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.