Northwest Notes: Wolves Ownership, Banton, Williams, Jazz

The 56-25 Timberwolves, battling for the No. 1 seed in the West, have emerged as one of the best teams in the league this season. But Minnesota’s fraught ownership situation has suddenly taken center stage in the club’s best season over the last 20 years, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

As the Wolves look to advance beyond the first round of the postseason for just the second time ever, the grievance between majority owner Glen Taylor and minority owners Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore has uncomfortably remained persistent. The two sides seem destined for mediation or arbitration, and Krawcyznski believes their very public dispute could linger far beyond the end of the 2024 postseason.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Trail Blazers point guard Dalano Banton is doing the most to maximize his play with Portland, per Libaan Osman of The Toronto Star. “I think everyone wants the chance to show what they can do and make a name for themselves,” Banton said. “I just looked at it that way. I know I’ve been sitting on the bench for three years in this league, I know that time was of the essence in my third year.” Osman notes that Portland is expected to exercise its $2.2MM team option on Banton’s contract. Thanks to injuries to many of the Trail Blazers guards who are ahead of him in the team’s rotation, Banton has been averaging 16.7 PPG on .418/.339/.777 shooting in his 29 games with the team, along with 4.8 RPG, 3.5 APG and 0.9 SPG.
  • Center Robert Williams III played just six contests with the Trail Blazers before tearing his right knee ligament in November, which required a season-ending surgery. He spoke with reporters this week for the first time since then, writes Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report. “It was pretty tough,” Williams said. “But it was eye-opening. I got a chance to work on stuff while I was put down for a minute.”
  • The rebuilding Jazz have been immersed in something of a half-hearted tank since Danny Ainge began offloading Utah’s franchise cornerstones, but the team hasn’t always been making the right decisions with its personnel-building thus far, opines Gordon Monson of The Salt Lake Tribune.
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