Northwest Notes: Jokic, KCP, Jazz, Messina, Towns

While most NBA fans look forward to Tuesday evening’s announcement of the 2022/23 Most Valuable Player, Nuggets star and MVP finalist Nikola Jokic claims he’s not exactly waiting on that news with bated breath. As Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes, Following a huge Game 2 on Monday (39 points, 16 rebounds), Jokic said that, weather permitting, he’d like to be “in the swimming pool” when the NBA reveals this season’s MVP.

“I don’t really think about it,” Jokic said. “Like zero interest.”

Jokic has certainly had the most impressive postseason of the three finalists, given that Joel Embiid has missed two of five Sixers games due to a knee injury and Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s Bucks were upset by the eighth-seeded Heat in round one.

Of course, MVP voting was completed before the playoffs began, but teammate Jamal Murray and head coach Michael Malone pointed to Jokic’s Game 2 performance as a perfect example of why he has won two MVP awards and deserves a third. According to Youngmisuk, Malone said on Monday that if Jokic doesn’t win this year’s award, he intends to tell the star center that he’s “he’s the MVP in my eyes.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s big night on Monday (41 minutes played, 4-of-4 on three-pointers) served as reminders of why the Nuggets wanted him so badly last summer and how instrumental he has been to the team’s success this season, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post (subscription required). “KCP does everything for us,” Denver guard Bruce Brown said. “Me and him kind of in the same role. … He’s the only champion in here, so I learn as much as I can from him.”
  • The Jazz‘s coaching staff is said to be undergoing offseason changes, and former Spurs assistant Ettore Messina – who worked alongside Will Hardy in San Antonio from 2015-19 and is now a head coach in Italy – was recently identified by Sportando as a possible target. Asked by Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune about the rumor, Messina neither confirmed nor outright denied it. “Eric, I do not have much for you,” he told Walden in a text message. “I am enjoying what I’m doing with (Olimpia) Milano.”
  • Should the Timberwolves seriously consider the idea of trading Karl-Anthony Towns this offseason? Chris Hine of The Star Tribune explores that question in detail, discussing why it might make sense while also presenting the arguments against such a deal.
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