See which team is going hard after Pau Gasol

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See which team is going hard after Pau Gasol

From Comcast SportsNet
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves are pulling out all the stops in an effort to land Pau Gasol. If they have to part with the highest draft choice in franchise history after just one season, the Wolves appear ready to do it. That much became clear leading up to the NBA draft on Thursday, when Minnesota offered Derrick Williams to the Charlotte Bobcats for the No. 2 pick as a vehicle to help them land Gasol from the Los Angeles Lakers, two people with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press. The deal never came together before the draft began, and the Bobcats stayed at No. 2 and took Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The people requested anonymity because the talks were meant to remain private. The Timberwolves were expected to continue their pursuit of Gasol in hopes of putting him with fellow Spaniard Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love on a revamped roster aimed at getting the team back to the playoffs, and beyond, for the first time since 2004. The Wolves' interest in Gasol has long been rumored, with the highly skilled big man considered an ideal fit for coach Rick Adelman's corner offense, and the kind of playoff-tested veteran needed on one of the youngest rosters in the NBA. He is also close friends with Rubio, the Wolves' superb young point guard who is recovering from a torn ACL and hopes to be ready early next season. Gasol has teamed with Kobe Bryant to win three titles in Los Angeles, but has always seemed to catch the brunt of the criticism when things went wrong. That was the case again this year when he averaged just 12.5 points along with 9.5 rebounds in the playoffs, and the Lakers were abruptly eliminated in the second round by the younger, quicker Oklahoma City Thunder. He often appeared to get lost in the shuffle while Bryant and Andrew Bynum got most of the touches on offense. He was the subject of trade rumors all season, starting before it began when Commissioner David Stern, operating as owner of the New Orleans Hornets, nixed a deal that would have sent Gasol to Houston as part of a package that would have brought Chris Paul to the Lakers. "It has been a crazy year and a lot to deal with. ... Unfortunately, we had tough losses and things didn't really go our way for the most part," the four-time All-Star said at the end of the season. "You just have to regroup and digest this loss and this season, and learn from it and move on." Gasol is due to make more than 38 million over the next two seasons, an enormous sum that the salary cap-strapped Lakers might have difficulty footing under the harsher luxury tax penalties that are scheduled to kick in in 2013. Love's max contract extension kicks in next season, making him the only Timberwolves player who is expected to be on the roster next season making more than 4.6 million. If the Wolves buy out Martell Webster and decline to tender qualifying offers to Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph, as expected, they should have plenty of cap room for Gasol. But if they want to bring him in to play alongside Love in the frontcourt, it likely will come at a hefty price. Offering Williams, the second overall pick last season who showed promise and inconsistency in his rookie year, means the Wolves would be giving up on him after just one season. And at just 21 years old, Williams has plenty of potential to grow into the star that many projected him to be when he entered the draft after his sophomore season at Arizona. Gasol will turn 32 next week and has played nearly 39,000 minutes in his career, raising the question if he has enough gas left in the tank to help turn the Timberwolves from an up-and-coming team into a legitimate contender. Williams is aware that the Wolves are trying to deal him, but it's unclear how he will respond if he is still on the team when training camp begins. He averaged 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds and was the only Timberwolves player to play in all 66 games last season. Williams had several big games during an up-and-down year in addition to participating in the slam dunk contest during All-Star weekend. He scored 27 points in 27 minutes in a win over the Clippers in Los Angeles on Feb. 28 and had 27 points and eight boards in a loss at Denver on April 11. But the 66-year-old Adelman has been pushing for the franchise to add more veterans, and he grew impatient at times with Williams last season. Williams did most of his damage while playing power forward, which is the same position played by Love, who blossomed last year into a surprising MVP contender. With Love playing so many minutes at power forward, the Timberwolves were hoping Williams could drop some weight this summer to help him become quick enough to play small forward for the majority of the time. Earlier this week, Kahn said that Williams was already down to 233 pounds, with a personal goal of 225. "I think the most important fact about Derrick to me is that he turned 21 last month. He's still very, very young," Kahn said on Wednesday. "This is a very important summer for him to demonstrate if he's serious about his craft, his occupation, that he's serious about himself. This is the offseason. I challenged him in his exit interview, and I'm eager to see the results of this summer." But Kahn also declined to list Williams with Rubio and Love as "untouchable" players when the team considers trades this summer. "We have two untouchables," Kahn said. "That doesn't mean everyone else will be traded this summer. We just don't know."

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Penalties doom Caps in 5-2 loss to Montreal

Penalties doom Caps in 5-2 loss to Montreal

The Capitals fell 5-2 to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday in their second preseason game and first on the road. Here is the post-game analysis:

How it happened: The Caps simply could not stay out of the penalty box and it cost them early. Montreal scored twice on the power play in the opening period and never looked back. The Caps were not able to keep up any consistent offensive pressure as the penalties continued undercutting their efforts. The Caps took a young lineup to Montreal and it showed as the team was frequently caught out of position which the Canadiens exploited.

What it means: Tuesday's game will be the last of the preseason for some of the youngsters on the roster. The first round of cuts are expected to come Thursday or Friday and the team's next preseason game is not until Saturday night. That will leave some players wondering if they have shown enough to stick around a few more days before being shipped back to their respective junior/minor leagues.

Welcome back Karl: Karl Alzner returned to game action for the first time since undergoing sports hernia surgery in the offseason. Considering the team held Alzner out of the skate test on Friday as a precaution, the fact that he was ready to play by Tuesday shows how comfortable the team feels about his recovery. Alzner registered 18:08 of ice time, three hits, one shot and was a minus-1.

