Timberwolves GM Milt Newton, who inherited duties of late coach/executive Flip Saunders and is not promised to remain in charge of the front office beyond this season, believes he can walk the fine line of honoring Saunders’ plan while still maintaining his own voice, Steve Aschburner of NBA.com details. In doing that, Newton is confident he can please owner Glen Taylor, Aschburner adds.
“The one thing he’s allowed me to do, he says, ‘Milt, if you see something that makes our team better, you have permission to do that,'” Newton said of Taylor, per Aschburner. “But I want to make sure I keep him involved — I don’t ever want to spring a situation on him. So whatever we do in the future, he would have known weeks in advance, maybe months in advance, this is the direction we’re heading in.”
Here’s more out of Minnesota:
- Newton told Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN that trade chatter has been quiet, adding he recently sat down with Kevin Martin (Twitter link). Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press previously reported that Minnesota has made Martin available in trade discussions.
- Whether or not Wolves interim coach Sam Mitchell becomes the team’s official leader beyond this season hinges on the young players’ development, on his coaching style and tactics, and on his demeanor and consistency in the job, Aschburner writes in a separate piece. Thus, the team’s record is not going to be the deciding factor, Aschburner surmises.
- The Wolves are taking the same approach with Andrew Wiggins as the Spurs did with Kawhi Leonard in that they’re not trying to force him to be something he is not, Krawczynski writes. Wiggins, a budding star, is similar to Leonard because they are both immensely talented yet neither one seems to seek the spotlight, Krawczynski adds.
- Rookie power forward Nemanja Bjelica has fallen out of the Wolves’ rotation, largely because of an inability to stay out of foul trouble, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune relays. Bjelica might also be struggling to adapt to a new country after playing professionally in Europe, Zgoda adds. “It’s the NBA, I came here to improve myself,” Bjelica said. “The first time I play in Spain five, six years ago, it was same. I again need to start doing everything from the beginning.”