The Timberwolves and Kings finalized a trade today that sent Luc Mbah a Moute to Minnesota straight up for 2011′s second overall pick, Derrick Williams. Because Williams is making a little more money this year than Mbah a Moute, the Wolves obtained a trade exception worth $428,576, which will almost certainly go unused. While that TPE may not be noteworthy, a few of today’s quotes out of Minnesota and Sacramento were, so let’s round them up….
Sources tell Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld that the acquisition of D-Will isn’t the only trade the Kings have discussed. According to Kyler, there’s a belief that the Kings have “one or two more deals up their sleeves.”
Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro cited Williams’ untapped potential in explaining to Sam Amick of USA Today why the team decided to acquire him. D’Alessandro adds within the same piece that he feels like the Kings owe it to their fans to be aggressive in exploring roster moves.
Wolves president Flip Saunders tells Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (Twitter link) that Minnesota talked about acquiring Mbah a Moute over the summer when the team put together the deal that sent Luke Ridnour to the Bucks.
Reports yesterday indicated that Mbah a Moute would have to undergo a physical before the swap become official, due to concerns about knee issues. However, according to Saunders, that physical has yet to happen — the Wolves were confident enough in their research that they were comfortable completing the deal without it (Twitter link via Zgoda).
More from Flip: Asked about the possibility of sending Shabazz Muhammad and/or Robbie Hummel to the D-League, Saunders said the notion that they won’t see any playing time with the Wolves isn’t necessarily true (Twitter link via Zgoda).
Interestingly, while Saunders suggested to Zgoda (Twitter link) that he and Rick Adelman concluded Williams couldn’t play small forward in the Wolves’ system, D’Alessandro says the initial plan for D-Will in Sacramento is to start him at the three (Twitter link via Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld).
Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN points out that the Timberwolves will have until October 31st to decide on whether or not they'll exercise Derrick Williams' fourth-year option for 2014/15, in which he would be owed $6.3MM. In a phone conversation with team owner Glen Taylor, it appears that the front office is still undecided:
"We'll evaluate his summer program, and how he looks coming into camp (which starts Oct. 1)…I heard he is looking good."
Wolfson also mentions a point made by Grantland's Zach Lowe, who intimated that picking up Williams' option could potentially carry Minnesota over the luxury tax and prevent them from using their mid-level exception next summer. Here's more of Wolfson's latest in Minnesota via his conversation with Taylor:
It's unlikely that Flip Saunders will bring on a 15th guaranteed contract, meaning that Robbie Hummel, Othyus Jeffers, Lorenzo Brown, and an expected-to-be named big man will compete for the final spot in camp.
Rookies Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng, and veteran Chris Johnson are expected to arrive in town on Monday for developmental work.
Taylor shared that he and Saunders received an apology letter from Muhammad after being dismissed from the league's rookie orientation program, adding that he sent a letter in reply:"I want to get to know him…I wrote to him about first impressions."
As far as renovations for the Target Center, Taylor had this to say: "We have a term sheet with the city. We've agreed to everything. They need to work out a term sheet with AEG (managers of Target Center)."
The 2014 NBA Draft is said to be the deepest in league history. Multiple prospects who would have gone as the top pick in previous drafts may now be relegated to a lower draft position. With such an influx of talent, Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld details some of the favorites in next summer's heralded class.
Brigham attempts to sift through the brightest prospects to provide a blueprint for how the order might play out a year from now. The players he spotlights include incoming college freshman, Andrew Wiggins (Kansas), Julius Randle (Kentucky), Jabari Parker (Duke), Aaron Gordon (Arizona), Oklahoma State sophomore Marcus Smart and Australian Dante Exum.
But even with these players as supposed locks for the lottery, things can change. As Brigham notes in his piece, last year's two prized players expected to be the top two picks in the 2013 Draft, Shabazz Muhammad and Cody Zeller, both fell after the following college basketball season concluded despite neither suffering a major injury. Muhammad even fell out of the top 10 all the way to the Timberwolves (by way of the Jazz) with the 14th pick.
It stands to reason that one of the players Brigham mentions will see his draft stock plummet before June even if all of them stay healthy. If all of these prospects stay healthy next season, and if Exum enters the draft without playing a year at an American university, which one will drop?
The Timberwolves have signed Gorgui Dieng to a rookie-scale contract, according to the teams official PR Twitter account. (Twitter link). An official release will come shortly.
The rookie Dieng was selected 21st overall in June's draft as part of the deal sending 14th pick, Shabazz Muhammad, and Dieng to the Jazz in exchange for 9th pick, Trey Burke. Dieng's likely first year salary, according to our salary chart, will be $1,352,640.
The 6'10" 240 pound center from Senegal, was initially ruled ineligible to play for the Louisville Cardinals, but after they appealed the NCAA's decision, it was reversed and he helped them win the 2013 NCAA championship.
The Timberwolves have officially signed 14th overall pick Shabazz Muhammad, team president Flip Saunders told reporters, including Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (Twitter link). Muhammad was the first of two players selected by the T-Wolves in the first round last month.
