Anthony Edwards

Timberwolves Notes: Bolmaro, Prince, Vanderbilt, McLaughlin, Towns

Timberwolves rookie guard Leandro Bolmaro plays fearlessly, head coach Chris Finch told Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and other media members this week. The 23rd pick in the draft, Bolmaro is expected to sign his rookie contract shortly.

“We love that about him. He competes, he’s bouncy, he just knows how to play basketball,” Finch said. “He moves well off the ball, fits in around all of the pieces we already have.”

We have more on the Timberwolves:

  • Forward Taurean Prince, acquired in the Ricky Rubio deal with Cleveland, believes he’ll play all three frontcourt positions at some point this season, Hine adds in the same story. “The ball moves around and like coach said it gives a lot of opportunity to everybody,” Prince said. “Those are the best systems because everyone likes to play off each other and it maximizes everyone’s potential as well.”
  • Jarred Vanderbilt officially signed his new three-year, $13.8MM contract on Wednesday. According to Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link), the first-year salary is $4.05MM and he’ll get $4.374MM in 2022/23. Vanderbilt’s 2023/24 salary of $4.698MM is partially guaranteed at $300K. The contract also includes $162K in likely bonuses and $405K in unlikely bonuses, Smith adds.
  • Jordan McLaughlin also inked his new three-year, $6.5MM deal this week. The first-year salary will be $2MM, Smith tweets. In 2022/23, he’ll receive $2.16MM. His 2023/24 salary of $2.32MM is non-guaranteed. The contract includes $100K in unlikely bonuses in all three seasons.
  • A refocused Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the reasons for optimism in Minnesota, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. The past two seasons for the team’s top big man have been marred by injuries and personal tragedy. He’s been working on his game diligently this summer, which bodes well for his continued development. Anthony Edwards’ encore after a powerful finish to his rookie campaign, plus the ability of Finch to have a full off-season to prepare the team for the upcoming season, should also entice fans. Krawczynski delves into a number of topics in the mailbag, including the possibility of Malik Beasley or D’Angelo Russell taking a sixth-man role.

Wolves Notes: Edwards, Beverley, Simmons, Harding

Anthony Edwards has grown two inches in the past year and it may affect the way the Timberwolves use him, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Edwards, who finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting, was 6’4″ when Minnesota selected him with the top pick in the 2020 draft. He’s now 6’6″ and may be even more versatile than he was last season.

Edwards averaged 4.7 rebounds per game as a rookie, but Hine notes that figure increased to 5.4 over the final 20 games as the Wolves asked him to put more emphasis on attacking the backboards. Coach Chris Finch is now considering using Edwards as a power forward in smaller lineups.

“He’s an extremely unique player and has all this raw ability, but he’s very literal when you coach him. Like I say to him, ‘I need you to go out and do X,’ he’ll do it,” Finch said. “We discovered in the last part of the season (when I’d tell him), ‘I need you to get seven rebounds tonight.’ We gave him goals almost every game or every period of time, so you give him stuff to focus on and he went out and did that.” 

There’s more from Minnesota:

  • Finch is looking forward to reuniting with Patrick Beverley, whom he coached several years ago as an assistant with the Rockets, Hine adds. Finch expects Beverley, who was acquired in a trade with the Grizzlies, to serve as a leader on defense. “He’s going to bring a lot of toughness, tenacious defense,” Finch said. “It gives our defense a bit of a personality. Defenses are always best when they start on the ball with the type of approach and aggressiveness he brings. I think one of the most encouraging things about bringing Patrick here is not how excited we are he’s coming, but he’s really excited. He knows he’s exactly the type of piece we need.”
  • Beverley appears to be on board with the Wolves’ pursuit of Ben Simmons. Responding to a tweet from NBA writer Ben Stinar suggesting that Simmons, Edwards, D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns would be a contender in the West, Beverley wrote “Facts” (Twitter link). Of course, as Stan Van Gundy noted in a reply to Stinar’s tweet, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Minnesota could land Simmons without giving up any of those three players.
  • Before hiring Elston Turner as an assistant on Finch’s staff, Minnesota considered Kings player development coach Lindsey Harding, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Harding began her WNBA career with the Minnesota Lynx.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Barton, Edwards, Nuggets Workouts

Keeping Mike Conley is a top priority for the Jazz, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic in his off-season primer, but there are plenty of other questions beyond that facing this year’s No. 1 seed in the West.

