Portland Trail Blazers Rumors

Portland Trail Blazers trade, free agent, and draft rumors, updated constantly by the NBA experts at HoopsRumors.com.

Kyler’s Latest: Love, Monroe, Gasol, Leonard

March 3 at 10:58am CST By Chuck Myron

The trade deadline is in the past and the focus is shifting to the draft and this year’s class of free agents. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders takes a broad look at free agency for the summer ahead, passing along a number of noteworthy tidbits from his conversations around the league. His entire NBA AM piece is worth a read as he examines the outlook for several teams, and we’ll hit the highlights here:

  • The Celtics are planning to target marquee free agents this summer, with Kevin Love atop their list, followed by Greg Monroe, Kyler writes. Marc Gasol and restricted free agents Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler are others in Boston’s sights, sources tell Kyler. It appears the Celtics will look to re-sign Brandon Bass to a salary lower than the $6.9MM he’s making this season, Kyler suggests, also indicating a likelihood that the Celtics renounce Jonas Jerebko‘s rights. That wouldn’t preclude a new deal with Jerebko, something that Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reported earlier that the Celtics would like, though it does indicate that the C’s aim to open cap space. That’s a path of questionable merit, as I examined.
  • There’s a “sense” that the Sixers will make a play for Monroe, too, as well as Butler, Tobias Harris and Reggie Jackson, according to Kyler.
  • Monroe, Love and Rajon Rondo are at least willing to meet with the Lakers this summer, Kyler hears, though Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge are long shots for the team, the Basketball Insiders scribe cautions. Still, chatter is connecting the Lakers to just about every would-be free agent, including Jackson and Brandon Knight.
  • It’s unlikely that Rondo gets a full maximum-salary deal in free agency this summer, league sources tell Kyler, who surmises that teams would float short-term max offers instead. A full max from the Mavs would entail a five-year deal with 7.5% raises, while other teams can offer four years and 4.5% raises.
  • Sources also tell Kyler that they believe Monta Ellis will opt out this summer, which is no surprise given his level of play and the $8.72MM value of his player option.
  • Kyler also gets the sense that Paul Millsap is content with the Hawks and would like to stay for the long term, though it appears Atlanta is eyeing an upgrade at DeMarre Carroll‘s small forward position.
  • The Spurs will make Gasol their top free agent priority this summer, Kyler writes, though the team will have trouble signing him if Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili return at salaries comparable to the ones they’re making. In any case, San Antonio was believed to be the team with the most interest in Monroe last summer, Kyler adds.

Financial Impact Of Deadline Trades: Northwest

March 2 at 10:05am CST By Chuck Myron

Last week’s trade deadline was a dizzying affair, with 39 players and 17 teams involved in a dozen trades, including a trio of three-team transactions. The day had wide-ranging effects on the salary structures of those 17 teams, and we’ll examine the aftermath for each of them in this multipart series.

We’ll conclude the series today with a look at the Northwest Division, the busiest division on deadline day, with all five teams making at least one swap. The salary figures listed below denote this season’s salaries, though we’ll also discuss salary for future seasons.

Denver Nuggets

In: ($5,963,603)

Out: ($19,665,243)

The specter of the Sixers allowing an opposing team to offload a player with an eight-figure salary into their cap space loomed all season long, but it wasn’t until deadline day that it happened. The Nuggets not only reaped salary relief, for this season and next, from trading JaVale McGee to Philadelphia. They were able to create a powerful trade exception worth McGee’s $11.25MM salary that they can use anytime between the end of the regular season and next year’s trade deadline to find a player, or players, more productive than McGee proved during his time in Denver.