Muhammad, a UCLA product, will be in line for a first-year salary worth about $1.89MM, as our chart of rookie salaries shows. There's no word yet on an agreement with Gorgui Dieng, who the Wolves selected 21st overall.
9:29pm: The deal is now official, with Burke heading to Utah for Shabazz Muhammad (No. 14) and Gorgui Dieng (No. 21).
7:34pm: The Jazz will acquire ninth overall pick Trey Burke from the Timberwolves, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com reports (via Twitter) that the T-Wolves will acquire the 14th and 21st picks in the swap.
There was speculation earlier today that Utah would trade up in the draft to land one of the top point guards on the board. It was reported that the team may have to include Alec Burks along with the two first-rounders to get a deal done, but with Burke slipping to No. 9, the Wolves were apparently ahppy to simply pick up an extra pick.
On the night before the draft, three "people of importance" in the Cavs front office have differing views on whom the team should take first overall, tweets Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. This is shaping up as one of the most compelling drafts in years with all the unknowns, even if the talent at the top is subpar. Here's the latest draft-related scuttlebutt:
Nets GM Billy King tells Fred Kerber of the New York Post that there's "about a 60% chance" that the team will trade the No. 22 pick, perhaps in pursuit of a frontcourt player (Twitter link). The Nets are reportedly in three-way talks with the Cavs and Wolves.
Shabazz Muhammad has at least one fan in the Wolves front office, but it isn't anyone at the top of the organization, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities, who says he'll be surprised if the team takes the UCLA small forward.
The Cavs' first preference has been to trade the No. 1 overall pick, but failing that, it looks like it's down to Nerlens Noel and Alex Len, with Anthony Bennett as a dark horse, The Plain Dealer's Mary Schmitt Boyer writes.
The Kings, Pistons and Timberwolves like Shabazz Muhammad and may draft him earlier than most executives be believe he'll go, which is between Nos. 13 and 20, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).
The Heat have been told they could possibly trade for a late lottery pick, but team president Pat Riley says if the team trades for a selection, it will be one of the early picks. "After the first 10 or 12 picks, I'm not so sure there's that player out there," Riley said, as Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel notes.
Sergey Karasev wants to play in the NBA next season, so he won't be a "draft-and-stash" pick, tweets Berger, who hears Karasev may go as high as No. 12 to the Thunder. Chad Ford of ESPN.com wrote earlier today that he could go to the Sixers at No. 11.
ESPN.com's Chad Ford has published version 6.0 of his 2013 mock draft, with just over 48 hours remaining until draft night. As he has been for all six of Ford's mocks, Nerlens Noel remains in the No. 1 spot. The ESPN.com scribe wrote a lengthy piece last night on why he thinks the Cavaliers are still likely to select Noel, and provides details on plenty of other first-round teams in his new mock, so let's check out the highlights….
The Magic are prepared to leap on Noel if he's there at No. 2, but if the Cavs take him, Orlando's choice becomes trickier. Ford continues to hear that the Magic are leaning toward Victor Oladipo over Ben McLemore and others., though Cody Zeller could be a dark horse.
Otto Porter appears to be ahead of Anthony Bennett for the Wizards at No. 3.
Although Ford has the Suns selecting McLemore at No. 5, he says Phoenix prefers Oladipo and also likes Zeller and Michael Carter-Williams.
If Porter or Alex Len are still on the board at No. 6, the Pelicans will probably draft one of the two, but if not, the team may target a point guard like Carter-Williams or Trey Burke, says Ford.
C.J. McCollum has emerged as a potential selection for the Kings at No. 7.
The Trail Blazers wouldn't be opposed to drafting Carter-Williams if he slides to No. 10, since he has the necessary to play alongside Damian Lillard, according to Ford.
If the Cavs end up acquiring the Mavericks' 13th overall pick, Cleveland would probably use it to draft Sergey Karasev.
Ford has Shabazz Muhammad slipping all the way to No. 18 (Hawks) in this version of his mock.
Doc Riversis sold on the "new" Clippers, but still isn't sold on owner Donald Sterling. That could be part of the delay in the two sides hammering out the final details of his contract. A source close to Rivers told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald he was getting pulled hard in different directions last week as the Celtics and Clippers were negotiating a deal.
On one hand, Doc had coaching types telling him he had to jump at the opportunity to coach Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. However, others told him he would be crazy to step into the asylum that has been the Clippers over the years. Regardless, the contract seems like nothing but a formality at this point and we should see Rivers introduced as the new head man in L.A. this week. Here's more from around the Association..
Chad Ford of ESPN.com hears that the Cavs are engaged in trade talks with a number of teams and sources say the Thunder, Timberwolves, and Blazers have been the most proactive in trying to get the No. 1 pick. Meanwhile, Ford still believes that Cleveland will go with Nerlens Noel if they keep the top selection.
Brian Shaw's deal with the Nuggets will be either three years or four years, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. The Nuggets hired the Indiana assistant earlier this evening.
A source tells Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link) that UCLA product Shabazz Muhammad worked out for the Pistons today. The source said that the audition went well for the guard/forward.
The Wolves are still offering Derrick Williams around the league to see what they can get for him, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. The T-Wolves reportedly believe that Williams and the No. 9 pick can vault them into the top three.