Tag:Minnesota Timberwolves
Posted on: August 4, 2010 8:49 am

Shootaround 8.4.10: The Z-Bo Conundrum

Posted by Matt Moore

  • Could Shaq be coming off the bench ? Sure, it makes sense, but the big guy has never come off the bench, not even last year in Cleveland. And there's been no indication that he's had some sort of ego-check over the past four months. It's much more likely that this could cause some friction off the bat. If the Celtics go on a losing streak, you're going to hear from O'Neal. The Shaq one. Not the Jermaine one. Man, this is going to get confusing.
  • The Grizzlies have a conundrum on their hands with Zach Randolph. Z-Bo wants a pricey new contract extension. The Grizzlies face a strict new CBA next year. The problem is that Randolph is Memphis' first All-Star since Pau Gasol and is credited with the lion's share of the success Memphis had last season. The fact that this is wholly incorrect (Marc Gasol's pinch post play and Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo's ability to spread the floor were what allowed Randolph room to work; Randolph is the tip of the spear) is irrelevant, his performance was clearly outstanding and he deserves a bump. But at his age, with his locker room concerns, and a hazy ceiling for this Grizzlies team, committing long-term may not be the best plan.
  • Magic Basketball lays out the comprehensive case for the prime of Tracy McGrady in NBA lore.
  • Roundball Mining Company reviews the Mark Warkentian era and comes to this conclusion: "The ultimate flaw in the Warkentien ear was the Nuggets inability to see the need to add another quality big man during the 2009-10 season." The lesson here is: It doesn't matter how much you build a team up, it's that one step back that kills you.
  • They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If Mike Wells is right , the Pacers are insane.

Posted on: July 29, 2010 1:59 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2010 1:57 pm

Offseason Reviews: Northwest Division

Posted by Royce Young

The Northwest Division has become one of the best and most competitive divisions in the league. There's rising teams, star power, a traditional great and then there's the Timberwolves. Regardless, it's a fairly fascinating groups of teams that all had quite different summers.

Utah Jazz

Added : Al Jefferson (trade), Raja Bell (free agency), Gordon Hayward (draft)
Lost : Kyle Korver (free agency), Ronnie Brewer (free agency), Carlos Boozer (free agency), Wesley Matthews

Philosophy : "Keep on keepin' on."

Lose one star player, replace him with another. It's just how this Jazz train keeps on a'rollin'. Utah scored Al Jefferson for relatively nothing and he replaces the exported Carlos Boozer quite well. The Jazz love that pick and roll and Jefferson should be able to team with Deron Williams to keep it at a high level. They also signed Raja Bell who is a pesky defensive player. However, losing Wesley Matthews stings a bit just because he was a rookie last year and appears to have a promising future ahead. But Utah just didn't want to pay the price tag to keep him.

Drafting Gordon Hayward certainly helps as he'll look to fill some of the void left by Matthews and Kyle Korver who signed with Chicago. This offseason was more of just scrambling to maintain in Utah and with the Jefferson deal, it looks like it should do that. A lot depends on the progression of Hayward because he'll see meaningful minutes, but the Jazz didn't let a mass exodus to Chicago burn down their walls.

Grade : B

Denver Nuggets

Added : Al Harrington (free agency), Shelden Williams (free agency), Brian Butch (free agency), George Karl's returned good health (hopefully)
Lost : Johan Petro (free agency), Malik Allen (free agency), Joey Graham (free agency)

Philosophy : "Staying good, but not great."

Denver is a team that feels like it's a piece away. Just one player to push them over the edge from good, competitive playoff team to great, actual contender team. So they signed Al Harrington. Is he that piece? Eh...