Trade exceptions can also be used to create other trade exceptions, an act of essentially rolling them over from one year to the next. That appears to be what the Nuggets did to allow themselves to create a new, $7.5MM exception equivalent to Arron Afflalo‘s salary, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders estimates (Twitter link) and shows on his Nuggets salary page. They took Thomas Robinson‘s salary into the $4.65MM trade exception they created in January for Timofey Mozgov, reducing its value to $971,640, Pincus tweets. That took care of the largest incoming salary, and Denver took advantage of its last chance to use two other exceptions for the rest of the salary it took on from Portland. Victor Claver‘s salary fit neatly into the $1,659,080 Andre Miller trade exception, as Pincus notes on Twitter. Will Barton is making the minimum salary but couldn’t fit into the minimum-salary exception since he’s on a three-year pact. However, he was a fit for the $1,169,880 Jordan Hamilton exception. That allows the Nuggets to create a trade exception for Gee’s $915,243 salary, as Pincus shows. Thus, Denver used two expiring exceptions to create two new exceptions for Afflalo and Gee that won’t expire until next year’s deadline.

Of course, whether any of the McGee, Afflalo or Gee exceptions still exist at next year’s deadline depends in part on whether the Nuggets remain an over-the-cap team in the offseason, a proposition that seems less likely after Thursday’s trades. The excising of McGee left a $12MM hole in Denver’s 2015/16 commitments, and the team no longer has Afflalo’s $7.5MM player option to contend with. Robinson and Claver, both of whom have since been waived, were on expiring contracts, and the same is true of Barton. The Nuggets have about $48MM in commitments for next season, about $20MM beneath the projected salary cap. That doesn’t count Jameer Nelson‘s nearly $2.855MM player option, the team’s likely lottery pick, and more than $2MM in roster charges, since the team only has seven fully guaranteed contracts, so the Nuggets would have trouble offering the max to anyone but restricted free agents. Still, there are enough tempting 2015 free agents to make it a strong possibility that GM Tim Connelly renounces his exceptions and uses cap space for a significant signing or two.

For now, those exceptions are all that keep the Nuggets from having immediate cap space. Their team salary dipped below the $56.759MM minimum team salary when Philadelphia claimed Robinson off waivers and wiped his salary figure from Denver’s cap. Normally, a team in Denver’s position would cheer such a move, since it saves the Nuggets from paying out the remainder of Robinson’s salary. But the final two months of paychecks due Robinson would have been a cheaper cost than having to pay the difference between their team salary and the minimum salary line to the players on their roster at season’s end, which is the penalty for failing to meet the salary floor. The Nuggets have already paid most of Robinson’s $3,678,360, but those payments no longer count toward their team salary, since Robinson’s full number instead applies to the Sixers, pushing them over that same minimum salary line. Denver could claim another player off waivers just as Philadelphia did, but the Nuggets are operating over the cap because of the value of their exceptions, so they’d either have to renounce them or use one of them to accommodate the waiver claim, neither of which they’re likely to do.

Minnesota Timberwolves

In: ($12,000,000)

Out: ($9,410,869)

The Timberwolves made a pair of trades about a week before the deadline, but the one they made on deadline day was far more about intangibles than salary. They took on salary for this year, to be sure, but the more than $2.5MM gap between the salaries for Kevin Garnett and Thaddeus Young isn’t quite so pronounced, since each only has a few more paychecks to go. The Nets already paid the lion’s share of Garnett’s salary, as the Wolves did with Young’s. Minnesota swallows Garnett’s entire cap figure, but that matters little, since the team was over the cap but nowhere near the luxury tax threshold, and that’s still the case post-trade with a team salary of about $67.5MM.

Minnesota reportedly wants to sign Garnett to a two-year deal this summer, and he’s expected to fulfill that request, so that mitigates the potential savings the team reaped when it unloaded Young and his nearly $9.972MM player option. However, it’s uncertain just what sort of salary Garnett would end up with. It’s quite conceivable that he’d give the Timberwolves a break and allow them to pay him significantly less than Young would have made on his option. It’s just as conceivable that he’d insist on a salary similar to his $12MM pay from this season, and that the Wolves would give it to him.

So, it’s unclear whether the trade will end up a net gain or loss of salary flexibility for the Wolves, who have about $51MM committed for 2015/16, not counting Chase Budinger‘s $5MM player option and what will almost certainly be a high lottery pick. The team probably wouldn’t have had a chance to open enough cap space to be a major player on the free agent market even if it hadn’t traded Young and he’d opted out, so the deal to bring in Garnett makes financial sense. Young could have left Minnesota without the cap flexibility to adequately replace him if he’d opted out, but Garnett seems more willing to commit to the team that Young had been. There’s a decent chance the real financial after-effects of the deal won’t be felt until 2016, when Garnett’s would-be two-year deal stands to take up space just when rival teams are clearing the decks for when the league’s TV deal drives the salary cap up to a projected $90MM.

