Ade Murkey

Wolves Notes: Towns, Edwards, G League Bubble

After suiting up and taking the court for the first time in nearly a month on Wednesday, Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns admitted he endured a “rough journey” during his absence as he battled COVID-19.

“I am a high-risk case,” Towns said, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “COVID did not treat me well whatsoever. A lot of scary nights. One of the things that I told my sister when I got COVID was that, ‘Hey, I got it, and I don’t got a good version of it. I got a lot of COVID in me, but I am going to fight and beat it.'”

While Towns acknowledged that many players around the NBA have experienced few symptoms – or none at all – after testing positive for the coronavirus, he noted that everyone’s experience is “totally different.” Several of Towns’ family members have died of complications from COVID-19, including his mother, to whom Towns said he is most “genetically connected.”

“You hear those stories where people get COVID,” Towns said, according to Youngmisuk. “And they’re like, ‘Oh, for four days, five days, I didn’t feel well, and then I turned the corner magically one day and I was feeling great.’ That did not happen with me.”

Towns was solid in his return to action, putting up 18 points to go along with 10 rebounds, but he admitted to reporters that he didn’t feel mentally ready for the game. It may take a little more time before the 25-year-old back to his usual dominant self.

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • As Youngmisuk relays, Towns also became the latest star player to question the logic of holding an All-Star Game in 2021. “I personally don’t believe there should be an All-Star Game, but what the hell do I know?” Towns said, sarcastically adding: “S–t, I obviously haven’t dealt with COVID, probably a guy who has some insight into that. What should I know about COVID, right?”
  • Anthony Edwards got off to a slow start during his rookie year, shooting just 34.4% from the floor and 27.4% from beyond the arc through his first 16 games. However, he has come on lately, averaging 16.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 3.1 APG on .435/.400/.800 shooting in his last nine, and entering Minnesota’s starting lineup during that time. The No. 1 overall pick is just getting started, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, who says the Wolves drafted Edwards knowing he was raw and not expecting him to dominate right out of the gate.
  • The Iowa Wolves – Minnesota’s G League affiliate – have been penalized for violating the health and safety protocols at the NBAGL bubble at Walt Disney World. As Adam Zagoria of Forbes tweets, the club was fined $10K, while Charlie Brown, Ashton Hagans, Jaylen Johnson, Ade Murkey, and Dakarai Tucker were all suspended without pay for two games. Iowa added Isaiah Briscoe and Jaylen Morris from the bubble’s available player pool to temporarily fill the holes on its roster, tweets Adam Johnson.

Timberwolves Sign Zylan Cheatham, Waive Ade Murkey

The Timberwolves made a pair of roster moves on Saturday, signing forward Zylan Cheatham and waiving forward Ade Murkey, according to RealGM. It’s likely an Exhibit 10 contract for Cheatham, who appears unlikely to make the regular season roster.

Cheatham, 25, was waived by the Thunder on Dec. 2 after he was part of the four-team deal that sent Steven Adams to New Orleans. The Arizona native signed a two-way deal with the Pelicans in July 2019 and subsequently made his NBA debut last season.

During the NBA’s restart in Orlando, Cheatham saw action in three contests for the Pelicans. In total, Cheatham posted averages of 3.0 PPG and 2.3 RPG in four games.

Minnesota signed the undrafted Murkey to an Exhibit 10 deal back in early December. The 22-year-old made one preseason appearance for the Timberwolves after appearing in 118 games across four seasons at the University of Denver. In that time, he posted averages of 10.6 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 2.0 APG. He was named to the 2020 All-Summit League Second Team.

Wolves Sign Ade Murkey To Exhibit 10 Deal

University of Denver guard Ade Murkey has signed a one-year deal with the Timberwolves, according to RealGM’s log of official NBA transactions.

Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype first reported early in free agency that Murkey would be joining the Wolves for training camp. He received an Exhibit 10 contract, per Kalbrosky. That will make the 22-year-old a good candidate to join the Iowa Wolves, Minnesota’s G League affiliate, if and when he’s cut by the NBA squad.

Murkey, who spent his full four-year college career with Denver, averaged 18.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in 2019/20 while making 40% of his attempts from three-point range. It was a major breakout performance for the young shooting guard, who had recorded just 7.8 PPG in his first three college seasons.

Minnesota now officially has 17 players under contract. The team also reportedly has a deal in place with free agent forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and guard Jordan McLaughlin remains a restricted free agent. If the Wolves finalize the signing of Hollis-Jefferson and bring back McLaughlin, they’d still have one opening on their 20-man camp roster.

Northwest Notes: Favors, Adams, Nuggets, Murkey

Even though he was a good fit in New Orleans, Derrick Favors missed playing for the Jazz, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. Favors spent more than eight seasons in Utah before being traded last summer to free up cap space, so he was thrilled to get the opportunity to return.

“The history behind everything that came with playing for the Jazz meant a lot to me,” said Favors, who agreed to a three-year deal Friday worth about $27MM. “I made my career there, and I grew up in Utah. There were different teams that showed interest. But I wanted to make the best decision for myself and my family.”

Favors will return to a different role, Jones notes. He was a starter for most of his time in Utah, but he will be used primarily as a back-up center and power forward, though he may start some games against smaller teams. The Jazz had other options if they couldn’t sign Favors, Jones adds, including at least two players who were starters last season, but they couldn’t play both positions.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Lillard, Jazz, Wolves

The Nuggets have been one of the most short-handed teams at the NBA’s campus so far, having been limited to just eight players in each of their first two scrimmages this summer. However, reinforcements are on the way for Monday’s game against Orlando.

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone told reporters this afternoon that Jamal Murray, Will Barton, Michael Porter Jr., and Keita Bates-Diop will all be available to play in tonight’s game, increasing the team’s roster count to 12 (Twitter link via Kendra Andrews of The Athletic).

While he won’t be active tonight, Nuggets guard Monte Morris moved one step closer to getting back on the court as well, having cleared quarantine, as Mike Singer of The Denver Post tweets. He seems likely to be ready by the time Denver plays its first seeding game vs. Miami on Saturday.

Let’s round up a few more Northwest items…

  • Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard missed Sunday’s scrimmage against Toronto due to inflammation in his left foot, but head coach Terry Stotts said the club doesn’t expect it to be “a long-term thing,” writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com.
  • Sarah Todd of The Deseret News takes a deep dive into the Jazz‘s ability to retain both Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert long term, exploring the odds of the team doing so and speculating about what their contracts might look like.
  • University of Denver guard Ade Murkey, a Minnesota native, has interviewed with his hometown Timberwolves during the pre-draft process, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link). Murkey averaged 18.6 PPG and 6.3 RPG with a .481/.400/.731 shooting line as a senior.