Northwest Notes: Finch, Nori, Wolves, Clarkson, Thunder

There is “increased optimism” that Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch will be seated near the team’s bench when Game 1 of the Timberwolves/Nuggets series tips off on Saturday, according to The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania (Twitter link). Finch suffered a torn patellar tendon during Minnesota’s first-round series against Phoenix and underwent surgery on the knee on Wednesday.

With Finch’s mobility impacted due to the injury, assistant coach Micah Nori will take on a larger role, as expected (Twitter link via Krawczynski). But it sounds like the Wolves will at least be able to have their head coach nearby rather than watching the game from the locker room or a suite. As Chris Hine of The Star Tribune tweets, team staffers appeared to be working with Finch on Friday to figure out a spot for him to sit, with the goal to get him as close to the floor as possible.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Nick Williams of The Star Tribune takes a closer look at the next step in the Timberwolves‘ ownership dispute after a mediation session this week was unsuccessful. As Williams details, the two sides – current majority owner Glen Taylor and minority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez – will now head to arbitration, which must take place in Minneapolis within the next six months. A three-person panel will hear the case, according to Williams, with each side choosing one arbitrator and then agreeing on a retired judge from Minnesota to serve as the third arbitrator.
  • There’s a chance that veteran guard Jordan Clarkson appeared in his last game for the Jazz this season, Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune writes. The oldest and longest-tenured player on the roster, Clarkson is under contract for two more seasons, but has a team-friendly deal that could make him an appealing offseason trade target. “Tomorrow’s tomorrow, I don’t really try to look too far forward,” Clarkson said. “But I love this organization, I love this state, city. I love playing for this team, [head coach Will Hardy] and everybody. If it’s the last, that just is what it is.” If the Jazz were to move him, it would be to make way for younger players on the roster. He’s due to make about $14MM in each of the next two seasons.
  • The Thunder followed up a week-long break at the end of the regular season with a four-game sweep of New Orleans in the first round, so it’s no surprise that head coach Mark Daigneault has no problem with another lengthy layoff before the second round begins. “If you’ve got bumps and bruises it gives you time to heal and get everybody’s tank full from a recovery standpoint,” Daigneault said, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. “Disadvantages would just be a lot of time in between games, an amount of time we’re not used to. … But I thought we managed it pretty well in the last stretch.”

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

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