Oklahoma City Thunder

In: ($13,230,621)

Out: ($13,536,598)

A divorce between the Thunder and Reggie Jackson seemed inevitable. The same was probably true of Enes Kanter and the Jazz, so Oklahoma City swapped one discontented soon-to-be free agent for another. The Thunder nonetheless paid a price. They took on $6.75MM in guaranteed salary for 2015/16 to Steve Novak and D.J. Augustin for next season and gave up only $947,276, Grant Jerrett‘s salary for next season. Oklahoma City emerges with more than $78.3MM already committed for next season against a projected $81MM tax line, and that doesn’t include a new deal for Kanter.

The Thunder’s willingness to use trade exceptions to bring on any significant additional salary from here forward is questionable, but it nonetheless appears the team was able to create a new trade exception equivalent to Reggie Jackson‘s $2,204,369 salary. One of its existing trade exceptions facilitates this, though Oklahoma City narrowly missed out on an opportunity to reap a new Jackson exception without using one it already had on the books. The outgoing salaries of Kendrick Perkins and Jerrett come to $10,470,824, meaning that the Thunder, a taxpaying team, could absorb 125% plus $100K of that amount in incoming salary. That comes to $13,188,530, agonizingly close to the $13,230,621 worth of incoming salary involved in the deal.

Still, the use of either the $1.25MM Hasheem Thabeet exception or the $915,243 Lance Thomas exception to absorb Kyle Singler‘s salary would fit the bill. No reports have indicated which one the Thunder used, but the assumption here is that they would use the Thabeet exception, since it expires much sooner and there’s only a negligible difference between its value and the that of the Thomas exception. In either case, hiding Singler’s salary in an existing trade exception lowers the rest of Oklahoma City’s incoming salary within the 125% plus $100K range of Perkins’ and Jerrett’s salaries, so Jackson’s salary can go out by itself. Thus, the Thunder could create that Jackson trade exception if they so desired.

The Thunder’s other trade was quite simple, with Ish Smith the only currently rostered player involved. Offloading him allows the Thunder to create a small trade exception for his $861,405 prorated minimum salary. More significantly, the deal allows Oklahoma City to save close to $1.225MM in taxes on Smith in addition to his salary, and it gives the Thunder a net savings instead of a net cost from their deadline-day activity, at least in terms of this season. Of course, the true cost lies ahead.

Portland Trail Blazers

In: ($8,665,243)

Out: ($5,963,603)

Your eyes don’t deceive you, and that’s not a typo. Arron Afflalo‘s incoming salary for the Blazers is different from the outgoing salary listed for him in the Nuggets ledger above. That’s because the $250K in bonus money that he gets if his team makes the playoffs went from an unlikely incentive to a likely one, as Pincus pointed out. Likely incentives are a part of a player’s cap figure while unlikely ones are not, and so from Portland’s perspective, he’s a slightly more expensive player, while the Nuggets were able to create a trade exception only for the cap figure he represented to them.

This bit of accounting costs the Blazers a chance to create a trade exception, assuming the deal would have been constructed the same way in a world where Afflalo doesn’t have a playoff bonus. Portland is over the cap but under the tax, so it can absorb as much as 150% plus $100K of what it gives up. Afflalo’s Denver salary would fit within 150% plus $100K of the salaries of Thomas Robinson and Victor Claver, but his bonus-inclusive Portland salary would not. So, Portland had to add Will Barton‘s salary to the equation rather than send it out by itself. If Barton hadn’t been needed for matching purposes, the Blazers could have slipped Gee’s salary into the minimum-salary exception and created a $915,243 trade exception equivalent to Barton’s salary. Of course, it seems just as logical to suspect that neither Barton nor Gee would be involved in the trade if Afflalo didn’t have a bonus, since the deal would work without them in that case, so it’s quite possible Portland wouldn’t have ended up with a trade exception either way.

