Chris Johnson (LSU) Rumors
May 17 at 9:06pm CST By Chuck Myron
A Northwest Division team has appeared in the Western Conference Finals four of the last six seasons, but with the top-seeded Thunder on early summer vacation after their loss to the Grizzlies, that trend has come to an end. The focus now shifts to offseason movement, and we've got the latest on a pair of Northwest teams here:
- New Timberwolves executive Flip Saunders served as an adviser to Celtics coach Doc Rivers last year, but even if Boston elects to waive Paul Pierce, a source downplays the notion that Pierce could join the Wolves, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
- Wolfson, in his roundup of Minnesota items, hears that former Wolves GM David Kahn told friends he thought he'd assume the same position with the Sixers, who instead hired Sam Hinkie as their new GM.
- The minimum salary contract of Chris Johnson, the backup big man the Wolves signed when they were short on bodies this season, is fully guaranteed for next season, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports (Twitter link).
- Kevin Martin hesitated before issuing the standard player line about wanting back with his team next season, and Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman interprets that as a sign he's ready to move on. She thinks the Thunder would be hard-pressed to bring him back on even half of his $12.4MM salary from this season.
- Of course, the Thunder wouldn't have a decision to make on Martin if they hadn't pulled the trigger on the James Harden deal, a move Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com chalks up as a blunder.
April 1 at 9:27am CST By Chuck Myron
The Trail Blazers and Timberwolves seem to share a link greater than just their placement together in the Northwest Division. They were at opposite ends of a tug-of-war over restricted free agent Nicolas Batum last summer, around the same time former Blazers star Brandon Roy came out of retirement to sign with the Wolves, a move that cost Portland owner Paul Allen $17MM in insurance money. Earlier this season they "amicably" resolved a dispute over a trade the two clubs made back in 2010. Both clubs are in the news again, with news involving Roy and former Blazer and current Wolf Chris Johnson. Here's what we know:
- Wolves coach Rick Adelman hasn't been expecting Roy to return this season, but after spending the last two weeks hard at work in practice, Roy will ask Adelman if he can return to game action, reports Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Roy, who says his oft-injured right knee is improving, will almost certainly hit free agency this summer, since he's played only five games this season and his deal is non-guaranteed for 2013/14. He suggested earlier this year that he'd retire if he couldn't come back healthy by the end of this season.
- Johnson and Mickael Gelabale also have non-guaranteed deals with the Wolves for next year, and they appear to have a shot at returning to the club, notes Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune. "This summer will be big for them," Adelman said. "We like them both."
- The Blazers will send their first-round pick to the Bobcats if it's not in the top 12, and as our updated tentative draft order shows, Portland is in line for the No. 12 pick, separated by three games from the Mavericks for the No. 13 spot. Despite the motivation to lose and improve the team's chances of keeping its pick, Blazers coach Terry Stotts insists that's something his squad won't do, as The Oregonian's Mike Tokito observes. "We've played every game to try and win," Stotts said. "The draft picks — I just think you start doing that you're (messing with) basketball karma or whatever. I think you gotta be true to the game and true to your players, and that's never been a concern of mine or our team."
March 30 at 10:29pm CST By Ryan Raroque
Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com hears more and more that the Maloof brothers could keep the Kings rather than sell the team to the Sacramento-led group if the NBA declines the Seattle bid, adding that it's not a total longshot at this point. Howard-Cooper also says that whether the possibility could drag on into this summer or next season, the Maloofs may step back and re-assess their options (All Twitter links). Interestingly enough, Aaron Bruski of USA Today tweeted that league sources "have maintained without any equivocation that the Maloofs will not own an NBA franchise next season."
We've got more to share out of the Western Conference tonight:
- Howard-Cooper reiterates that he's not saying the above scenario will happen, but it's still a possibility. He also clarifies that the Maloofs keeping the Kings would be a way for them to start a bidding war and evaluate at the type of offers they can receive (Twitter links).
- Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle says that Brandon Rush plans to do some light running and jumping in three weeks, and that the Warriors guard/forward should be ready by the start of the 2013-14 training camp (Twitter links).
- Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld tweets that he thinks Mike D'Antoni's job is safe for next season at least, being that the Lakers coach is still owed a lot of money and hasn't had a healthy roster.
- Ray Richardson of the Pioneer Press writes that Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman has a tough challenge of trying to evaluate upcoming free agents Mickael Gelabale and Chris Johnson without enough playing time to find for them.
