Tag:Minnesota Timberwolves
Posted on: October 1, 2010 1:46 pm
 

Ricky Rubio's folks aren't big Wolves fans

Spanish star's parents rumored to not be thrilled about vacation getaway with Wolves owner. Posted by Matt Moore

Okay, so this story is going to get blown out of proportion. I'm going to go ahead and put that out there right now. It's not a big deal. Not by itself. It's only within context that this story has any weight whatsover. Courtesy of ProBasketballTalk , Alan Hahn of Newsday reports that Glen Taylor has been trying to arrange a meeting while the team is on a European exhibition trip with Ricky Rubio's parents. Rubio's parents apparently aren't interested in meeting with Taylor.

Burn.

Okay, so it's a New York media member saying it, so you have to take it with a grain of salt. Especially when Hahn asks if they'd meet with the Knicks. And again, alone? It's no big deal. Maybe they have work going on, or family in town or hey, Spain's just really nice this year and who needs Paris anyway? Forget Paris !

But it's more concerning in the context of how Rubio has resisted the Wolves since draft night . There's been a litany of events in which Rubio or his family have resisted contact with the Wolves. Sometimes it's less what's been said, but what hasn't been. Then again, Wolves officials and fans insist that everything is cool and it's all just the media blowing things out of proportion. The fact is, we won't be able to settle this issue until Rubio finally comes to the US... or, you know, doesn't.

Posted on: September 28, 2010 2:09 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2010 2:09 pm
 

Kevin Love has MRI on knee

Posted by Royce Young

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love has left training camp in Mankato to return to Minneapolis for an MRI on his right knee.

Love was experiencing discomfort and swelling in the knee on Monday night, and the Timberwolves sent him back home Tuesday for an examination. Coach Kurt Rambis says he isn’t sure how serious the injury is, and he’s also unaware how Love was hurt.

Love averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves last season, but that came in just 28 minutes a game. Per minute, he's one of the most productive players in the league. He also bumped his stock with a couple strong performances for Team USA in Turkey during the World Championships.

Hopefully it's nothing serious for Love because with Al Jefferson moving to Utah, finally Love was going to have a chance to get the starting power forward position all to himself. Michael Beasley appears to be slated to start at small forward, meaning that Love might finally get some of the court time he deserves.

Posted on: September 22, 2010 3:43 pm
 

Preseason Primers: Timberwolves

Posted by Royce Young

Minnesota continues to be an odd place of transition. No one really knows what's going on in the front office and it doesn't really seem like anyone inside the fanbase really cares at this point. While the outside world criticizes David Kahn, Wolves fans remain faithful. They're already said they aren't contenders, but can they at least be decent? Not likely.


Training camp site: Mankato, MN

Training camp starts: Sept. 25

Key additions: Wesley Johnson (draft), Michael Beasley (trade), Luke Ridnour (free agent), Martell Webster (trade)

Key subtractions: Ramon Sessions (trade), Al Jefferson (trade), Ryan Gomes (free agent)

Likely starting lineup: Jonny Flynn, PG; Wesley Johnson, SG; Corey Brewer, SF; Kevin Love, PF; Darko Milicic, C

Player to watch: Michael Beasley. Supposedly, Beasley has had a basketball rebirth. David Kahn said Beasley is off smoking pot and has regained focus in Minnesota. Everyone knows Beasley has serious basketball ability. He was one of the most dominant college freshmen ever. But it hasn't translated yet. With a new situation and a new view on basketball, maybe he starts to find his way.

KAAAAAAAAHN?: KAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHN!!!

Camp battles: Kevin Love has quietly been a little miffed with his role in Minnesota saying he felt more valuable to Team USA than to the Wolves. Right now, it's looking like he'll start. But Michael Beasley could push him for the spot.

Biggest strength: Transparency and honesty! Just kidding. But seriously, they've already pretty much admitted they're going to stink, so why should anyone else think different. The one thing the Wolves might do well is run the floor. They brought in Luke Ridnour to lead that charge and there's a good amount of athleticism on the wings in Corey Brewer, Wes Johnson and Beasley to get out in transition.

Glaring weakness: Scoring. Who puts the ball in the basket for the Wolves? Corey Brewer has shown flashes of being able to score, but on a mediocre team he would be the third or fourth option. And in Minny you're telling me he's the primary? Oh boy.

