Tag:Minnesota Timberwolves
Posted on: June 23, 2011 3:28 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 3:53 pm
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NBA Trade Rumor: Josh Smith for No. 2 pick?

The Atlanta Hawks are reportedly targeting Enes Kanter and want to trade Josh Smith to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the No. 2 pick. Posted by Benjosh-smith Golliver.

Earlier this week, we noted that the Atlanta Hawks and forward Josh Smith could be on a path to parting ways.

On Thursday, hours before the 2011 NBA Draft, Yahoo! Sports reports that the Hawks are pushing Smith on the Minnesota Timberwolves, in hopes of landing the No. 2 overall selection.
In a lust to draft center Enes Kanter, the Atlanta Hawks are trying to engage the Minnesota Timberwolves in discussions to trade Josh Smith for the No. 2 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.

Hawks GM Rick Sund has been hugely interested in Kanter throughout the pre-draft process, sources said, and has clearly been looking to find a deal for Smith. Under the salary cap, the Wolves could absorb the $13 million-plus owed him next season without sending back corresponding contracts.
The presence of power forward Kevin Love in Minnesota makes a straight-up Smith trade questionable, however the Timberwolves could always send him elsewhere or turn this into a three- team deal, using their cap space to facilitate player movement. If he was there to stay, he'd swing to a wing position, prompting mismatches with his size and length but causing headaches any time he attempted a shot from the perimeter.

The Hawks' pursuit of Kanter also comes with questions, as Arizona forward Derrick Williams has been the consensus No. 2 overall pick in the lead up to the draft. Most analysts have Kanter going No. 3 overall to the Utah Jazz, but the Jazz don't have much room in a crowded frontcourt to add Smith. Meanwhile, the Hawks already have a franchise center in place in Al Horford. At 6-foot-11, 260 pounds, Kanter is generally projected as a five but could possibly be shifted to the four. 

The primary motivation for any Smith trade is financial. From Atlanta's perspective, being able to dump his contract outright on a team with cap space, like the Timberwolves, would be ideal.

Posted on: June 22, 2011 10:42 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 10:55 pm
 

Derrick Williams: Compare me to Dirk, not LeBron

Arizona forward Derrick Williams distances himself from LeBron James but welcomes a comparison to Dirk Nowitzki. Posted by Ben Golliver. derrick-williams

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Derrick Williams would rather be compared to Dirk Nowitzki than LeBron James.
 
In one of the most interesting scenes from Wednesday's NBA Draft media availability at the Westin in Times Square, Williams, a forward out of Arizona who is expected to be the second player selected in Thursday's 2011 NBA Draft, went out of his way to repeatedly distance himself from James.

Williams, who averaged 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds for the Wildcats as a sophomore, has done this through the pre-draft process any time someone asks him what it would like to be taken by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first overall pick. Clearly, there will be a huge burden that goes with filling James' sneakers after he abandoned the Cavaliers to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh for the Miami Heat. The storyline takes on added emphasis in Williams' case because he throws down his fair share of highlight reel dunks and because he wore No. 23 -- the number James wore for the Cavaliers -- at Arizona.

"I don’t want to be LeBron, I don’t want to be anything like it," Williams said bluntly. "Whoever gets picked at the No. 1 spot, that’s what the city is going to be looking for. ‘The Next LeBron.’ If they pick me, I don’t want to be labeled next to him. He’s going to go down as one of the top 25 best players to ever play the game. I’m not trying to be like him. I just want to go out and play my game like I’ve been doing my whole career."

While Duke University point guard Kyrie Irving is the favorite to be selected No. 1 overall, Williams told the media that they shouldn't count him out yet.

"I think there’s always a chance," he said. "We’ll never know until that draft pick comes. One or two, it’s an amazing feeling."

As Wednesday developed, "one or two" started to sound less and less like a guarantee. The Minnesota Timberwolves hold the No. 2 pick and are reportedly shopping the pick hard while also giving consideration to Turkish big man Enes Kanter. Williams is considered a clear-cut top two player in this draft by most talent evaluators, but the Timberwolves already have forward Michael Beasley in place, who shares some similarities with Williams in that he is a combination forward who is a versatile scoring threat.

"Me and Mike Beasley probably play a little similar," Williams admitted. "I probably like to shoot a little bit more than him. On the advantage side of that, it’s hard to guard two guys that similar. You rarely have two guys that play similar on the same team."

It's unclear whether having two players who both need touches on the same team with Kevin Love would actually be an advantage or a disadvantage. At least it's clear Williams has given some more thought to questions about his position.

Soon after the Draft Lottery, Williams began steadfastedly maintaining that he is a small forward, even though his body -- 6-foot-9, 250 pounds -- and his college résumé pegs him as at least a stretch power forward, if not an undersized four. On Wednesday, he seemed to concede that his game probably isn't as clear cut as he might have wanted to make it. 

"I don’t want to be labeled as one position," Williams said. "My whole life I’ve been labeled as multiple positions and multiple spots on the offensive and defensive side. 

"There are so many types of different players these days. You look at Dirk Nowitzki, he’s a four but he’s never in the post, he’s on the wing. Lamar Odom, he’s a combo four. Hybrid fours like Antawn Jamison. I think I fit well in this league."

It's strange to hear a high-flyer like Williams compare himself to Nowitzki, and that's probably wishful thinking. There's only one Nowitzki. Physically, the two don't have similar body types and Williams definitely doesn't have Nowitzki's array of jumpers. The Odom and Jamison combinations fit a little better.

Williams knows that regardless of what position he plays, defined or not, he has an adjustment coming. "There’s a lot of bigger guys on the court. Strength-wise, I would probably say that [is my biggest fear]," Williams said. "Just not being as big as everybody else. At the college level I was bigger than most guys. I can’t use that to my strength now.

In this, Williams, who won't fall past the Utah Jazz at No. 3, is correct. If he's worried about his strength at the NBA level, he definitely shouldn't be compared to James.

Posted on: June 22, 2011 9:26 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 9:29 pm
 

Report: Rambis to be fired after the draft

Posted by Royce Young

It's been a long time coming for Kurt Rambis. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported months ago -- literally -- that Rambis would be fired as head coach of the Timberwolves.

According to Yahoo! Sports, it's finally going to happen, right after the draft. I guess his book report wasn't good enough for David Kahn.
Kahn isn’t expected to announce the decision until after Thursday’s NBA draft, but he’s already begun collecting information on prospective replacements for Rambis, including University of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar, sources said. The Timberwolves have gathered background on Romar for several weeks, and are expected to make him a candidate to replace Rambis.

Kahn met with Rambis last week and believes he has reached an impasse with the coach. The relationship between Kahn and Rambis deteriorated over the course of the past season, to the point where there’s been little communication between them.

Lorenzo Romar? That is just so... Kahn. But this firing really has been coming for a while. Interesting though how strung out it was and that for some reason the Wolves are waiting around to do it. I don't really understand why wait. It should be like a bandaid -- right off.

It's possible that Ricky Rubio's arrival set the wheels in motion finally as the triangle system really doesn't fit a point guard like Rubio. The Wolves have been saying that they want to play up tempo and fast and while Rambis had his team in the top five in pace, they still stayed within the triangle structure. Obviously that's not what Kahn and management have in mind for their new floppy-haired point guard.

Rambis still has two years left on his original four-year deal. During those two seasons with the Wolves, Rambis went 32-132 as the head coach, including a league-worst 17-65 this year. The wolves 32-132 record the past two seasons is up there in terms of futility during a two-year span. And this is with Kahn saying in April that the building project was done. Except for the coach, I guess.

With as dysfunctional as the situation and locker room became in Minnesota, not only is Rambis being moved out not a surprise, but it makes me wonder who exactly is raising their hand real high for a shot at this team. Which is sad, because I think there's a lot of fun talent to work with.

I'm sure Rambis will get another shot as he was one of the most highly sought after assistants before he left the Lakers and took over the Wolves. That roster was never built to succeed and Rambis was left trying to implement a system with players that never fit it. There's talent there, but the whole thing is a mess. The next guy will have some players to work with, but it'll be a big job in figuring out how to use the rag-tag bunch of raw talent Kahn has accumulated.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 7:50 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 7:59 pm
 

Kanter back on the Wolves' board?

Posted by Matt Moore

I thought we had this settled. The Wolves were not going to take Kanter, it was down to Derrick Williams or a trade, and all was right the world. Well, chaos has just been reintroduced, potentially. 

ESPN reports:
Late Tuesday night, sources told ESPN.com that the Wolves were strongly considering taking Enes Kanter with the No. 2 pick.
via Wolves considering Kanter at No. 2? - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN.

Kanter would actually make a lot of sense. It doesn't create the logjam at SF for the Wolves after they used assets to acquire Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph, and while Darko Milicic has been serviceable... he's still Darko. Ricky Rubio with Love and Kanter means they just need to find perimeter weapons and they're set, with Wes Johnson a definite maybe at one spot.

