Anthony Edwards

Trade Rumors: Simmons, T. Harris, Magic, Wolves, Cavs

After reporting last week that the Sixers‘ preferred outcome would be to have Ben Simmons play for the team this season and then revisit his trade market in the offseason, Marc Stein said in his latest Substack article that teams around the NBA are skeptical about that stance. As Stein notes, it could be a negotiating ploy to try to get potential trade partners to improve their offers, since the odds of Simmons acquiescing to Philadelphia’s wishes and reporting to the team this season still appear extremely slim.

Stein also reported last week that the Hawks are a team to watch in the Simmons sweepstakes, a subject that ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Marc J. Spears discussed in the latest episode of Windhorst’s Hoop Collective podcast.

As RealGM relays, Windhorst and Spears have both heard the Sixers are exploring the concept of attaching Tobias Harris to Simmons in any deal. Theoretically, those two players could produce a greater trade return than Simmons on his own, but Harris’ shooting numbers are down this year and his contract isn’t exactly team-friendly — he and Simmons are earning a combined $69MM this season, which would create salary-matching complications.

According to Spears, the Hawks were more interested in discussing just Simmons than trying to construct a deal that also included Harris.

Here are a few more trade rumors and notes from across the league:

Northwest Notes: Whiteside, Finch, Edwards, Bol

With Jazz reserve center Hassan Whiteside unavailable while recovering from a concussion, Utah struggled to find much success in its small-ball lineups when All-Star center Rudy Gobert went to the bench, writes Eric Walden of the Salt Lake City Tribune. Walden notes that lineups with 6’8″ reserve forward Rudy Gay playing the five were minus-19 across 19:52 of action.

“It’s different without having a traditional big in Hassan or Rudy [Gobert] back there, because we base our defense solely on forcing everybody to our big,” All-Star point guard Mike Conley said. “Everybody’s kind of activated into more of a help-the-helper situation, as opposed to trying to make it a two-on-two situation with the big and the guard like we’re accustomed to doing.” Gay signed a two-year, $12.1MM contract with the team this summer.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch has earned rave reviews for the way he handled Minnesota’s rotations as the team was impacted by several coronavirus-related absences, writes Chris Hine of the Star Tribune. Win or lose, the Wolves have always been prepared and kept contests close. “His [after-timeout plays], his mindset, how he conducts practice, very detailed man,” point guard Patrick Beverley said. “His professionalism, I preach to these guys every day that they’re fortunate to have a coach like that, for sure.”
  • After Finch had a quick hook for Timberwolves wing Anthony Edwards due to what the head coach perceived as lackluster defense in the first quarter of an eventual 122-104 Minnesota victory over the Clippers, Edwards responded with renewed effort, writes Chris Hine of the Star Tribune. Finch inserted Jaylen Nowell in Edwards’s stead early in the first quarter. “I wasn’t a big fan of his approach defensively to start the game, which is why I went that direction early,” Finch said. “He responded to that and was a lot more dialed in.” Edwards conceded that Finch had a point: “I get mad, but he right. At the end of the day I can’t do nothing but take the constructive criticism and come back and show him that I can do it.”
  • 7’2″ Nuggets power forward Bol Bol showed promise in scoring a career-best 11 points across 20 minutes against the Rockets in a 124-111 win this weekend. He has support in high places as a prospect with upside, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post. One big name in his corner is Denver head coach Michael Malone, who sent Bol a congratulatory text after his big night.

COVID-19 Roundup: Nets, Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Knicks, Wizards, Thunder

The NBA’s new guidelines regarding its health and safety protocols have resulted in several players being released from protocols this morning. The league and its players union agreed Monday to shorten the minimum required quarantine period for a vaccinated COVID-positive players and coaches from 10 days to six.