The reality is the Nuggets will be good. Their starting five has Chauncey Billups, Arron Afflalo, Carmelo Anthony, Harrington and Nene. That's pretty darn solid. Then instant offense with J.R. Smith off the bench, defense in Chris Andersen and quality players in Kenyon Martin and Ty Lawson. That's a pretty stout roster. But is that really good enough? This is clearly a 50-win team and it's destined for a top five seed in the West. But can it get to the Western Finals, which of course is the goal for a squad of this caliber? Again, eh...

Grade : C+

Portland Trail Blazers

Added : Luke Babbitt (draft), Eliot Williams (draft), Wesley Matthews (free agency), Marcus Camby (re-signed)
Lost : Martell Webster (trade), Juwan Howard (free agency), Travis Diener (free agency),

Philosophy : "Get right."

If there was a goal for the Blazers this offseason, it was simple. It wasn't to sign a big name or move up in the draft. It wasn't to restructure or make a big trade. It was just to get healthy.

Nobody dealt with the adversity Portland did last year. Greg Oden. Joel Pryzbilla. Brandon Roy. Nic Batum. Rudy Fernandez. All of those players missed at least some significant time because of an injury. And yet, the Blazers won 50 games and made the playoffs. That's... impressive.

But Portland didn't sit on its hands this summer. The Blazers re-signed Marcus Camby, who was huge for them down the stretch. The traded Martell Webster to grab Luke Babbitt, an extremely promising and gifted forward from Nevada. They inked Wesley Matthews to a big deal, who is someone that will give them a little scoring insurance and wing defender help. The turned over the front office and hopefully remedied any tense situations between ownership and management. Now there are talks they'll lose Fernandez who sees the logjam in the backcourt in Portland, but Matthews and Williams are worth replacements.

All in all, not a bad offseason for the Blazers. Is it enough to push ahead in the West? That depends on the factors that snuck up and bit them last year: health.

Grade : B+

Oklahoma City Thunder

Added : Cole Aldrich (trade/draft), Morris Peterson (trade), Royal Ivey (free agency), Daequan Cook (trade), Kevin Durant (contract extension)
Lost : Kevin Ollie (retirement), Etan Thomas (free agency), Kyle Weaver (waived)

Philosophy : "If you think it's good now, just wait until we grow up."

Most saw the Thunder's cap space and expected something. Something big. Something grand to take them from up-and-comer to favorite in the West. Maybe go grab Chris Bosh. Maybe make a run at Amar'e Stoudemire. Maybe flag down Carlos Boozer. Instead, Oklahoma City did what it does best: stuck to the plan.

Rather than blowing its extra cap room, OKC deferred to utilizing its assets to move up in the draft and fill a need from the ground up. This is a franchise that is absolutely committed to the long term and to player development. Most agreed the Thunder needed an tough, physical inside prescence to defend the paint and rebound. So what did they do? They went and got the best player at those two things in the draft in Cole Aldrich.

Another underrated move from OKC was acquiring Daequan Cook from Miami. The Heat were looking to dump any contract player to anyone to make room for basketball free agency apocolypse, so the Thunder got a former 3-point champ and shooting specialist at a discount price of a single second-round pick.

Oh, and one other thing: They signed Kevin Durant to a five-year extension. I'd say in terms of what the Thunder's goals were before the summer started and how it finished, they'd say mission accomplished.

Grade : B+

Minnesota Timberwolves

Added : Darko Milicic (re-signed), Michael Beasley (trade), Luke Ridnour (free agency), Delonte West (trade), Sebastian Telfair (trade), Lazar Hayward (draft), Kosta Koufos (trade), Martell Webster (trade), Wesley Johnson (draft),
Lost : Ramon Sessions (trade), Ryan Hollins (trade), Al Jefferson (trade), Delonte West (waived), Ryan Gomes (free agency), Damien Wilkins (free agency), Sasha Pavlovic (free agency), Brian Cardinal (free agency), Alando Tucket (waived), what remaining respect David Kahn had from media and fans of the NBA

Philosophy : "..."

