Northwest Notes: Garnett, Nuggets, Henderson

The Timberwolves improved their win total from 16 in 2014/15 to 29 this season and the team believes it is on the cusp of big things, Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press writes. “We’re going to be really good. Really, really good,” power forward Karl-Anthony Towns said. “Frightening, actually. We have every tool needed to be the team we see ourselves being. We have a year of experience under our belt. I think everything is going in the right direction.

The AP scribe opines that the team’s biggest priority this offseason should be adding players who can shoot from outside, considering Minnesota was second-to-last in 3-pointers both attempted and made this past season. Another area of concern for the team is Kevin Garnett and Nikola Pekovic, two big men who are under contract for combined $20.1MM next season and who may not be healthy enough to be relied upon regularly, Krawczynski adds. Garnett, 39, hasn’t announced if he intends to return for another season, though team owner Glen Taylor said he is optimistic that the veteran will play in 2016/17.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Nuggets announced a number of title changes for their front office personnel on Friday. Denver named Jared Jeffries as the team’s Director of Pro Personnel, Tommy Balcetis was named Director of Analytics, Scott Howard was named Director of College Scouting and Steve Hess will now hold the title of Director of Performance/Assistant Coach and Head Strength and Conditioning Coach.
  • The Blazers had explored trades for Gerald Henderson prior to the February deadline this season, but GM Neil Olshey‘s asking price for the swingman was too high, John Canzano of The Oregonian relays. It was a good thing the team didn’t deal the 28-year-old given that the Blazers were 30-11 when Henderson played 20-plus minutes and 9-1 when he scored 15 or more points this season, Canzano notes. Henderson, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, averaged 8.7 points and 2.9 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per contest over 72 appearances this season.
  • Despite missing the playoffs, the Jazz have quite a few positives to take away from the 2015/16 season, writes Jody Genessy of The Deseret News. The franchise feels that it is nearing the end of the rebuilding process and the front office’s expectations have changed as a result, the scribe adds. “I hope that the end of this last game doesn’t entirely remove something that I think this group accomplished, which was just competing all the time,” coach Quin Snyder said. “It’s unfortunate that the season ended on this note,” Snyder added, “but this is a group that constantly scratched and clawed and battled in spite of a lot of adversity.”

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