Jonny Flynn can create and score a little, same goes for Ridnour, Wayne Ellington can shoot, Martell Webster can put it in the basket some and we don't really know about Wesley Johnson. For the most part, it's a cast of average to below average scorers at best, so finding points could be difficult for the Wolves.
Posted on: September 17, 2010 10:49 am
 

Michael Beasley: "We are the team to beat"

Posted by Royce Young

Since moving to Minnesota, according to his general manager, Michael Beasley has supposedly given up his old habits. And by "old habits," I think you know what I mean.

But then he goes and says something like this which makes you think maybe he hasn't.
"Honestly, and I know a lot of people are not going to like that fact that I'm going to say this but I think we are the team to beat," Beasley told Timberwolves.com in an interview. "You know, that's just me and my ego speaking. I think the Lakers are the defending champs two years in a row, I think the Lakers still hold that title. It's nice to see somebody try to fight back but as of now, the Lakers are still the team to beat."
So you are the team to beat, but then you're not? You have to admire Beasley's confidence though. And as a player, why shouldn't you think your team will be good? It's not very fun to go into a season admitting you're going to stink. But even despite egos and confidence, most people still have some sense of reality, something Beasley evidently does not.

But on one hand, you have the Timberwolves writing open letters admitting they aren't going to be winning anything important any time soon, then on the other, a player is saying they're the best team out there. One of those left hand doesn't know what the right is doing sort of things, huh?

Say it again with me just for fun - Minnesota Timberwolves: the team to beat in 2010-11.
Posted on: September 16, 2010 9:09 am
 

Shootaround 9.16.10: Hack a Shaq

Posted by Royce Young
  • Shaquille O'Neal has been accused of computer hacking and throwing evidence in a lake, according to Radar Online . One of Shaq's former employees named Shawn Darling is the one making the accusations. It's a pretty long and messed up situation, but here's the gist: "At the time, Shaq was having an affair with hip-hop singer Alexis Miller who ended up accusing him of harassment and stalking. Shaq later settled with Miller. The lawsuit alleges, "O'Neal told Darling that Alexis Miller had obtained a restraining order and that O'Neal said could not remember what he sent to Miller by way of text messaging and E-mail." According to the suit, Shaq asked Darling to retrieve every email and text message that he sent Miller-as well as all of Shaq's phone records-- so that he could be aware of what he was dealing with."
  • It's the basketball equivalent of a pitch count. Yao Ming will be limited to 24 minutes a night says Jonathan Feigan of the Houston Chronicle: "Yao’s playing time will not average 24 minutes; it will end there. If he plays 22 minutes in one game, he will not play 26 the next. For that matter, if he plays two minutes one game, he will not play 26 the next. When Yao reaches his 24 minutes, he will be through for that game."
  • George Karl to the Denver Post: "To me, my job is to, anytime I talk to Melo . . . it's to convince him that we won 53 games last year and I think we're very capable of being a lot better than we were last year," Karl told reporters. "Some of the bombs that hit our team injury-wise and my situation, I think we kind of need to stay together, in my opinion. It's pretty easy: Stay together and figure it out. Right now, I don't think Melo is going to be calling me for advice. Fortunately, it's not my job to probably call him to talk about that situation. My job is to talk about basketball."
  • Should Bill Laimbeer coach the Pistons? Patrick Hayes of Piston Powered says no: "I care about legacy. Being a head coach in Detroit would be bad for Laimbeer’s legacy, because he would get fired. I don’t know how long he’d last. And given the right roster (i.e. not the current roster), he might even find a mix of players he could have success with. But there’s a good chance that things wouldn’t end well (see: Trammell, Alan). What I dislike is the assumption that just because Laimbeer was a tough player who is beloved by fans that he’d naturally make a good coach. Even with titles in the WNBA, he hasn’t proven enough as a coach, motivator or understander of the modern player to deserve that assumption." And it appears there's a rebuttal from Bill Laimbeer's daughter in the comments as well.
  • David Kahn, writing a letter to fans. In it, he tries to explain the reason to give Darko $20 million: "Telling Darko how important he could be to our future while offering him a contract that represents a major paycut was a delicate dance.  Darko understood this, too, and thus was willing to allow us some financial protection in the final year of his deal if things didn’t work out.  But let me be clear:  we think they will work out."
Posted on: September 14, 2010 9:07 am
Edited on: September 14, 2010 9:09 am
 

Transparency and honesty in Minnesota

Posted by Royce Young

When one regime turns over to another whether it be in sports, politics or something in between, often times during that introductory speech, the new figurehead preaches transparency. It's a fun word to toss around and it definitely makes you sound like you mean business.