Blazers GM Neil Olshey probably isn’t losing sleep over that would-be element, and there probably isn’t too much for him to fear regarding Afflalo’s player option. The Nuggets reportedly expected that Afflalo would command $9-10MM annually in his next deal, figures that would no doubt entice the shooting guard to turn down that $7.75MM option for next season. Even if he opts in, the Blazers would still have only about $30.8MM committed for 2015/16, giving them flexibility to pivot should they lose any of the three members of their starting five who are due for free agency this summer.

Utah Jazz

In: ($10,470,824)

Out ($9,140,621)

Salary seemed to factor little into the Jazz’s thinking in their deal, which among other assets gave the team a protected 2017 first-rounder and the rights to 7’2″ draft-and-stash center Tibor Pleiss, whom Utah appeared close to signing shortly after the trade. Those Pleiss talks hit a snag, but the Jazz are clearly focused on the future, and it seems likely the sides will discuss a contract again, and perhaps this summer, when the Jazz only have about $47MM earmarked for 2015/16. The Jazz arrived at that figure having offloaded Steve Novak‘s $3.75MM guaranteed 2015/16 salary in exchange for Grant Jerrett‘s $947,276 guarantee for next season, a net savings of nearly $2.803MM.

Kendrick Perkins, whom the Jazz have already waived in a buyout deal, and Kanter both had expiring contracts, but the continued presence of Kanter would have complicated Utah’s flexibility even if he was destined to play elsewhere, since, unless Utah renounced his rights and gave up leverage to make a sign-and-trade, Kanter’s cap hold would have been stuck on the books. Perkins’ cap hold, like his contract itself, is already gone, and while the Jazz could have made the same happen with Kanter, GM Dennis Lindsey and company surely would have held out to try to find some way of recouping at least a modicum of value for the former No. 3 overall pick.

The Jazz instead found an palatable return for Kanter at the deadline, and they saved money for next season while doing so. Plus, it didn’t cost the team much in salary for this season, if anything at all, depending on how much Perkins gave up in his buyout.

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

Victor Claver To Play In Russia

March 1 at 8:45am CST By Chuck Myron

SUNDAY, 8:45am: Khimki Moscow confirms that it has signed Claver through the end of the season.

FRIDAY, 10:45am: Former Trail Blazers forward Victor Claver will sign with Russia’s Khimki Moscow, agent Arn Tellem tells David Pick of Eurobasket.com (Twitter link). Chema de Lucas of Gigantes Del Basket reported earlier today that the deal was close. He’ll replace Joffrey Lauvergne, who left the club a few weeks ago to sign a three-year deal with the Nuggets, Lucas writes. Coincidentally, Claver passed through the hands of the Nuggets last week, having gone to Denver in the Arron Afflalo trade before Denver released him this past weekend. Claver’s new deal runs until season’s end, according to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia, though it’s unclear if it includes an NBA escape clause (Twitter link).

It’s somewhat surprising to see the 26-year-old head to Moscow, since he was reportedly prioritizing an NBA deal, even if it had to be a 10-day contract, and it appeared too late in the season for him to head back to Europe, where he’d made his mark before joining Portland in 2012. Still, there were rumors dating back to last season that a return overseas was a distinct possibility, though Claver said in late 2013 that he wasn’t thinking about going back to Europe. Earlier this season, he denied a report that he had requested a trade from the Blazers. Portland cut his playing time from 16.6 minutes per game as a rookie to 7.6 MPG this season.

The Blazers made Claver the 22nd overall pick of the 2009 draft, but he remained overseas for three years before signing. He’s drawing an NBA salary of $1.37MM this season, a figure that sticks on Denver’s books, though the Nuggets could recoup some of that through set-off rights if by chance Claver’s Russian deal gives him more than $816,482.

