Jarrett Culver

Injury Updates: McCollum, Culver, George, Leonard, Irving

Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum has been allowed to shed his walking boot and will advance to the next stage of his rehabilitation, according to a team press release. McCollum, who was examined on Tuesday, will be reevaluated again in two weeks. McCollum suffered a small hairline fracture to the lateral cuneiform against Atlanta on January 16.

We have more injury news:

  • Timberwolves wing Jarrett Culver has been upgraded to on-court activity this week, according to a team press release. He suffered a left ankle sprain against Golden State on January 25. Culver is expected to be reevaluated next week, with potential to return to play late next week.
  • Clippers forward Paul George, who hasn’t played since February 3 due to bone edema in his right toe, will miss Wednesday’s game against Utah, the team’s PR department announced. Kawhi Leonard, who sat out against Miami on Monday due to a left lower leg contusion, is listed as questionable.
  • Nets guard Kyrie Irving was ruled out on Tuesday due to back tightness. Coach Steve Nash said it’s a short-term issue and that Irving should return soon, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. Brooklyn plays the Lakers on Thursday and Clippers on Friday.

Northwest Notes: Wolves, Campazzo, Hartenstein, McCollum

Following a 2-0 start, the Timberwolves have lost four straight games and are struggling to stay competitive without star center Karl-Anthony Towns available. As Chris Hine of The Star Tribune details, head coach Ryan Saunders attempted to jump-start the club on Sunday by shaking up his starting lineup, inserting Juan Hernangomez and Ed Davis in place of Ricky Rubio and Naz Reid.

According to Hine, the plan was to help Russell establish some pick-and-roll chemistry with Davis, his former teammate in Brooklyn, and to reduce Reid’s minutes against Nikola Jokic in the hopes of avoiding foul trouble.

Jarrett Culver, playing the three instead of the four in the new-look lineup, had his best game of the young season, and Davis led the team in rebounding, but the Timberwolves still lost by 15 points and Hernangomez’s early struggles continued. Still, Saunders said after the game that he saw some positive signs from the fifth-year power forward.

“I did think he had some good defensive possessions. I thought that helped us,” Saunders said of Hernangomez. “His size and length helped us a little bit even though we got beat on the glass, I thought he was able to get his hands on a few. He had some good looks, missed a couple that he’ll usually make around the basket. So for that reason, I see progress with Juancho as well.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Former Real Madrid star Facundo Campazzo had looked relatively invisible in his first five NBA games, but he showed on Sunday why the Nuggets brought him over from Spain this offseason, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. “I thought this was the best version of Facundo Campazzo that you could imagine,” head coach Michael Malone said of the 29-year-old point guard, who had 15 points and three steals in Denver’s win over Minnesota.
  • Before he signed with the Nuggets as a free agent in November, Isaiah Hartenstein drew interest from the Trail Blazers, Cavaliers, Pelicans, and Wizards, league sources tell Singer in a separate Denver Post story.
  • Typically a slow starter, Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum has been excellent so far in 2020/21, having averaged 28.0 PPG with a .431 3PT% in six games. Jason Quick of The Athletic takes a look at what has fueled the hot start for McCollum, who said he’s motivated by wanting to secure a postseason berth without having to take part in the play-in tournament again.

Timberwolves Pick Up Options On Okogie, Culver

The Timberwolves are picking up their 2021/22 options on Josh Okogie and Jarrett Culver, Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweets.

Okogie’s fourth-year option is worth approximately $4.09MM. The 20th pick of the 2018 draft has been a rotation player since his rookie campaign.

He has started all three games for Minnesota this season, averaging 8.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG and 1.7 APG in 25.0 MPG. The shooting guard is making $2.65MM this season.

Culver’s third-year option is worth approximately $6.4MM. The 6th overall pick of the 2019 draft averaged 9.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG and 1.7 APG in 23.9 MPG as a rookie while appearing in 63 games.

He’s coming off the bench this season, averaging 10.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 0.7 APG in 23.3 MPG. The swingman out of Texas Tech is pulling in $6.1MM this season.

Draft Rumors: Hornets, Ball, Wolves, Cavs, Achiuwa, Hawks, More

Assuming the Hornets keep the No. 3 pick in tonight’s NBA draft, team owner Michael Jordan has given the “stamp of approval” to select LaMelo Ball, league sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. James Wiseman has long been considered to be atop Charlotte’s wish list, but if he and Anthony Edwards are the first two players off the board, Ball may be the top prospect available.

