Tag:Minnesota Timberwolves
Posted on: June 28, 2011 7:36 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2011 7:56 pm
 

Antoine Walker pleads guilty in Vegas debt mess

Former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker pleaded guilty in a Las Vegas gambling debt mess. Posted by Ben Golliver. antoine-walker

The trials and tribulations of Antoine Walker have added yet another chapter.

On Tuesday, the Las Vegas Sun reported that Walker, a former NBA All-Star who played for the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, among other teams, pleaded guilty to felony charges in Nevada over unpaid gambling debts reportedly totalling more than $750,000.
Professional basketball's Antoine Walker pleaded guilty to felony bad check charges Tuesday morning in Clark County District Court.

“Being put on probation, he’ll have a court order to pay the restitution to the casinos,” said Deputy District Attorney Sam Bateman.

The criminal complaint was filed in the summer of 2009, when Walker failed to pay back gambling debts at Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood and the Red Rock Resort. He pleaded not guilty to six felony counts related to drawing checks without sufficient funds with attempt to defraud in June 2010, before changing his plea Tuesday.
In November, word surfaced that Walker, 34, was headed to play for the Stampede, where he averaged 16.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 43 games this season.

His expressed goal of playing in the D-League was to hook on with an NBA team for a final run. He last played in the NBA for the Minnesota Timberwolves during the 2007-2008 season and was waived by the Memphis Grizzlies in Dec. 2008 without appearing in any regular season games. Since then, he played professionally in Puerto Rico.

Walker was known for his extravagant spending during his NBA career, reportedly amassing a large collection of automobiles and multiple houses.

This is how the decade-long party ends. With lawyers vacuuming up every last dollar bill.
Posted on: June 27, 2011 2:16 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 3:16 pm
 

Derrick Williams is Rookie of the Year favorite

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Derrick Williams is the odds-on favorite to win 2011-2012 Rookie of the Year. Posted by Ben Golliver.

derrick-williams-large

Derrick Williams might have been the No. 2 selection in the 2011 NBA Draft, but he's sitting in the pole positon to win the 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year award. 

Bodog.com
has released its early odds for which member of the Draft Class of 2011 will take home the Rookie of the Year award. Williams, a dynamic combo forward out of Arizona, leapfrogged one-and-done Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, drafted by Cleveland Cavaliers, to claim the No. 1 spot. The No. 10 selection, BYU guard Jimmer Fredette, selected by the Sacramento Kings, also finished ahead of Irving.

Here's a look at the top 10. Strictly for entertainment purposes only.

Why does Irving slide? Two reasons. To win Rookie of the Year, you must be as NBA-ready as possible and have the opportunity to play boatloads of minutes so that you can accumulate stats.

In Irving's case, he missed a good chunk of his rookie season at Duke, raising questions about how ready he is to be an impact player in the NBA from Day One. Second, the Cavaliers have a muddled point guard position with Baron Davis, Ramon Sessions and Boobie Gibson hanging around. That will likely get sorted out before next season rolls around, but it will be difficult to trade Davis, who is sure to get some serious burn.

Williams, on the other hand, is arguably the best physical specimen in this year's class. The Timberwolves have nothing to lose and, while Michael Beasley is on the roster and has a similar game, Minnesota has every incentive to turn Williams loose. With Rubio in the fold, look for the Timberwolves to continue to play an up-tempo game, with Williams given the green light to shoot and attack as often as he likes. One possible area of concern: Williams and Rubio, by virtue of playing on the same team, could cancel each other out.

Fredette represents the dumb money on this list. With no limit on his shot attempts in college, he compiled absurd scoring numbers. While he enters Sacramento figuring to get plenty of minutes, Tyreke Evans will command a very large chunk of the team's possessions, as will emerging big man DeMarcus Cousins. If Fredette doesn't defer, he will be marginalized. Ownership might be infatuated with him, but winning over his teammates is far more important.

Kanter appears to be more NBA-ready than most, but he enters a very crowded frontcourt in Utah. Surely he will carve out a solid role. But will it be enough to put up real numbers?