Honestly, you know what David Kahn reminds me of a bit? Someone that likes playing fantasy football just so he can call other players, offer up deals, trade players and sign others off waivers. Sometimes it seems like Kahn makes moves just for the sake of not getting bored.

No one can determine a real plan from here. My best guess at what he's doing is trying to put together a roster Ricky Rubio likes and then build a team around that. That's all I can figure. They have a bunch of draft picks and some cap space, but those things aren't great when the man in charge doesn't know what to do with it.

What exactly is going on there though? What's the point of signing Sessions and then signing Ridnour just to trade Sessions? I don't get it. Basically Kahn traded a player he signed for $16 million for Sebastian Telfair. Huh? Then of course the Darko deal. What? Then drafting Wesley Johnson only to bring in a player via trade in Webster that plays the same position. Come again? Then trading Al Jefferson, the face of your franchise, for a couple draft picks. Excuse me?

There's just no rhyme or reason to all this right now. I have no idea what to grade it because I have no idea what the questions even are. Did they get better? I don't know. Did they get worse? I don't really know. Did they set themselves up for the future? I have no idea.

If Sam Presti and Daryl Morey are playing chess and everyone else is playing checkers, right now it looks like everyone else is playing checkers and David Kahn is playing duck-duck-goose.

Grade : D-
Posted on: July 26, 2010 9:20 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2010 9:24 pm

Cavs trade West, Telfair to Wolves for Sessions

Posted by Royce Young

The Cavaliers
have traded Delonte West and Sebastian Telfair to Minny for Ramon Sessions, Ryan Hollins and a future second-round pick, Brian Windhorst reports .
The second-round pick is in 2013.

Obviously this is something David Kahn and Minnesota have been trying to get done, especially after Luke Ridnour signed. By acquiring West now, his buyout is only $500,000. If he would've been grabbed by someone a few weeks later, his contract would've been guaranteed and a buyout would've cost a lot more.

It's slightly interesting Hollins was included in the deal. Minnesota pursued Hollins pretty hard last summer in free agency, pulling him from Dallas for a relatively small deal. But Hollins never found consistent playing time and with the Cavs being a roster in transition, this could be a nice move for him.

And by dealing Sessions, the Wolves basically swapped their two free agent signings from last summer for a contract that they can buy out and a third point guard. As always, Kahn's plan isn't easily deciphered in this deal.

Sessions is a player the Cavs have been actively trying to grab, or at least a player like him. New coach Byron Scott prefers an up-tempo attack and Sessions is a fast, high pace point guard. Mo Williams can likely slide into more of a combo guard role as Sessions commandeers the offense.
Posted on: July 23, 2010 4:39 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2010 6:01 pm

Kahn fined $50k for Beasley comments

Posted by Matt Moore

David Kahn's summer of love continues.

After giving Darko Milicic the gift of $20 million dollars, then giving Miami the gift of being able to sign a bunch of talented veteran free agents by taking on Michael Beasley, and giving the Utah Jazz a great up-and-coming low-post scorer in Al Jefferson, the Wolves GM has now decided to give a big ol' gift right back to the NBA.

The NBA today fined David Kahn $50,000 and the Minnesota Timberwolves $50,000 following Kahns' comments on Thursday regarding Michael Beasley and his marijuana use. As we told you when we brought you Kahn's comments on the Minneapolis radio show, and via Tom Ziller, the CBA prohibits team officials from discussing drug use with the media.

You're going to be hard pressed with someone that thinks that what Kahn was saying was wrong. It was an honest observation about a player he's taken a lot of flack for trading for. He's a kid that's gone through a tremendous amount of scrutiny, and Kahn was just being honest and reasonable about his situation. But the CBA outlines this stuff pretty clearly, and for a good reason. Drug use is a personal issue, and especially with someone with a history of it like Beasley, openly discussing it not only hurts his brand and business ventures, but it harms his family and image. Even if everyone thought the same thing about Beasley, there's a huge line between referencing it vaguely and outlining it specifically. Kahn should know that.

