Derrick Rose

Wolves Notes: Rose, Jones, Wiggins, Crawford

The Timberwolves are very interested in re-signing free agent guard Derrick Rose, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Rose turned into a valuable reserve after coming to Minnesota following a late-season buyout. He played just nine regular season games for the Wolves, but became a force in the playoffs, averaging 14.2 points and making seven of 10 3-pointers in the series with the Rockets.

Rose also played well defensively and proved himself to be a good teammate, Krawczynski adds, two attributes he didn’t display during his time in Cleveland. Minnesota’s only concern in bringing Rose back is his injury history, as he was sidelined for a while with a sprained ankle after joining the Wolves. Rose has excelled under Tom Thibodeau and wants to be with a coach he trusts after five unsettled seasons.

Krawczynski offers more insight into the Timberwolves in a mailbag column:

  • A return by Rose would continue to limit the playing time for Tyus Jones, who saw his minutes decline after the Rose signing. Without roster changes, Jones would enter his fourth season as the third point guard on the depth chart.
  • The front office may consider an Andrew Wiggins trade if the Wolves can find a better fit in return. The team needs to quickly take steps to become a serious contender with Jimmy Butler entering his option year, Krawczynski states, and dealing Wiggins or Gorgui Dieng might be necessary to make that happen. Both players have large contracts that will make them difficult to unload. A max extension for Wiggins kicks in next season, and Dieng is owed nearly $48.7MM over the next three seasons. Wiggins’ trade value is low coming off an underwhelming fourth NBA season, and Krawczynski thinks the franchise may decide to hold onto him and hope he can develop into an All-Star.
  • One suggested deal would send Wiggins to the Raptors as part of a package for DeMar DeRozan, but there’s no evidence that Toronto is ready for a roster shakeup, even after firing coach Dwane Casey. A Butler-DeRozan combination would have many of the same issues as Butler and Wiggins, Krawczynski notes, including a lack of 3-point shooting.
  • Don’t count on veteran guard Jamal Crawford returning for another season, even though Butler would prefer to keep him. The 38-year-old complained this season about Thibodeau’s reluctance to use his bench, and things are unlikely to change as Crawford gets older.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2018: Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves landed back in the NBA playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons this spring. That comes as no surprise, given that the club has finally paired its stockpile of young stars with a formidable, winning coach and a green light to spend.

The Wolves need not fret that they barely put a dent in the Rockets this postseason as they’ll be back in contention next season and for as long as Jimmy Butler is capable of leading the club’s offense, flanked by Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.

It’ll get mighty difficult to afford all three eventually but they won’t need to seriously contemplate how to make all the numbers work until the summer after this one.

Nemanja Bjelica, PF, 30 (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $12MM deal in 2015
The Timberwolves are in a much different position now than they were when they inked Bjelica as an international free agent, but the veteran has hung around in large part due to his presence in the locker room. Given that the Wolves already have so much of their 2018/19 payroll tied up in other players, don’t expect them to offer Bjelica much more than the minimum.

Aaron Brooks, PG, 33 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2017
Brooks didn’t exactly take the league by storm in his tenth season but his role and value are clear; he’s a familiar insurance policy for former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. Brooks isn’t likely to have a long list of suitors so it’s well within reason that he ends up back in Minnesota on another veteran’s minimum deal late this offseason.

Jamal Crawford, SG, 38 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $9MM deal in 2017Jamal Crawford of the Minnesota Timberwolves
Having made over $100MM over the course of his career, including $11MM from a team he didn’t even play for in 2017/18, Crawford won’t accept his $4.5MM player option for next season if he’s not perfectly content playing for Minnesota. I wouldn’t rule out the 38-year-old passing on a second season with the Wolves in order to close out his career as a killer reserve on a team with more realistic short-term title aspirations.

Marcus Georges-Hunt, SG, 24 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1MM deal in 2017
There won’t be significant pressure for the Wolves to bring back Georges-Hunt after a solid but modest first year in Minnesota, but they’ll need to fill out their lineup eventually and he’s a tough, defensive-minded player. Expect the club to keep its options open over the course of the offseason but don’t be surprised if the Wolves bring the familiar 24-year-old back on the cheap.