Here is the latest news on who has entered and cleared protocols today:

  • Nets stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are out of protocols, as is LaMarcus Aldridge, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. While Durant and Aldridge may be ready for Thursday’s game, Irving is still working his way back into game condition and remains ineligible to play in home games because he hasn’t met New York City’s vaccine requirement.
  • Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince has cleared protocols and will rejoin the team, but won’t play tonight against the Knicks, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Minnesota also gets back Anthony Edwards and Naz Reid (Twitter link).
  • Cavaliers power forward Evan Mobley has cleared protocols and is set to reunite with the club today, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). Chris Fedor of tweets that the Cavaliers hope to have Mobley play in tonight’s game against the Pelicans, but will put him through his pregame paces first to gauge his conditioning level.
  • Unfortunately, just as one of Cleveland’s best players recovers, another will be absent. Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, enjoying a nearly All-Star-level season with Cleveland, has entered the NBA’s coronavirus protocols, tweets Kelsey Russo of The Athletic.
  • Knicks rookie point guard guard Miles McBride has cleared protocols, the team has announced (via Twitter). New York adds that he has rejoined the team ahead of its game tonight against the Timberwolves.
  • Veteran Heat power forward Udonis Haslem has entered the league’s coronavirus protocols, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. Heat point guard Kyle Lowry is also in protocols. Miami assistant coach Chris Quinn will return to the sidelines, Chiang adds.
  • Wizards forwards Rui Hachimura and Montrezl Harrell have entered the league’s COVID-19 protocols, joining six other Washington players, the team has announced (Twitter link). Hachimura has missed the Wizards’ entire season thus far due to personal reasons. Among the others, unvaccinated All-Star guard Bradley Beal is still in protocols and Wallace reports that his status is “questionable” prior to the Wizards’ upcoming contest against the Heat tonight. Center Thomas Bryant, wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and guards Anthony Gill, Aaron Holiday and Raul Neto are still in protocols.
  • Thunder rookie guard Josh Giddey has entered the league’s health and safety protocols, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Head coach Mark Daigneault has also entered the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, and will be replaced by assistant coach Mike Wilks starting with this evening’s contest against the Kings, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). Wilks, a former journeyman NBA guard, suited up for four games with the Thunder during the 2009/10 season, Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman adds (Twitter link). Players Darius Bazley, Tre Mann, Aleksej Pokusevski, and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl remain in the protocols for Oklahoma City.
  • Keep track of all the players currently in COVID-19 protocols through out our daily tracker.

Arthur Hill contributed to this report.

Wolves’ Edwards, Prince Placed In Health And Safety Protocols

Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The Wolves have confirmed Wojnarowski’s report and added that Taurean Prince has also been placed in the protocols (Twitter link).

Edwards played nearly 34 minutes for the Wolves in Denver on Wednesday night, scoring 38 points on 14-of-21 shooting. Prince hasn’t played in either of Minnesota’s last two games.

If Edwards and Prince tested positive for COVID-19, they’ll be out for the next 10 days or until they record two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart. The team figures to test the rest of its roster now, so it’s possible more players could enter the protocols in the coming days.

Half of the league’s 30 teams now have at least one player in the health and safety protocols. The Wolves are the ninth team with multiple players in the protocols.

Northwest Notes: Ainge, Jazz, Hyland, Nowell, Wolves

Jazz owner Ryan Smith pitched Danny Ainge on the idea of taking on a role with the franchise during a recent trip to the Bahamas for Tiger Woods’ Hero World Challenge golf tournament, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon. The two men had discussions during the trip about the concept of Ainge coming aboard, then worked out a deal when they returned to Utah, resulting in the Jazz hiring Ainge as their CEO and alternate governor.

“I’ve never been ready to talk about this before, but Ryan and I had a chance to spend a lot of time together,” Ainge said, explaining that he took the last six months to spend time with family and decompress. “We hashed it out, and we were both excited about this opportunity. I think it was the timing more than anything.”

Ainge will oversee Utah’s basketball operations and will work closely with general manager Justin Zanik, who will continue to run the day-to-day operations. As Eric Walden and Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune write, the team is enthusiastic about the idea of a “collaborative” approach to the front office and isn’t all that interested in establishing a linear hierarchy in which one person ultimately makes all the decisions.

“If you’re in the league, everyone knows to call Justin right now. I think that’s pretty clear,” Smith said. “(But) I think when it comes to decision-making, we’re the kind of culture where it doesn’t really work that way. … When it comes to that, you want to be right a lot more than you’re wrong, because some decisions aren’t clear. Bringing Danny on board helps increase our chances of getting that right.”