Western Notes: Blazers, Rondo, Thunder

February 28 at 12:05pm CST By Eddie Scarito

The Trail Blazers, who have an empty roster spot, are more likely to sign a younger player who they could possibly develop for a role off the bench next season than bring in a veteran, Jabari Young of CSNNW.com writes. There are a few NBA D-League players who Portland could target, including Seth Curry and Glen Rice Jr., or the team may look to ink Jordan Hamilton if the Clippers don’t sign him for the remainder of the season, Young notes. Hamilton was recently inked to his first 10-day contract of the season with Los Angeles.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Despite his recent one game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team that resulted from a dust up with Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, Rajon Rondo is committed to helping Dallas to contend for a title this season, Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com writes. “I’m going to do what’s best for the team and play my heart out for these next 22 games we have left, and [help] make a run in the playoffs,” Rondo said. “We’ve moved forward and our team has moved forward, and we’ve got a game to look forward to tomorrow.  You know, I’m playing with some great players, with the addition of Amar’e [Stoudemire] now, and I think we’ve got a great chance to win a championship. So, that’s my main focus. I’m going to continue to work to get better and do what’s best to lead this team.
  • The veteran point guard also said that he and the team both want to achieve the same goals, Sneed relays (Twitter link). “I’ve talked to pretty much everybody in the organization, and everyone is pretty much on the same page,” Rondo said.
  • The trades that Thunder GM Sam Presti made this season will help the team not only in 2014/15, but in the summer of 2016 when Kevin Durant becomes a free agent, Shaun Powell of NBA.com writes. The depth that Presti has added should make the team more competitive, which will in turn make the franchise harder to walk away from for Durant, Powell opines. The Slim Reaper is enthusiastic about the Thunder’s mid-season moves, Powell adds. “It shows how great our organization is,” Durant said. “You keep getting talent after talent and keep rolling them in there like that. It shows we’ve got a great eye for talent.

Atlantic Notes: Robinson, Plumlee, Towns

February 27 at 6:12pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Thomas Robinson is pleased to be a member of the struggling Sixers despite Philadelphia’s waiver claim that prevented him from joining the Nets, who currently hold the No. 8 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference, on a 10-day contract, Mike Tokito of The Oregonian writes. “I was happy because the Sixers made it clear that they wanted me here,” Robinson said. “At the end of the day, I’m happy.” The forward is also glad to have the opportunity to garner playing time after failing to play in 21 of the 53 contests that he was with the Blazers this season, Tokito adds. “I’m going to play basketball,” Robinson said. “Let everything happen on its own. I’m not going to try to force nothing. I’m going to find my way to get comfortable. And then after that, everything will take care of itself.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers coach Brett Brown said that Robinson will have a chance to make his case for the team to re-sign him long-term, Tokito relays. “He fits all the things we like when we identify keepers. It’s a look that we couldn’t pass up,” Brown said. “He’s not going to have a better environment to have a legitimate chance to be a legitimate NBA player.
  • The Nets‘ acquisition of Thaddeus Young has impacted the playing time of Mason Plumlee, Tim Bontemps of The New York Post writes. “Time comes from playing well,” coach Lionel Hollins said. “He just hasn’t played well in a couple games. He can’t worry about Brook [Lopez] or not playing. He just has to go out there and play. That’s the game. You have to go play, and he’s the starter and I have no plans of changing that, and he’s just got to play better.”
  • Duke’s Jahlil Okafor is the consensus No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft according to NBA scouts, but the Knicks may be better served to select Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns if given the choice, Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv writes. Though Okafor is more polished than Towns, scouts told Zagoria that the Kentucky big man’s superior athleticism and ability to stretch the floor on offense make him an intriguing prospect who could end up being the most talented in this year’s draft.

And-Ones: Rondo, Towns, Rivers

February 25 at 10:23pm CST By Dana Gauruder

Rajon Rondo was suspended for one game by the Mavs for conduct detrimental to the team, Marc Stein of ESPN.com tweets. The point guard and coach Rick Carlisle had a verbal altercation on the court that led to Rondo being benched in Dallas’ game against Toronto on Tuesday. The argument continued inside the Mavs’ locker room after that game, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com (Twitter link).  Rondo becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and it’s unknown if his friction with Carlisle will impact the veteran’s decision on possibly re-signing with Dallas.