O’Connor suggests that “at this stage” it seems as if USC big man Onyeka Okongwu is no longer in serious consideration for the Hornets at No. 3. It’s worth noting that ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his Hoop Collective podcast that there has been some medical-related chatter on Okongwu recently that could affect his stock, though Windhorst cautioned that may just be a smokescreen from a team with interest in him.

Here are several more rumors worth passing along, as we prepare for what should be an eventful 2020 NBA draft:

  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) is hearing that the Timberwolves continue to operate as if they don’t want to pick at No. 1. Sources tell Wasserman that Minnesota is even signaling it could make a pick for another team – such as Wiseman for the Hornets – and try to figure out a deal later.
  • According to O’Connor, the Cavaliers are interested in potentially trading down a little and still selecting Dayton forward Obi Toppin, who has been linked to them frequently as a potential target at No. 5. O’Connor suggests the Pistons (No. 7) could be one potential trade partner for the Cavs if Detroit wants to move up to secure Florida State’s Patrick Williams.
  • Sources tell both O’Connor and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic that the Wizards (No. 9) are high on Memphis power forward Precious Achiuwa. Krawczynski says the Suns (No. 10) are “fond of” Achiuwa as well.
  • Conversations between the Hawks and Timberwolves about a swap that would send the No. 6 pick to Minnesota for No. 17 and Jarrett Culver have stalled, per Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Atlanta would be open to the idea, but the Wolves have become hesitant about moving Culver unless it helps them land a star, according to Kirschner and Krawczynski. Kirschner adds that talks between the Hawks and teams looking to move up in the draft have “cooled down” as of late.
  • While the Celtics have explored packaging their three first-round picks (Nos. 14, 26, and 30) to move into the mid-lottery, teams in that range have indicated they’d like to stay there, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.

Hawks Rumors: Holiday, No. 6 Pick, Haliburton, Okongwu

Following up on Wednesday’s report linking the Hawks to Jrue Holiday, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic explains in further detail why he’s hearing that Atlanta currently isn’t a probable landing spot for the Pelicans guard.

According to Kirschner, there’s a belief that if Atlanta pursued Holiday, it would take the No. 6 overall pick and two young players. The Hawks aren’t interested in giving up that substantial a package for a 30-year-old on an expiring contract, even if Holiday would be a great fit next to Trae Young in the backcourt.

The Hawks could still be involved in a three-team deal where Holiday goes to another team, and could even emerge as a viable landing spot for Holiday if the Pelicans’ asking price drops, says Kirschner. However, a trade that sees the club giving up two young players isn’t being considered.

Here’s more on the Hawks from Kirschner:

  • Kirschner also addressed trade rumors related to the No. 6 pick, writing that if the draft were today, Atlanta would be prepared to make that selection rather than moving it. He also clarifies that the rumored Timberwolves proposal for the No. 6 pick – which includes the No. 17 pick and Jarrett Culver – is an offer Minnesota has put on the table for multiple teams.
  • Deni Avdija, Tyrese Haliburton, and Onyeka Okongwu look like the Hawks’ most likely targets if the club remains at No. 6, though Avdija may be off the board by then, Kirschner writes. If Haliburton and Okongwu are available, Kirschner thinks Atlanta would probably lean toward the former Iowa State guard.
  • Kirschner wonders if the Spurs, who own the No. 11 pick, might be a potential trade partner for Atlanta. Kirschner believes the Hawks would be interested in moving down if they could acquire a young player like Derrick White or Dejounte Murray, though I’m skeptical San Antonio would give up either player to move up five spots. Because Atlanta would prefer a young player whose timeline matches up with the current core, veterans like LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan are probably unlikely targets, Kirschner adds.

Hawks’ No. 6 Pick Drawing Interest From Wolves, Pelicans, Celtics

While the Timberwolves’ and Warriors’ attempts to move down from the top two spots in the 2020 NBA draft have dominated headlines, there are other clubs in the top half of the lottery with interest in trading down. The Hawks are one of those teams, and they’ve generated some interest in the No. 6 overall pick, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who reports (via Twitter) that the Timberwolves, Pelicans, and Celtics are among the teams exploring a deal.

