Anthony Edwards

Wolves Rumors: Russell, Beasley, McDaniels, Gordon, Powell

As the Timberwolves approach the trade deadline, they have no intention of entertaining trade offers for big man Karl-Anthony Towns, shooting guard Anthony Edwards, or point guard D’Angelo Russell, sources tell Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

As Krawczynski explains, the Wolves view those three players as cornerstone pieces and are eager to see how they look together under new head coach Chris Finch once Russell returns to action.

Russell, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to remove a loose body in February, has started to work out with the club and could begin participating in team activities this weekend or early next week, per Finch (via Krawczynski). D-Lo’s exact return date will hinge on how knee responds following last month’s procedure.

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • Minnesota has been receiving a number of calls about Malik Beasley and Jaden McDaniels, sources tell Krawczynski. However, the club is reluctant to part with either player. The Wolves believe McDaniels has the potential to develop into a versatile, shot-blocking power forward who would be an ideal complement for Towns.
  • Krawczynski confirms a previous Bleacher Report story that indicated the Wolves and Magic were making progress on a potential Aaron Gordon trade prior to the forward’s ankle injury earlier this season. By the time Gordon returned from that injury, Minnesota had fallen well out of the postseason, and the 25-year-old is hoping to be sent to a playoff team. That doesn’t mean the Wolves couldn’t still acquire him, but they may not be confident about their ability to sign him beyond his current contract.
  • During his televised Trade Deadline special with Adrian Wojnarowski this afternoon, ESPN’s Zach Lowe suggested the Magic would “love to get their hands on” McDaniels in any Gordon trade with the Wolves.
  • The Timberwolves have previously inquired about trading for Raptors swingman Norman Powell, but were unable to agree on compensation, says Krawczynski.

Northwest Notes: Millsap, Nuggets, Thunder, Blazers, Wolves

After being sidelined for 10 games by a left knee sprain, Nuggets big man Paul Millsap came off the bench in his first game back, but was reinserted into the starting lineup on Saturday when Monte Morris and Gary Harris were unavailable.

According to Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, Millsap approached him after that Saturday loss and reiterated that he’d be happy to continue coming off the bench or to accept another role to avoid impending the chemistry the new starting group had established (Twitter link via Mike Singer of The Denver Post). Millsap has started both of Denver’s games since then – both wins – but could return to the bench once Morris and Harris return.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

Western Notes: Rubio, Edwards, McCollum, Nowell, Thompson

Timberwolves veteran Ricky Rubio praised rookie teammate Anthony Edwards and his toughness during the highs and lows of the season so far, Chris Hine of the Star Tribune writes.

Edwards, who was drafted by the team No. 1 overall last year, has shown flashes of potential during his first campaign. The 19-year-old is currently holding per-game averages of 15.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 38 contests, though he’s shooting just 38% from the floor.

“When you’re young, every game and every situation it seems like it’s the end of the world sometimes when it’s not working,” Rubio said. “But his character is special. I said it from day one, I think we have a gem here. We have something that — he’s going to be really good in this league.”

Here are some other notes from the Western Conference tonight:

  • Blazers star CJ McCollum is hoping to return next week from a broken left foot, Jason Quick of The Athletic writes. “Friday’s workout went well; how I expected it to go,” McCollum said. “I’ll be back soon, as long as everything continues to go the way it’s been going.” McCollum, who has averaged 26.7 points per game in 13 contests this season, has been sidelined since January 16.
  • Timberwolves guard Jaylen Nowell received an expanded role in the team’s game against the Blazers on Saturday, Chris Hine of the Star Tribune writes. Nowell scored 17 points and grabbed four rebounds in the loss, playing the final minutes despite starting the contest on the bench. “I’m just focused on being aggressive whenever I catch it, making sure I can make a play,” said Nowell, who recently spoke to our Ben Stinar about his impressive season to date. “The one difference that I might say would be when I’m initiating offense, making sure I get guys in spots, making sure I keep the ball moving, making sure the ball doesn’t get stagnant. That’s probably the only difference when I’m in with that second unit rather than the first.”
  • Warriors star Klay Thompson hopes to return early next season from a torn Achilles’ tendon, as relayed by The Athletic. “Definitely. Could be a few weeks after [opening night]. Could be a month after,” Thompson acknowledged. “But definitely geared toward early in the season.” Thompson is a five-time All-Star and hasn’t played since June of 2019 due his Achilles’ injury and a torn ACL.

NBA Announces 2020/21 Rising Stars Rosters

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the pared-down nature of the NBA’s 2021 All-Star weekend, a Rising Stars Game showcasing the league’s top rookies and sophomores won’t be played this year.