Amile Jefferson, PF, 25 (Up) – Signed to a one-year deal in 2018
The Wolves converted Jefferson’s two-way contract into a standard deal last month despite the fact that he never even suited up for the big league roster. Still, the team had a spot to spare and had no reason not to add the extra layer of depth heading into the postseason. Jefferson is a stud in the G League so the organization may be intrigued by his eventual fit with the parent club, but he won’t earn more than the minimum.

Derrick Rose, PG, 29 (Up) – Signed to a one-year deal in 2018
Prior to signing on with his former head coach late in the regular season, Rose’s value was at a career low. Fast forward two months later, however, and the wayward guard may have actually stumbled into an opportunity to salvage his career. Rose averaged 14.2 points per game for the Wolves in the postseason and could be a valuable rotation piece in the right situation. We’ve seen Rose flame out in a couple of wrong situations, so the fact that he’s found any sort of momentum reunited with Thibodeau and the rest of the Timberbulls bodes well for all involved. Rose didn’t do enough during the first six months of the season to warrant any more than another speculative one-year, minimum deal, but the postseason resurgence may have earned him one last run at meaningful minutes on a competent team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Wolves Will Prioritize Adding Wings In Offseason

The Timberwolves will look to improve their depth on the wing this offseason, head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau told reporters today. As Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets, Thibodeau indicated that acquiring wing players who can shoot three-pointers and guard multiple positions is Minnesota’s top priority during the offseason.

Most of the Wolves’ top contributors – including Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague, Jamal Crawford, and Nemanja Bjelica – shot a little from the outside in 2017/18, but no player on the roster made more than 1.5 threes per game. As a team, the Wolves made 8.0 three-pointers per contest, which ranked dead last in the NBA.

By comparison, Minnesota’s first-round opponent – the let-it-fly Rockets – led the league with 15.3 threes per game and had six players who knocked down at least two per game. So it’s no surprise that adding more three-point shooting on the wing will be a key focus for the Wolves this offseason.

Here’s more out of Minnesota:

  • Krawczynski and Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune (Twitter link) both interpreted Thibodeau’s comments today as good news for Derrick Rose‘s potential return to the team. Thibodeau called Rose – who is an unrestricted free agent this summer – a “terrific addition,” Zgoda notes.
  • Timberwolves GM Scott Layden suggested there will be a lot of activity around the draft, acknowledging that the club could explore trading its first-round pick, tweets Krawczynski. Zgoda expands on Layden’s comments, tweeting that the GM believes that first-rounder represents a chance to “get in the game” when it comes to making a trade offer for an impact player. However, Layden did say Minnesota would be happy to use the pick if there’s a player on the board who can “help us now.”
  • Layden expressed some regret that he wasn’t more active at the trade deadline, indicating he expects to be more aggressive this summer (Twitter link via Krawczynski).
  • Thibodeau anticipates Wiggins will have a good offseason entering the 2018/19 campaign, since he won’t have to deal with the distraction of working out a contract extension this time around, like he did a year ago (Twitter link via Krawczynski).
  • Butler was just dealing with general soreness in his right knee at the end of the season, and won’t require any additional procedures on that knee, Thibodeau said today (Twitter link via Zgoda).

Northwest Notes: Thibodeau, Rose, Anthony, Lyles

The Timberwolves broke their 14-year playoff drought because coach/executive Tom Thibodeau was willing to trade away the future to get better now, writes Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. Thibodeau signaled a new direction for the franchise last June when he shipped Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the seventh pick in the draft to Chicago in exchange for Jimmy Butler. He followed that up by signing veteran free agents Taj Gibson, Jeff Teague, Jamal Crawford, Aaron Brooks and more recently, Derrick Rose.