One such question will be if the Jazz can hit on the 30th pick in the draft. While it’s not historically a wellspring for players who can help a team with championship ambitions, this is a deep draft and there are plenty of examples of success stories at that spot, such as Jimmy Butler, Kevin Porter Jr.., Kevon Looney, and Kyle Anderson, among others.

There’s also the question of their current young players on the roster. Though Donovan Mitchell is the only young player who is a member of the team’s core, the Jazz will have to decide which other youngsters they keep and try to develop, and which they let go.

We have more from around the Northwest Division:

  • Will Barton of the Nuggets was cagey about the topic of his impending player option deadline and whether he’ll look to enter free agency, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post.  “Being appreciated,” Barton said of what he’s looking for in free agency. “Team knowing my value. Of course, an important role. Just the right situation. I want to win.” Barton will have to decide whether he picks up his $14.6MM player option by July 17.
  • The Timberwolves have brought Anthony Edwards back to Minnesota for an injury evaluation, reports Christina Long of The Star Tribune. Edwards was among the players chosen to practice with Team USA as part of the Select Team, but was seen limping off the floor last week. A Star Tribune source reports that the injury is non-knee related, and is a sprain.
  • The Nuggets held a workout for six draft prospects yesterday, tweets Mike Singer: Josh Christopher, Quentin Grimes, Jason Preston, Duane Washington, Jordan Goodman, and Matt Coleman. Of the six, Christopher and Grimes are the highest-ranked, and either one could potentially be in play when the Nuggets are on the board with the 26th pick.

Olympics Notes: Booker, Tatum, Durant, Edwards

Despite his extended playoff run with the Suns, Devin Booker isn’t having any second thoughts about his Olympic commitment, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Booker told reporters today that even if the NBA Finals go to a seventh game, which would be played July 22, he plans to be in Japan for Team USA’s opener against France three days later.

“Next (plane) smoking. I’ll be there,” he said. “I’ll be there. But obviously not my main focus right now. I’ve reached out to Coach Pop (Gregg Popovich), I reached out to (Jerry) Colangelo just recently and then I told them I saw all the guys reported to Vegas, and any other place I would rather be is the Finals, but I would love to be there with the guys and I’ll be there soon.”

Booker may miss all of Team USA’s 13-day training camp, which began today at UNLV. The Americans, who are also without Bucks guards Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton, will play exhibition games against Nigeria, Australia, Argentina and Spain before heading to Tokyo.

“Very important. Life goal of mine,” Booker said. “I’ve always said, I think it’s the most prestigious event that basketball can find. So to be a part of representing your country I think brings you to another stratosphere. Just thinking of the guys that have come before us and represented our country, and I don’t think there’s anything better than winning a gold medal.”

There’s more Olympics news to pass along:

  • Wearing No. 10 has been a tradition for Celtics forward Jayson Tatum in international basketball and it has taken on added significance following Kobe Bryant‘s death last year, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Bryant wore the number while winning gold medals in 2008 and 2012, and Tatum recognizes the importance behind it. “With this being the first Olympics since we lost him, it holds that much more value,” he said. “It’s not something I take lightly.”
  • Many were pleasantly surprised that Nets star Kevin Durant opted to play in the Olympics, and Popovich was especially delighted, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Popovich joked that he would have begged and cried to convince Durant to join the team, then said it shows the forward’s commitment to the game. Durant won gold medals in 2012 and 2016 and is 39-0 in FIBA competition.
  • Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards of the U.S. Select Team sprained his ankle today in a scrimmage with Team USA, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. The injury, which happened when Edwards stepped on Draymond Green‘s foot, isn’t viewed as serious, but Edwards will be sidelined for the rest of camp.

