Minnesota Timberwolves Rumors

And-Ones: Heat, Wolves, Stokes, Mudiay

July 28 at 10:19pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Heat owner Micky Arison addressed the team’s fans today to assure them that despite losing LeBron James, the franchise would contend in the east, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. Arison said, “We are laser-focused on the present and the task at hand of defending our Eastern Conference championship with the East being described as ‘wide open,’ while also positioning ourselves for maximum flexibility and maneuverability in the future.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Grizzlies may have found a diamond in the rough on draft night with their selection of Jarnell Stokes, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Stokes was projected by some experts as a potential late first-round pick, but slipped to Memphis who selected him 35th overall.
  • Top 2015 prospect Emmanuel Mudiay said he is skipping SMU for financial reasons, not because of any academic issues at his former prep school, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.  Mudiay reportedly signed for $1.2MM in China.
  • The Wolves signing of Mo Williams earlier today will give the team the a player who can create his own shot, which is something the team was lacking, opines Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (Twitter link).
  • The signing of Williams could potentially affect a number of players’ roster spots on the team, writes Michael Rand of the Star Tribune.
  • When discussing the rumors about any potential trade that would bring Kevin Love to the Bulls, Derrick Rose said, “That’s up to the front office. I’m riding with whatever decision they make. My job right now is to prepare,” tweets Sam Smith of Bulls.com.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Western Notes: Rubio, Nash, Thompson

July 28 at 8:47pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Wolves are willing to give Ricky Rubio an extension similar to the four-year, $44MM extension Stephen Curry signed with the Warriors two years ago, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. Rubio and agent Dan Fegan are asking for the max over five seasons. We took a look at Rubio and other extension candidates earlier today.

More from out west:

  • Steve Nash isn’t under any illusions that his career will last much longer, saying in a Sport TV video that he thinks this coming season with the Lakers will be his last, notes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
  • Klay Thompson was hoping that he would have worked out a contract extension with the Warriors prior to beginning this summer’s Team USA camp, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. He and the Warriors have until October 31st to strike a deal, or he’ll hit restricted free agency in 2015.
  • The Spurs have sent Manu Ginobili a letter denying him permission to participate in the FIBA Basketball World Cup later this summer, reports Dan McCarney of Spurs Nation (hat tip to Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News). San Antonio GM R.C. Buford cited the eight-week recovery span required for the stress fracture in Ginobili’s right leg as the reason. The injury was first discovered during the team’s exit physicals after winning the NBA Championship this year.
  • The Rockets signing of free agent Jeremy Lin back in 2012 was a solid one, opines Randy Harvey of the Houston Chronicle (Video link), who takes a look back at Lin’s time in Houston. Lin was recently traded to the Lakers in a move to clear cap space for the potential signing of Chris Bosh before he decided to return to the Heat.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Wolves, Mo Williams Agree To Deal

July 28 at 4:10pm CDT By Zach Links

Mo Williams and the Wolves have reached agreement on a one-year, $3.75MM deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).

The free agent guard had chiefly been connected to the Mavs of late, but Dallas instead used the $2.732MM room exception it had earmarked for a potential deal with the ex-Blazer on Jameer Nelson. The Wolves are almost certainly using part of their $5.305MM mid-level exception on this deal, one that will give Williams more than he would have made with the Mavs.

Williams, 31, had made re-signing with Portland his “only goal” at the outset of free agency after he turned down a $2.77MM player option. The capped out Blazers used their exceptions on Chris Kaman and Steve Blake, leaving only the Non-Bird rights they held on Williams to give him no more than a 20% raise, and it became clear within the second week of free agency that the chances for a return were slim.

The Wolves have been looking at the Mark Bartelstein client for a few days now, as John Krawczynski of The Associated Press notes (on Twitter).  Team president Flip Saunders & Co. see Williams as a strong fit to play on the second unit alongside rookie dunking machine Zach LaVine.  In 74 games for the Blazers last season, Williams averaged 9.7 PPG and 4.3 APG in 24.8 minutes per contest.  Williams also turned in a career-low 41.7% field goal percentage and 11.8 PER, numbers that he’ll look to improve on this season.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Wolves Targeting Thaddeus Young

July 28 at 3:08pm CDT By Chuck Myron

3:08pm: The Sixers want at least a first-round pick in return for Young, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. That echoes Philadelphia’s stance regarding Young at the trade deadline this past February.

2:29pm: The Wolves are interested in acquiring Thaddeus Young as part of a Kevin Love trade, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Minnesota has been working on ways to deal for Young, either as part of a Love deal or through a separate transaction, Stein writes, though those efforts have been going on for quite some time, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press.