“Look, when you’re trying to erase 14 years of losing, you have to bring in some people who have won before,” Thibodeau explained. “That was a big factor in that. These guys have won in the playoffs, and I knew the hole we had to get out of. When you looked at the number, the numbers said we had to do a lot of improving and I think we’ve done that.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Rose’s overlooked defensive abilities could be important in the playoff matchup with Houston, Zgoda notes in a separate story. Defense was one of the areas Thibodeau considered when he decided to sign the former MVP in March. Rose, who had a frustrating start to the season in Cleveland before being acquired and then waived by Utah, is happy with where he has landed. “Going through free agency, it’s all about being strategic,” Rose said. “I wanted to go to a contender. I wanted to go somewhere where I was familiar with the coach, and being here was the perfect situation.”
  • Carmelo Anthony is preparing for his first playoff appearance in five years, but he’s headed there in a much different role, writes Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. Anthony was an MVP candidate when the Knicks last reached the postseason in 2013. Now he’s a complementary player after an offseason trade to the Thunder. “My approach is not any different,” he said. “My situation is different. My team is different.”

Injury Notes: F. Jackson, Butler, Harris, Barea

Pelicans rookie Frank Jackson is making progress after having his third surgical procedure in 11 months, relays Christian Boutwell of The Advocate. The most recent operation, performed March 19, was follow-up surgery on his right foot to take out scar tissue left over from previous surgeries. Jackson was in New Orleans for tonight’s game and offered an update on his condition.

“Feels great. I’m already walking,” he said. “I’m like two weeks out of surgery. I’m walking. I’m in a boot for another week and then I’ll be out of that. My pain’s completely gone. That’s why I did it. Just taking care of it now.”

A second-round pick out of Duke, Jackson had a stress reaction in his foot that caused him to miss the summer league, then fractured it in late August. Jackson said he is hoping to be ready for summer league this year.

There’s more injury news from around the league:

  • It appears the Timberwolves and Nuggets will both be missing key players for tomorrow night’s showdown in Denver. Jimmy Butler is listed as doubtful for Minnesota as he tries to come back after surgery to fix a torn meniscus, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague are both questionable. Denver guard Gary Harris will miss the game as he continues to rehab a right knee injury, according to Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune (Twitter link).
  • Mavericks guard J.J. Barea left tonight’s game after suffering a left oblique strain, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. With just three games remaining, it’s possible that Barea’s season is over.
  • Nets forward DeMarre Carroll has a strained left hip and will be day-to-day for the rest of the season, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic.
  • Magic forward Jonathon Simmons may miss the rest of the season with a badly bruised right wrist, according to John Denton of NBA.com. Simmons sat out his eighth straight game tonight and is upset about not being able to play after signing a three-year, $18MM contract last summer. “My disappointment is about my love for the game and not wanting to let these guys down under the circumstances,” he said. “I’d love to be out there fighting with these guys, and the most disappointing part is not being able to be out there with my teammates.’’

Wolves Notes: Rose, Butler, Additions

Derrick Rose was a member of the Jazz for two days before the team waived him, following a three-team trade deadline deal with the Cavaliers and Kings. Rose spoke to reporters, including Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News, and labeled the experience of being acquired and waived by Utah as “weird and bittersweet.”

Rose said he never traveled to Utah, instead remaining in Cleveland until he signed with the Timberwolves. The move reunited Rose with his former coach, Tom Thibodeau. Currently nursing an injured ankle, Rose is confident he can be a positive cause for the team even if injuries and playing time are limiting him.

“It’s all about faith, bro,” Rose said. “With faith, I don’t worry about any of that. I let other people worry about that. Why should I worry about it? I know how much I put into my body and my craft, so as long as I’ve got faith I don’t worry about anything else. All of this is out of my control anyway.”

After 16 uneventful games with the Cavaliers, Rose has suited up for just five games with the Wolves, averaging 6.6 PPG and 1.6 APG in 11.6 minutes per contest.

