MINNAPOLIS - A plan to renovate Target Center in downtown Minneapolis is beginning to take shape.  A Minneapolis City Council committee this week approved hiring an architect.

Timberwolves and Lynx spokesman Ted Johnson says they've also unveiled some of the design plans.

Johnson says the designs for the outside of the building are impressive, but most of the work will be on the inside.

Johnson says, once they get final approval from the city council, they'll go into a six-to-nine month design phase. They hope to start swinging hammers next spring, with the project taking nearly two years to complete.

Johnson says Target Center is the second oldest building in the NBA that as not undergone a renovation.

Half of the project is being paid for by the city of Minneapolis, the other half will be paid for by the Timberwolves and Lynx, as well as the company that manages the building.

The Timberwolves also have a renovation project underway across the street from Target Center, with their training facility in the new "Mayo Clinic Square".

On the Minnesota Lynx:
The WNBA champions start their season tonight (Friday) on the road at Washington. Their home opener is this Sunday.  Johnson says they have a ceremony at 3:30 p.m. where they'll unveil their championship banner and receive their rings. The game starts at 4:00 p.m.

The week the WNBA general managers predicted the Lynx would repeat as champions.  The Lynx have been to the league championship series three years in a row, winning the title two out of three years.

This is the league's 18th season.

On the Minnesota Timberwolves:
Johnson says the team's biggest priority is to hire a new head coach. He says you can expect the team to have a new look and a new philosophy with a new coach.  He says they're not expecting a top draft slot, so they probably won't be getting a marquee name in the draft.