When you're being transparent, you're being honest. You're being forthright. You're being clear in your message. There's no spin. There's no lying. And most importantly, there's no withholding pertinent information.

But can anyone really be transparent?

The Minnesota Timberwolves are proclaiming that's their mission. They made that pledge to fans in a full-page ad in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune Monday, using words like "transparency" and "brutal honesty." For example:

"We now have more shooting, athleticism and depth at every position, which will make us a better team this season. So will we challenge for the NBA championship this year? Not likely. Ouch. This honesty thing is a bit painful. But the reality is, we still need that one dominant player."

I don't know if that's so much honesty as it is common knowledge. I don't think any Wolves fan out, even the most borderline insane ones, would really believe they have the pieces to contend for a championship. Another prime section:

"There’s been a lot of talk this off-season. The naysayers certainly have been vocal. And while we can understand a certain amount of skepticism, we know we’ve turned the corner. And we’re anxious to get after that first tipped ball so we can start to prove it. Enough talk. It’s time to play. Oh, wait. We forgot to talk about Rubio. Next time. "

You've got to give them credit for at least mentioning Rubio. But what exactly are they going to "prove" this year? I thought they just got done explaining how this is a process and that they might not really be any better.

But what would this ad be without a bit of actual advertising.

"We are confident, however, that this team will be exciting to watch. For the first time in years Wolves fans are going to fell like they’re missing out if they aren’t in the arena. So in addition to player development we’re working hard on fan development, starting with variable pricing and Flex Pack ticket packages that let you pick the games and seats that you want. The bottom line for fans is: We’re making it easier than ever for you to be part of our turnaround."

Translation: Please come to our games. Please. We're young! We're fast! We're going to run! We may stink, but darn it, we might be exciting!

What the Wolves did is smart. They are trying to beat people to the punch. Basically, in a full-page ad they admitted to their fan base that they are going to stink. Why else do it?

It's a different kind of PR. It's the kind where you try and turn yourself back as the good guy by admitted that you've done wrong. But you're fixing it. You're committed to making things better. And we're going to do it by keeping you informed, by being transparent. It's a major part of what Barack Obama promised when he took office. We're going to be honest with the people.

The Wolves are trying to regain the faith of their fan base. Most questioned the moves over the last 18 months or so, so this is an effort to build back some trust. Interesting approach if anything else.

But if they were actually being brutally honest as they claim, they wouldn't say things like, "Will we challenge for the NBA championship this year? Not likely." They'd say, "Will we make the playoffs? Not likely. Will we win 30 games? Not likely. Heck, will we win 20? Umm... hopefully. Will we maybe be good in three years? For the sake of our employment, we're saying yes." Now that's honesty.
Category: NBA
Posted on: September 6, 2010 2:22 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2010 3:30 pm
 

Pop Quiz: When does Carmelo Anthony get moved?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

When does Carmelo Anthony get traded?

First, a different question: Does Carmelo Anthony get traded? Based on multiple reports from Ken Berger, Ric Bucher and Adrian Wojnarowski, all signs point to yes. New Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri is trying to convince Anthony to stay, but unless he plans on using some Jedi mind tricks, it sounds like Melo is taking off. Chauncey Billups plans on having a conversation with Anthony once he returns from Turkey, but it's not likely to work.

So we're going on the assumption he does get moved. The Nuggets need to trade Anthony, otherwise they're facing the same situation the Raptors and Cavaliers faced this past offseason. They don't want their superstar to walk without getting anything in return. And the longer they wait, they less they can get in return. So the Nuggets have the most leverage now.

I don't know if you realize this, but training camp starts in about three weeks. So if the Nuggets are going to get Anthony traded, they've got to get moving. There really isn't a pro to waiting until the trade deadline to deal Anthony, other than hopefully during that time you can convince him to sign that three-year extension. Other than that, there's nothing that is to be gained. Other teams know the Nuggets hand is being forced, so they know they can offer less and get more. If Denver trades Anthony sooner than later, there's more potential for a better return.