Check out more Wolves notes below:

  • Jimmy Butler was cleared for contact drills on Friday, a big step in his recovery from a torn meniscus, Kent Youngblood of The Star Tribune relays. Butler suffered the injury on February 23 and underwent surgery two days later, with a prognosis for a four to six-week recovery. “He had a good workout, did the shootaround, and stayed and played afterward,” Thibodeau said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
  • After a recovery day on Saturday, Butler underwent his first five-on-five contact scrimmage today and came out of it well, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune tweets. The Wolves’ next game is Thursday against Denver and it’s possible Butler is ready to play. “He’s doing good,” Thibodeau said.
  • The Wolves made a slew of veteran acquisitions before the season, including Butler, Jamal Crawford, Taj Gibson, and Jeff Teague. All of these players have been vital to the team’s success this season and will be just as important come playoff time, Patrick Reusse of the Star Tribune writes.

Northwest Notes: Harris, Blazers, Nurkic, Rose

The Nuggets are targeting Monday’s game in Philadelphia or Tuesday’s game in Toronto as possible return dates for Gary Harris‘ return from a knee injury, tweets Gina Mizell of The Denver Post. Harris, a key part of Denver’s lineup, has already been sidelined for the club’s last two games – both losses – and appears set to miss at least two more this week.

While the Nuggets would love to get Harris back for the start of next week, head coach Michael Malone said today that the 23-year-old hasn’t been able to do much running yet. Ally Sturm of Altitude TV adds (via Twitter) that Malone referred to a Monday or Tuesday return for Harris as a “best-case scenario,” which means he may end up missing those games too.

As Denver looks to pick up some wins in Harris’ absence, let’s round up a few more notes from around the Northwest division…

  • Speaking to Chris Haynes of ESPN, Trail Blazers guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum discussed several topics, including the team’s performance this season, how best to deal with trade rumors, and even LeBron James‘ upcoming free agency.
  • Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports takes a deep dive on the Trail Blazers, suggesting that Jusuf Nurkic‘s development – or lack thereof – could go a long way toward determining the ceiling for the franchise.
  • Many observers viewed Derrick Rose as a questionable fit for the Timberwolves, given his inability to consistently make outside shots. However, since signing with the team two weeks ago, Rose has given Tom Thibodeau the flexibility to experiment with some new backcourt combinations, as Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune writes. The Wolves’ head coach said he likes having Rose play alongside Jamal Crawford and Jeff Teague (or Tyus Jones) to put pressure on opposing defenses, and also praised the former MVP’s play on the other side of the ball. “He’s playing great defense,” Thibodeau said. “I don’t think people see it. He did in the Washington game. But we need everyone playing well.”

Northwest Notes: Rose, Brewer, Turner, Faried

Appearing in his first game for the Timberwolves on Sunday, Derrick Rose played just seven minutes. While Rose says he’s not looking to “take someone’s spot” or step on anybody’s toes in Minnesota, he hopes to earn the opportunity to play a larger role down the stretch, as Steve Aschburner of NBA.com writes.

“I want [Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau] to see me and be like, ‘Damn, he’s still got it,'” Rose said. “I want him to count on me. I want to be held accountable. You know what I mean? I don’t just want to be, like, an average guy on the team riding along just to see how far they go. I really want to add.”

The Rose signing drew some criticism from observers who felt that the Timberwolves didn’t need more depth at a point guard spot that already features Jeff Teague, Tyus Jones, and Aaron Brooks. However, Thibodeau and the Wolves’ guards believe that the team’s backcourt depth make sense in today’s NBA, where many teams play more than one point guard at a time, says Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune.

Here’s more from around the Northwest division:

  • Speaking to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, Corey Brewer discussed his decision to sign with the Thunder, his expectations for the team, and several other topics. “I looked at my situation and considered if I’d have a chance to play, the pieces that were already in place on the team and whether I’d have a chance to compete in the playoffs,” Brewer said. “I felt like going to the Thunder would be the best situation for me because of those reasons and I get to play with old college coach Billy Donovan, who I have a great relationship with.”
  • In an interesting piece for NBC Sports Northwest, Jason Quick takes an in-depth look at Trail Blazers swingman Evan Turner, who continues to grapple with how his $70MM contract has impacted fans’ expectations for – and perception of – him.
  • Despite his lack of playing time this season, Nuggets big man Kenneth Faried appears to be staying positive, per Gina Mizell of The Denver Post. Faried, who has been the subject of trade rumors for multiple seasons, will be entering the final year of his contract this offseason, so it will be interesting to see if he’s still on Denver’s roster six months from now.