Roster Announced For U.S. Select Team

The roster has been released for the U.S. Select Team, which will help Team USA prepare for the Olympics, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Select Team, which will practice with and scrimmage against the national team during the upcoming training camp in Las Vegas, is made up mostly of first- and second-year NBA players. It will be coached by Erik Spoelstra of the Heat.

Making up the roster are:

Heat Notes: Spoelstra, Salary Cap, Robinson, Herro

Erik Spoelstra will have his first stint with USA Basketball this summer, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press, who writes that the Heat head coach will have a role as the coach of the U.S. Select Team. That squad will be made up primarily of younger players and will practice and scrimmage against the Olympic roster. Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards will be among the players on that Select Team, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

While Heat star Jimmy Butler declined an invitation to play for Team USA, his teammate Bam Adebayo will be on the roster, and a number of other Heat players could end up representing other countries in Olympic qualifying tournaments or in the Tokyo Olympics. Spoelstra wanted to get involved as well, as Reynolds writes.

“I really just want to be a part of the program,” the Heat coach said. “I’m always pushing myself to get better in the offseasons; I go visit people and all that stuff. This is going to be a basketball immersion. I mean, the dinners, the team meetings … for where I am right now in my career, I think this is the perfect thing for a summer of development.”

Here’s more out of Miami:

  • The salary cap won’t increase as much by 2022 as was once expected, complicating the Heat’s ability to open up a maximum-salary slot for a 10-year veteran next summer, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. As a result, Jackson wouldn’t be surprised if the club signs some players to multiyear contracts this offseason, giving the club the flexibility to potentially acquire a star via sign-and-trade down the road.
  • Duncan Robinson, a restricted free agent this offseason, said his summer priorities will be to work on developing a reliable two-point shot, getting to the foul line more, and “moving better” on defense. Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald has the details.
  • Based on his conversations with league sources, Ethan Skolnick of Five Reasons Sports (video link) says he thinks there’s a 75% chance the Heat will trade Tyler Herro this offseason. Herro’s name came up in trade rumors prior to the March deadline, but the club was reportedly unwilling to include him in an offer for Kyle Lowry.

Ball, Edwards, Haliburton Head All-Rookie Team

LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Jae’Sean Tate and Saddiq Bey comprised this year’s All-Rookie First Team, the NBA announced on Thursday in a press release.

Ball, who was named Rookie of the Year on Thursday, led first-year NBA players in assists (6.1 APG) and steals (1.59 SPG) and ranked second in scoring (15.7 PPG) and rebounding (5.9 RPG) for the Hornets. Edwards, the No. 1 pick in the draft by the Timberwolves, averaged a rookie-high 19.3 PPG.

The Kings’ Haliburton ranked third among rookies in scoring (13.0 PPG) and second in assists (5.3 APG). Bey, the 19th overall pick, made a rookie-high 175 three-pointers for the Pistons. Tate, who went undrafted in 2018 and played in Australia last season, averaged 11.3 PPG and 5.3 PPG for the Rockets.

Ball and Edwards were the only unanimous First Team selections, receiving 99 of 99 potential First Team votes. Haliburton got 98, while Bey had 63 and Tate received 57.

Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley narrowly missed out on the top five, having earned 51 votes for the First Team.

Here are both All-Rookie teams in full, with their voting point totals notes in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

2020/21 All-Rookie First Team:

2020/21 All-Rookie Second Team:

Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo (42), Magic guard Cole Anthony (40), and Warriors center James Wiseman (24) were among the players who just missed the cut. Nine other players received votes — you can view the full voting results right here.

LaMelo Ball Named NBA Rookie Of The Year

6:55pm: Ball’s victory has been confirmed by the NBA in a press release. He received 84 of 99 first-place votes, with the others going to Edwards.

