Tag:Minnesota Timberwolves
Posted on: January 5, 2011 9:51 am
Edited on: January 5, 2011 1:09 pm

Shootaround 1.5.11: Love and loathing

Banning bourree, Gilbert and J.J. are pale riders, and Kevin Love doesn't exactly sound set for the long-term in Minnesota, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore
  • Just in case you missed it, O.J. Mayo appears to not have the best head on his shoulders, as he started an altercation with Tony Allen, which Allen then promptly finished by pummeling the third-year guard. No disciplinary action has been leveed against either player, and none is expected to be. The NBA has got to step in and ban gambling on planes. It's unfortunate that the players have to be treated like children but given the history of incidents stemming from gambling fights over bourree, there's simply no excuse not to ban it. 
  • The Warriors waived Rodney Carney. You know how good the Warriors' offense is? they just cut a guy shooting 46% from 3-point land. They're bleeding shooters. Not as much as they're bleeding on defense, but still. 
  • Lost in the talk of Love, Rose, and Westbrook joining up was this choice quote from Love's SI interview: "We'll see what happens with what David Kahn and the front office want to do," Love said. "If it's right, it's right. If it's not, it's not. I could end up somewhere else. I just want to play for a team that wants to win at this point. At this point, I just want to win now." Now, Wolves fans will say that this is they typical New York media (I'm not) talking about a star ditching his team (I'm not), despite the fact that he's starting to have success in Minnesota (he's not). Love's relationship with the front office has been strained since the installation of David Kahn and Kurt Rambis, and just because he's getting minutes, that's probably not enough to satisfy Love. Love's got quite the history of comments about a distrust with the front office.
  • Udonis Haslem is pushing for a March return . An issue to consider is whether Haslem will be able to effectively work his way into the rotation in time for the playoffs. If the Heat are (still) rolling, there's no reason to disrupt a lineup rotation that's working.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 6:52 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 7:28 pm

Westbrook, Rose and Love talked teaming up

Posted by Royce Young

Super trios are all the rage in basketball these days. Or at least the idea of forming one is. And I guess the place to hatch the plan is overseas.

That's rumored to be where Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James decided to come together back in 2008. During the Beijing Olympic games, the three made a pact to join forces. And according to a story from Sports Illustrated, three other young stars talked about doing something similar in Turkey during the World Championships.

Kevin Love told SI.com that he's discussed playing with Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose at some point in their careers. Love said, "We all talk about playing together. It's fun to talk about. When the time comes, we'll assess the situation and figure it out."

All three are eligible for long-term extensions this summer. Maybe they plan on doing the same thing Bosh, Wade and LeBron did when they all added in a player option on the fifth year so that way they can opt out and look for the best situation.

Obviously all three teams the players play for now will absolutely look to lock them up for a good while. For a time, Love's future in Minnesota looked uncertain, but according to the SI story, Love will be in line for a max extension. Rose will likely garner one as well. And with the way Westbrook is playing, he might be getting the big payday too.

But what if they are really serious about playing together? Like Love alluded to, when will that time come? Westbrook and Love are former teammates, having played together at UCLA where they went to a Final Four. Rose is one of Westbrook's very good friends and evidently good pals with Love too.

The first question is, could Westbrook and Rose actually play together? It's really not that much different from Wade and LeBron honestly, except that Westbrook is five inches shorter than LeBron. But really, Westbrook is almost the same player except a little smaller and technically he plays a different position. Rose is similar to Wade except that he plays point guard. It might take some work but that would be about as fast and dynamic a backcourt as you'll ever see.

And of course then add in Kevin Love who is probably every bit as good as Bosh and you've got quite the core. Maybe it's not as super as the group in Miami but in five years? Westbrook, Love and Rose might be as equally household superstar names as Wade, Bosh and LeBron.

It's unlikely there's a fit for all three to join up, but Love and Westbrook could realistically pair up, most likely with the Thunder. Oklahoma City has some cap space coming up and with the uncertain situation of Jeff Green, there could be an opportunity there to snag Love.