Northwest Notes: Rose, Collison, Lillard

Derrick Rose is officially a member of the Timberwolves and made his first comments since the signing was made official. Injuries have diminished Rose’s skill set and playing time in recent seasons and there are questions about how much he can realistically help Minnesota down the stretch.

Rose told reporters, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, that he does not need validation from anybody about his playing level.

“I mean, this is how I feel about it, the whole perspective on it,” Rose said. “You can have your perspective on me, as far as I’m a bum, I can’t play, I can’t shoot, this and that. All right, cool. I have no hard feeling with that. I’m cool with that. If that’s how you feel, that’s how you feel. But at the same time, I don’t need your validation. Like, I know who I am. I know the type of player I am. You respect that and I respect that and we should be good.”

The 29-year-old never got on track with the Cavaliers this season, averaging 9.8 PPG and 1.8 RPG in just 16 games. However, he did appear in 64 games with the Knicks last year, averaging 18.0 PPG and 4.4 APG. Rose did not play on Thursday against the Celtics but is expected to play against the Warriors on Sunday.

Check out other Northwest Division notes below:

  • Thunder big man Nick Collison has been with the organization since the 2004/05 season when the organization was still known as the Supersonics. As the current team prepares for the postseason, Collison said to former teammate and NBA Soundsystem host, Brent Barry, that consistency is Oklahoma City’s biggest issue, per Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. Like you know, the playoffs, every possession counts,” Collison said. “Consistency’s been an issue with us this year. But we do have a veteran group and we’ve played well against the best teams. So for us, just finding that consistency and being able to play possession by possession and being able to grind out some good solid basketball for a long time. If you want to make a run, you gotta play for two months. I think consistency’s huge for us.”
  • Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is enjoying another strong season and feels he should be in the conversation for Most Valuable Player, Sean Meagher of OregonLive.com writes. “I don’t see why I wouldn’t be mentioned,” Lillard said. “But obviously James Harden is having a special season and they’re the No. 1 team in the league right now. He’s been runner-up for a few years where I feel like he could have easily won it. What he’s doing individually, and what their team is doing, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the winner.”

Northwest Notes: Blazers, Rose, Brewer

The Trail Blazers have surged into third place in a wild Western Conference playoff race thanks largely to an impressive level of depth, Jason Quick of NBC Sports Northwest writes. On a nightly basis, Portland’s success can be at least partly attributed to team defense and solid performances from role players.

In the past two years, when we went on great runs, it’s always been C.J. McCollum has a great stretch, or I have a great stretch,” lone Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard said. “But now, it’s much more collective – both this season and during this run.

Quick cites Jusuf Nurkic‘s in-season improvement shooting around the basket, the pleasant emergence of rookie Zach Collins and a clutch performance from Shabazz Napier as some of the driving forces behind the Trail Blazer’s recent success.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Nuggets have struggled since offseason addition Paul Millsap made his return from an extended absence. Now the playoff hopeful club needs to figure out how to right the ship. “When a player of Paul Millsap’s magnitude misses 44 games and comes back with 22 games to go, that is a huge challenge,” head coach Michael Malone told Gina Mizell of The Denver Post. “Especially when the team was playing so well.
  • We wrote last month that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor wasn’t interested in having his team sign Derrick Rose. That line of thinking changed after Jimmy Butler went down with his knee injury, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes.
  • The Thunder may have found a suitable replacement for the injured Andre Roberson in recently bought out veteran Corey Brewer. “I’m not comparing him and Andre in any way personality-wise or player-wise,” head coach Billy Donovan told ESPN’s Royce Young, “But the one thing I will compare them, they both have a pop and a bounce to them where they play the game where they find the ball. They find it and are able to make plays.”