Sources close to Ainge told Tony Jones and Jared Weiss of The Athletic that the veteran executive always wanted a Jerry West-type role that would give him the flexibility to play plenty of golf and spend time with his grandchildren. He’ll work with the Jazz every day, but won’t be putting in the 16- and 18-hour days that he became accustomed to in Boston.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Dan Clayton of Salt City Hoops, writing for The Salt Lake Tribune, provides a trade primer for the Jazz, examining the team’s needs, expendable assets, and possible targets.
  • Nuggets guard Bones Hyland was held out of Wednesday’s game for a violation of team rules, but will be available on Friday in Atlanta, according to reports from Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports and Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter links).
  • Timberwolves guard Jaylen Nowell has been out of the rotation for most of the season, but has appeared in the last there games and logged a season-high 15 minutes last Friday. Nowell is hoping that he can carve out a more regular role, as Chris Hine of The Star Tribune writes. The stakes are particularly high for the 22-year-old, whose 2021/22 salary still isn’t fully guaranteed.
  • Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at the chemistry that’s developing between the Timberwolves‘ two young franchise cornerstones, Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns. “If me and KAT just lock in here with each other, I feel like we will win so many more games,” Edwards said of his star teammate. “… He dominates, man. He can shoot, he can drive, he can pass, he can do everything. So playing with him makes my game a lot easier.”

Timberwolves Notes: Russell, Edwards, Rubio, Starters

Point guard D’Angelo Russell may be having a down year shooting the ball (.383/.330/.817), but he’s proven to be an essential player for the Timberwolves, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Krawczynski argues that Russell might be the team’s most important player this season due to his unexpected two-way impact — he’s defending with gusto for the first time in his career — and the lack of other play-makers on the roster. 

Krawczynski relays that the 12-15 Wolves, currently the No. 9 seed in the West, are 0-5 without Russell this season — each defeat by double figures. They are a respectable 12-10 when he plays. He writes that Russell’s willingness to shoot creates space for teammates, and his presence on defense has been a boon. Head coach Chris Finch praised Russell’s communication when playing zone defense.

He’s smart, knows where he should be, knows where his teammates should be, so yes, for sure, he can anchor the defense with his voice,” Finch said. “Certainly gives confidence to those guys that they know what’s behind them.”

Here’s more from Minnesota:

  • Second-year wing Anthony Edwards has been in a slump recently, but Finch isn’t alarmed by his drop in efficiency, per Chris Hine of the Star Tribune. “He’s just kind of overthinking things,” Finch said. “And as he works through that he’ll come out the other side better and in a better rhythm. I’ve seen it a million times with a lot of guys, and it’s just part of the process. Teams go through it, players go through it.”
  • Although he was upset when it occurred, Ricky Rubio acknowledges that his trade from Minnesota to Cleveland over the summer was for the best, Hine writes in a separate article. “Things didn’t work out for a year over there (Minnesota), so I think we were looking for a change, both of us, at the end of the day,” Rubio said. “It’s something that happened in a way that I didn’t expect, but this is the business that we’re in.”
  • In another piece for the Star Tribune, Hine notes that Minnesota’s starting lineup of Russell, Patrick Beverley, Edwards, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Karl-Anthony Towns has proven to be highly effective — when healthy. As Hine observes, the group has the best five-man net rating in the league at +49.6 in 127 minutes.

Northwest Notes: Campazzo, Hyland, Bol, Dozier, Dort, Gobert

Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo, who played professionally in Argentina and Spain from 2008-20 before arriving in the NBA, will be a free agent at the end of the 2021/22 season. However, Campazzo said this week that he has no intention of returning to Europe or to his home country to continue his career next year — his goal is to remain in the NBA beyond his current deal, despite playing a lesser role than he did internationally.

“My mind is 100 percent set on this, in the NBA,” Campazzo said, per David Fernandez Novo of (hat tip to RealGM). “This league demands the most out of you both physically and mentally.”

