MINNEAPOLIS The Timberwolves worked out Italian forward Danilo Gallinari on Friday in Los Angeles, shared some pasta with him afterward for lunch and received a 30-minute look at Memphis guard Derrick Rose as a bonus for their travel troubles.
Kevin McHale spent three days with Gallinari in Italy last season. Friday was the Wolves' chance to see a European prospect who not that long ago was a 6-5 point guard and now, according to Wolves General Manager Jim Stack, is a legitimate 6-10 forward.
"He's tall, I did not realize how tall he is," Stack said when asked about first impressions. "McHale stood with him and had him just by a hair. He's unique in that he has guard skills at that height. The challenge for him is if he can adapt to the speed of the NBA game and who he can guard defensively in our league."
The Wolves have scouted Gallinari for the past two years. With five days left before the draft, he appears to be a long shot to become the team's third overall pick USC's O.J. Mayo and UCLA's Kevin Love are the favorites but could become a Timberwolf if they trade down and swap picks with such teams as New York, the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee, the draft's sixth, seventh and eighth teams.
The Wolves' contingent flew to Chicago on Friday afternoon and will watch Mayo work out there by himself today. Mayo invited the draft's first seven teams to the workout and declined an invitation to come to Target Center.
Earlier this month, Gallinari was quoted as saying he'd like to play in either New York or New Jersey. Stack said he and the team's other brass talked about the Twin Cities during lunch with Gallinari and his father, a former Italian-league pro player.
"It made it sound like he only wants to play these two places," Stack said. "He never said that. He cleared it up right away. We asked him about that, and we feel right away he'd be excited to come to Minnesota to play. We told him what a great city it is. We told him it's kind of like a Stockholm, to compare it to a European city for him. He didn't seem bothered by it."
The Wolves on Friday worked out Stanford center Brook Lopez for a second time and they watched Rose, projected as the draft's No. 1 overall pick to Chicago, work for about 30 minutes and had him shoot a series of three-pointers for them. They had that chance because Gallinari, Lopez and Rose all are clients of agent Arn Tellem, and the three practice together in Los Angeles.
Asked if their look at Rose meant there was a chance they could land the best point guard in the draft, Stack said, "You never know what can happen. He just happened to be there working out. We shot him around the three-point line, but I wouldn't say we worked him out."
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