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Dont count on Saturday being Lawries
MINNEAPOLIS -- During a weekend trip to Boston, All-Star forward Kevin Love has been taking pictures with fans and seeing the sights, leading Celtics fans to speculate that hes going to follow in the footsteps of Kevin Garnett as the next Minnesota star to come to town and turn around a struggling franchise. [url=http://www.buccaneersnflfansstore.com/o-j-howard-jersey/]O. J. Howard Womens Jersey[/url] . Not so fast, Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders said. "The last I knew Kevin was under contract with us, and I expect him to be playing for us next year," Saunders said Sunday after a workout of draft prospects. "I dont really dictate where guys go on vacation or what they do. They can go wherever they want to go." Love can opt out of his contract after next season, and the three-time All-Star has yet to make the playoffs in six years with the Timberwolves. He was also angered when former executive David Kahn refused to give him a full, five-year extension and instead gave him a four-year deal with a player option after three. Thats led many to believe that he will leave next summer to play for a contender in a bigger market. "Yo (at)kevinlove if you need advice on moving from Minnesota to Boston just let me know .CityOfChamps," tweeted Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who spent six years with the Minnesota Twins before signing with the Red Sox as a free agent and winning three World Series titles. The situation has prompted the Timberwolves to consider a trade to avoid losing Love without compensation. But Saunders has made it clear that he doesnt feel as though he has to make a move this summer. He views Love as one of the top offensive players in the league, a 25-year-old who has improved his game every off-season. So if other teams do want to get their hands on one of the NBAs top power forwards, it wont be easy. "I know theres a feeding frenzy out there from a lot of teams," Saunders said. "Unfortunately, they have no say. I plan on Kevin being here." If Saunders was posturing, he has good reason. The draft isnt until June 26, and the best offers from teams desperate to land Love dont figure to start rolling in until the week of the draft, or perhaps not even until draft night, and Saunders has plenty of options. He could move him right around draft time for what is expected to be a package that includes high picks and a veteran player or two. He could wait for July 1 and look to build a package around more established, veteran talent. Or he could hold on to Love, try to add a few pieces to a team that finished 10th in the West, and hire the right coach to replace the retired Rick Adelman and show Love that the team is headed in the right direction. It worked for the Portland Trail Blazers with LaMarcus Aldridge, and it worked years ago for the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant. The Wolves can also pay Love about $26.5 million more than any other team. And if Love still does depart after next summer, the Wolves wont be left empty-handed. Theyll have about $17 million in extra salary cap room to attack the free agent market, though luring stars to a wintry climate to play for a team that hasnt made the playoffs since 2004 has always proved to be a challenge. The next big step will be hiring a coach. The Wolves had discussions with Memphis Dave Joerger over Memorial Day weekend, but Joerger stayed with the Grizzlies, who sweetened his contract to remain with the 50-win team. Saunders said he will meet with Wolves owner Glen Taylor this week to evaluate the search, which has been influenced some by the uncertainty surrounding Love. When asked if he would have a coach in place by the June 26 draft, Saunders said "theres probably a better chance that we would than we wouldnt. Were not going to put a time frame on it." As for those excited Celtics fans, Saunders said they should calm down. But he knows they wont. "Theyre the same fans who thought they had Tim Duncan," he joked. "They still think they got Tim Duncan in the draft. Im not really sure, but the last I looked he was playing for San Antonio, Old Man Riverwalk." [url=http://www.buccaneersnflfansstore.com/o-j-howard-jersey/]O. J. Howard Jersey[/url] . -- The Tampa Bay Lightning are disappointed, though not discouraged. [url=http://www.buccaneersnflfansstore.com/kendell-beckwith-jersey/]Kendell Beckwith Buccaneers Jersey[/url] . The Redblacks host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7-9) Friday night in their last home game of the year and as of Thursday afternoon, the team was anticipating a ninth consecutive sellout. You can watch all the action on TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, and TSN5 beginning at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt. [url=http://www.buccaneersnflfansstore.com/kendell-beckwith-jersey/]http://www.buccaneersnflfansstore.com/kendell-beckwith-jersey/[/url] . The announcement was made by the hall on Friday, March 14. She joins Switzerlands Denise Biellmann as this years inductees to the Hall, based in Colorado Springs, CO.TORONTO – Brett Lawries impending return from hamstring tightness creates a problem – a good problem – for manager John Gibbons. That is, how does he keep the red hot bat of Juan Francisco in the lineup when first base is taken by Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind is back as the designated hitter? "Maybe Francisco can play second," joked Gibbons. In all seriousness, Francisco has been a revelation for the ballclub since signing a minor league deal on April 2 and arriving in Cleveland to meet his new Blue Jays teammates on April 20. Coming off an 18-home run season split between Atlanta and Milwaukee last year, Franciscos already hit five in 61 at-bats for Toronto. He doesnt get cheated, either, having deposited one in the fourth deck of Rogers Centre, just above Paul Beestons name on the Blue Jays Level of Excellence. Franciscos slash line of .311/.403/.623 (1.026 OPS) is well above his career .248/.308/.447 (.755 OPS) but even if his history suggests his numbers will regress the longer he plays, until it happens, Francisco needs to stay in the lineup. "Right now were looking at everything," said manager John Gibbons. "While hes hot weve got to find a way to keep him in there somehow." The obvious play is to move Brett Lawrie to second base. It doesnt have to be permanent. Lawrie, should the decision be made, hopes its only temporary. "Im going to do it because its for the team but Im not necessarily amazed about it," said Lawrie. "Im a third baseman. Its where I play. Its what Ive been doing. Its what I did to work to get here. Obviously Francisco is swinging a hot bat but were going to have to find another way to get him in the lineup, who knows, but if I do get put at second base thats how it goes. Ill just do it for my team. [url=http://www.buccaneersnflfansstore.com/chris-godwin-jersey/]Chris Godwin Youth Jersey[/url]. " Look at this hypothetical starting lineup with Francisco at third base and Lawrie at second base: Reyes – SSCabrera – LFBautista – RFEncarnacion – 1BFrancisco – 3BNavarro – CLind – DHLawrie – 3BRasmus – CF One through nine, wheres the easy out? The Blue Jays would be giving something up defensively with the realignment but Francisco has proven to be more adept at third base in Lawries absence than expected. "Ive been very impressed," said Gibbons. "I think that was his rap. His defence was the reason he never really established himself but we havent seen it. Of course hes not Lawrie down there but how many guys are?" Dont count on Saturday being Lawries return date. He took ground balls on Friday afternoon and participated in batting practice for a second consecutive day. Its part of the process of ramping up the effort level, testing his sore right hamstring. "Ive still got to do some other stuff baseball-wise," said Lawrie. "Ive still got to get up to relatively full speed to see how were doing. Ran on the treadmill today at a little bit higher pace so feeling a little bit better." Lawries willing to be a team guy. He also wants the appropriate recognition for his gold glove caliber play at the hot corner. "Im a third baseman," said Lawrie. "I worked my butt off to get where Im at. Im not saying its not going to help the team. Im here to do what it is to help the team but I worked my butt off to be that good at third base and continue to do what Im doing. I work everyday over there. Still continuing to get my work in and second base, it is what it is, man, its not what Im here to do. I worked my butt off to do what I do out there." 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