But that, or the combination of the three, is of course is a long way off from happening. And there's a darn good chance it never actually comes to fruition. Love was probably just talking -- as he tends to do -- and said how the three discussed how fun it would be. Right now Westbrook and Rose are in pretty good situations themselves so I'm sure they are thinking about any kind of ultimate trio at this point.

However, just for kicks let's assume that Oklahoma City is the "South Beach" all these guys take their talents to. Love, Westbrook, Rose and Kevin Durant? That would be an okay team I think.

Posted on: January 4, 2011 12:52 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 1:11 pm

Game Changer 1.4.11: A Minnesotan Comedy

Posted by Matt Moore.

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.


Act One: The Wolves Seize the Day

The Wolves took control on the back of solid jump shooting and good defense. Kevin Love's 24 rebounds were the most anyone has ever snagged in TD Northbank Gardens, but it was solid defense on Minnesota's part that forced enough misses to allow for those. At least until the fourth quarter. The Wolves' bench outscored Boston's, which doesn't happen very often, even with Boston banged up. Martell Webster and Wesley Johnson were slinging it, and knocking them down, looking very much like a solid jump-shooting component.  The Wolves played solid, the Wolves played strong, the Wolves ... forgot all about those things when the fourth quarter showed up. 

Act Two: The Celtics Do As Celtics Do

You already know the tale, but I'll share it with you, regardless. Ray Allen got open, despite being the one guy on the club you don't ever want open, not if a meteor rips the top half of the arena off. Luke Ridnour turned in a terrible quarter that only got worse, and the Celtics' defense clamped down. The Wolves kept going to Beasley, who kept scoring, but then would let things like Pekovic jumpers happen. The wheels were spinning off pretty fast, but were still on until Paul Pierce hit a pull-up transition three. That made an eight point lead five. When that happens, the Celtics know there's blood in the water. 

Act Three: A Comedy of Likely Errors

Rajon Rondo hit a jumper, prompting Celtics announcer Tommy Heinsohn to yell in mockery "Oh, Rondo can't shoot! Rondo can't score! Sorry!" in quite possibly the most obnoxious impersonation of a drunken buffoon, ever.  In related news, on the possession following Rondo's push of the Celtics' lead to three, he clanged a completely wide open jumper. Heinsohn said nothing. Kevin Love grabbed the rebound (surprise!), and saw a Timberwolf jetting out ahead of the pack in transition. So there's Love, arguably the best outlet passer in the game, with a wide-open layup-maker waiting for him to drop the ball in the lap of.  Kurt Rambis called timeout. 

Rambis did nothing wrong.  That's what you should do there. Advance the ball. Make sure you get a solid shot. Granted, those of us in our comfy chairs would probably say you have a better chance with Kevin Love throwing an outlet in traffic than having Kurt Rambis draw up a good game winning shot. But that's neither here nor there. It just speaks to the sad reality of how doomed the Wolves were in this game. 

After the timeout, Rambis actually called a pretty great play. Drawing the attention on Beasley, Luke Ridnour slipped underneath the wall of coverage the Celtics had put up and had a wide open path to the bucket.  Wide. Open. So of course Ridnour proceeded to have his oft layup blocked into the 9th row by Ray Allen (that's right, Ray Allen), but not before he traveled upon receiving the pass. It would have been painful, were it not so hilarious. 

And that, as they say, is how the West was won. In the East. And not, like, the Western Conference. Just this game. That phrase doesn't really work here.  

Much like the Timberwolves


LeBron James: 38 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists


Monta Ellis: 20 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists

Hedo Turkoglu: 10 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists


See, if the Warriors could just convince the officials to stop the games at halftime, they'd be set. Days after a massive collapse against the Miami Heat, the Warriors were at it again, leading by 9 at half, then losing by a huge margin in the second. They were outscored 66-37 in the second half, as the Magic unloaded from the arc, hitting 12 of 21 threes in the 2nd. It's bizarre to see a team let off the gas that much, to collapse that poorly, in consecutive games. If you're Keith Smart, this is a nightmare, and something difficult to correct. But they need to, and fast. 