As Ken Berger said, the Nuggets are likely set to unravel, with or without Melo. The window is closing on Denver, so getting something done to try and look ahead to the future is pretty necessary.

So when does Carmelo get traded, since I think we've settled on the fact he will be? If you have an office pool going, I'm not going to give you a specific date, but here are the odds for four different time periods.

Before the season (2/1)
Nothing makes more sense for both parties involved. The sooner Denver trades him, the more they get. But I think I've been over that. Probably like 15 times. And Carmelo would be wise to push for a deal sooner than later. A big hangup could be the looming CBA coming next summer, so Anthony wants to get into his new digs and get started hammering out a new contract extension before that hits.

Plus, the market is broader the earlier you trade. A team that might not be a contender to re-sign Anthony could have a shot at using this season to convince him their franchise is the right fit. Maybe he's lukewarm on Sacramento and the Kings makes a deal to get him. Not only do they have a fun 2010-11 campaign, but potentially this is an audition to get him inked long term. More than likely Carmelo goes somewhere he is ready to sign, but the point is, the earlier the trade, the wider the opportunity.

By Christmas (4/1)
Waiting two months and then dealing Anthony? Not the best choice, but it's better than waiting any longer. Maybe Denver waits in order to try and convince Carmelo to stay. It's a little risky, but other teams might want to wait to see if not only Anthony would fit in well with whatever kind of push they're making, but also to try and give up less to get the Nuggets' star.

At the deadline (10/1)
What's the pro to waiting until the deadline? Well, I guess Denver might be able to get half a season of winning in their pocket and with the trade, still try and make the playoffs. But this scenario is just unlikely. If Denver is going to deal Anthony, trading at the February deadline probably makes the least amount of sense. You get less, you don't get a full season with Anthony and you limit your trade market to only the teams that know they can get Anthony re-signed.

After the season via sign-and-trade (25/1)
For Denver, this makes more sense than waiting until the deadline simply because you just bought yourself 82 more games with Carmelo (and maybe more than that). Plus, you get a season to try and win Anthony back, and then a little bit of the offseason to bring in new players with the cap room the Nuggets will have to hammer the point home.

But this is the highest risk scenario. If you don't convince Anthony to re-sign, you're faced with the LeBron/Bosh situation. Your star is leaving and all you're getting back is a second-round pick and maybe a trade exception. You get the least in return because your hand has been forced. In some ways, I see this as the most likely situation because things tend to play out this way, but in another, the Nuggets just watched an offseason where the Raptors and Cavs got burned. They don't want to be the next victim.

And just for fun, let's rank the teams he might be headed to. So far, about half the league has been tossed out as a potential landing zone. We've heard the Timberwolves, the Kings, the Warriors, the Clippers, the Knicks, the Magic, the Rockets and the Nets. Here are my top five contenders:

1. Houston Rockets
The Rockets are the favorite in my mind, because it makes the most sense all the way around. Houston is a contender with Anthony, something he wants. Houston is still a large TV market, something he wants. The Rockets can trade back quality pieces to Denver, something the Nuggets want. And Daryl Morey gets the star bedrock piece, something he desperately wants.

Anthony likely wants bigger lights for him and his celebrity wife to head to, but a lot of it comes down to what Denver can get back. I'm sure Anthony prefers New York or Los Angeles to anywhere else, but it's about finding a proper trade partner for the Nuggets. And the Rockets can give a quality return while Anthony gets a good city and good franchise.

2. New Jersey Nets
Carmelo was birthed in Brooklyn. The Nets are moving to Brooklyn. Hey, I'm just putting it all together here.

Of course there's the Jay-Z connection which seems to be a draw to pretty much every young star player. But not only that, new owner Mikhail Prokhorov has a stupid amount of money and toys that could entice Anthony. The Nets have a new arena coming, new ownership and potentially even a new name on the way. Anthony could be The Face of the rebuilt New Jersey franchise, which has to be intriguing. Plus, he would basically be in New York, somewhere that he wants to be.

The Nets have the necessary assets to reel in the Nuggets. Brook Lopez is probably out of the question, but there's Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, Terrence Williams and Troy Murphy. All of those could be something that Denver would want to pull the trigger on.