One solid dark-horse candidate: Kemba Walker. While he might not start from Day One because of D.J. Augustin, Walker will find plenty of available minutes in Charlotte's torn-down backcourt. The Bobcats are entering Year One of a major rebuild and thus will have Walker's development as a top -- perhaps the top -- priority. He enters the NBA after three years in college, and he proved that he was a star on that level. 

Ultimately, I would expect this to boil down to a three-man race between Williams, Irving and Walker. Williams is a worthy early favorite.
Posted on: June 26, 2011 3:16 pm
Edited on: June 26, 2011 3:18 pm
 

Did Wolves' Kahn target Duke's Coach K?

David Kahn, president of the Minnesota Timberwolves, reportedly tried to contact Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski. Posted by Ben Golliver. coach-k

It's been a phenomenally intriguing week in the history of the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

Point guard Ricky Rubio finally came over from Spain, the team successfully drafted Derrick Williams instead of Enes Kanter, the team made five trades on draft night, the team tried to draft a player in the second round who had lied about his age and was way too old to be drafted, the team had to cough up an extra draft pick because Jonny Flynn's physical raised a red flag after he was traded to Houston, and news hit that president David Kahn was finally ready to cut loose coach Kurt Rambis.

Amidst all of those moving pieces comes an extraordinary new wrinkle: the New York Daily News reports that Kahn apparently reached out to legendary Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski to gauge his interest in the job.
Timberwolves GM David Kahn, made a run at Mike Krzyzewski.

Talk about a waste of time. Coach K once turned down a chance to go to the Lakers and coach Kobe Bryant in his prime. Did Kahn really think that he could get Krzyzewski to leave his Duke kingdom? He did.

"He tried to get him," said one Kahn confidante. Kahn was looking for a miracle or two.
HeraldSun.com reports that Krzyzewski denied through a university spokesperson that contact had taken place.
While a published report said the Timberwolves were interested in hiring Krzyzewski as they were moving to fire coach Kurt Rambis last week, the coach said through a school spokesman that it was a non-starter.

Duke spokesman Matt Plizga said he spoke with Krzyzewski Saturday night and the coach said "no one had contacted him and he hadn't contacted anyone" about the Minnesota job.
It goes without saying that Krzyzewski would not consider the Timberwolves coaching position for one instant unless there was a 2000% raise attached, which, given the team's financial situation, is impossible. 

Let's assume that Kahn did give consideration to Krzyzewski as a potential replacement target for Rambis. Is that totally delusional or just a head of basketball operations doing his due diligence in pulling together the best possible early list of candidates? 

Given years of Krzyzewski's public statements of loyalty to Duke and the multiple times he turned down high-profile jobs that could possibly have paid him more money, it's unclear how he would ever make a list of coaching targets for the NBA's worst team. There's nothing tying Krzyzewski to the city, franchise, management or current coaching staff. (Unless you count Timberwolves forward Kevin Love playing for Coach K on Team USA, which you shouldn't.)

The next person to raise a good reason for Krzyzewski to leave college basketball's top program for the NBA's weakest sister will be the first. In other words, if this happened, in any way, shape or form, it was pure delusion. Rambis' replacement will almost certainly be a current NBA assistant coach looking for a step up, not a Naismith Hall of Famer looking to take 10 steps down. 
Posted on: June 24, 2011 5:54 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 7:26 pm
 

Wolves buy pick, take ineligible player

Posted by Matt Moore

Funny story. 

So while the Wolves were having what is being called a "good" draft by taking Derrick Williams, the second best player in a two-pick draft with the second spot, and then trading a top 20 pick down to get several second rounders, most of which they traded, they did spend to pick one up. The Wolves and David Kahn bought the rights to the No.57 pick in the draft from Dallas, then took a guy name Tanguy Ngombo. 

Ngombo was out of Qatar, and showed up in an impressive showing at the Asian Games.  Wolves assistant Phil Philo found him and the Wolves thought they had themselves a steal in a 21-year-old foreign prospect. What a great story, nice to see the Wolves finally get through a draft without a real embarrassme....

Yeah, so he's not 21. He's 26.

