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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.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.