Northwest Notes: Mitchell, Harkless, Cunningham

The Timberwolves should not bring back interim coach Sam Mitchell, Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune opines. Mitchell’s dour personality doesn’t mesh with the team’s enthusiastic young stars and he’s not among the top 15 available candidates, Souhan continues. Tom Thibodeau, Luke Walton and Scott Brooks are among the potential candidates that the team should look at, Souhan adds.

In other news around the Northwest Division:

  • Small forward Maurice Harkless has emerged as a starter for the Trail Blazers, according to Mike Richman of The Oregonian. With Harkless in the lineup, Al-Farouq Aminu has shifted to power forward with Noah Vonleh moving to a reserve role. The pairing of Harkless and Aminu gives Portland more defensive versatility, as Harkless told Richman. “I think it just changes the dynamic,” Harkless said. “Defensively, we can pretty much switch everything one through four. Offensively, it creates an advantage for me or Al-Farouq, whoever the big guy is guarding.”
  • Jared Cunningham has returned to the Jazz’s D-League affiliate, the Idaho Stampede, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor tweets. The 24-year-old shooting guard has lived a nomadic existence this season. He appeared in 40 games with the Cavaliers, was waived by the Magic after they acquired him as part of the Channing Frye swap, then signed with the Stampede. He also signed a 10-day contract with the Bucks in mid-March but Milwaukee declined to offer him another 10-day deal.
  • Nuggets shooting guard Gary Harris has responded to coach Michael Malone’s challenge to become a much bigger factor in his second season, Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post writes. Harris solidified himself as the team’s starting shooting guard in a make-or-break season to prove himself, Dempsey continues. Harris has reached double digits in 23 of his last 25 games, shedding his label as a defensive specialist. “Just being more aggressive on the offensive and defensive end,” Harris told Dempsey. “Just getting back into it. Instead of just being labeled as a defender, being an all-around player.”

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