Draft Express originally put him into the sphere of public knowledge, and mentioned the Philo connection. DX also dug up the info that shows he's 26. Which means he's ineligible. Even Qatar lists himi as being born in 1984. The result is the pick will be voided. 

Now, let's say this was just the Wolves' natural 2nd round pick. That would be a bummer, but not really as bad. After all, he was unlikely to come over anyway and even if so may have been terriible. It's a late second-rounder, after all. Or say that they had picked up the pick as part of another trade as an asset they didn't really care about but the other team threw in as a deal-sweetener. That would be acceptable. It's no worse, really, than most of the picks in the second round which are really Euro stashes who will never come over to the A. 

But the Wolves bought the pick. So after making all these moves in order to free up cash, presumably to afford the buyout on the remainder of Kurt Rambis' contract, they then spent money to acquire this selection... and then drafted a player who lied about his age and was ineligible. 

At one level, you feel bad for Philo. Found a prospect, thought it was worth a flyer, talked his organization into making a move for him. Everyone makes mistakes. And maybe Qatar and FIBA are both wrong, and he's 21 and this isn't an issue. Plus, it's not like a second round pick is really worth much and it's not like the loss of a huge asset; the pick couldn't have cost that much. 

But it's just the fact that once again the Wolves can't get out of a draft without stumbling and falling. They traded back to get value, and wound up picking up Brad Miller's contract and drafting a guy who's older than LeBron. Just when you think we have nothing to make fun of the Wolves about, Kahn's organization strikes again.

(HT: SBNation.com)



Posted on: June 24, 2011 3:47 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 7:29 pm
 

Way too early Rookie of the Year contenders

Posted by Royce Young



When people say things like, "It's never too early to talk about..." what they really mean is, "It's way, way too early to talk about this but I'm trying to at least acknowledge that."

So... it's never too early to talk about next season's early contenders for Rookie of the Year (assuming there is a next year blah blah blah). Most everyone proclaimed last night's draft to be of the weak variety and while it very well may be, it's going to have a couple good players. Whether it's the top overall pick or a sleeper taken in the 20s, the 2011 NBA Draft won't go down as a total dud.

Who are the candidates to make a big rookie splash? There aren't a ton of franchise changing guys in this draft, but more a bundle of potential. Someone will be named Rookie of the Year and honestly, this might be one of the most wide open races in a long time. Derrick Williams isn't Blake Griffin. Kyrie Irving isn't Derrick Rose. From picks 1-15 really, there are a lot of guys that could contend. So here are my top five.

1. Kyrie Irving, PG, Cavaliers: If the No. 1 overall pick isn't a Rookie of the Year candidate, well, then his name must be Michael Olawakandi. It's hard to really know if Irving is going to step right in and start from day one or if the Cavs want to groom him behind Baron Davis -- don't laugh -- but he's going to get his minutes. This franchise is now his. He's the guy.

He's not John Wall or Derrick Rose, but that just means he's not as flashy. He makes plays everywhere, shoots the ball extremely well and is incredibly composed and mature. It's pretty easy to picture Irving averaging something along the lines of 15 points and five assists per game, which will likely be enough to win the award.

2. Derrick Williams, F, Timberwolves: I think Williams is a fantastic player. A 6-9 guy that's athletic and strong and shot 57 percent from 3? How could you NOT like him?

But I've got questions that almost made me leave him off the list. Where does he fit in with the Wolves? Is he their starting small forward? Does he fit alongside Kevin Love? Does Michael Beasley take too many shots and minutes from him? Does Williams play power forward and Love slide to center? Can Williams play power forward? Is he too much of a tweener, like Jeff Green?

If the Wolves are smart, and of course that's a whole other thing there, Williams sees minutes from day one and Beasley is shipped out so that Williams' growth is never messed with. I don't think the two can co-exist. Give the keys entirely to Ricky Rubio, Love and Williams and see what they can do. If that happens, I think he can put up pretty solid numbers and a few flashy highlights as well.  

3. Jan Vesely, SF, Wizards: Blake Griffin didn't win the Rookie of the Year last year just based off a bunch of crazy highlight dunks. But there's no denying that they certainly helped.

