Northwest Notes: Wolves, Durant, Thunder

With the Nuggets seemingly on the upswing, the Wolves have become the team most likely to shake things up through multiple trades this season, Kevin Pelton of (Insider subscription required) writes. If Wolves president Flip Saunders acknowledges his preseason hope of competing for a playoff spot is no longer realistic, Minnesota could look to trade Thaddeus Young, Corey Brewer, or Kevin Martin, once he returns from his wrist injury, Pelton opines.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Many teams around the league are rooting for the Thunder to miss out on the playoffs this season, Sam Amick of USA Today writes. Similar to how many believed that the odds of LeBron James leaving the Heat as a free agent last summer would increase if Miami fell to the Spurs in the NBA Finals, the widely-held belief around the league now is that the odds of Kevin Durant leaving Oklahoma City will spike if he doesn’t win a title [or two] in the next two seasons, notes Amick.
  • Knicks head coach Derek Fisher credits Scott Brooks and the Thunder‘s coaching staff for preparing him for the jump from player to coach, Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman writes. “They were just very open to relationships with the players, being in close contact and engaged with their players,” Fisher said. “It really opened my eyes as to how impactful coaches can be in this league. For a long time, coaching wasn’t really something that people thought professional players really needed.”
  • Jabari Davis of Basketball Insiders runs down a number of potential trade candidates in the Western Conference, including Kenneth Faried, JaVale McGee, and Danilo Gallinari of the Nuggets, the Clippers’ Reggie Bullock and Matt Barnes, and Jordan Hill and Steve Nash of the Lakers.
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