In other news around the league:

  • University of Kentucky forward Karl-Anthony Towns is threatening to surpass Duke big man Jahlil Okafor as the No. 1 pick in the June draft, according to draft expert Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required). Towns is more athletic, a better defender and a superior shot-blocker compared to Okafor, in Ford’s evaluation, and some NBA GMs that Ford interviewed believe that Towns is the better long-term prospect.
  • Doc Rivers, who is the Clippers’ president of basketball operations, has been a failure as an executive, according to Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times. Rivers has not found an adequate backup at small forward behind Matt Barnes, secured a rotation player in the draft or fortified his bench, Bolch contends. Rivers’ inability to re-sign Darren Collison and his commitment to Spencer Hawes, whom he signed to a four-year contract during the off-season, are examples of his shortcomings as an executive, Bolch adds. Hawes is averaging 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds this season, a reflection of his minimal impact.
  • The Heat sent $369K to the Pelicans to complete the Norris Cole side of the deal which brought Goran Dragic to Miami, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. The Heat also gave the Suns $2.2MM in that same trade.
  • Victor Claver could wind up with Spanish power Real Madrid, David Pick of Eurobasket.com reports (Twitter link). Any Liga ACB team seeking his services must negotiate with Valencia, which owns his rights, Pick added in a separate tweet. The 26-year-old forward played in 10 games with the Trail Blazers this season before he was acquired by the Nuggets last week. Claver was subsequently waived by Denver.

Northwest Notes: Garnett, Barton, Nelson

February 25 at 1:31pm CST By Chuck Myron

Kevin Garnett called the Timberwolves the only team for which he would have waived his no-trade clause this year, as Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune writes amid his story on Garnett’s welcome-home press conference Tuesday. The 20th-year veteran also indicated his belief that he can overcome any hard feelings toward Wolves owner Glen Taylor that stem from Garnett’s parting with the franchise in 2007.

“You know what, throughout time, I’ve understood that you have to forgive and forget,” Garnett said. “I obviously won’t forget certain things, but it’s time to move on. … Glen and I always had an understanding. I wouldn’t have come back if the relationship was to the point where it’s not reachable. I’m looking forward to this opportunity and I’m embracing this change.

Taylor was absent from the press conference, but it was a simple scheduling conflict, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link). Here’s more on a few Northwest Division players who recently relocated:

  • Will Barton relishes his increased minutes since the deadline trade that sent him from Portland to Denver, and Brian Shaw is impressed with the shooting guard who reminds the Nuggets coach of Corey Brewer, as Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post relays. Barton is poised for restricted free agency this summer.
  • Jameer Nelson likes being in Denver and playing for a Nuggets team that he believes wants him around after he was part of two trades in less than a month, as he tells Jessica Camerato of Basketball Insiders. Several teams had reportedly hoped that he and Denver would do a buyout deal, but Denver would apparently like to keep him not just for this season but for next year, too. Nelson has a player option worth nearly $2.855MM.
  • Arron Afflalo‘s relationship with Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey predates last week’s trade that sent Afflalo to Portland, and the shooting guard already had ties to some of his new Blazer teammates, too, as fellow Basketball Insiders scribe Alex Kennedy points out. Afflalo also has a player option for next season, worth $7.75MM.