However, the league has still announced the rosters for the event, via NBA Top Shot, naming the 20 players who would have been selected to participate if the game was taking place. Here are those rosters:

U.S. Team:

World Team:

The 20-man group includes eight rookies and 11 sophomores. The 20th player, Porter, made the cut as a sophomore since he missed his entire rookie season in 2018/19 due to an injury — this is technically his third year of NBA service.

And-Ones: All-Star Game, Olympics, Dunk Contest, SPACs

Speaking to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press, NBA commissioner Adam Silver went into more detail on why the league felt compelled to hold an All-Star Game this season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Silver, who has previously cited fan engagement as a key reason for not canceling the game, reiterated that point in his conversation with Reynolds.

“It’s the largest factor, the amount of engagement we get from our fans around All-Star,” Silver said. “Historically, in the modern digital age, we have roughly 100 million people vote for our All-Stars, and we came out about the same this year even with a shortened voting period.”

While Silver has insisted that the NBA is thinking about its fans, it’s safe to assume the league is also considering the interests of one of its largest broadcast partners, Turner Sports. The All-Star Game is one of TNT’s biggest annual events, and the network presumably pushed for the game to take place. If the game had been canceled, the league likely would’ve had to renegotiate aspects of its TV agreement with Turner Sports.

“My personal view is very few people do anything just for the money,” Silver told Reynolds. “But at the same time, while we’re clearly in a health emergency in this country, we’re also in the midst of an economic crisis and that extends to the NBA as well. There are tens of thousands of people who are dependent on the NBA for their livelihoods. So, for those who say we’re doing it for the money, they could say the same thing about our entire operation, about the fact that we’re even playing our season.”

Let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Team USA’s pre-Olympic camp in Las Vegas is scheduled to coincide with the NBA’s conference finals this summer, meaning one of the many difficult decisions USA Basketball will face relates to whether certain players are worth waiting for, Reynolds writes in another Associated Press story. The program is expected to have to make a handful of contingency plans as it prepares its roster for the Tokyo Olympics.
  • Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards, Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown, and Hornets forward Miles Bridges are among the players who have turned down invitations to participate in the 2021 slam dunk contest, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Pelicans star Zion Williamson also passed on the event, Haynes adds (via Twitter). The NBA will officially announce the participants for this year’s dunk contest, skills challenge, and 3-point contest tonight.
  • In a story for The New York Post, Josh Kosman and Thornton McEnery explore how the NBA will have soon have to make a decision on how to handle “special-purpose acquisition corporations” (SPACs) that want to purchase shares of franchises. The Warriors approached the NBA about selling a minority stake in their team to such a company, but withdrew that request when the league put off a decision, per Kosman and McEnery.

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.

Northwest Notes: Jazz Roster, Saunders, Smith, MPJ

Despite an impressively deep roster that includes 2020 All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz roster still needs a player who can defend scoring guards, per Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer. Nets point guard Kyrie Irving exploited this weakness when he scored 29 points in 29 minutes against the Jazz in a lopsided 130-96 Brooklyn victory on Tuesday night.

Current go-to Jazz wing defender Royce O’Neale is solid, but Tjarks contends that O’Neale lacks the athleticism necessary to contend with high-level guards like Irving. New addition Shaquille Harrison is another defensive perimeter option.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders is excited for the development of No. 1 draft pick Anthony Edwards out of Georgia, whose understated production (5 points, 4 assists) in a 123-116 Sunday loss to the Nuggets masked his game-reading improvement. “Even if it wasn’t your highest-scoring game, that was your best game as an NBA player because of the way he was reading defenses, the things that we’ve been trying to fast track for him over the last month,” Saunders said of the rookie swingman, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune.
  • New Jazz owner Ryan Smith spoke with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on his podcast the Woj Pod, and indicated that he has some ideas for how he would like to help Utah build on its recent playoff appearances (h/t to Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune via Twitter). “Not a lot’s been broken,” Smith said. “But I would just say I think we’re gonna have to get a little more aggressive as we think about how to take this to the next level.”
  • Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. will be clearing the league’s health and safety protocols-necessitated quarantine tonight and should be available for Denver tomorrow against the Mavericks, per Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

Wolves Sign Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Tyler Cook

The Timberwolves have officially signed two of their 2020 first-round picks, finalizing rookie contracts with former Georgia guard Anthony Edwards and former Washington forward Jaden McDaniels, according to RealGM’s transactions log.

Edwards, 19, became the No. 1 pick in the draft after averaging 19.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 2.8 APG in 32 games in his first and only college season. Assuming he signed for 120% of his rookie scale amount, as nearly every first-round pick does, he’ll earn $9.76MM in 2020/21 and $44MM+ over the life of his four-year contract.

McDaniels, the younger brother of Hornets forward Jalen McDaniels, averaged 13.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 2.1 APG in 31 games as a freshman at Washington before he declared for the draft. As the 28th overall pick, he projects to make $1.96MM as a rookie and $10MM+ over four years.

The Timberwolves’ other first-round pick, Leandro Bolmaro, is expected to remain with FC Barcelona in Spain for at least one more season, so he won’t sign his first NBA contract quite yet.

However, Minnesota did finalize one more signing, per RealGM’s transactions log, inking former Cavaliers Nuggets forward Tyler Cook to a training camp contract.

Undrafted out of Iowa in 2019, Cook spent time last season on a two-way contract and a pair of 10-day deals with Cleveland before joining Denver for the NBA restart as a substitute player. He only appeared in 13 total NBA games, but played more for the Canton Charge and OKC Blue in the G League, averaging 12.9 PPG and 5.7 RPG in 29 games (21.3 MPG).

Wolves Rumors: Hernangomez, Edwards, Rubio, Beasley

Timberwolves restricted free agent forward Juan Hernangomez initially sought an offer in excess of $10MM per year, sources tell Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Unwilling to meet that price right off the bat, the Wolves “essentially told” Hernangomez to prove he could get an offer from another club while they went looking for possible alternatives at power forward, writes Krawczynski.

Minnesota ended up reaching out to a number forwards in free agency, including Derrick Jones (as previously outlined), Paul Millsap, Jae Crowder, and JaMychal Green, and inquired on possible trades involving Magic forward Aaron Gordon, Rockets forward P.J. Tucker, and Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr., sources tell Krawczynski.

The Timberwolves didn’t have any luck with any of those potential targets, but held firm on their offer to Hernangomez, who mulled the possibility of accepting the one-year qualifying offer worth $4.64MM, per Krawczynski. Ultimately, the two sides came to an agreement on a three-year, $21MM deal that has a third-year team option.

Here’s more out of Minnesota:

  • The Timberwolves chose Anthony Edwards with the No. 1 pick last week because they believe he has the clearest path of any of this year’s draft-eligible prospects to becoming a multi-time All-Star, says Krawczysnki.
  • Sources tell The Athletic that the team’s acquisition of Ricky Rubio was partly motivated by seeing what the veteran point guard did for Donovan Mitchell and Devin Booker at his previous stops and a belief that he’ll aid Edwards’ development.
  • The Knicks told Malik Beasley he’d be their Plan B in free agency if they couldn’t land Gordon Hayward, according to Krawczynski. Recognizing that New York could be a threat to put forth a troublesome offer sheet, the Wolves went in with an aggressive pitch on the opening night of free agency and secured a commitment from Beasley on the spot. Sources tell The Athletic that Beasley has appreciated the support he’s received from the franchise since running into off-court legal problems.
  • The Timberwolves officially announced Beasley’s new deal today. Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) has the year-by-year financial breakdown of that contract, which guarantees the swingman $43MM+ over three years.

Wolves Notes: Rubio, Edwards, Davis, Beasley

In a conversation with Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, Ricky Rubio discussed his first stint with the Timberwolves, his impending second stint with the franchise, and the experience of being traded twice in the span of days. Rubio said he found out about his involvement in the SunsChris Paul trade last week when Shams Charania broke the news on Twitter.

“It’s not the way you want to know, especially my agent was talking with the team and they said my name was off the table when all the rumors and all the stuff happened,” Rubio said. “You feel like everything that they have said to you all year and buying into a new project and a young team and they need you, blah, blah, blah. It seems like nothing’s true.”

As Krawczynski writes, Rubio wasn’t upset about the move itself, since he understands why the Suns would want Paul. Still, he was stung by the way he found out. Now, after initially making his NBA debut for the Timberwolves as a 21-year-old, the point guard is looking forward to returning to the team as a veteran who can help guide a young squad.

“It started to really make more sense for me to really connect the puzzle and get to Minnesota and help a young team with a lot of talent and already have done really good things,” he told Krawczynsi. “I feel like I can fit in the puzzle.”

Here’s more on the Wolevs:

  • In an in-depth story on how the Timberwolves decided to use the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft on Anthony Edwards, Krawczynski cites sources who say that the team never really got close to trading that pick. The Wolves were unwilling to accept what they considered subpar value to move down and risk missing out on the Georgia guard, per Krawczynski. “He stood head and shoulders above any player in this draft and we were excited to be at No. 1 to be able to select him,” president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said of Edwards.
  • Michael Rand of The Star Tribune makes a case for why he believes veteran center Ed Davis could be the Timberwolves’ most important new player for the 2020/21 season.
  • Three days after agreeing to a new $60MM deal with the Timberwolves, Malik Beasley made a court appearance today. Beasley, who faces a pair of felony charges related to a September incident, was told to have no contact with the alleged victims and a potential witness, tweets Krawczynski. His next court appearance will be on December 17.