Western Notes: Timberwolves, Vonleh, Warriors

Timberwolves interim coach Sam Mitchell will have his patience tested by flashy point guard Ricky Rubio, David Aldridge of NBA.com opines. While the franchise wants to take pressure off Rubio by making him understand that he’s no longer viewed as its savior, he may be on a shorter leash than he had with coach Flip Saunders, who is out indefinitely while he receives cancer treatments, Aldridge continues. It was Saunders, as the franchise’s president of basketball operations, who gave Rubio a $56MM extension last year, Aldridge points out. In the same piece, Aldridge also reports that many people around the league felt team owner Glen Taylor wanted to bring back Mitchell as the team’s head coach, though not under these circumstances. Mitchell was one of the franchise’s most beloved players and a former NBA Coach of the Year with Toronto, Aldridge adds.

In other news around the Western Conference:

  • Noah Vonleh’s size, shooting touch and ballhandling make him an intriguing prospect but he needs to prove he can consistently use those skills against NBA competition, according to Mike Richman of The Oregonian. Vonleh, who was traded to the Trail Blazers from the Hornets this offseason, led Portland’s summer team in scoring (17.3 points per game) and rebounding (8.5) while displaying his ballhandling and ability to take slower forwards off the dribble, Richman continues. A sports hernia injury in training camp sidelined Vonleh early in his rookie season and he got buried in Charlotte’s crowded frontcourt rotation, Richman adds.
  • Ian Clark and Jarell Eddie will receive approximately half of their salaries if they make the Warriors’ opening night roster, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Clark, a 6’3” shooting guard, would receive $474K on the contract he signed Monday. Eddie, a 6’7” small forward who also signed Monday, would make $423K.
  • The Warriors announced that 1,650 fans were denied access to Oracle Arena last season due to counterfeit tickets purchased from third-party vendors, Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group tweets.
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