Campazzo, 30, has averaged 21.1 minutes per contest in 88 games for Denver since the start of the 2020/21 campaign and has moved up on the depth chart since Jamal Murray tore his ACL in the spring. So far this season, he’s averaging 5.7 PPG and 2.6 APG on .409/.362/.810 shooting in 23 games (19.0 MPG).

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • The Nuggets had Bones Hyland and Bol Bol available on Wednesday after the two players cleared their quarantine and exited the health and safety protocols, as Mike Singer of The Denver Post tweets.
  • Nuggets swingman PJ Dozier underwent surgery to repair his torn left ACL this week, the team confirmed (via Twitter). Dozier, who has been ruled out indefinitely, is expected to miss the rest of the season.
  • Thunder wing Luguentz Dort met the starter criteria when he made his 23rd start of the season on Wednesday night, based on the NBA’s adjusted rules for 2021/22. Dort has a $1,930,681 team option for ’22/23, but if Oklahoma City picks up that option, he’d be eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2023. Turning down the option would allow the team to re-sign Dort as a restricted free agent in 2022. In that scenario, his qualifying offer would be worth about $4.87MM.
  • Despite losing to the Jazz by 32 points on Wednesday, Timberwolves guards Patrick Beverley and Anthony Edwards didn’t exactly heap praise on their opponents after the game. As Sarah Todd of The Deseret News relays, Beverley suggested that three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert isn’t guarding the best players on the court, while Edwards said that Kristaps Porzingis is a better rim protector than Gobert. “I don’t get why we couldn’t finish on Rudy Gobert,” Edwards said. “He don’t put no fear in my heart.” The Wolves and Jazz will face each other three more times this season, including twice more in December, Todd notes.

Northwest Notes: Edwards, A-Rod, Daigneault, Covington

Anthony Edwards led the Timberwolves to a victory over Jimmy Butler and the Heat on Wednesday, putting up 33 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists in a game-high 43 minutes. Edwards was a plus-19 in the 12-point win and his performance earned rave reviews from a pair of his teammates with All-Star appearances on their résumés, as Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes.

“I think we’re watching him grow in front of us, just all around,” said D’Angelo Russell, adding that Edwards “got us over the hump” in the game vs. Miami.

“You need superstars to win in this league now,” Karl-Anthony Towns said of the second-year wing. “We need someone like him. We always talk about the big three. Well, he’s solidified himself. It’s amazing to see him getting better and better every game and figuring it out more and more.”

Edwards is building off his strong second half as a rookie and has boosted his numbers across the board so far this season, further solidifying his place as a long-term cornerstone in Minnesota. In 18 games (35.9 MPG), he has put up 22.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 3.4 APG on .434/.360/.746 shooting.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • How did Alex Rodriguez go from MLB All-Star to co-owner of the Timberwolves? In an in-depth story for The Athletic, Krawczynski explores A-Rod’s entry into the business world and how he teamed up with Marc Lore, his partner in the purchase of the Wolves.
  • Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault returned to the sidelines for Wednesday’s contest vs. Utah after missing the team’s three-game road trip to be there for the birth of his first child (Twitter link via Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman). Oklahoma City was 0-3 in Daigneault’s absence.
  • Trail Blazers forward Robert Covington was ejected from Wednesday’s game in Sacramento for throwing his face guard and hitting an official’s foot with it. As Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian relays, head coach Chauncey Billups and star guard Damian Lillard said after the game that it was an accident. “Roco always takes his mask off and tosses it to the side,” Lillard said. “This time he just tossed it and it literally bounced into the referee.” It remains to be seen whether Covington will be fined by the NBA for the incident.

Timberwolves Notes: Edwards-KAT, Wiggins Trade, Inconsistency

The Timberwolves need to carve out offensive opportunities for both Karl-Anthony Towns and ascendant second-year wing Anthony Edwards, opines Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Towns and Edwards appear to be the current core for Minnesota going forward.

Towns has thrived as a jump shooter but has been somewhat up-and-down scoring from inside the paint this season.