3. New York  Knicks
It's not just that Carmelo wants to be in the Big Apple, it's that he wants to be the face of basketball in the basketball holy land. Save the Knicks, save basketball in New York and you're hoops royalty. What player would want to do that? Well, other than LeBron James I guess.

The issue with the Knicks is having the pieces to get a deal done. Whatever New York offers, it won't be as good as what New Jersey, Houston or a number of other teams can do. And the Nuggets aren't going to be in the thinking to do Anthony a favor and just trade him somewhere he wants. They want pieces or at least assets back, two things the Knicks don't have a lot of. But if Carmelo wants to be there bad enough and the Knicks know it, Donnie Walsh would have to put together some kind of package to get it done, even if that means he has to part with some of his prime young players.

4. Los Angeles Clippers
There isn't a team in the running that has available trade pieces that can compete with the Clippers. Chris Kaman, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, Baron Davis, Al Farouq-Aminu - any combination there would be almost impossible to turn away. Now Griffin is likely not going to be part of any trade, but Kaman, Aminu and Gordon would make for a fairly equal trade. So of Anthony's potential suitors, I would bet Denver prefers to talk to the Clippers first.

Obviously Melo would like to be in L.A., but he probably wants to be part of the other Los Angeles franchise. Playing for owner Donald Sterling and the hapless Clipper franchise isn't something basketball players dream of. But at the same time, going to the Clippers, building that franchise into a winner and competing for L.A. against the purple and gold would be something a real competitor would relish.

5. Denver Nuggets
They might be a major sleeper, but don't rule out the Nuggets. Most agree Anthony has already mentally left Denver, but people change their minds. Chris Paul already did it after Dell Demps sold him on a plan. Maybe Ujiri can do the same. Or maybe the Nuggets can't find a good trade buddy early on and in the first two months, Denver is winning and Carmelo is having a great time. Now that three-year extension doesn't look so bad anymore. You know how it goes, everybody can change.

Posted on: September 2, 2010 9:12 am
Edited on: September 2, 2010 9:47 am
 

Shootaround 9.2.10: Kevin Love and racial cliches

Posted by Royce Young
  • Kevin Ding of the O.C. Register writes that Byron Scott will one day coach the Lakers: "When you consider just how deeply and openly Scott is tied to the Lakers, not waiting and seeing makes little sense – until you understand that's exactly why he isn't waiting: Scott knows the Lakers so well that he trusts this isn't his only opportunity. And he's right. Scott will still be the Lakers' head coach someday, just not next year."
  • Matt Moore asked if the Knicks could make the playoffs yesterday and Toney Douglas says he'll be the man to lead them there: "Definitely," Douglas told The NY Post yesterday at Hayground School in Bridgehampton. "I feel like have a lot of talent. We just all have to be on one page and make sure everybody is totally on it. I feel we are a playoff team."
  • The Grizzlies are trying to let their fans knows they're serious: "The Grizzlies want fans to know that this season -- their 10th in Memphis -- is the one to really believe in. And the franchise is sending the message with a full-court billboard campaign. More than 80 billboards featuring Griz players were unveiled Wednesday in the Mid-South as the team attempts to generate more enthusiasm for the upcoming season."
  • Andre Iguodala, writing for the Philadelphia Daily News, says he's a little homesick: "(Yesterday) was really the first time I've thought about being away from home as long as I have. The reason is because they have been treating us so well ever since we left. We have a chef from Detroit who makes us some great stuff, we have a Nike suite that we all hang out in after games. All the guys on the team have gotten along really well so it doesn't seem so much like we're so far away from home, it's more like a long road trip in the NBA. There really can be no complaints. In Greece, the food was just OK, but in Spain we found restaurants that we liked and all is cool here."
  • Ben Polk of A Wolf Among Wolves hits the nail on the head: "Love tends to draw the kind of praise that we’ve come to understand as racially coded cliches. In the Worlds, Fran Fraschilla (who I should say right out front is a terrific analyst who understands the hell out of international basketball) busted out the full complement: Love is “your perfect teammate,” he is “smart” and “hardworking” and “unselfish”. These make him sound just like an unathletic, Big Ten white dude and I confess that they are part of the reason that I was a little disappointed when the Wolves picked him up. I mean, weren’t you just sick to death of hearing about how great an outlet passer this guy was?"
 
 
 
 
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