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Northwest Notes: Bennett, Waiters, Leonard

The Timberwolves shopped Anthony Bennett all around the league, even offering him in exchange for a top-55 protected second-round pick that would be unlikely ever to end up in Minnesota, but nobody had interest, several league sources tell Grantland’s Zach Lowe. A trade would have put a team on the hook for his entire salary of nearly $5.804MM for this season, and the same would be true if a team claims him off waivers. However, if the former No. 1 overall pick hits free agency, he would be a worthwhile investment on the minimum salary, Lowe argues. See more from around the Northwest Division:

  • Royce Young of Daily Thunder transcribes several key comments that Thunder GM Sam Presti made Wednesday, including a hint that he sees Steven Adams as a long-term core player and his thoughts on extension candidate Dion Waiters“This is a guy that at 23 years old has some tools that are not easily found,” Presti said of Waiters. “That is one of the reasons that we went to acquire him. At the same time, he has got work to do and he will be the first to tell you that. Some slight adjustments with this guy’s game could lead to some pretty significant impact. I think he has the tools to be an impact player.”
  • Meyers Leonard, another extension-eligible player, is in line for a starting spot with the Blazers, or at least a significant rotation role of the sort he’s yet to have since he became the 11th overall pick in 2012, as The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman examines. His rookie scale contract is set to expire at season’s end.
  • The Wolves officially hired Bryan Gates as an assistant coach and promoted Calvin Booth, who had been a scout and director of player programs, to player personnel director, the team announced along with other staff moves. Shooting coach Mike Penberthy, whom Flip Saunders had said would continue with the team, instead decided to leave, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link), though he’ll still work with Ricky Rubio, with whom he was close, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.

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