And Vesely is the prime candidate to be 2011-12's official YouTube Party candidate for Rookie of the Year. He has an incredible amount of athleticism, a bunch of flash and some skill to boot. He can score, play and dunk. If Vesely gets minutes, he's going to grab some attention. And in winning awards, sometime attention is all it really takes.

4. Jimmer Fredette, PG, Kings: I'm coming clean -- I'm a total Jimmer junkie. I think he's going to be a great pro. My philosophy is, if you're one of the best at your craft at the highest level you can play, you'll likely be good at the next level too. Adam Morrison excluded, of course.

And Jimmer can score. Yeah, his defense stinks. But I think that was more of a product of the system and structure he operated in at BYU more than anything. BYU's coach Dave Rose knew Fredette couldn't dare pick up a couple early fouls, so he was hidden in a 2-3 scheme and rarely moved his feet or went for a steal. I don't think that's just because Jimmer doesn't understand a simple defensive stance, but more that he was instructed, "Don't you think about picking up a foul." There were similar concerns about Blake Griffin's defense too, but at OU Jeff Capel employed the same mindset to Griffin's defense. And I think that worked out.

The Kings cleared out room for Jimmer to immediately start and run the show. If he's ready for it, he's going to have a chance to put up really nice numbers on an improving team. Is he going to look to score or pass? That's to be seen. But he's a smart guy, has a bunch of talent and knows how to play. He's going to be good.

5. Alec Burks, SG, Jazz: I live in Big 12 country so I'm a bit biased having seen Burks play most of his college games. But let me tell you, that dude tore up the conference. Inside, outside, defensively, rebounding -- he was a one-man team.

The Jazz are slowly transitioning and while Enes Kanter was the No. 3 pick, I think he's going to be brought along more slowly than Burks. There's not a whole lot standing in the way of Burks and playing time, while Kanter has to settle in somewhere around Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson and Mehmet Okur. I don't know what the future of Andrei Kirilenko is but I'm sure Utah isn't that worried about finding room for Burks to play. He's going to likely be in the rotation from the start and might even push C.J. Miles for the starting shooting guard spot.

Posted on: June 24, 2011 12:37 am
Edited on: June 24, 2011 11:20 am
 

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers



Posted by Matt Moore

It's all over. After an underwhelming crop of draft choices led to a flurry of trades, the dust has settled and the picks are wearing the right hats, finally. Here are your winners and losers of the 2011 NBA Draft:

Winners

Cleveland Cavaliers: Irving is mostly a case of winning by default, but they wouldn't have been the first team to be unable to get out of their own way with an obvious pick. Irving gives them a franchise point guard to build around and was the best player overall in this draft. Going for Derrick Williams would have been sheer hubris in order to burn LeBron by choosing a replacement forward. Then, with the fourth, they could have opted for Valanciunas, which would have been a good pick. But there's a reason so many teams were chasing Tristan Thompson. His workouts showed how he would translate on the next level, and with that kind of athleticism, he provides a good running partner for Irving. They managed to not overcomplicate the combination of two top-five picks. They got good talent both small and big. That's a win right there.

Washington Wizards: The Wizards very quietly had a terrific draft. First Jan Vesely was available, who fits a need for them at slashing forward. With his athleticism and aggression, he makes a perfect partner to run the break with John Wall. Then, miraculously, Chris Singleton tumbled all the way down to No.18 where the Wizards jumped all over him. Singleton is a lottery talent that fell out of the top 14. He gives the Wizards the ability to move Andray Blatche if they can find a taker for his contract. He can rebound and defend exceptionally well. Singleton's length and athleticism, combined with a chip on his shoulder from dropping, makes him a great pick for the Wizards. Shelvin Mack in the second round was a great value pick for backup point guard.

