Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 1/18/13
MINNEAPOLIS David Kahn is optimistic. More optimistic, you'd think, than the man behind a team with eight healthy players should be. More optimistic than someone who spent his summer swinging deals to break his team's eight-season playoff drought only to be left with this, a 16-20 record on Jan. 18. But the Timberwolves' president of basketball operations is looking at this like there are 46 games left, which there are, and he's more focused on that loss column than anything else. His team is technically three games behind Houston and Utah, which are tied for the seventh spot in the West, but it has just one more loss than both. Five fewer wins but one more loss, and the losses are what count. And so while Kahn negotiates and the most crucial stretch of the season begins, he has some leeway. His team isn't out of it yet, and it was granted a hardship exception by the NBA, allowing it to sign a 16th player to its roster on a 10-day deal. With the NBA mandating that the team must suit up eight players for each game, the Timberwolves are dangerously close to violating that rule if guard Alexey Shved and center Nikola Pekovic were both out Saturday and the team were not to add anyone, it would be down to eight men but now they'll have space to sign two players in the near term to swell their ranks. Mickael Gelabale has been the elephant in the room for the past few days, the player everyone has been expecting to arrive at a moment's notice upon the end of forward Lazar Hayward's 10-day deal. He's the most likely candidate to join the team Saturday, and only FIBA clearance, which the team had not been granted as of Friday, is slowing the process. Gelabale spent two seasons in Seattle from 2006-08 and is currently playing for Valencia in Spain. The 6-foot-7 forward played in 109 games for the SuperSonics, averaging 4.5 points and 2.1 rebounds on 45.4 percent shooting. It's hard to say until we get him, but obviously he's a perimeter (player)," acting head coach Terry Porter said of Gelabale. He can defend. I think he's a decent shooter, so we'll just have to wait and see how he fits in. It's going to be welcome." Despite his past NBA experience and the fact that he's leaving his current team to come overseas, the 29-year-old Gelabale is likely to sign just a 10-day contract with the Timberwolves. The team could sign a player to a longer-term deal to fill its 15th roster spot, but Kahn said he's not prepared to do so yet based on the shifting personnel and holes all the injuries have created. Gelabale will be a logical replacement for Josh Howard, who was waived after he tore his ACL, and Hayward, who played small forward, though in exceedingly limited minutes. However, with Pekovic out for likely 7-10 days with a right quad contusion, the team will need to look to add a big man as well with its other open spot. Whoever it adds along with Gelabale will be thrust into the frying pan right away," according to Porter, which hardly sounds like a pleasant fate. There will be no settling in for them," Porter said. When we get him (Gelabale), we're going to have to run a lot of reps for him and give him a lot of our basic, early offenses and a couple of our core sets that we will use." Porter said that whenever Gelabale or whomever else the team signs is on the floor, there will probably be a limited package run to help him ease in. There's really no time for acclimation, not with games Saturday, Monday and Wednesday and then a back-to-back on the road next Friday and Saturday. These players will need to provide relief now for a team whose bench appeared downright vacant by the end of Thursday's 90-77 loss to the Clippers. For now, Kahn is still thinking in the short term. He spoke last week about the fact that swinging a major deal in January is difficult, and as if to prove him right, the chatter that escalated the next day about Memphis dealing small forward Rudy Gay has quieted. He still isn't even sure what kind of trade he'd want to make I don't think it will be something significant," he said and he's still stressing the tradeoff between the present and future. Whatever we do to address the now, the one thing we have to keep in mind is it can't be at the detriment of beyond," Kahn said." It has to be sensible for now and for the future." Talking to Kahn, you get the sense that he's juggling too many ideas, too many problems, too many injuries. There must be an element of second-guessing in whatever he does because after a season like this one, he'd be crazy not to wonder whether, after securing something permanent, another change might render the move a bad idea. It's no wonder the team seems focused right now on temporary solutions, which also keep its options open in case of further injury and of players returning. Injury updates: Pekovic wasn't the only player whose status was discussed Friday. Shved, who sprained his left ankle Thursday, is listed as day-to-day, and Porter seemed hesitant to guess that he'd be back for Saturday's game against the Rockets. Kahn also discussed the progress of shooting guard Brandon Roy, who is unlikely to return in the next couple of weeks, he said. Kahn attended a doctor's appointment with Roy this week, which he characterized as a positive visit," and he said Roy will continue with his treatment because it's had a positive impact. For now, the Timberwolves' number of available players stands at eight. Healthy: Ricky Rubio, Derrick Williams, Greg Stiemsma, Lou Amundson, J.J. Barea, Luke Ridnour, Andrei Kirilenko and Dante Cunningham. Injured: Chase Budinger (torn left meniscus), Malcolm Lee (right knee and hip surgery, out for season), Pekovic (right quad contusion), Roy (knees), Shved (sprained left ankle) and Kevin Love (broken hand). Follow Joan Niesen on Twitter.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Baylor approves new measures to deal with sexual assault

Joe Mauer: Concussions blurred vision, affected hitting

LeBron James says Kevin Love-Celtics trade rumor is false

Michael Jordan gifts Kobe Bryant full set of Air Jordans

Bethune-Cookman football player killed at party

Former UFC heavyweight Kevin Randleman dead at 44


WATCH: Chelsea scores three goals in less than 20 minutes

Broncos safety Shiloh Keo arrested for DUI

Mountain West admits error, says Boise St. shot was good

WATCH: John Calipari loses his mind, gets ejected

Former Clemson star Tajh Boyd to speak at John Kasich rally

Peyton Manning's alleged not-so-wholesome image

Bruins forward is goal scoring machine after suspension

Michael Jordan gives Kobe Bryant complete set of Air Jordans

Drake has Kentucky edition of custom ‘OVO’ Air Jordan 8s

QUIZ: Name every NBA All-Star Game MVP

Watch rare footage of Stephen Curry from 2001-02 emerges

Check out this custom camouflage Oregon helmet

Ejected John Calipari tweets “they don’t need me and I love it”

Popovich would 'buy ticket' to watch Warriors play

Jamal Murray destroyed South Carolina defender with dunk

WATCH: Lon Kruger gets Oklahoma hoops squad hype for Kansas test

Texas signee glad he didn’t pick Texas A&M after alleged racism

Dallas Stars have passed the early tests in February

Could Matt Forte become the revival for Patriots run game?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker