Posted on: June 21, 2011 11:06 am
Edited on: June 21, 2011 11:15 am
Posted by Royce Young
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com wrote yesterday that if the Timberwolves were to trade the No. 2 overall pick, they'd have to be "blown away" by an offer. Well according to Yahoo! Sports, they got another offer. Does this one blow anyone away?
Reportedly, the Pacers offered big man Roy Hibbert and their No. 15 pick to Minnesota in exchange for the No. 2 pick, which would've been used on Derrick Williams. The Wolves were not blown away and turned that one down.
Wise move, David Kahn. Hibbert doesn't necessarily give you a real building block to success, especially when you consider you're giving up Williams, a pretty quality talent, in the process.
Interesting though that the Pacers offered Hibbert. The Indiana center made some huge strides in his game last season and at 7-3, is the kind of big man most teams crave. But he's inconsistent and sometimes fades out of games and gets in foul trouble. Not exactly worth the No. 2 pick.
But if the Pacers would've taken Williams, that tells me they're also interested in maybe moving Danny Granger. Williams and Granger are similar players playing similar positions. Keepign Granger might've stunted Williams' development which means Granger could've been dealt and some of the Pacers cap space opened up.
Really, that's a much more reasonable deal anyway. Hibbert, Granger and the No. 15 pick for Minnesota's No. 2 pick. Who says no there? The Pacers are probably giving up too much, but considering they want to clear cap space, that would get done in this deal. Now that deal might've blown them away.
Posted on: June 20, 2011 5:03 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 6:13 pm
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio lands in Minnesota and is welcomed at the airport in this video. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Finally, the moment that all of the 368 fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves have been waiting two years for: Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio officially landed at the airport in the Twin Cities on Monday.
Courtesy of YouTube user 1500ESPNTwinCities, here's video of Rubio's much anticipated arrival.
Dressed in a dark jacket, white shirt and Timberwolves hat, Rubio is escorted through the crowd by Timberwolves president David Kahn, the man who drafted him with the No. 5 selection in the 2009 NBA Draft. Rubio pauses to sign autographs for some waiting fans and is generally mobbed by the Timberwolves dancers, an excited crowd with cell phone cameras and an assemblage of local media.
One fan is shown holding a "Welcome to Minnesota" sign. At the end of the video, fans engage in a "Ricky! Ricky! Ricky!" chant as he exits the airport for a waiting bus. The description of the video says "about 200" fans showed up.
Posted on: June 20, 2011 1:01 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 1:51 pm
Three GMs have more riding on the 2011 NBA Draft than the others. Posted by Ben Golliver.
For the league’s poorest sisters, it represents hope; for the middle of the road teams, it’s a bit of a crapshoot; for true contenders, it can become almost an afterthought. For rebuilding teams, it’s the center of years of planning; for veteran teams, it can be almost irrelevant. For small market teams, the draft is the best – if not only -- chance they’ll get to land a superstar; for the successful larger markets, it can be just another day on the calendar.
The 2011 NBA Draft carries added importance for three franchises. Whether because of poor on-court performance, endless stagnation, financial implications or potential relocation, the stakes are highest for three teams and their executives. With so much riding on the draft this year, a swing and a miss could prove fatal for these three chief basketball decision-makers.
Minnesota Timberwolves – David Kahn
Let’s start with the Minnesota Timberwolves because articles about GMs potentially getting fired always start with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
President David Kahn has been the laughingstock of the NBA for a few years now, but he recently got in a few chuckles of his own when Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio finally decided to take his talentos to the Great White North. Rubio’s presence addresses Minnesota’s two biggest problems. They lacked a franchise-type point guard and desperately needed a hype factor to get fans in the seats following two seasons that produced a combined 32 wins.
There is a catch: Rubio might not actually be that good and it’s an open question whether Minnesota has the support system and personnel around him to ensure that he succeeds in the short-term.
The Timberwolves hold the No. 2 pick and have question marks up and down the roster. They’ll need to turn that pick and other fringe assets into multiple rotation players to ensure a smooth transition for Rubio and to keep Kevin Love from grumbling about his lot in life again.
Kahn has essentially staked his job on Rubio’s success as a pro. If the Timberwolves aren’t able to make significant forward progress in the 2011-2012 season, it’s difficult to envision their way too patient owner Glen Taylor letting Kahn have another go-round.
Houston Rockets – Daryl Morey
We’ve reached the point where the theoretical idea of Daryl Morey is far better than the actual Daryl Morey. The Rockets’ famed “Moneyball” style architect has gone years without drafting an impact player in the first round. Try as he might via the trade route, he hasn’t been able to locate a core building block to replace chronically injured center Yao Ming, so the franchise has spun its wheels, missing the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. The Rockets admitted to themselves that a rebuild was in order this summer, an idea that former coach Rick Adelman apparently didn’t take kindly to. Enter new coach Kevin McHale.
Focusing relentlessly on market inefficiencies can sometimes cloud the bigger picture. Star types win in the NBA, and the Rockets don’t have any. Kevin Martin and Luis Scola both exist one tier below where they need to be to truly build around long-term. The issues facing Houston next season, then, are two-fold: No one is going to get that roster to play harder and produce more than Adelman did, and the No. 14 spot on Thursday will not yield a franchise difference-maker.
To give the franchise some direction, Morey will need to get creative by packaging assets to get a true top end talent. There’s no better time to do that than draft week. Another NBA Draft week with a zero on the board, you would think, would force Rockets owner Les Alexander to change his thinking from “What have you done for me lately?” to “no, really, what have you actually done?”
Sacramento Kings – Geoff Petrie
The Maloof Family is a mess. The Kings’ ownership group is bleeding money, selling off assets, skimping on payroll and hinting that they will try to leave Sacramento again after next season. The NBA had to step in this summer to help conduct the team’s basic business affairs. Sad stuff.
Kings president Geoff Petrie, despite solid picks in each of the last two drafts, has found himself in chopping block rumors for most of the last year. That’s what happens when your team misses the playoffs – and misses out on playoff revenue – for five straight seasons, winning just 66 combined in the last three years.
Sacramento is picking at No. 7 this year but has an ultimate trump card in the form of tons and tons of available cap space to facilitate trades. Of any team with just one first round pick, the Kings have the most flexibility and widest variety of options this week. With Evans and Cousins in place as core blocks, the mandate is clear: put pieces around them that will turn this into a fringe playoff contender.
Petrie isn’t simply drafting to keep his job. His decisions this week could ultimately impact whether the Kings win enough next season to keep the team in Sacramento. Given the shaky state of the Maloof family, the implications of the moves made this week could even extend to the ownership level. How many years of also-ran existence can the Maloof Family sustain before the coffers dry up? The Maloofs have steadfastly denied that they would ever sell the team but there could come a time when they don’t have a choice.
You want to talk about pressure? That’s pressure.
Posted on: June 19, 2011 2:56 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 9:51 am
The New York Knicks are reportedly considering trading for Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Jonny Flynn. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Clear the decks for Ricky Rubio!
The Minnesota Timberwolves have finally convinced the Spanish point guard to come to the NBA for next season. That means the team must now resolve a problem created when the Timberwolves drafted two point guards in the first six picks of the 2009 NBA Draft.
The easiest way to make sure that Rubio has enough playing time and space to get acclimated to the NBA game? Ship out Flynn, of course.
The New York Daily News reports that the Timberwolves and New York Knicks have discussed a Flynn trade.
The Knicks have had preliminary discussions with the Minnesota Timberwolves about a trade for point guard Jonny Flynn.If All-Star appearances were handed out based on personality, Flynn would be a perennial selection. Unfortunately, a back injury and a rough transition into coach Kurt Rambis' triangle offense have stunted his growth as an NBA player.
To date, he's proved to be a jitterbug that can provide some scoring punch but not much else. Flynn's fit as a backup point guard would be slightly better than Douglas' but not markedly so. Both are scoring guards, but Flynn has more upside as a distributor. It's quite possible he looks much better as a playmaker when he's sharing the court with Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony rather than Darko Milicic and Martell Webster.
A change of scenery will no doubt do Flynn a lot of good. Trading for Flynn, who's coming off an injury and playing for a terrible team for two years, is the definition of "buying low." One concern: He is on the books for $3.4 million next season, which is a bit more than teams like to pay for a relatively unproven backup point guard.
The Knicks, of course, have bigger questions at point guard. They will need to move Billups at some point if they hope to become a true championship contender. This trade is definitely one you consider from New York's perspective. The more talent you get behind Billups the better. Flynn's quickness would seem to be a major asset in coach Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo system.
This wouldn't be a game-changing move for the Knicks, but Flynn's charisma seems like a natural fit at Madison Square Garden.
Posted on: June 17, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 4:26 pm
Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn reportedly assigned coach Kurt Rambis a report on how to improve the team. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Flush with confidence after finally landing Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio after years of waiting, Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn has reportedly taken an unusual step in managing his head coach.
Kahn has kept coach Kurt Rambis in limbo since the season ended, with rumors swirling around his job. Now, the Star-Tribune reports that Kahn made Rambis write a report about improving the team.
Kahn said on Friday that he asked Rambis to write an extensive, detailed report about his team and the changes he would make if he comes back for a third season as head coach in Minnesota. Kahn said he asked Rambis to complete the report in mid May, and the coach turned it in last weekend, setting up a series of meetings this week.I offer this report to Rambis to use free of charge.
Thesis statement: Improvement will come with competent drafting. Supporting arguments: Jonny Flynn, Wayne Ellington, Wesley Johnson.
It's unclear whether Kahn intended it to come off like this, but this news just screams condescending and demeaning. Plans are great, scouting reports are wonderful, but making it known publicly after weeks of uncertainty that you're requiring your head coach to save his job by making him resort to a grade school staple is just too much, even for Kahn.
If Kahn needs a report to gauge whether his coach should stick around, he probably shouldn't be empowered as the franchise's lead decision-maker. If this is just a dog-and-pony show, which is what this feels like, it comes off as confrontational and divisive rather than inspiring and clear-headed. How does that help a struggling franchise turn things around? Doesn't it do more harm than good?
Posted on: June 17, 2011 12:11 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 12:51 pm
Posted by Royce Young
There has been quite a bit of talk that the Wizards are looking to move up in the draft from No. 6 to as high as No. 2, as they seem to have their eye on Derrick Williams.
But to move up, you have to give up something in exchange. Not everyone lucks into a trade like the one the Wolves and Wizards had right before the draft that sent the No. 5 pick to Minnesota for Randy Foye and Mike Miller. And the player's name that keeps coming up is JaVale McGee, Washington's freakish seven-foot center.
Not happening though, says the Washington Post.
"The Wizards may have interest in moving up to getting a desired player, but this draft -- with so many question marks from top to bottom -- isn't the one that would convince the team to sacrifice McGee, a player that it has spent the past three years developing into a serviceable center in a league that is experiencing a dearth in talent at that position. With so much uncertainty atop the draft, the Wizards believe that a player that can help the team might very well be available at the sixth pick."McGee has been mentioned in trade talks for pretty much the last three years, and after an altercation with Andray Blatche earlier in the year, some of that heated up. Owner Ted Leonis always put that fire out, and it appears that the Wizards don't want to trade McGee.
And why should they? He's still extremely young (just 23) and has an incredible amount of untapped potential. McGee is already a pretty productive player, but if he could ever start to figure some of his talent out, he could be the same type of impact player as Tyson Chandler.
Derrick Williams would definitely be a prize to acquire, but it sounds like the Wolves are warming to the idea of adding Williams alongside Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. Doesn't appear that the Wizards and Wolves are going to get together on another draft day trade.
Posted on: June 16, 2011 5:14 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 5:49 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
From Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on Twitter:
Spanish media contact tells me Ricky Rubio will hold a news conference tomorrow morning in Barcelona and announce he's headed to the NBA.via Twitter / @JerryZgoda: Spanish media contact tell ....
Rubio's been rumored to be on the way for a while. A June 1st report indicated the Wolves had reached an agreement with the Spanish star, and a separate report Thursday indicated his U.S. arrival was imminent. Getting Rubio stateside, under contract, and on the roster before the draft helps the Wolves with both the direction their draft takes and their leverage in deals surrounding their No.2 overall pick or any combination of talent on the roster. The idea has been for Love and Rubio to spearhead the future of the Wolves, with one other player. The No. 2 pick gives them the ability to select that player in Derrick Williams. Now all they need is for Rubio to actually be as good as he was projected to be back when he was drafted, despite a down year in Euroleague play for FC Barcelona.
Meanwhile, the AP reports that David Kahn and Kurt Rambis are meeting this week... for the first time since the season ended. With that kind of communication going on in the front office, how can Rubio and Williams not be excited about joining the Wolves?
Posted on: June 15, 2011 1:39 pm
Posted by Royce Young
A couple weeks ago, it was finally settled: Ricky Rubio would finally be coming to America. Then, reports surfaced earlier today making it seem like Rubio's future with Barcelona wasn't entirely squared away.
But despite all that, the Star Tribune reports that Rubio is expected to arrive in Minnesota next week for an "official introduction."
Despite that, I still think most have the Kevin Love mentality of "I'll believe it when I see it." Rubio's the Chinese Democracy of basketball. We know he exists, but we just don't know when he's finally going to happen.
Supposedly, next week.
Rubio reportedly signed his rookie contract on May 31 and all that's left is to settle his buyout with Barcelona, which is now around $1.5 million. Under league rules, the most the Wolves can pay towards that is $500,000 and they will do that. Rubio though shouldn't have too much trouble coming up with the other million as he's been playing professionally since age 16 and has done a number of endorsement deals.
A catch here too: Rubio's arrival could either help Kurt Rambis keep his job or be the final nail in the coffin. According to the Pioneer Press, David Kahn and Rambis will meet sometime next week, likely after the Rubio situation is officially squared away. So if Rambis can get on Team Ricky, maybe that could help save Rambis.