It’s no coincidence that the Timberwolves are giving Zach LaVine minutes at point guard after going back on their decision to make him the starting shooting guard, since Ricky Rubio would become a trade chip if LaVine proves capable running the point, writes Zach Lowe of ESPN.com. Rubio and LaVine have played just 10 minutes together so far this season, with Lowe calling it “beyond dumb” that they haven’t shared the floor for more time and Rubio making it clear he’d like to play more often with LaVine. Both Rubio and GM Milt Newton expressed to Lowe that they hope Rubio is the long-term answer at the point, “but he has to stay healthy,” Newton said. Regardless, Newton isn’t in a hurry to make any deals.
“We are cognizant about not rushing it,” Newton said to Lowe. “We don’t want to be a flash in the pan. We don’t want to disrupt our young core. If we do something, it has to be the kind of deal where the majority of that young core is still here, but you get a veteran who is not that old — and can grow with the group.”
See more on the Timberwolves:
- LaVine has shown flashes of brilliance and moments of struggle alike at point guard this season, but his play is making it increasingly apparent that he deserves time at one position or another, as Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune examines. “I love him,” Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said Sunday before Minnesota’s game against Memphis. “I’m a big LaVine fan. I think he can really score the basketball. He’s tough to guard. I think he’s still trying to figure out where he is in the league, learn his teammates, where he can go and when it’s not a good time to go. When he learns that? He’ll be a very potent scorer.”
- Opposing front office personnel were initially dismissive of the late Flip Saunders‘ decision to sign so many veteran mentors this summer, but some of them have warmed to the notion that re-signing Kevin Garnett and adding Andre Miller and Tayshaun Prince was shrewd, Lowe writes in the same piece.
- The Timberwolves almost chose Giannis Antetokounmpo over Shabazz Muhammad in the 2013 draft, several sources tell Lowe. The Jazz officially drafted Muhammad, but they had already agreed to trade the pick to Minnesota by the time they went on the clock, so evidently the Timberwolves were telling the Jazz whom to take, as is often the case behind the scenes with draft-night deals.
- If Steve Kaplan, the Grizzlies minority owner who’s reportedly in talks to buy a share of the Timberwolves, were to purchase a controlling interest in the Wolves at some point, he’d probably include Garnett in the ownership group, Lowe hears from sources.
- Sean Kilpatrick, who was with the Timberwolves on a 10-day contract this past spring, has re-signed with the D-League affiliate of the Sixers, the team with which he ended last season, the D-League club announced.