Charlotte Bobcats: In a day, the Bobcats transformed Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston, the No.9 and No.19 into Corey Maggette, Bismack Biyombo, and Kemba Walker. That's a great haul. I've never been big on either of the Bobcats' draft picks, but when you consider the balance between an athletic super-freak who is unrefined and an established winner with limited upside, the Bobcats managed to grab two of the most hyped players in the draft. Biyombo provides length and athleticism to pair with Tyrus Thomas. Walker creates a complication at point guard with D.J. Augustin already being an undersized point guard. But Augustin has never won over the Bobcats organization and Walker will be given every chance to compete for the starting role. If his size issues aren't as much a concern as they've been made out to be, and if his shot creation translates to the next level, the Bobcats have just instantly created their foundation for the future while ditching one of their biggest contracts. A great start for the Cho era in Charlotte. 

Denver Nuggets: Raymond Felton got flipped for Andre Miller's non-guaranteed expiring contract and Jordan Hamilton, one of the steals of the draft who inexplicably fell. This for a guard the Nuggets didn't want in the first place. Oh, yeah, and they nabbed Kenneth Faried, who perfectly fits their needs and is a great value pick where they took him. Masai Ujiri is better than you.


Losers


Minnesota Timberwolves: Yes, again. Williams is a great pick, if they were moving Michael Beasley. Or if they were trading Williams. But David Kahn reportedly says they're not moving Williams. They wasted an opportunity to create more assets by moving either one, and instead, will now bullheadedly try to cram two similar players (three if you count Anthony Randolph) into a spot. It's a messy situation and Kahn should have taken one of the other offers made to him for the pick. Then there's the other trade, which was just a mess all over. They pulled in another Euro center to add to their collection, Brad Miller and his too-long, too-expensive contract, and ditched Jonny Flynn. The only redeeming quality is the future first which may or may not be protected into oblivion. Another sterling night for the Wolves. If Williams turns out to be worthy of the No.2 pick, and count me among the people that think he is, and the Wolves recognize that versus burying him as they did Kevin Love, this can be salvaged. From this vantage point, it doesn't look great. 

Update: Wolves wound up swapping Mirotic for the 28th and 43rd picks from the Bulls, then moved the 28th pick to Miami for the 31st pick, which they then sold as well as the 38th pick which was theirs. They used the 43rd on Malcolm Lee, and then traded for the 57th. While not getting Mirotic is a lot better than drafting him, they did all that and wound up with a first later, Malcolm Lee, and Targuy Ngombo. Not a great haul, there. Saved the boss some cash, though.

Golden State Warriors: How many guards can they need? New head coach Mark Jackson and GM Larry Riley constantly talked about defense. Then the Warriors took a shooter. They haven't moved Monta Ellis, so now on the roster they have Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, Charlie Bell, Jeremy Lin, Acie Law and Reggie Williams. And they just added Klay Thompson. It was an unnecessary move with bigger players with more defensive presence available. The Warriors have enough talent to not need the best player available. But, again, they opt for the usual. Disappointing.

Portland Trail Blazers: Where did that come from? The Blazers first take a huge reach on Nolan Smith at No.21. Smith had his proponents as the draft got closer, and certainly isn't a terrible pick. But in taking him, they elected to create redundancy after trading too much (Andre Miller and Rudy Fernandez) for Raymond Felton. The result is a reformed back court as the Blazers had promised, but not nearly as good as one you would have thought they could carry with the pieces available. Smith may work out well, but he'll never be starter caliber. And, with as many talented guards as there were late in the draft, taking him was a bit of a shock. Jon Diebler is 6-6 and can shoot. That's about it.  


Individual Winners:


Jan Vesely: Underrated as everyone talked about Kanter and Valanciunas, Vesely not only winds up with a good team fit for himself, but stole the highlight of the night with a kiss on the mouth of his lady friend. Then he said "I like the John Wall game" in his TV interview. Vesely came off incredibly cool for a 21-year-old Euro who can't shoot.

Tristan Thompson: Congratulations, Tristan, you cleared about ten spots in three days! It's a marathon, not a race.

Joe Dumars: Lucks into Brandon Knight. Rodney Stuckey problem: solved.


Individual Losers:


Brandon Knight: Plummeted due to his attitude and wound up in dysfunctional Detroit.

Josh Selby: If there was no age limit to the draft, Selby would have been a top ten pick last year. Now he falls all the way to the second round.

