The injuries keep coming for the Minnesota Timberwolves, with center Nikola Pekovic (right quad contusion) and guard Alexey Shved (right ankle) being forced to leave Thursday night’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. At this point, simply having enough available players to field a competent lineup is a challenge, but some help is coming with the reported signing of French swingman Mickael Gelabale. He is expected to join the team on Friday, when Lazar Hayward‘s 10-day contract is set to expire.
Gelabale has been playing for Europe over the last four years, most recently with Valencia in the Spanish league, but he did play two seasons (2006-2007 and 2007-2008) in the NBA for the Seattle SuperSonics after being drafted in the second round (48th overall) by that franchise in 2005. In 109 total games (14 starts) with the SuperSonics, he averaged 4.5 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.
The Timberwolves had been rumored to have interest in Gelabale in recent weeks, so his signing is not a huge surprise. Now that the deadline for non-guaranteed contracts to become guaranteed for the rest of the season is past, the financial risk is also significantly lowered for Minnesota.
How much Gelabale can offer at age 29 after being overseas for so long is a big question, and without knowing the terms of the deal, it surely should not cost the Timberwolves a lot to find out. He is a small forward by trade, but his ability to also possibly function as a shooting guard puts him in line for plenty of minutes off the bench as long as he can hold up physically.
At minimum, bringing Gelabale aboard helps fill a particularly thin area on Minnesota’s roster, and he is a healthy body for a team that desperately needs as many of those as it can get right now.