March 14 at 10:06pm CST By Chuck Myron
The Spurs topped the Mavericks tonight for their 50th win of the season, extending their string of 50-win seasons to a league-high 14. The Mavs, who had an 11-year stretch of 50-win seasons snapped in 2011/12, are merely fighting for their playoff lives this time around. Tonight's loss leaves them three games out of the eighth spot in the West. There's plenty more going on around the West this evening, and we've got the latest here:
- Along with his leaguewide roundup, Bill Ingram of HoopsWorld shares a video interview with Tony Allen, who points to the Grizzlies' run to the conference semifinals in 2011 as justification for the Rudy Gay trade. Gay missed the playoffs that year with an injured shoulder. "Well, I just think we turned into the team we were two years ago, without the guy we traded," Allen said.
- Big man Chris Johnson's deal with the Wolves includes a non-guaranteed season next year, and coach Rick Adelman is calling for the wiry Johnson to improve his strength going into 2013/14, observes Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.
- Craig Smith, who spent last year with the Blazers, is headed back to the States after his Israeli team cut him loose following a clash with the club's coach, reports Sportando contributor David Pick (Twitter links).
- A pair of Sacramento-area attorneys are threatening to petition the city to hold a referendum on whether to provide an expected $250MM in public funding for a new Kings arena, as Tony Bizjak, Dale Kasler and Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee report. Such a petition would require 20,000 signatures, according to estimates by city officials.
- Neither Patrick Patterson nor Cole Aldrich has seen extensive playing time since coming to the Kings at the trade deadline, but they've made positive impressions in their brief stints, as Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee details in a pair of stories.
February 15 at 11:37am CST By Luke Adams
As usual, Friday morning means the latest installment of Darren Wolfson's Scoops column has been published at 1500ESPN.com. With Minnesota expected to be active in trade talks over the next several days, let's check out the latest Timberwolves rumors from Wolfson....
- The Knicks are one of several teams interested in Luke Ridnour, who is mentally preparing to be moved. The Celtics, Sixers, and Jazz are among the other clubs with varying degrees of interest, says Wolfson.
- Nikola Pekovic has been assured by the T-Wolves that he isn't going anywhere for now.
- While Derrick Williams is still available, a trade over the summer may be more likely, according to Wolfson.
- Brandon Roy's financial advisor is still "rejecting overtures" on a buyout. It seems unlikely the Wolves will be able to move his salary in a trade, so a buyout would be the team's preferred route.
- When Chris Johnson signed for the rest of the season with the Wolves, the contract included a second year. Wolfson expects that it'll essentially be a team option for 2013/14 -- a non-guaranteed minimum salary.
February 8 at 10:38pm CST By Chuck Myron
We rounded up several items on the Timberwolves this morning, but after a day when the team inked Chris Johnson and Mickael Gelabale for the rest of the season, letting Louis Amundson go at the same time, there's plenty more to report from Minnesota. Here's the latest:
- Nikola Pekovic is set to hit restricted free agency this summer, but he's talking like he'd welcome a return to the Wolves, as Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press documents. "I like everything about Minnesota," the 27-year-old center said. "First of all, I like the team. I think we can do a lot when we're healthy. I like the coaching staff."
- Walters also notes that commissioner David Stern and Wolves owner Glen Taylor met to discuss Taylor's potential successor. Negotiations with the unnamed investor are going slowly, Taylor said.
- GM David Kahn says Johnson has the edge on Gelabale to stick with the team next season, the Star Tribune's Kent Youngblood notes. That makes sense, since we heard earlier today that Kahn and Johnson had discussed adding 2013/14 to the rest-of-season deal the big man signed today.
- Rick Adelman hints that the team isn't done after today's moves, as Youngblood details in the same piece. "We felt these guys were young, they came in and did a good job, and they give us bodies at the spots we need," the coach said. "[But] we'd better be hoping to do something. We have to improve this team."
February 8 at 11:14am CST By Luke Adams
The Timberwolves have re-signed Chris Johnson and Mickael Gelabale to rest-of-season deals, and have released Louis Amundson to make room on the roster, according to Ray Richardson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter). The T-Wolves had been carrying all three players for a total of 16, thanks to an injury exception, but were now required to reduce the roster to 15.
Johnson and Gelabale had both received a pair of 10-day contracts from the Timberwolves, so the team needed to either sign them for the remainder of the season or lose them. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities reported earlier today that the club had been discussing a deal with Johnson that would keep him under contract for the 2013/14 season as well.
Unlike some players on 10-day deals, both Johnson and Gelabale have seen a good deal of playing time since joining the Wolves. Johnson, 27, has averaged 8.6 PPG and 3.6 RPG while shooting 75.0% from the floor in seven games with the team, while Gelabale has appeared in each of the Wolves' 10 games since he first signed with Minnesota, averaging 6.5 PPG on 54.3% shooting.
As for Amundson, he hadn't been a huge part of the T-Wolves' rotation this season, appearing in just 20 games. He was on a one-year, minimum-salary contract, so even though Minnesota will be on the hook for his remaining salary, the cap hit won't be excessive.
