the Houston Rockets. Battier is a bit of a pipe-dream for Minnesota, but the veteran defensive-stopper would certainly provide veteran leadership.

1500ESPN's Darren Wolfson has more on all three, as far as their involvement with the Wolves is concerned, but Battier is perhaps the most interesting.

A team source indicates the Wolves, maybe above everyone else, would love to land forward Shane Battier. Like Hayes, Adelman is a huge admirer when Battier busted his butt for him with the Rockets. David Kahn, the Wolves' president of basketball operations, made it a point late last season and early in the offseason to emphasize how badly a veteran leader is a must-have. Well, Battier is the best available. The problem is Miami is reportedly set to offer him its full midlevel exception. If winning right away is the top priority, the Wolves' chances for landing Battier are slim.

Would Battier relocate to Minnesota if they opened their checkbook? It won't take too long to find out as players are able to officially sign with teams on Friday.

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