The Timberwolves are planning to start Zach LaVine at shooting guard instead of Kevin Martin, even though interim coach Sam Mitchell admits Martin is better than Lavine is at this point, notes Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. The team is focused on player development, and Minnesota believes LaVine will move past his on-court rookie mistakes from last season, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe examines. Lowe also speculates about a variety of potential trade destinations for Martin, though it doesn’t appear there’s any movement on that front for now, as Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities tweets. The Mavericks, who were reportedly among the teams interested in him around the trade deadline in February, have backed off, Wolfson adds (via Twitter link).
- Metta World Peace says he turned down an offer from the Clippers in the summer of 2014 before he signed to play in China last season, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News relays. He reportedly worked out at the Clippers practice facility that summer, but Clips coach/executive Doc Rivers appeared to downplay the idea that his team was eyeing World Peace for a late-season deal. “In China, I had to get my game back,” World Peace said. “Doc asked me to come to the Clippers. I told him, ‘I’m going to China first. When I come back, I’ll come to the Clippers.’ I want to get my game back on.”
- World Peace never did play with the Clippers, instead signing a non-guaranteed deal with the Lakers, who’ve allowed him to fulfill his wish for a reunion with Kobe Bryant, even if it’s only for training camp, Medina notes in the same piece. “Kobe is the main reason why I worked so hard in the last couple of years,” said World Peace, who, despite that work, admits he’s not in shape. “I always wanted to come back and play with Kobe. I remember playing with Kobe, the sacrifices he made, playing hard, making unbelievable shots and showing unbelievable fundamentals. People can say he’s selfish all they want. But in the game, he’s so fundamentally sound. That’s tough to be fundamentally sound under all that pressure.”