Found January 07, 2013 on
Fox Sports North:
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Timberwolves have been saying all season the playoffs are the goal this year. Now they're banking on it.
The Wolves are promising anyone who renews their season ticket or purchases a new one for next season a 10 percent discount if the team does not make the playoffs this year. The Wolves are currently in ninth place in the Western Conference, one spot out of the playoff field.
"It's sort of a part pledge, part challenge," Timberwolves chief marketing officer Ted Johnson said.
It's also the latest in a series of aggressive marketing tactics aimed at getting fans to consider the Timberwolves again after years of struggling and getting them on the bandwagon as the team has started to show signs of promise. They started a sometimes painfully honest advertising campaign four years ago, telling fans they were beginning a "re-re-re-rebuilding" plan, alluding to the difficulty they had re-inventing themselves after trading star forward Kevin Garnett to Boston.
With fans turning away from the product, they went to great lengths to try to keep them coming to Target Center, slashing ticket prices and increasing the amenities given to season-ticket holders. During one of the roughest years of the recession, owner Glen Taylor even offered fans who purchased a season ticket the chance for a full refund if they lost their job in the calendar year. They also drew some jeers league-wide when they took out an ad in the local Star Tribune of Minneapolis acknowledging that they weren't going to win the NBA title before the 2010-11 season began.
Now that the team is more competitive, with All-Star forward Kevin Love, dynamic point guard Ricky Rubio and bruising center Nikola Pekovic giving coach Rick Adelman a strong core, the Wolves are trying to seize some momentum.
"It's just the next chapter in that process," Johnson said. "We were very open and honest with our fans when we didn't think we were going to be as competitive and we were asking their patience to bide their time and join the journey with us. Now that the expectations have changed we're willing to put skin in the game. We know our expectations of ourselves will be to challenge for that (playoff) spot."
It can still be considered a bold maneuver.
The Wolves started the season fully confident that they were going to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004 in the powerful Western Conference. But Rubio only returned from a torn ACL in his left knee in the middle of December and has been bothered by back spasms that have kept him out the last four games. Love missed the first three weeks of the regular season with a broken hand, then broke it again last week and is expected to be out for several weeks. The team is also missing Brandon Roy, Chase Budinger, Malcolm Lee and Josh Howard because of knee injuries.
Through it all they've managed to stay afloat at 15-15, but the playoffs are no sure thing. Another ad appeared in the Star Tribune on Monday morning, saying that "the days of the 'building season' are over." Johnson said the campaign didn't need to be discussed with the basketball side of the franchise because it is essentially an extension of what president David Kahn, Adelman and the players have been saying from the outset.
"If you commit to us for next year, we know that part of that is you're making a commitment to a team that is competitive," Johnson said. "We're in the playoff hunt and our expectation is to challenge for the playoff spot. Just like we're asking you to make us a commitment now for next season, we're willing to make a commitment to you."
BEST OF MAXIM
MINNEAPOLIS When the Timberwolves drafted Derrick Williams second overall, the highest-ever pick in franchise history, in June 2011, he was, for a brief moment, the future of the team. All such high draft picks are, by virtue of the number assigned to them and the value it implies, if for no better reason.
But with the Timberwolves, that designation didn't last long. Problem...
MINNEAPOLIS Kevin Love will fly to New York on Wednesday morning to meet with Dr. Andy Weiland, a hand specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Weiland worked with Love on his past two hand injuries, and Love has an appointment scheduled with him for Wednesday afternoon. The team will have a better idea of the course of action to be taken after that appointment...
MINNEAPOLIS Cody Metz looks like any other 16-year-old Timberwolves fan. Sitting courtside while the team warmed up Tuesday for its game against the Hawks at the Target Center, Metz had the requisite jersey and awestruck smile. He was this close to Ricky Rubio, to Derrick Williams. He could have been hit by an errant basketball, for that matter.
Of course he was a little overwhelmed...
MINNEAPOLIS The Timberwolves waived forward Lazar Hayward on Sunday after he appeared in two games with the team, logging two points, two assists and a rebound in 12 total minutes.
Hayward signed with Minnesota on Dec. 31 after remaining a free agent through the season's first two months. He was a piece in the deal that send James Harden from Oklahoma City to Houston, and almost...
MINNEAPOLIS Barring some other setback, Ricky Rubio will return to the Timberwolves' lineup on Tuesday against Atlanta. The point guard has missed the past four games with back spasms, but he practiced Monday and said he's ready to go. Nikola Pekovic, who sat for most of the second half of Saturday's game with a left hip strain he sustained Thursday, did not practice...
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, a two-time All-Star, has broken a bone in his shooting hand for the second time this season and will be out for several weeks, multiple media outlets reported. An MRI on Saturday afternoon revealed the fracture of the third metacarpal bone in his right hand. Love is scheduled to see Dr. Andy Weiland in New York this week to determine...
MINNEAPOLIS Dante Cunningham is not among the league leaders in steals. Not steals per minute, either. Steals per clutch moment, though if that were a stat, you have to know the forward would be up there.
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Minnesota Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman was not at the arena for Tuesday night's game against Atlanta due to personal reasons.
The team released a statement a few hours before the Wolves were set to play the Hawks announcing assistant Terry Porter would coach the team in Adelman's place. Adelman also missed practice on Monday.
It was not immediately known if the coach...
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love met with doctors in the Twin Cities on Monday to evaluate his right hand, which is broken for the second time this season.
Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn says Love also will consult with a hand specialist in New York this week before determining a course of action. There is no timetable for his return, but Kahn...
The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has waived forward Lazar Hayward.
Hayward signed with the Timberwolves as a free agent on Dec. 31. The 6-6 forward appeared in two games for Minnesota and totaled 2 points, 2 assists and 1 rebound in 12 minutes.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Nikola Pekovic had 25 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, Andrei Kirilenko added 21 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Atlanta Hawks 108-103 on Tuesday night.
Derrick Williams scored 17 points and Alexey Shved had 15 for the Timberwolves, who were missing coach Rick Adelman due to personal reasons. Terry Porter filled in and led the Wolves to their...
Losing Kevin Love to injury leaves a huge hole in the Minnesota Timberwolves' lineup, but coach Rick Adelman can't afford for his team to wait for the All-Star forward to return.
Now, it's uncertain when Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic will be back.
Point guard Ricky Rubio, though, is expected to return from his injury on Tuesday night when the host Timberwolves...
MINNEAPOLIS -- A healing hip injury couldn't stop Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic from delivering a career-high 18 rebounds in Tuesday's 108-103 victory over Atlanta. Hawks forward Josh Smith's freaky athleticism and shot-blocking couldn't stop Pekovic from delivering the last two of his 25 points that kept the Hawks from coming all the way from a 17-point, second...