The Sixers have reportedly held interest in trying to fold Young into a deal that would send Love to another team and allow Philadelphia to recoup other assets. Sixers GM Sam Hinkie nonetheless said after the draft that he expected Young would be back with the team, as Stein notes, though the general belief is that the Sixers are open to trading their 26-year-old combo forward, according to the ESPN scribe. Young is set to make more than $9.4MM this coming season and has an early termination option he can exercise to hit free agency next summer.

The ideal scenario for the Wolves involves a three-team arrangement involving Cleveland in which Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Young end up in Minnesota, Love goes to the Cavs, and expiring contracts and draft picks head to Philadelphia, according to Krawczynski. Still, that idea is just one of many in play, Krawczynski cautions (Twitter links). The Cavs can’t deal Wiggins until August 23rd, since league rules stipulate that a draft pick can’t be traded for 30 days after he signs, as Wiggins did this past Thursday.

Poll: Should Cavs Deal Wiggins For Love?

July 27 at 10:51am CDT By Eddie Scarito

Heading into this offseason, the chances of Kevin Love heading to the Cavaliers were slim. But that was before LeBron James decided to return his talents to Cleveland. When LeBron announced his decision to sign with the Cavs, he preached patience, and in a move to lower expectations, implied that the team wouldn’t expect to contend for a championship this coming season.

But acquiring a player of Love’s caliber could certainly accelerate that timetable, which is one reason that Cleveland has seemingly been burning up the phone lines trying to work out a deal to acquire the stat-sheet-filling power forward. The feeling is apparently shared by Love, who, as recently reported, may have formally requested a trade to Cleveland via his agent.

Numerous other teams have been attempting to work out a deal, including the Warriors, Celtics, Lakers, Bulls and Knicks. Golden State still appears to be Cleveland’s main competitors for Love, but the Warriors have expressed an unwillingness to include Klay Thompson as part of the deal, which has stalled talks between the two franchises.

The potential blockbuster deal between the Wolves and the Cavs is being complicated by the insistence of Minnesota coach and president of basketball operation Flip Saunders that Cleveland include No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins as part of any package for Love. Wiggins recently signed with the Cavs, so they will have to wait 30 days before they can officially deal him away. But that is only a minor issue if both franchises are serious about making a trade.

Should the Cavs relent and include Wiggins if it nets them Love? Wiggins has a wealth of potential and could turn out to be a superstar, and the type of player you can build a champion around, but he has yet to play a minute of regular season action. Whereas Love has career averages of 19.2 PPG, 12.2 RPG, and 2.5 APG. He’s also only 25 years old and just entering his prime. The knock on Love of course is that in six seasons he has yet to lead his team to the playoffs, and that he is a subpar defender.

As for Wiggins, his value is more theoretical at this point. There have been numerous players, including first overall draft picks, who enter the league being touted as franchise changing talents, only to disappoint and underperform. The ceiling on the rookie appears to be incredibly high, but is holding onto him and gambling he’ll turn out to be a better player than Love worth the risk?

The other aspect to factor in is the leverage that Cleveland may have gained in the trade talks if Love indeed told the Timberwolves that he would opt out after the 2014/15 season and would not re-sign with the team. And if Love also specifically requested a trade to Cleveland, that could complicate matters further.

Cleveland could also decide to hold off on depleting its young assets and simply play out this season with its current roster, then try to clear enough cap room to sign Love next summer outright. This might allow them to keep Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and whichever other pieces, including draft picks, that they would have had to ship to Minnesota to get this deal done, but it would still be a challenge. The Cavs already have more than $48MM in commitments for 2015/16, assuming James opts in and the team picks up its option on Dion Waiters.

So now it’s time for you to step into Cavs GM David Griffin‘s shoes and make the call. Do you relent and include Wiggins if it will bring Love’s talents to Cleveland? Or do you draw a line in the sand and refuse to offer Wiggins, even if it potentially costs you a LeBron-Love pairing?

Western Notes: Love, Miller, Lakers, Clippers

July 26 at 9:46pm CDT By Cray Allred

Kevin Love and the Wolves were likely on the same page regarding his decision to sit out this summer’s Team USA activity, tweets Chris Mannix of SI.com. Mannix gets the sense that both sides were in favor of a cautious approach so that an injury won’t throw a wrench in the trade market for Love. Here’s more from out West:

  • The Wolves’ chance to convince Love to remain in Minnesota beyond this season has passed, writes Charley Walters of St. Paul Pioneer Press. Walters says the power forward will not be persuaded at this point, and that his preference is to play with LeBron James in Cleveland, which aligns with the rumored trade request we passed along this morning.
  • Darius Miller‘s deal with the Pelicans is a two-year, partially guaranteed contract for the minimum salary, according to the New Orleans salary sheet updated by Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders.
  • Pincus grades the Lakers offseason, giving the team poor marks for striking out on their free agent targets, in a piece for the Los Angeles Times.
  • Fellow Los Angeles Times scribe Broderick Turner judges the Clippers‘ offseason a modest success. Turner thinks it’s possible the addition of Spencer Hawes could help nudge the team closer to the very top of the Western Conference.