But hold on there, fellows and fellowettes. From Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:
If Minnesota is unsuccessful in procuring a veteran star for the second pick, sources said the Wolves are comfortable selecting Arizona's Derrick Williams, who team officials strongly believe will be on the board after the Cavaliers select Duke point guard Kyrie Irving.
via Draft buzz: Nash, Smoove, and more - CBSSports.com.

ESPN also backed off on the Kanter talk today, saying it might be a smokescreen.  If it is, you have to wonder if the Wolves realize that if you leak a hundred things (as they've been rumored in talks with everyone except the Harlem Globetrotters, Manchester United and the New York Giants' cheerleading squad), it doesn't make what you're doing seem mysterious and unknowable. It just makes you seem like you don't know what in the holy name of Garnett you're doing. 

Kanter makes the most sense, so I'd steer clear of that pick as a selection for the Wolves. Much better to go with the player they don't want or need or their continued pursuit for a veteran star to pair with the Wolves who David Kahn says is done rebuilding. In truth? The Wolves likely won't know what they're doing until the call is made to Newark Thursday night.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 7:31 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 7:49 pm
 

Report: Odom offered for Wolves' No. 2 in draft

Posted by Matt Moore



For the last week, rumors have been floated about Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum being involved in trade talks by the Lakers. Every scenario has been shot down from one side or another and the pretty constant refrain has been that those two are not on the table for L.A., as they want to continue to compete for a championship. Yup, pretty clear those guys aren't going anywhere. 

Lost in all this was the question of whether Lamar Odom was on the table. According to the L.A. Times, he is.  
The Lakers tried to move up in Thursday's NBA draft by offering forward Lamar Odom to Minnesota for the Timberwolves' No. 2 overall pick, but Minnesota turned them down, according to two NBA officials who were not authorized to speak publicly about the trade talks. The Lakers wanted to use the No. 2 pick to select Arizona's forward Derrick Williams, the officials said.
via Lakers offer of Lamar Odom for No. 2 pick in NBA draft rejected by Timberwolves - latimes.com.

The apparent interest from the Lakers in Williams is somewhat confusing. Williams is not considered an out-of-this-world lock, he's not even the top player in the draft. He's older, and it's unclear if he'd fit in with the kind of alpha dog mentality he'd have to face from Kobe Bryant. On the flip side, it may show a dedication to keeping the Lakers relevant beyond just the current team's run, as Williams would inherit the team from Bryant just as Bryant inherited... okay, won the team in a cage match with Shaq. It would be very Lakers-like to turn a supporting component like Odom into next decade's star player just as the current team fades into a lesser state due to age.

But so far, it hasn't been enough. The Wolves were the one to reportedly reject the trade, because they feel Odom's a power forward and that position is committed to Kevin Love. Why they wouldn't employ Odom as a small forward in given situations is a little baffling, but again, it's the Wolves. You glean what you can.

Still, Odom being on the block means there have been rumors about all three of the Lakers' primary frontcourt assets. As much as the Lakers keep selling the idea that it's buisness as usual and they're in no rush to remake the team through a trade, the grapevine tells a different story.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 6:34 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 5:29 am
 

Five GMs who face big dilemmas on draft night

Posted by Matt Moore

It's passed over because we're so far removed from it and because that's not how the machine works, but stop for a second and consider what it's like to be a general manager who actually has control, whose owner trusts him. It's draft night. The future of your franchise rests with you. A pick gone wrong and that can mean a pink slip. Questions from the media, from the fans. You've got to somehow not only see what these kids, and they are kids, have done, but what they will do. And that's not just on the floor, it's in the locker room and outside the halls of the arena.

You've got to look into a kid's soul and see what he's made of, out of basically a handful of workouts, some measurements, and maybe a psych profile, if he consents. And it's not a simple "yes or no," you have to choose someone. You've got hundreds of options, a dozen or so serious options, and you've got to hit the right one. Miss, and it's a black mark on your career that may follow you forever. And no matter how many people you bring in, no matter how much consultation is done in advance, at the end of the night, when it's time to make the call, it's got to be your say. You have to make the decision.

And we think shooting free throws is tough.

With that in mind, here are the top five GMs/front offices facing the toughest decisions of the draft.

1. David Kahn, GM, Minnesota Timberwolves: He can't miss every time, right? After drafting Jonny Flynn to go with Ricky Rubio, who didn't come over, essentially going 0-2 on viable point guard options until this season, then following it up by passing on DeMarcus Cousins and others to reach for Wes Johnson, the Wolves could really use a home run. So naturally Kahn is trying to trade this pick like there's no tomorrow. They've reached out to everyone, and so far no one is biting. So if they keep the pick, the Wolves have to decide whether to take the best talent available, Derrick Williams, even though he creates a logjam at small forward/combo forward position for them, or roll the dice on Enes Kanter. You know, because what they don't have is enough Euro centers with upside.