Jordan Hamilton: Something really bad must have been found on Hamilton, medically or otherwise. There was a nineteen-pick differential between Hamilton and a player who has rumors of being older than listed with a back issue and a contract problem. That's not a good look for the Texas ex.
Posted on: June 23, 2011 11:03 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 12:07 am
 

NBA Trade: Wolves, Rockets trade Miller, Flynn

Posted by Matt Moore

The Wolves finally did it. They managed to get rid of Jonny Flynn. After months and months of discussion, the unhappy marriage that began in 2009 ends as Ricky Rubio finally dons a Wolves uniform and the other point guard selected is shipped off. 

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports:
The Rockets-Wolves deal: JFlynn and No. 20 Montiejunas to Houston for Brad Miller, No. 23 Mirotic and future 1st, sources confirm.
So. Just to review. The Wolves try and move the No.2 for a month. Can't do it. Take Derrick Williams when they have Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph. Have another top twenty pick when they need talent. And then trade it for another Euro center that likely won't come over, Brad Miller who is nearing the end of his career despite having several years left on contract, and a future 1st. Maybe the 1st will be good. 

Meanwhile, the Rockets have acquired a point guard no one wanted, who they are now reportedly trying to trade, when the have both Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic. And they surrendered a future first rounder just to get rid of Brad Miller who was a mistake to sign last summer, and Montiejunas. 

The Rockets struggled defensively last season without Yao Ming and desperately need a center to bring toughness. So naturally they've traded for Motiejunas whose biggest questions were toughness and effort. It's not that Motiejunas lacks upside, he's got great range and scoring ability. But his questions defensively more than outweigh the good elements, which is why he plummeted out of the lottery and all the way to No.20. But the Rockets needed a center, and they got one.

Winner: We'll give it to the Rockets, only because they managed to take in less money and Motiejunas might surprise. It's neck and neck though.

Loser: Let's say it's the Wolves. Mirotic might be great and the future first is nice, but they have Milicic and Pekovic, and now Miller and his money. An odd trade all around.
Posted on: June 23, 2011 7:46 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 12:42 am
 

NBA Draft: Wolves select Derrick Williams No. 2



Posted by Royce Young

(Follow along with our DraftTracker)

After weeks of posturing and talking, the Minnesota Timberwolves ended up doing pretty much what we all expected them to do: They drafted Derrick Williams from Arizona.

(Now, before I really get into this, keep in mind the Wolves could very well trade Williams later. Maybe by the end of the night, maybe tomorrow. Just want to get that out there.)

I think everyone agrees that the second best player in this draft was Williams, with some even seeing him as maybe the best. So to take him second overall makes sense. What didn't make sense for the Wolves, and the reason they shopped the pick so hard, is how Williams fits within the already jumbled roster David Kahn has assembled. It makes sense to move Michael Beasley now and clear room for Williams to play. But if that doesn't happen, the Wolves rotation is a total mess of raw talent without any rhyme or reason.

Which is what makes the most sense. A core of Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love and Williams isn't a bad trio. Love and Williams are a bit similar and with Williams kind of being a tweener forward, there could be some awkwardness in the two fitting together, but you have to go with him here.

It still makes a lot of sense for the Wolves to move Williams if a deal comes along, but for now, the idea is for Kahn to clear out the clutter a bit and really let his core of young, talented players take over. That's how the Thunder built around Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and at the same, Jeff Green. Those guys had room to fail, then grow and most importantly, develop. Give Williams and company room to breathe and the Wolves might eventually start to make some progress.

In all honesty, Williams may have the most star power of any player in this draft. Love is a very good player -- an All-Star. But I'm not sure he's a true building block star that can carry you. Williams very well might be. He shot 57 percent from 3-point range last season, can play above the rim and score the ball. It's a question of his defense at the next level and a question of where he plays.

There was talk of Enes Kanter at No. 2 as well, but that would've been a copout "fit" pick. Not necessarily a bad selection, but when you're the Wolves, you can't afford to potentially miss out on a star player. Williams was the obvious choice, and the right one.

Now we've just got to see if they hang on to him.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com