Houston is unable to get any stops when they need to. They had a good lock on their game against the Nuggets, but just kept slipping on banana peels and letting Denver score at will. The feel of the game was Houston's, the shooting percentages were Denver's. 

When Miami  has LeBron James and Dwyane Wade going? It's as fearsome as we predicted. It's the Bobcats, but still. 

As much as everyone's concerned about the Jazz, Al Jefferson is starting to get it. 16 points, 8 rebounds on 7-13 shooting, and every game he and Deron Williams figure out more about one another.
Posted on: January 3, 2011 8:49 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2011 2:31 pm

David Kahn predicts Darko will be an NBA All-Star

Minnesota Timberwolves President David Kahn predicts center Darko Milicic will be an NBA All-Star in the future. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Minnesota Timberwolves President David Kahn is well known for saying and doing things that don't make any sense, and he was up to his old tricks once again during Monday night's Fox Sports North telecast of the Timberwolves' game against the Boston Celtics.

During the second quarter, Kahn joined Tom Hanneman and Jim Petersen to chat about a number of topics. The conversation eventually turned to center Darko Milicic, a player whose name has become virtually synonymous with draft bust, but whom Kahn gave a massive contract to last summer. Here's how the conversation unfolded.
Petersen: "Darko Milicic has also been a huge find. He's been a great influence on this team. The size of Darko Milicic against Shaquille O'Neal is so unbelievably handy in this ballgame, you can see what Darko is becoming. He's come a long way and I think you guys have a lot of credit to be had for bringing Darko here to Minnesota."
Kahn: "Thank you, Jim, but I met with Darko today because I hadn't talked to him in awhile, and I think there's just still so much more to come. And I think that we expect it out of him. It's not enough, is what I'm trying to say. We think that Darko can actually get to sort of a near All-Star if not All-Star level. There's not a lot of quality centers in our sport. There's no reason to think that a year from now if Darko were to continue his trajectory upwards, he couldn't be in the mix about a year from now for the All-Star game."
Petersen: "All you've got to do is look at the Western Conference ballot for the All-Star game and see that there's not a lot of good centers. Darko's got a chance to be a very good center in the Western Conference."

Can't believe your eyes reading that transcript? Watch the video to hear the exchange for yourself.

Previously, of course, Kahn referred to Milicic as "manna from heaven," so perhaps we shouldn't be that surprised by this bold declaration. Still, it's ridiculous. Milicic will never, ever, ever be voted in by the fans, and the coaches who select the All-Star reserves are notorious for favoring players from winning teams or those with big numbers. 

On the season, Milicic is averaging 9.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 24.2 minutes per game. The Timberwolves sported a 9-25 record entering Monday night's game against the Celtics. 

In case you were wondering, the Timberwolves franchise has only had four separate players selected to an All-Star game during its 22 seasons of existence, and hasn't had an NBA All-Star since 2007, when Kevin Garnett was selected.
Posted on: December 30, 2010 10:53 am

Wolves are eyeing Randolph; Knicks want Ridnour?

Posted by Royce Young

The Knicks have been hunting for a backup point guard for some time now. And as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com wrote yesterday, a candidate for some time has been Sebastian Telfair. The Wolves are said to want Anthony Randolph back in the deal who has been sitting for the most part on the end of the bench in New York.

Except it looks like the Knicks are more interested in the player Minnesota isn't that comfortable giving up. As Berger wrote yesterday, Luke Ridnour is off the table in trade talks with New York, but a report from Newsday says that the Knicks would consider moving Randolph if the deal included Ridnour, or a draft pick instead of Telfair.

What, Bassy Telfair ain't good enough for you, Donnie Walsh?