Wolves, Mo Williams Close To Deal

July 26 at 3:49pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Wolves and Mo Williams are nearing an agreement, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The free agent guard had chiefly been connected to the Mavs of late, but Dallas instead used the $2.732MM room exception it had earmarked for a potential deal with the ex-Blazer on Jameer Nelson. The Wolves have their $5.305MM mid-level exception to spend, so it’s possible that Williams will end up with more than he would have made with the Mavs.

Williams, 31, had made re-signing with Portland his “only goal” at the outset of free agency after he turned down a $2.77MM player option. The capped out Blazers used their exceptions on Chris Kaman and Steve Blake, leaving only the Non-Bird rights they held on Williams to give him no more than a 20% raise, and it became clear within the second week of free agency that the chances for a return were slim.

The Wolves, John Krawcyznski of The Associated Press (on Twitter) notes, have been looking at the veteran for a few days now.  Team president Flip Saunders & Co. see Williams as a strong fit to play on the second unit alongside rookie dunking machine Zach LaVine.  In 74 games for the Blazers last season, Williams averaged 9.7 PPG and 4.3 APG in 24.8 minutes per contest.  Williams also turned in a career low 41.7% field goal percentage and 11.8 PER, numbers that he’ll look to improve on this season.

Pluto’s Latest: Love, Cavs, Wolves

July 26 at 12:32pm CDT By Cray Allred

Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer hears that, unless something changes, the Wolves will not relent on their demand for Andrew Wiggins as part of any trade package with the Cavs for Kevin Love. It will be interesting to see if the rumored trade request from Love would be the kind of change needed to soften that stance. Pluto’s full piece is worth the read, but we’ll run down some of the highlights here:

  • Minnesota and Cleveland haven’t had serious discussions about a Love trade for a week, writes Pluto. We heard recently that the trade market for Love was quiet in general, although speculation has continued to proliferate.
  • Pluto also hears that the expectation for any would-be Love trade to Cleveland would be that the forward would still decline his player option next season, giving him the ability to re-sign to a longer, more lucrative deal.
  • Minnesota is considering the unlikely possibility of keeping Love through the season and then working out a sign-and-trade with another team next summer, per The Plain Dealer scribe.

Kevin Love Requests Trade To Cleveland?

July 26 at 8:42am CDT By Cray Allred

Multiple league sources tell Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio that Kevin Love has likely requested a trade to the Cavaliers. The sources are uncertain if a formal trade request has been made, but are “under the impression” that he has made his feelings known to the Wolves through his agent.

Such a request would certainly alter the trade landscape for the All-Star, whose fate for this season and beyond has been a constant in the rumor mill since informing Minnesota that he would not opt in to his player option and pursue free agency next summer. Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press tweets that the elite scorer and rebounder has withdrawn from playing with Team USA this summer due to uncertainty about his situation.

A formal request of this nature would seemingly give the Cavs more leverage in their talks with the Wolves. The main sticking point in talks has been whether or not Cleveland is willing to give up No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins as part of a deal. The Warriors were the early favorites to land Love, and the Bulls have regained momentum in recent days, while the Celtics have all but thrown in the towel. Since LeBron James announced his return to Cleveland, the team went from a longshot to acquire the power forward to a strong possibility, as Love was only open to re-signing with the Cavs once James was in the picture.

Eastern Rumors: Love, Knicks, Douglas-Roberts

July 25 at 10:32pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Knicks made a longshot trade offer for Kevin Love that the Wolves immediately turned down, reports Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal. The offer was Amar’e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert, and Tim Hardaway Jr., a package well shy of the value Minnesota is looking to secure in any potential deal for Love. Stoudemire and Shumpert have apparently been on the block of late, but while Hardaway is reportedly “virtually untouchable,” New York’s shot in the dark at least shows its willingness to part with him for the right return. Here’s more from around the East:

  • A Wolves official disputes the notion that the Knicks ever made an offer for Love, as Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press reports (on Twitter).

Earlier updates:

  • Chris Douglas-Roberts is among the free agents who interest the Heat as they look for veteran wing players, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Agent Wallace Prather has reached out to the team about client MarShon Brooks, but it’s unclear whether the Heat have any interest in him. The Heat are among 11 teams limited to paying no more than the minimum salary to free agents from other clubs, as I noted earlier today.
  • Miami is remaining non-committal about bringing back free agents Michael Beasley and Greg Oden, as Jackson writes in the same piece. The agents for both veterans tell Jackson that the Heat have been in contact regarding their clients, but that they are receiving interest from other teams as well.
  • The Hornets didn’t necessarily sign Brian Roberts for the room exception, as originally thought, when they made his deal official Wednesday, tweets Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times. It appears as though they have enough cap space to use on Roberts and preserve the exception to use on someone else, should they choose.