February 8 at 10:05am CST By Luke Adams
2013/14 Timberwolves season ticket holders appear to be in line for a 10% discount, as the T-Wolves continue to slip further out of playoff contention. As Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities writes in his latest Scoops column, the marketing department that promised a 10% discount if Minnesota failed to reach the postseason should have also offered a money-back guarantee if the team doesn't make a deadline trade, since that seems like a near certainty. Here are the latest Wolves rumblings from Wolfson:
- Following up on Chris Sheridan's report on Luke Ridnour's availability, Wolfson confirms that the Jazz like Ridnour. However, Wolfson thinks a package that includes Raja Bell and one of Utah's first-round picks is more likely than one that features Alec Burks.
- Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor confirmed that GM David Kahn has engaged Brandon Roy's agent in talks about a possible buyout. Roy's contract could also be used for salary-matching purposes in a trade.
- Taylor also said the T-Wolves were never too involved in Rudy Gay talks, and said other trade discussions are "slow-going" at the moment.
- Chris Johnson's and Mickael Gelabale's 10-day contracts expired overnight, but both players are expected to be retained for the rest of the season. The Wolves are talking to Johnson about a deal that would keep him around for 2013/14 as well.
- If Johnson and Gelabale are both re-signed, Louis Amundson appears to be the odd man out. Minnesota has been allowed to carry 16 players temporarily after receiving an injury exception, but will have to reduce that number to 15.
January 29 at 11:00pm CST By Ryan Raroque
Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News says that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak will likely know by tomorrow about whether or not the NBA will approve their Disabled Player Exception for the injured Jordan Hill (Twitter link). With the roster currently at 14, an exception worth $1.78MM would be a very valuable asset for a team that would have otherwise only have a veteran's minimum deal or a small, pro-rated portion of their mini mid-level exception to offer free agents at this point during the season. You'll find the rest of tonight's miscellaneous links from around the NBA here:
- Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge says the team currently has no needs and will wait and see what transpires over the next few weeks to get a better feel if a move has to be made or not (Adi Joseph of USA Today reports).
- Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman, who recently returned from an 11-game absence for family reasons, sounded like he wanted the team to keep Chris Johnson (LSU) and Mickael Gelabale for the rest of the season, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.
- Grizzlies guard Chris Johnson, whose 10-day contract is set to expire on Friday night, is making a strong case to be brought back for another deal, writes Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. GM Chris Wallace described Johnson as a "seamless fit" so far.
- Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald doesn't think the Heat are the best fit for Greg Oden, citing that if healthy, the former number one overall pick could find more playing time and a better comfort level elsewhere. Even if the team uses its taxpayer mid-level exception to land Oden this summer, Goodman thinks that the luxury tax impact might not be worth the investment either.
- When asked directly about the possibility of playing for the Cavaliers, Oden replied: "I'm worried about the knee. That's it," later saying that it was too early for him to be thinking of a destination. Oden added that he wants to take his rehab slow, and that while he could possibly play today if he wanted to, he wants to avoid the risk of having the same setbackthat he had in Portland (Doug Lesmerises and Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Plain Dealer report).
- An earlier report from the Associated Press said that Cleveland has been doing their due diligence on the former Ohio State Buckeye in the meantime, also mentioning that Oden is currently aiming a return for next year after taking this one off.
- Keith Schlosser of Knicks Journal ponders about how much longer the Knicks should wait for Rasheed Wallace to become healthy as opposed to finding someone who can make frequent contributions right away.
- After hitting his head during practice on Monday, Chris Kaman was evaluated today and ruled out of tonight's game against the Trail Blazers due to concussion symptoms. The Mavericks center will be sidelined indefinitely until he passes the requisite tests, writes Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW.
- Matt Moore of CBS Sports takes a comprehensive look into the defensive mindset of Nuggets swingman Andre Iguodala.
- With the league's highest collection of former lottery picks continuing to develop on their roster, the Jazz appear headed for a bright future ahead of them, writes Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News.
January 29 at 1:41pm CST By Luke Adams
The Timberwolves have re-signed center Chris Johnson to a second 10-day contract, the team announced today (Twitter link). The Wolves have also inked Mickael Gelabale to a second 10-day deal (Twitter link). The initial contracts for both players expired last night.
Johnson, 27, had an excellent first 10 days with Minnesota, scoring 15 points in his debut and averaging 9.2 PPG on 72.0% shooting in five total games. He's not to be confused with the player with the same name who is currently on a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies.
Gelabale, meanwhile, got off to a strong start with the T-Wolves as well, posting 11 points and four rebounds in his first game with the club. The French forward also scored 15 in last Friday's loss in Washington.
With the signings, Minnesota's roster is back up to 16 players. The Wolves aren't required to waive anyone to get down to the usual maximum of 15, since they were granted an injury exception by the NBA earlier in the month, allowing them to carry an extra man.