But you can certainly see New York's side of this. Randolph is a talent. No matter what he's done so far, the dude's talented. And as badly as the Knicks want a backup point guard for Raymond Felton, they aren't ready to just settle on Telfair for Randolph. The Wolves have stockpiled a good number of draft picks over the past year or so, so maybe this is where Walsh says he can get that first-round pick from. And as any good general manager should, he has his eye on the better player in Ridnour, instead of Telfair.

Telfair has played a decent amount so far this season, appearing in 25 games and averaging just over 20 minutes. But the reason he's seen even that much playing time is because Jonny Flynn has been out with the hip issue. Now that Flynn is on his way back, Telfair is going to find the end of the bench a bit more.

Ridnour has played a bit more of a central role, starting in 25 of the 28 games for the Wolves. He's having a very Ridnour-like season, averaging over 11 points and five assists. He's always been a poor man's Steve Nash so Mike D'Anonti probably would love to get him into New York's system.

This is just another one of those crossroads for David Kahn. Telfair is obviously the player he'd rather deal, considering Ridnour was a free agent signed in the offseason. And is Randolph worth that and a pick? Maybe. The thing Kahn has to consider is that including Ricky Rubio, he's got like 18 point guards under contract right now. All of them can't play at once.

But maybe this is an opportunity for Minnesota to add more straight talent. The Wolves acquired another gifted lefty in Michael Beasley for a measley second-round pick but it's going to take more from New York because the Knicks aren't trying to dump anything and everything like the Heat.

Again, Berger said right now, Ridnour is off the table. But at some point, Kahn might have to reconsider.
Posted on: December 29, 2010 5:32 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:53 pm

LeBron James offends Harris with contraction talk

Miami Heat forward LeBron James made comments concerning contraction and New Jersey Nets point guard Devin Harris, and Harris is reportedlydevin-harris"offended." Posted by Ben Golliver Last week, Miami Heat forward LeBron James really stepped in it, advocating for the contraction of NBA teams to achieve a league that more closely resembled the NBA of the 1980s. Clearly, he was misguided. Shortly after making his comments, James tried to back off, but the damage was done. As you might recall, James singled out the Minnesota Timberwolves and New Jersey Nets in his comments, saying, "I’m just looking at some of the teams that are not that great. You take Brook Lopez or you take Devin Harris off teams that are not that good right now and add them to a team that could be really good. I’m not saying let’s take New Jersey, let’s take Minnesota out of the league. But hey, you guys are not stupid. I’m not stupid, but I know what would be great for the league.” Harris, to no one's great surprise, wasn't particularly thrilled about the nature of the comments and the specific mention of the Nets and himself in James' argument for contracting the league. Indeed, NJ.com reports that Harris was "offended" by James' comments.
“For him to talk about us specifically was a little offensive,’’ Harris said after practice, and before the Nets left for Oklahoma City for tonight’s game against the Thunder. “I mean, from a business standpoint ... what’s best, we’re still trying to figure this out. But (James is) in the mind-set of, ‘Let’s just team everybody up with stars and kind of duke it out,’ which, it kind of was like that in previous ages, but who’s to say what’s best for the league.’’
Kudos to Harris for accomplishing a very rare feat in the NBA: standing up to LeBron James publicly. James' comments in general were ridiculous, and the fact that he included specific teams and players pushed them past the "reckless" threshold.  Not that he cares. For more reaction to the idea of contraction from small-market teams, check out Matt Moore's piece with Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Posted on: December 29, 2010 2:31 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:53 pm