Overall, Ball had 465 points, while Edwards was second with 309. Haliburton was third with 114 points. The Pistons’ Saddiq Bey was the only other player to receive votes, garnering three third-place selections.


1:53pm: Hornets guard LaMelo Ball has won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award for the 2020/21 season, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, an official announcement from the league is expected soon.

Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards and Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton were the other finalists for the award. I’d expect Edwards to finish second in the voting, with Haliburton coming in third, but we’ll have to wait for the official breakdown from the NBA.

The third overall pick in the 2020 draft, Ball had a breakthrough rookie year in Charlotte, averaging 15.7 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.9 rebounds per games in 51 contests (28.8 MPG). There were questions about the 19-year-old’s jump shot entering his first professional season, but Ball put up a respectable shooting line of .436/.352/.758, emerging as the Hornets’ starting point guard despite the presence of veterans Terry Rozier and Devonte’ Graham.

A fractured right wrist sidelined Ball for over a month in March and April, but he returned to the court down the stretch to help the Hornets clinch a spot in the play-in tournament. The club was bounced in the first game by Indiana, but Ball’s performance in 2020/21 bodes well for the long-term future in Charlotte.

Finalists For Major 2020/21 NBA Awards Announced

During a TNT broadcast ahead of tonight’s Wizards-Pacers play-in matchup, the finalists for six big end-of-season 2020/21 awards were announced. Here is the full list, as voted on by reporters.

NBA Most Valuable Player:

NBA Defensive Player of the Year:

NBA Rookie of the Year:

NBA Most Improved Player:

NBA Sixth Man of the Year:

NBA Coach of the Year:

  • Quin Snyder (Jazz)
  • Tom Thibodeau (Knicks)
  • Monty Williams (Suns)

Some of these current contenders are familiar with the hardware they’re up for again. Curry is a two-time MVP, having won the award previously in 2015 and 2016. Gobert and Green have both previously won Defensive Player of the Year awards — Green in 2017 and Gobert in 2018 and 2019. Thibodeau was voted Coach of the Year a decade ago while with the Bulls.

The winners for the awards will be announced during the 2020/21 NBA playoffs.

Timberwolves Notes: Vanterpool, Gates, Edwards, Towns, McDaniels

Timberwolves associate head coach David Vanterpool as well as assistant Bryan Gates won’t return to Chris Finch’s staff next season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Vanterpool and Gates were holdovers from Ryan Saunders‘ staff. Numerous players around the league openly questioned Minnesota’s decision to hire Finch away from the Raptors’ staff, instead of promoting minority candidate Vanterpool when Saunders was let go.

We have more on the Timberwolves:

  • Anthony Edwards could be “scary” good after a strong rookie season, president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said this week, per Dave Campbell of The Associated Press. “He doesn’t know how good he is and, scary enough for us, we don’t know how good he is,” Rosas said. “You’re talking about a 19-year-old who’s late to the sport. It’s not always pretty, not always efficient, but the signs of greatness are there.”
  • Edwards expects the team to participate in the postseason next year, Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. “I’m ready to go to the playoffs,” he said. “I know this is my first year, but I just see how happy teams [are], knowing they’re going to play more basketball. So I want that feeling next year.”
  • Karl-Anthony Towns wants to make a point that he’s not concerned about sharing the spotlight with Edwards, according to Chris Hine of the Star Tribune. “He’s showed exactly why he’s the No. 1 pick and why he’s the Rookie of the Year,” Towns said. “So we’ve got to put our egos to the side at all times. We cannot let that get between us. We cannot let that be a story of amazing talents coming together and not making it work.”
  • The Wolves’ front office made a prudent choice with Jaden McDaniels at the No. 28 overall pick, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic notes. McDaniels started regularly in the final 27 games of the season and showed great promise as a 3-and-D wing. Having productive players on low-cost contracts is necessary to keep the team’s core intact while still avoiding the luxury tax, Krawczynski adds.