By: Sam Ekstrom | KFAN.com
The ‘A’ topic? Shabazz Muhammad’s dismissal from the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program.
The Wolves’ first-round pick was removed from the program for illegally bringing a female guest into his New Jersey hotel room. Muhammad will have to attend the same symposium with next year’s rookie class to make up for his ejection.
Said Saunders, “When you go into any situation where there are rules and guidelines that are set down, you have to abide by them. That shows discipline. As I explained to him, part of being successful at our level is discipline, both off the court and on the court.”
According to Saunders, Muhammad was remorseful in a phone conversation following the incident.
“He was very apologetic; just felt extremely disappointed in himself,” said Saunders. “Then we talked a lot about his situation and his past. You have to take away this negative and turn it into a positive.”
Muhammad will not be punished further by the organization.
PEKOVIC STILL UNSIGNED
Monday was Day 33 of Nikola Pekovic’s “contract watch,” and things are still relatively quiet.
Saunders said the club has not talked recently to Pekovic’s agent Jeff Schwartz, but believes that talks with other members of Pekovic’s management have been positive.
“I think it’s been more of an education process from both sides to educate on where they believe each is at as far as offers, so we’re moving in a positive direction,” Saunders said.
There is apparently no strict timeline for Pekovic to ink his contract – reportedly standing around four years, $48 million – but Saunders would like the big man present when training camp begins Oct. 1.
“I believe he wants to be here. I believe that we are the best situation for him,” said Saunders.
“When you’re not signed, you want to be signed. You don’t want to be walking around without a contract. That’s like having the Powerball in your pocket. You don’t want to throw those jeans in the washer and, all of a sudden, you don’t have it anymore.”
Pekovic will not be playing for Montenegro in the European Championships due to his contractual uncertainty.
---Saunders confirmed that 2012 second-round pick Robbie Hummel, 2013 second-round pick Lorenzo Brown, and 28-year-old NBDL journeyman Othyus Jeffers have been invited to training camp. They will all compete for the Wolves’ 15th roster spot.
---Saunders claims the Wolves have not extended a camp invitation to undrafted guard Seth Curry as several reports indicated.
---The Wolves will be keeping an eye on Ricky Rubio and Alexei Shved as they compete in the European Championships for Spain and Russia, respectively. When asked if he was concerned about the extra wear and tear on his players, Saunders said he has good faith that head coach Rick Adelman will manage minutes wisely.