RELATED: Caps' Wilson held out of practice following injury

Sanford impresses in debut: The Caps signed prospect Zach Sanford to an entry-level deal over the summer and pegged him as someone who could potentially make the roster. Sanford proved the team's faith in him was well-founded with a strong performance. Though his night was not without it's mistakes, Sanford looked very comfortable in his first real taste of NHL action and registered a late power play goal. Sanford has shown himself to be a smart player away from the puck and that was evident on his goal as he set up a perfect screen and deflected the shot in.

Penalty parade: The Caps took eight minor penalties in the game including three in the first period. Montreal was able to make Washington pay with two power play goals and the Caps were never able to establish real sustained pressure. The team had only four shots after the first period and nine total after the second.

Associate coach Todd Reirden addressed the penalties after Monday's preseason opener saying, "In the beginning of the year, every NHL season, the referees always call way more penalties on stick infractions. That's something right away I was able to address with the team after the game because, that's just moving your feet and working away from the puck."

Clearly the team did not get the message.

Dangerous hit on Hobbs: Andrew Shaw was one of the biggest acquisitions of the offseason for Montreal, but he may already find himself in hot water with the league after he sent Connor Hobbs face-first into the boards in the second period. After getting hauled down by Jay Beagle, Shaw retaliated by boarding the 19-year-old Hobbs with a dangerous looking hit. Hobbs was hit square in the numbers and flew into the boards.

Fortunately, Hobbs was not seriously hurt and was able to stay in the game. The ever-feisty Nathan Walker immediately came to his teammate's defense and dropped the gloves. He may have been overmatched by the veteran Shaw, who tried to pump up the crowd during the fight, but the kind of toughness Walker showed will carry a lot of weight in the locker room and with the coaches.

Shaw was assessed a five-minute major for the hit, a five-minute major for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct.

Watch out for Radulov: With lineups full of prospects and AHLers, mismatches can happen in the preseason and some players take advantage. Alexander Radulov did just that on Tuesday as he was quickly able to establish himself as the best player on the ice. The Russian veteran deflected a shot from Greg Pateryn in the first period for a power play tally that opened the scoring. He also registered an assist on Nathan Beaulieu's goal later in the first and finished with HOW MANY!!!!!!! shots on goal for the game. For a team desperate for an offensive spark, they may have one now in Radulov, provided he can keep his head on straight (something that has been a problem for Radulov in the past).

Look ahead: The Caps will return to action on Saturday as they take on the New York Islanders. The game will not be at the Islanders' normal home at the Barclays Center, however. Instead, the game will be played at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. Bridgeport is the home of New York's AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

With no game between now and Saturday, the Caps' roster will likely look a bit different as the team is expected to make its first cuts this week. Plus, with more players trickling in from the World Cup, Saturday's lineup could have more star power. The Caps may even have their coach back if the World Cup is decided in two games. Game 2 is scheduled for Thursday and Game 3, if needed, will take place on Saturday night. So Saturday's game may be our first look this season at Barry Trotz behind the bench.

MORE CAPITALS: Daly addresses Ovechkin's vow to play in PyeongChang

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Kevin Gausman allows 5, Orioles fall 2 games behind Blue Jays

Kevin Gausman allows 5, Orioles fall 2 games behind Blue Jays

Blue Jays 5, Orioles 1

Winner: Sanchez (14-2)
Loser: Gausman (8-13)

WHAT DOES IT MEAN: The Orioles (85-72) are two games behind Toronto (87-70) for the first wild-card spot. The Blue Jays lead the season series 10-7, so if the two teams tie for the top spot, Toronto would host the wild-card game on Oct. 4.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Kevin Gausman allowed five runs, four earned in six innings. He fell behind quickly when he allowed a two-run home run to Josh Donaldson in the first. Ezequiel Carrera also homered. 

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Michael Bourn nailed Russell Martin when he tried to stretch his single into a double in the fourth inning. 

MACHADO’S ERROR: In the fifth, Edwin Encarnacion grounded to third with Donaldson on first. Machado fielded it and threw to second to start what he hoped would be an inning-ending double play, but threw it wildly, allowing Toronto’s fifth run to score. 

SANCHEZ STRIKEOUTS: The right-hander struck out 10 Orioles in six innings. Adam Jones, who is now 2-for-20 (.100) against Sanchez, struck out in all three at-bats against him.

TRUMBO SINGLES: Mark Trumbo had two singles. It’s the first time he’s done that since Aug. 23. 

DONALDSON’S DIVE: Gausman threw inside to Donaldson in the fifth. He danced all the way to the Blue Jays dugout but, unlike in Monday night’s game with the Yankees, there was no escalation of hostility. 

DAVIS EJECTED, AND SO IS SHOWALTER: Chris Davis was ejected by home plate umpire Will Little for arguing about a called third strike.

Manager Buck Showalter was also ejected. It was his first ejection this season. 

DAVIS’ STRIKEOUTS: Davis struck out three times. He has 213 strikeouts this season, third most in baseball history. He trails Mark Reynolds (223 in 2009) and Adam Dunn (222 in 2012). 

WHAT’S NEXT? Chris Tillman (16-6, 3.84) faces Francisco Liriano (8-13, 4.88) on Wednesday night.

MORE ORIOLES: WADE MILEY LEAVES ORIOLES FOR BIRTH OF SON; COULD PITCH VS. YANKEES