“I think we’ve studied it and just not getting a lot of production out of it, and I think his finishing could be a little better,” Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch said of his post scoring. “I think we can get him to go maybe a little quicker, but by the same token, he’s not getting a lot of the benefit of the doubt down there.”

There’s more out of Minnesota:

  • The Timberwolves took a big swing with a 2020 trade that sent swingman Andrew Wiggins and a lightly-protected 2021 first-round draft pick to the Warriors in exchange for D’Angelo Russell, a longtime friend of Towns. Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic revisited the deal, executed by now-former team president Gersson Rosas, in the wake of a big night for Wiggins against Minnesota, noting that Golden State pretty definitively came out the winner. As Krawczynski writes, Wiggins has been a better fit for the Warriors than he was for the Timberwolves. In part because there is less pressure on him to be the 11-1 team’s main scorer, Wiggins can focus more on his improved perimeter defense. Russell, meanwhile, provides little help on defense and has been erratic offensively for the Timberwolves. The Warriors also used the first-rounder to select small forward Jonathan Kuminga with the seventh selection in this summer’s draft.
  • After a solid 107-83 victory over the Lakers on Friday night, the Timberwolves struggled to replicate their success against L.A.’s Staples Center neighbors, the Clippers, in a 129-102 loss on Saturday. Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic contends that this is who Minnesota really is: an inconsistent team with issues on both sides of the ball. Krawczynski says the Timberwolves grew complacent following one impressive showing against a Western Conference foe and let their guard down against another. “I feel like that’s really been the problem with us as a team is how do we not get tired of success,” said guard Josh Okogie. “I feel like after we have good performances, we have to be able to put that game behind us and focus on the next one and try to go 1-0 every night.”
  • In case you missed it, Luke Adams took a look at the Timberwolves’ offseason, which was focused primarily on retaining some young talent and adding veteran role players around the periphery of its roster.

Northwest Notes: Billups, Powell, Edwards, SGA

Chauncey Billups has been emphasizing defense and ball movement since he was hired as the Trail Blazers‘ head coach in June, and that combination was on display in a win over Phoenix Saturday night, writes Jason Quick of The Athletic. Billups inherited a team that reached the playoffs eight straight years under Terry Stotts, but has lost in the first round in four of the past five seasons. He is determined to take the Blazers to a new level, and he said that starts with breaking bad habits.

“I could have taken this job and just kept everything the same and said ‘All right, let’s be a little bit better defensively.’ But they (the players) want more. I want more,” Billups said after his first career coaching victory. “You can’t keep everything the same and expect different results. So, I could have done that. ‘We are going to run everything y’all used to run.’ Great offense, boom, bam. Well, there’s a ceiling on that, in my opinion. Not only in my opinion, we’ve seen it play out.”

The players seem to welcome the new approach, even though it’s delivered with a hard edge. Damian Lillard, who has been the subject of trade speculation, has said that talking to Billups made him more open to staying with the organization. Jusuf Nurkic was so inspired after hearing Billups’ introductory press conference that he flew from Bosnia to Portland to meet his new coach.

“He’s very detailed,” Nassir Little said. “And not just Chauncey, all the coaches. They are very detailed in what they are saying. They don’t let anything slide through the cracks as they are teaching. The way they break things down, from close-outs to footwork, to who goes where on rotations, it’s all so detailed.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Trail Blazers believe Norman Powell avoided a serious injury to his left knee Saturday night, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Powell left the game in the second quarter, but the results from initial tests are encouraging, Wojnarowski adds (Twitter link). Powell will undergo an MRI, according to Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian.
  • Veteran guard Patrick Beverley has been impressed by the willingness to accept instruction he sees from his new Timberwolves teammate Anthony Edwards, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune“A lot of young guys, especially No. 1 picks — that’s no discredit of course to anybody — guys think they’ve got it figured out already …” Beverley said. “He’s always wide-eyed, bushy tailed and eager to learn. He’s like a sponge. He soaks up everything.”
  • Injuries limited Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to 35 games last season and he’s still adjusting to being back on a full-time schedule, notes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. “I think it only makes it harder the longer you go without playing,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “With that being said, it’s no excuse. Guys in the NBA do it all the time. I just gotta figure it out.”