Kahn's in a bad spot, having to try and hit a home run to save his job by bringing in a veteran star. He announced at the end of last season that "rebuilding is over" for the Wolves, which is pretty insane for a 17-win team. He can't wait to see if Williams will be an impact guy, he needs one now. If he does have to take the pick, Williams is the best overall talent, but that doesn't jive with what he did throughout the past calendar year, bringing in Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph. It's a significant problem and not one you should envy. Even if the Cavs were to suddenly pass on Kyrie Irving for Williams, the Wolves still couldn't take Irving because of Rubio.

In the end, the Euro teen center who hasn't played in two years is the safe option. That's how tricky the Wolves' position is.

2011 NBA Draft
2. Bryan Colangelo, GM, Toronto Raptors: There's talk that Bryan Colangelo is under pressure, even after his contract extension, from above to stay away from a Euro. This is the kind of thing that happens when you draft Andrea Bargnani and then give him a bajillion dollars in extension. In doing so he's managed to create a problem because the best talent and fit at the No.5 spot is likely to be a Euro.

The Raptors need rebounding and size, and Jonas Valanciunas provides both. Sure, the big man is not coming over till 2012, but the Raptors also aren't going anwywhere until then. Another year of letting DeMar DeRozan, Jerryd Bayless, and Amir Johnson lead the team while trying to find somewhere to ditch Bargnani to isn't a bad option. Then when Valanciunas comes over, they'll have another high pick, and worst case scenario the ability to put Bargnani next to Valanciunas with Amir Johnson at the three for defensive coverage of Bargnani's limitations in space.

If not "Choonus" (as no one besides me is calling him), Jan Vesely is a great fit here. An explosive combo forward who won't need the ball and whose limitations in ball handling will be managed by low usage, Vesely brings size, athleticism and aggressiveness. A DeRozan-Vesely-Johnson 2-3-4 combo is just plain nasty.

But Colangelo may not be able to take either of those and may instead have to reach for... Kemba Walker. If the Utah Jazz aren't too spooked by Brandon Knight's attitude, Walker will be the best known-American talent in the draft at that point, and finding a replacement for Jose Calderon will be seen as a smart pick. No one will criticize them for taking Walker, despite Walker not being the type of defender Dwane Casey's going to want to work with and the fact that he's honestly a reach here. Not much of one, but a reach.

So does Colangelo take the Best Player Available or the Most Popular Available? That's the kind of thing impacted by your previous decisions which come back to haunt you.

3. Geoff Petrie, President of Basketball Operations, Sacramento Kings: This should be easy. There's a good chance either Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker falls this far, despite the above scenario. They take that guy, they're good. But for whatever reason, the Kings are still trying to figure out what to do with their backcourt.

Alec Burks has become the hot name to take but he's not a point guard in any way shape or form. He becomes redundant next to Marcus Thornton, even if Tyreke Evans stays at point guard. Jimmer Fredette is too much of a reach.

Kawhi Leonard is the safest pick possible, filling a need at small forward, a polished player who can defend, and leaving the backcourt questions out of the equation. But he may go higher. The Kings are in a danger zone that guarantees their options will be limited, but the decison tree is complicated by the wishes of the Maloofs. Fredette brings ticket sales, that's for sure, but he's going to be an awkward fit with both Evans and Thornton needing shots. What's going to win out, making money or the right decision? Let's just say we don't have high hopes for the voices of reason.

4. John Hammond, GM, Milwaukee Bucks: Hammond's got a lot of holes to fill and is just outside the ability to fill them in the draft. Meanwhile, he's trying to move down. Move down and not make an improvement, the team could slide even further backwards. Make the wrong pick and he's wasted all that opportunity. Power forwards are abundant at the No. 10 spot for Milwaukee, but Hammond's got Drew Gooden, Larry Sanders, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Jon Brockman,and Ersan Ilyasova (who he's reportedly trying desperately to trade). So that's not really viable. He sunk a huge portion of cash into John Salmons which didn't work out, so while drafting a shooting guard sounds like the right move, it comes with usage concerns.

Popular players like Fredette are there, but with Jennings it may only exacerbate a tense situation. And the other option is a fleet of talented but wholly incomplete combo forwards without a decent lock among them. All are long-term prospects, none are sure things. And that's relative to the entire draft process which is a crapshoot.