Then again, he should also know not to give Darko Milicic $20 million and not to acquire Luke Ridnour when he has four point guards on roster, but hey, it's Kahn.

Posted on: July 23, 2010 12:43 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2010 3:18 pm

Kahn: Beasley just smoked too much pot that's all

Posted by Royce Young

"" In a radio interview 1500 ESPN Twin Cities , Minnesota general manager David Kahn started talking about Michael Beasley and how he's put some of his backage behind him. One of those things mentioned was Beasley having smoked a little too much marijuana in South Beach.

"He's a very young and immature kid who smoked too much marijuana and has told me that he's not smoking anymore, and I told him that I would trust him as long as that was the case," Kahn said Thursday during the interview.

Everyone remembers Beasley's famous picture he posted on Twitter that was showcasing a tattoo he had on his back but had a visible bag of marijuana on the table behind him. Or how Beasely got in trouble during the NBA's rookie symposium for smoking in his hotel room. As a result of both those situations, Beasley went to rehab for a brief period. Kahn went on about how Beasely is going to ditch the habit.

"He has developed a really good support system around him this past season in Miami. He's hired people to help him grow up. He is growing up -- he's not grown up. He's 21 ... and he just turned 21 last January, and if you think back, as I do all the time, to when I was 21 and if you had given me this kind of money and put me in this kind of world with these kinds of pressures attached to it and some of the demands, I don't know (that) I would have handled it any easier than, say, he has."

There's no real justified excuse for Beasley's immaturity, but it certainly is a plight we see often with young, rich and famous stars. Too much, too soon can get some folks in trouble.

However, Kahn may have messed up in mentioning it at all. As Tom Ziller of FanHouse so astutely points out , Article XXXIII, Section 3(f) of the league's collective bargaining agreement states that team employees are prohibited from disclosing "information regarding the use, possession, or distribution of a Prohibited Substance by a player," though it's not clear if Beasley's private talks to Kahn falls under these rules. Still, there could be an issue in regards to Kahn's comments.

However, Kahn makes the valid point that Beasley is a wonderfully talented basketball player that just needs to get things straightened out. He can absolutely be productive on the court, but most of that will only happen if he gets things in line off it.

Posted on: July 21, 2010 6:43 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2010 7:33 pm

If the Hornets trade CP3, how do they get back?

Posted by Royce Young

The surfacing trade talk surrounding Chris Paul just seems crazy . How could the Hornets just let go of their franchise player? How could they give up one of the best players in the league? How could they give a potential all-time great?

Sometimes, it's not about what the team wants. It's about what the players demands. In some cases, there's just no way to stop a runaway train. And regardless of how things go down in New Orleans, the Hornets aren't going to let Paul go for free. They want, they need , something worthwhile in return.

Not only do the Hornets need to make a substantial deal just in basketball sense to replace Paul, but they're at risk of completely losing their fanbase as well. Chris Paul is the New Orleans Hornets. They have to make some sort of deal that can be somewhat justified to the fanbase, otherwise this may be the second death of basketball in New Orleans.

Take Minnesota for example. Kevin Garnett was the face of the franchise for 12 years before finally asking for a way out that led to him landing in Boston. The Wolves received Ryan Gomes, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green, a top-three protected draft pick (which turned into Wayne Ellington) and cash. How many of those players are still with Minnesota? Just Ellington who was taken in 2009. The Wolves still haven't recovered from the deal and honestly, no resurrection is currently within sight.

Another example of how things worked out better for a team departaing with their man was Toronto trading Vince Carter to New Jersey. In exchange, the Raptors received Alonzo Mourning, Eric Williams, Aaron Williams and two first-round draft picks (turned into Joey Graham and the second one was traded to New York) for their franchise player. The Raptors went the rebuilding route instead of trying to receive talent and though it took a little time, they recovered. Of course having Chris Bosh helped, but the point remains.

