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Northwest Notes: Garnett, Aldridge, Abrines

The Timberwolves got their apparent wish to receive Thaddeus Young in the final version of the Kevin Love trade instead of the Heat’s protected first-round pick this year, and Minnesota flipped Young for Kevin Garnett at this year’s trade deadline. The Sixers, who ended up with that protected Miami pick instead, have about a 9% chance to end up with it as a lottery pick this year, as the lottery odds show. Still, it’s more likely that it ultimately winds up going to Philadelphia next year as a late first-rounder, given the Heat’s strong chance to field a better team next season. Wolves coach and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders doesn’t have any regrets about trading for a aging superstar who’s mentoring rookies and veterans alike, as he told Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck in part two of a lengthy oral history on Garnett.

“What KG brings, the other things, how he might help these other guys analytically be better, is more important than a low first-round pick or whatever it is,” Saunders said.

Here’s more from around the Northwest Division:

  • LaMarcus Aldridge finally had the surgery on his left thumb that he put off in late January, the Trail Blazers announced. He’s expected to be able to return to basketball activity in about eight weeks, and while that would carry into July, when he’s set to become a free agent, it shouldn’t affect his stock, given how well he played while he was dealing with the injury, tweets Marc Stein of The Spurs, Mavs, Knicks, Lakers and Celtics are reportedly among the teams gearing up for a run at the Blazers star.
  • Thunder draft-and-stash prospect Alex Abrines has officially signed an extension with Barcelona of Spain that carries through the 2018/19 season, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Orazio Cauchi). Jose Ignacio Huguet of Mundo Deportivo first reported the deal, though it remains unclear what sort of NBA outs, if any, are in the contract.
  • The Thunder let some of the top shooting prospects know that shooting is an area of need for the team, and Oklahoma City’s interviews at the combine also revealed that the club is focusing on point guards, as The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry examines.

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