Northwest Notes: Spagnolo, Lillard, Nuggets Arena, SGA

Timberwolves draft-and-stash prospect Matteo Spagnolo is playing for Italy in the World Cup. The combo guard, selected in the second round of the 2022 draft, could develop a rotation player if/when he plays in the NBA. The Timberwolves are confident that Spagnolo – who is still only 20 years old – will eventually join them.

“He’s certainly a guy that every time he gets out there, you see, I think, a kid that’s getting better,” Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said to The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski. “At his age, the physicality of this competition really stands out. To be comfortable with that level of physicality and the expectations of your national team, and you still produce relative to being so young, I think it’s really encouraging.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • It’s generally assumed that if the Trail Blazers trade Damian Lillard, he’ll wind up with the Heat. Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype takes a look at some potential alternatives, including the Pelicans, Jazz, Raptors and Magic, noting that each club has a variety of assets that could satisfy the Blazers.
  • Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the Nuggets, announced Monday it is exploring potential renovations to Ball Arena, Bennett Durando of the Denver Post reports. KSE is conducting “market due diligence to evaluate opportunities to enhance the fan experience,” according to a statement. The company is sending out a survey, seeking fan feedback to help determine the future of the arena.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 27 points as Canada routed Latvia in World Cup action on Tuesday. The Thunder star scored 16 of his points in the third quarter. “I didn’t start the game the way I needed to, the way the team needed me to,” he told The Canadian Press. “Just with my energy level, my activeness on both ends of the floor. I looked in the mirror and tried to be better from that point on. Tried to make that my focus, to be better every possession for my team. If I do that, it would set the tone and the tide would turn.”
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