Sources tell O’Connor that Minnesota is attempting to acquire a second lottery pick in addition to the No. 1 selection and have had talks with Atlanta about the No. 6 pick. If the Wolves attempt to move up, a deal could include the No. 17 selection and Jarrett Culver, says O’Connor.

This isn’t the first time Culver’s name has popped up in trade rumors. Zach Lowe of ESPN said last week that he believes Minnesota would only move the 2019 first-rounder in a deal for a star or for a high draft pick that would help the Wolves acquire a star. It’s not clear whether the No. 6 pick would fit that bill.

The Pelicans (No. 13) and Celtics (No. 14) currently hold the last two picks in the lottery. We’ve heard previously that Boston has explored the possibility of moving up into the middle of the lottery, dangling the No. 26 and No. 30 picks as a sweetener.

As for which prospects those teams might be targeting at No. 6, O’Connor hears from sources that Florida State’s Patrick Williams is one primary target. Williams has been frequently linked to the Pistons at No. 7, so any other team that wants him may have to move ahead of Detroit to secure his draft rights.

According to O’Connor, the Wolves are also high on Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton. John Hollinger of The Athletic conveyed a similar sentiment on Tuesday, writing that he could see the Wolves taking Haliburton over Anthony Edwards if they trade down from No. 1.

Lowe’s Latest: Beal, Celtics, Culver, Heat, Gordon, More

Teams with interest in Bradley Beal haven’t given up hope that the Wizards will consider trading him this fall, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN, who notes that multiple “strong playoff teams” have looked into what it would take to acquire a top-10 pick and may be seeking extra assets to swing a big trade for someone like Beal.

However, the Wizards have shown zero interest in trading Beal, even for the No. 1 or No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, sources tell ESPN. The Timberwolves (No. 1) and Warriors (No. 2) are both known to be hoping to trade their selections for an All-NBA caliber player like Beal (or Ben Simmons or Devin Booker), but it seems unlikely that such a deal will materialize, says Lowe.

For the Wizards to really consider the idea of moving Beal, he may have to tell the team he would prefer to play elsewhere, per Lowe. Perhaps that will happen down the road if Washington doesn’t bounce back from a second consecutive lottery finish, but it hasn’t to this point.

Here’s much more from Lowe:

  • Lowe confirms the Celtics have explored using their three first-round picks to trade up in the draft, but says Boston is considering a number of options with those picks, including trying to trade for a “solid veteran.” Since so many teams are in win-now mode, there aren’t many of those players available, according to Lowe, who says that Larry Nance Jr. and Dennis Schröder are among the players who could be under-the-radar targets for teams looking to upgrade their rotations.
  • Jarrett Culver‘s name has popped up in trade rumors, but Lowe thinks the Timberwolves would only move him in a package for a star, or for a draft pick that would help acquire a star. Lowe adds that he thinks Minnesota will dangle the No. 17 pick and James Johnson‘s expiring contract in search of a veteran contributor.
  • While Lowe thinks the Heat should be able to re-sign Goran Dragic on a big one-year deal, he expects it to be tougher for Miami to take the same approach with Jae Crowder, who will likely receive multiyear offers in the mid-level range.
  • Rival executives have pitched the idea of the Mavericks acquiring Rudy Gobert from the Jazz, but Lowe is skeptical there will be a match there and believes Dallas will have a tough time acquiring a third star via trade this offseason.
  • It’s unclear what sort of leaguewide interest there is in Magic forward Aaron Gordon. Lowe points to the Trail Blazers as a potential match, but says the two teams have never seriously discussed a swap involving Gordon and CJ McCollum and isn’t sure whether lesser assets like Zach Collins or Anfernee Simons would appeal to Orlando.
  • Lowe’s offseason preview is jam-packed with many more notes and is worth checking out in full. We relayed a number of Lowe’s other most intriguing tidbits in our stories earlier today, including items on the Bucks, Pistons, and Knicks.