Timberwolves to pursue O.J. Mayo trade

The Minnesota Timberwolves are reportedly considering a push to trade for Memphis Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo. Posted by Ben Golliveroj-mayo
CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports that the Minnesota Timberwolves are considering trading for Memphis Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo.
CBSSports.com has learned that the Wolves plan to make a push to acquire Memphis guard O.J. Mayo, whose rights they traded to the Grizzlies on draft night in 2008 in the deal that brought Love to Minnesota. Mayo is frustrated coming off the bench in Memphis and "needs a change," according to one person familiar with the situation. The Wolves envision Mayo playing in the backcourt next season alongside Rubio, who according to a person familiar with the situation has given team officials his word that he will join the Wolves next season. The buyout that Minnesota must pay FC Barcelona is down to $1 million, but it's not clear how Rubio's decision could be affected by a lockout. Even if Rubio comes to Minnesota, there's no guarantee he'll thrive immediately.
On the night of the 2008 NBA Draft, the Timberwolves swapped Mayo, who they selected No. 3 overall, to the Memphis Grizzlies for power forward Kevin Love, the No. 5 overall selection as part of a larger 8-player trade . Mayo was one of the most highly-touted high school players of the past decade, but has so far failed to live up to those monstrous expectations as an NBA player. Still, he's a physical, skilled guard who is still on his rookie deal, an intriguing trade target because of his reasonable contract number ($4.5 million this season) and his ability to score and defend two positions in the backcourt.  While Mayo started every game during his first two years in the NBA, he has been used off the bench by the Grizzlies this season. His minutes have taken a big hit -- down from 38 per game in his first two years to 28.8 per game this season -- and his numbers, as you might expect, have dropped across the board. He is averaging 13.1 points, 2.5 assists, 1.8 assists and shooting 42.1% from the field, off his career averages of 17.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 44.4% shooting. To be frank, the Timberwolves need all the help they can get. At 8-24, they sit in last place in the Northwest Division, and own the second worst record in the Western Conference. They rate 21st in offensive efficiency and 29th in defensive efficiency, and they have a gaping hole at two guard. Forward Michael Beasley has added a scoring punch since the Timberwolves traded for him this summer, but it hasn't been enough to compensate for the team's pathetic backcourt. Mayo would theoretically add a much-needed talent infusion over the team's only true off guard, Wayne Ellington. Minnesota doesn't have much talent or much hope this season, but they do have flexibility to take on salary at the deadline, an uncommon commodity in the NBA that has been exploited well by teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder in recent years. The Timberwolves are in the unique position of not having a single contract over $5 million on their books. (Indeed, the Timberwolves are the only team in the NBA not to carry a single contract over $10 million this seaso n, let alone $5 million.) And, since Minnesota is well under the cap, a trade for Mayo could happen in a variety of ways, including a trade that sends back only future draft considerations rather than a player (and his salary). The Timberwolves also have a glut on the wings, including Corey Brewer, Martell Webster and rookie Wesley Johnson, so if they do make a trade deadline deal(s) it wouldn't be surprising to see one of those guys moved. Here's more from Berger on this week's CBSSports.com's NBA Drive . "I'm told, very interestingly, that the Minnesota Timberwolves that have kind of been in stabilization mode in evaluating the roster are going to explore trading for O.J. Mayo," Berger says. "He's a player they drafted originally in 2008 and sent him to Memphis in the trade that sent Kevin Love to Minnesota. That's something they are going to explore. They are in a little bit of a process now evaluating their roster, but that's a move that they have in mind and that they are going to pursue."
Posted on: December 23, 2010 11:17 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2010 11:25 pm

LeBron James misguided in contraction yapping

King James wants to destroy multiple fanbases in the NBA in pursuit of a return to the 80's.  Posted by Matt Moore

Akron's favorite son apparently hadn't done enough damage to the small-market Cavaliers. After leaving them high and dry in free agency on national television without so much as a text for a heads up, and then returning to a rabid chorus of boos only to detonate them on their home floor, LeBron has pretty much buried Cleveland as a franchise in rubble over the past six months. 

Now he's kicking the dirt over the leftovers. 

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that LeBron spoke to reporters prior to Thursday night's Heat game in Phoenix and managed to support contraction without saying contraction (always the delicate soundbyte for LeBron): 

“Hopefully the league can figure out one day how it can go back to the situation like it was in the ‘80s,” James said. “… The league was great. It wasn’t as watered down as it is. You had more [star] players on a team, which made almost every game anticipated -- not just a Christmas Day game, not just a Halloween game. I don’t ever think it’s bad for the league when guys decide that they want to do some greatness for the better of what we call a team sport. 