The Bucks have been active in trade rumors but are trying to find an identity. They seemed like they'd stocked their team with athletic, relatively young players and yet don't seem to have the right combination. The 10th pick doesn't provide them many answers and may leave them eying simply a chance to move out of the spotlight.

5. Daryl Morey, GM, Houston Rockets: No team with a real chance of competing needed a lottery win like the Rockets. With Yao Ming a huge seven-foot question mark and failed attempt after failed attempt at securing a star, they need a big name to put next to the versatile complimentary talent they have. But instead here they are with two picks that help them almost not at all.

Their options are a series of athletic threes and undersized fours (the Morris twins, Jordan Hamilton, maybe Tristan Thompson), when they already have Luis Scola, Patrick Patterson, Chase Budinger, and Jordan Hill to go with Chuck Hayes. Their only real need is at five, and Valanciunas is almost guaranteed to be off the board. With Motiejunas more of a stretch four than a real five considering his defense and effort problems, there's simply not a fit here. Marcus Morris is the most surefire player available here, and he comes with huge question marks and a limited upside.

Morey is charged with somehow turning these elements into a contender, despite the best "star" on the market being Andre Iguodala, which would be like adding a Swiss army knife when you need a broadsword. His second pick in the first round leaves him only with the exciting possibility of drafting a Euro center who won't be available for several years, or a player like Jeremy Tyler who would likely spend at least a year with the Rockets' D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

Morey's been considered a genius and a math wizard for years in this league. With the team stangnated and no help available in free agency or trade, the draft looks like his last chance to pull a rabbit out of a hat. And right now, the hat looks awful empty.


Posted on: June 21, 2011 1:50 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 2:14 pm
 

Rubio already getting work done in Minnesota

Posted by Royce Young



Ricky Rubio was officially introduced to the media today in Minnesota and it's obvious that the young Spaniard is a bit shy.  But it didn't take him long to get somewhere he's a bit more comfortable as he immediately took to the Timberwolves practice gym and got some shots up.

The fact he's actually in Minnesota, actually working out is still kind of surreal. As of a month ago, there was a wonder if we'd ever see Rubio in the NBA. But there he is, working on his jumper in Minnesota.

Which is exactly what he needs to be doing. He has incredible vision and feel for the game, but the one glaring hole in his game is a poor shooting touch. Nothing a little NBA coaching and practicing can't help fix though.

Posted on: June 21, 2011 1:31 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 1:37 pm
 

Wolves tried to get Andrew Bynum for No. 2 pick?

Posted by Royce Young

As Ken Berger reported, the Wolves aren't opposed to moving the No. 2 pick, but are looking for a deal that "blows them away," as a source told Berger.

Looks like the Wolves are trying to blow themselves away.

After reported deals involving JaVale McGee and Roy Hibbert came up cold for Minnesota, the Wolves turned to the Lakers to try and nab a top flight big man to play alongside Kevin Love.

According to SI.com, the Wolves offered a deal including the No. 2 pick for Andrew Bynum. That one will knock your socks off all right.

The Lakers have denied interest in moving either Bynum or Pau Gasol, with Lakers VP Jim Buss hinting Bynum is untouchable, but there has to be at least some level of temptation here for general manager Mitch Kupchak. Bynum is still just 23 years old (can you believe that?) and at 7-1, is one of the most imposing players in the league. He controls the paint, scores on the block and can own the glass. His issues have just been focus and health, but like I said, with him still being young, there's a lot of time for him yet.

Which is why Minnesota would try and go after him. But it's also why the Lakers likely aren't interested in dealing him. A prospect like Derrick Williams is intriguing because the next franchise scorer will have to find his way to L.A. at some point because Kobe's days won't last forever. However, dealing away a championship caliber center with an eye to the future doesn't sound like the Laker way. They prefer to stay in the now and try and win titles presently and worry about the future when the future arrives.

The Lakers won't have a problem finding a franchise face down the line whether it be in the draft or free agency. There's a lot of talk about them needing to get younger but two things about that:

1) The Mavericks proved that idea is really a bunch of junk. Youth can be overrated. Sometimes, the old guys will do just fine.

2) Again, it's not like Bynum is old. He's just two years older than Williams. We're not talking about some 33-year-old washed up big man with bad feet. Bynum has had his health concerns but when he's right, he's as dominant as any player in the league. Remember, the Lakers have won two titles with him in the middle.

Not a bad effort by David Kahn though reaching out for Bynum. Clearly the Wolves are trying to make something happen with No. 2. It's going to take the right team and the right situation to get someone to bite, but a shot at Bynum was worth it. Love, Bynum, Ricky Rubio, Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson -- not a bad core at all.

Too bad it's not going to happen.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com