Western Notes: Powell, Bazemore, Holiday, Brown, Timberwolves

Mavericks big man Dwight Powell, who is signed through the 2022/23 season, is showing good progress as he rehabs from a torn right Achilles, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News reports. Powell, who underwent surgery in January, has no movement limitations. However, the closure of the Mavericks practice facility has created an obstacle to get on-court time. It typically takes an NBA player a year or more to return to action from an Achilles tear but the delayed start of next season should work in his favor.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Warriors could consider adding one of their former players,  the Kings’ Kent Bazemore or the Pacers’ Justin Holiday, in free agency, according to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. Poole breaks down the pros and cons of both players and concludes Holiday would be a better fit, since he has proven more durable in recent years. However, it’s also likely he’d cost more than Bazemore, Poole adds.
  • It’s unclear if former Sixers coach Brett Brown is a candidate for the Thunder’s opening but there is a strong connection to the front office, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman notes. Brown worked with GM Sam Presti in the Spurs organization from 2002-07.
  • The Timberwolves mini-camp facilitated Jarrett Culver‘s development and Josh Okogie‘s playmaking skills, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. It also reinforced the value of forward Jake Layman, though he suffered a broken nose during the workouts.

Northwest Notes: Culver, Grant, CP3, Blazers

Timberwolves rookie wing Jarrett Culver had an uneven first season in Minnesota, but flashed exciting athletic promise, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Trading up from the No. 11 pick to the No. 6 pick in the 2019 NBA draft to select Culver was the first big move Wolves president of basketball operations Gerson Rossas made in his new role.

Culver averaged 9.2 PPG and 3.4 RPG while connecting on 40.4% of his field goals and just 46.2% of his free throw attempts. He began to produce more robustly as the calendar turned to 2020. The Wolves sport a 19-45 record for the suspended 2019/20 season, which places them far from playoff contention at the No. 14 seed in the West.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nuggets forward Jerami Grant seemed destined to opt out of the final season of his three-year, $27MM contract, per The Athletic’s Nick Kosmider. With the NBA’s 2020/21 salary cap now in question, Grant will probably stay in Denver, whether or not he picks up that option. Grant averaged an encouraging 11.6 PPG on 47.1% shooting from the field and 40% shooting from deep to go along with 3.5 RPG in just 26.2 MPG for the 43-22 Nuggets. Grant’s performance left much to be desired from an advanced statistics perspective, per Kosmider, who appraises Grant’s long-term fit with the squad.
  • On the cusp of turning 35, Thunder point guard Chris Paul turned back the clock with his play in 2019/20, according to Erik Horne of The Athletic. He made his first All-Star appearance since 2016 in his first season in OKC. Paul is averaging 17.7 PPG, 6.8 APG and 4.9 RPG and has played in 63 of the Thunder’s 64 games. The team is currently 40-24, good for the No. 5 seed in the West.
  • A year removed from a Western Conference Finals berth, a reconfigured Trail Blazers roster struggled to stay afloat at the bottom of the West’s playoff picture in 2019/20. Though Portland’s front office is confident in key players Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins and Rodney Hood, The Athletic’s Jason Quick and John Hollinger examine where the team can improve moving forward. Portland’s 29-37 record positioned the team 3.5 games behind the West’s No. 8 seed, the 32-33 Grizzlies, when league play paused in March.

Wolves Notes: Trades, KAT, Culver

Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said trading away Jeff Teague gave the team added flexibility, as Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic relays (Twitter link).

“We want to be positioned where we can take advantage of opportunities that present themselves where you can acquire a high-level player and give a team savings if they need it,” the executive said.

Minnesota traded Teague and Treveon Graham to Atlanta for wing Allen Crabbe earlier today. Here’s more from Minnesota:

  • The Wolves are confident they’re on the same page with their superstar Karl-Anthony Towns, as Rosas tells Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. “We have an ownership group and a leadership group here that’s given us every resource to be successful,” Rosas said. “We’ve been aggressive at every step of the way during my short tenure here, whether it’s the draft or free agency, to bring in high-level talent. There’s going to be challenges along that path, but I’m extremely confident we’re on the same page and there’s full commitment from every level here to make this successful.”
  • In the same piece, Rosas added that the team is happy with No. 6 overall pick Jarrett Culver‘s progress. “What he’s doing in a semi-point guard role this year, for a guy at his age, with his skill set, is very exciting. History shows you that guys will improve their shooting,” Rosas said. “…We’re very excited about what he means for this organization now and in the future.”
  • Former Suns general manager Ryan McDonough has been in Minnesota, visiting with the Wolves’ coaching staff and front office, Krawcynski tweets. The scribe adds that the late Flip Saunders had a history of meeting with coaches who were currently out of the league.