“I’m a player," James said, "but that’s why the league was so great. You can just imagine if you could take Kevin Love off Minnesota and add him to another team and you shrink the guys … I’m just looking at some of the teams that are not that great. You take Brook Lopez or you take Devin Harris off teams that are not that good right now and add them to a team that could be really good. I’m not saying let’s take New Jersey, let’s take Minnesota out of the league. But hey, you guys are not stupid. I’m not stupid, but I know what would be great for the league.”
via LeBron: Contraction would be 'great' for NBA - CBSSports.com.

So LeBron thinks that the teams which are "not that great" should be contracted. Getting past the question of whether or not he's flirting with tampering with Kevin Love, Brook Lopez, and Devin Harris, it's pretty easy to make the argument that Cleveland's going to be "not that great" for the foreseeable future... since LeBron left. With the 17th biggest media market, you'd think that Cleveland would be safe. But if we're eliminating the Nets in this scenario, we're killing off a team soon to inhabit Brooklyn. Cleveland's got to be on the eventual list of targets should the league begin to contract. 

And speaking of the Nets in this scenario, how is James' friend Jay-Z going to feel about his buddy not only turning him down in summer, but then suggesting his team should be contracted?  Jay-Z's invested in the Nets, has pitched players as an owner, and yet his one-time supposed protoge is discussing simply disintegrating his team and selling off the pieces for parts. That's got to make for a few awkward texts. 

Regardless, my colleague Ken Berger thinks that LeBron's right and that contraction is a great idea, that it would create more talent on the teams that exist, with multiple stars.  But in the 80's when we had that wonderful time, we didn't really. The Lakers did, as they do now. Back then they had Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Mychal Thompson, and Michael Cooper. Now they have Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest, Andrew Bynum, and Derek Fisher. The Celtics did, as well. with Larry Bird, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, Bill Walton, and Dennis Johnson. The Celtics now have Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Shaquille O'Neal, Kendrick Perkins, and Nate Robinson. And if we contracted? Those same teams would have even more All-Stars, leading to more Boston versus LA battles. But would it make the rest of the league better? 

You had the Sixers at that time, a fading dynasty with Julius Erving, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney, and Moses Malone. You had the Houston Rockets with Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson. But really, it was just LA and Boston who were great teams.  And the same would happen now. You might have New York or Chicago use their market influence to make a push, but in reality, you'd still have what you have now. Three teams with championship potential, and a bunch of Washington Generals wandering around. 

David Stern has been clear throughout the CBA process that changes must be made to revenue sharing in an effort to improve competitive balance. The problem isn't these teams dragging the league down, the problem is how difficult it is for small market teams to succeed. They can, they just have to be nearly flawless, as the Spurs have been. And big market teams can fail, but they have to be steeped with horrific decisions to not prosper, as in the case of the Knicks over the past decade and the Clippers over the past ... forever. 

When James says he wants to contract teams that are "not that great" he's basically playing on what's going on at this very moment. For example, if Glen Taylor were to either sell the Timberwolves, or move David Kahn for a GM with a more competent plan outside of "Boy, I hope Ricky Rubio is awesome" then Kevin Love may not be wasted at all in Minnesota in a year. When the Nets move to Brooklyn and can attract free agents with a new arena in the Burroughs, things are likely to turn around. What then? Do we then contract whoever's bad that point? If the Suns tank after Steve Nash retires, do we eliminate the Suns? What if the Blazers sink to the bottom as their injury history mounts to a breaking point? 

There are legitimate economic reasons to contract, including the viability of the league in markets which may not be big enough to support it. But simply in an attempt to create more great teams? We'll simply be making elite teams more elite, perpetuating the problem. 

Here's a better idea. With the most obnoxious free agency ever perpetrated by their three stars, followed by the most disappointing two months of basketball in NBA history and the team clearly a step behind the Celtics in pursuit of a championship, why don't we talk about sending those star players elsewhere? Why don't we talk about contracting the Heat. Maybe then James will give pause before he starts trying to advance his reign through the elimination of entire fanbases. 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com