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Clark, Garnett

February 24 at 8:13pm CST By Eddie Scarito

The Sixers waiver claim of Thomas Robinson will drop the Nuggets to approximately $2.6MM beneath the NBA’s salary floor, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). This means that Denver would have to pay its players the difference between their team salary and the league’s minimum amount if the team doesn’t raise its payroll above the salary floor prior to the end of the season.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Jazz have assigned Ian Clark to the Idaho Stampede, their D-League affiliate, the team has announced. This will be Clark’s first trek of the season to Idaho.
  • At the press conference welcoming Kevin Garnett back to the Wolves, Garnett discussed what led him to waive his no trade clause so that he could return to Minnesota, David Aldridge of NBA.com tweets. Garnett said, “I figured if LeBron James can go home, [expletive], why can’t I?
  • Garnett relayed that he had no desire to become a coach when his playing career was over, Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun tweets. “Heeeeell no. A coach is what I won’t be … you can’t pay me enough to coach,” Garnett said.
  • The veteran big man says that he is in it for the long haul with the Wolves, Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press relays (Twitter link). Garnett says he wants to become part of Minnesota’s ownership and help the team claim an NBA title.
  • Garnett declined to commit to playing beyond this season, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders notes (Twitter link). KG said that he would listen to what his body tells him and seek his family’s input before deciding his future, Kyler adds.
  • The BlazersSteve Blake said that he plans to exercise his player option for 2015/16 worth $2,170,465, and that he is hoping to play another “year or two” after that, Jabari Young of CSNNW.com writes. “I’ve thought about it for sure,” said Blake of retirement. “I know I’m in the back stretch, that’s why it’s so important for us to be so good. I want a championship really bad and I’m hoping we can get to that level. I only have a few years left to try and get it.”

Northwest Notes: Garnett, Mitchell, Claver, Kanter

February 23 at 11:03pm CST By Arthur Hill

The Rockets’ Jason Terry believes Kevin Garnett will make an immediate impact with the Wolves, reports Jenny Dial Creech of The Houston Chronicle. Garnett, a star with Minnesota for more than a decade, was reacquired Thursday in a trade deadline deal. He may not see much playing time, but he is expected to have a strong influence over the Wolves’ young players. “He will infuse discipline right away,” said Terry, who teamed with Garnett with both the Celtics and Nets. “Guys will come in and they are going to be expected to be professional at all times and I think learning from KG the last two seasons in Brooklyn and in Boston, I learned how to be a better leader myself, even in my 16th year in the league.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Some expect that Timberwolves assistant coach Sam Mitchell will succeed Flip Saunders as Minnesota’s head coach, according to Sam Smith of Bulls.com. Mitchell reportedly interviewed for the head job last summer.
  • After a week that saw him get both traded and waived, Victor Claver got some advice from a former teammate on the Spanish national team, the Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol, writes Jabari Young of CSNNW.com. Claver was part of a five-player deal on Thursday that sent him from the Blazers to the Nuggets, but on Sunday he was waived by Denver. “He needed a change from [Portland]” Gasol said. “I don’t think he expected to get waived from Denver, but that’s part of the game.” Gasol’s advice was to stay aggressive and look for an opening where he can fit in. One possibility for Claver is a return to the Euroleague, where he played before coming to Portland.
  • Enes Kanter gives the Thunder the inside scoring presence they’ve needed for years, writes Dave Leonardis of Bleacher Report. Kanter came to Oklahoma City from the Jazz in a three-team deal just before last Thursday’s deadline. Kanter was inserted into the starting lineup and delivered two straight double-doubles in wins over the Hornets and Nuggets.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Aldridge’s Latest: Thunder, Lopez, Jackson

February 23 at 2:36pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Thunder aren’t making moves simply out of fear that Kevin Durant will jump ship in 2016 and Russell Westbrook will follow suit the next year, a league source tells TNT’s David Aldridge for his Morning Tip column on NBA.com. Still, it’s been an active season for GM Sam Presti, who went over the tax line to acquire Dion Waiters and stayed above it after Thursday’s swap that sent out Reggie Jackson and brought in Enes Kanter. Aldridge has much more in his column, and we’ll hit the highlights, many of which are Thunder-related:

  • The Thunder let the Nets know they wouldn’t do the proposed Jackson/Brook Lopez trade just 15 minutes before the deadline, Aldridge reports. The Nets likely would have dealt Jarrett Jack to the Wizards if they’d done that deal, Aldridge adds.
  • The concern that Arron Afflalo would turn down his player option and hit the open market dissuaded the Thunder from trading for him, as Aldridge explains.
  • The Rockets preferred Goran Dragic to Jackson and the Celtics weren’t willing to trade young players for the then-Thunder guard, Aldridge writes.
  • The Thunder didn’t have plans to re-sign Kendrick Perkins in the summer even before they traded him at the deadline, according to Aldridge.