NBA Exhibition Coming To Cedar Rapids

By Mike Hlas, The Gazette

CEDAR RAPIDS — Quick, name a Milwaukee Buck.

Unless you’re a big NBA fan, that command would probably stop you. The Bucks weren’t 15-67 last year because they were stuffed with stars. But they’ll instantly get better on June 26 when they make the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft.

Presumably, the Bucks will select either Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid of Kansas or Duke’s Jabari Parker.

All of the three could be pro superstars one day. One is likely to play in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Oct. 17 when the Bucks play the Minnesota Timberwolves in a 7 p.m. NBA preseason game at the U.S. Cellular Center. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. at the USCC box office and through Ticketmaster.

A portion of each ticket will go to the United Way of East Central Iowa. The Gazette Company and ImOn Communications are the game’s presenting sponsors.

OK, now name one of the Wolves. If you’re a basketball fan, that’s easier. Forward Kevin Love started in this year’s NBA All-Star Game. The 6-year veteran averaged 26.1 points (fourth-best in the league) and 12.5 rebounds per game (third-best).

Love has the option to become a free agent after the 2014-15 season, fueling speculation about other teams trying to make a trade with Minnesota for him this summer.

“We expect Kevin Love being back and part of the team,” Timberwolves Senior Vice President Ryan Tanke told the Downtown Rotary Club Monday at the Doubletree by Hilton Convention Complex.

“That said, we are always looking to get better. When you’re a team on the cusp of what we are striving to achieve, you’ve got to try to put the best team on the court that you can.”

“I know there’s a feeding frenzy out there from a lot of teams,” Timberwolves President Flip Saunders said Sunday. “Unfortunately, they have no say. I plan on Kevin being here.”

Minnesota was 40-42 last season, a 9-game improvement from the year before. It will be the home team for the Wolves, who will hold a kids’ clinic at the arena on the day of the game.

“We’re blessed to have this regional fan base, and that includes many of you,” Tanke said.

This will be the first NBA preseason game in Cedar Rapids since the Timberwolves played the Boston Celtics here in 2002.

l Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@sourcemedia.net

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