The thing is, the Hornets aren't going to be completely left floating aimlessly in the ocean if they trade CP3. Darren Collison had one of the most impressive rookie campaigns for a point guard in a while, and that was in a limited number of games filling in for the injured Paul. Last season Collison started only 37 games but averaged 12.4 points per game and 5.7 assists per game. He had 14 games with 10 or more assists and even dished out 20, 18 and 15 helpers in three games. For a rookie, that's quality stuff.

So the Hornets aren't looking to grab a point guard back in a deal. They need help on the inside since as Ken Berger mentioned, Emeka Okafor is going to most likely be included in the deal. New Orleans is a franchise that's always search for financial relief, so of course a hefty non-guaranteed contract (Erick Dampier cough cough) or at least a few expiring deals might suffice.

But they also want assets. Draft picks, and high ones at that. The Hornets are going to be left in rebuilding mode and likely can't sell their fanbase on a few expiring contracts and a a late first round pick. But they also need interior help and a scorer. Marcus Thornton has emerged as a candidate to potentially remedy the latter, but who can play inside for NOLA? David West? Julian Wright?

Even with Paul, the Hornets need help. The key in any deal sending the franchise somewhere else is that the returning package is the short road to rebuilding. A deal like what Matt Moore constructed involving Orlando is ideal . Some assets, an expiring contract and a couple quality players that can actually help on the floor in the near future.

The Hornets have two ways to go in a deal involving Paul. They can either be left the way Minnesota was, in shambles trying to find the new face of the team and scrambling to rebuild or grab assets and flexibility like Toronto and trust they'll find their way back.

Otherwise, the Hornets might not just be trading away Chris Paul, but basketball in their city as well.

Posted on: July 19, 2010 10:28 am
Edited on: July 19, 2010 10:30 am

Reports: Wolves, Cavs talking deal for Sessions

Posted by Royce Young

Brian Windhorst of the Plain Dealer reports and Chris Tomasson of FanHouse confirms that the Cavs and Wolves are talking a trade that would send Ramon Sessions and Kosta Koufos to Cleveland.

Tomasson mentions the Wolves may attain guard Delonte West in return, but waive him since West's $4.6 million contract has only $500,000 of it guaranteed if he's waived by August 5.

Koufos is an Ohio native that attended Ohio State before leaving after his freshman year to be drafted by the Utah Jazz. I don't know why it's always necessary to mention when a guy could be playing near his hometown as if that will make him an immediate star, but it is. Regardless, Koufos has talent, but he's raw and a clear indication that if acquired, the Cavs are rebuilding.

Obviously David Kahn needs to move Sessions with the recent addition of Luke Ridnour. And the Cavs have already pushed for multiple point guards this offseason already but haven't grabbed one they want yet. There was talk on LeBron's Decision Day that the Wolves and Cavs were discussing a deal bringing Jonny Flynn to Cleveland, but the Wolves are intent on keeping Flynn.

Posted on: July 15, 2010 2:03 pm

David Kahn thinks Darko is "Manna from heaven"

Posted by Matt Moore

This is too easy. It really is. I could spend 250-500 words describing all the absolutely ridiculous content in the video below. I could talk about the insanity of comparing Vlade Divac, one of the greatest big men with touch in the league to Darko Milicic, a stone with two legs. I could talk about comparing Chris Webber's storied career to Darko's which is storied in the annals of draft busts. I could point out what Tom Haberstroh of HoopData.com did this morning, which is the unbelievable gap in assist percentage between Vlade/Webber and Darko. But really, the video tells the best story all by itself.


  • Darko Milicic is "Manna from heaven." 
  • Darko can pass "like Vlade"
  • Webber: "Vlade Divac?"
  • Darko's career similar to Chris Webber.
  • Chris Webber: Darko's career not similar to Chris Webber.
  • Webber: "Good luck"

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com