Jarrett Culver

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.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Culver, Gallinari, ‘Melo

Despite a middling start to the NBA season, the Jazz remain steadfast in their belief that they are championship contenders. Utah is currently 13-10 and seeded at No. 6 in the tough Western Conference. The Athletic’s Michael Lee appraised Jazz stars Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley‘s feelings about the team’s underwhelming start to the season.

Conley exuded confidence, saying, “It’s great to have pressure. Great to have expectations.” Though frustrated with a recent 1-4 road swoon for the Jazz, Mitchell stressed patience. “We’re all making adjustments,” he said. “We’re all finding ways to get to know each other. And when you’ve got guys who are unselfish, it makes it easier.”

Here’s more from out of the Northwest:

  • Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune assessed rookie shooting guard Jarrett Culver‘s uneven start for the Timberwolves. Culver is shooting 36.9% from the field, 25.9% from three-point range, and just 43.5% from the free throw line. At 10-11, Minnesota harbors legitimate playoff aspirations in the West, where the team is currently seeded seventh. Improvement from Culver could make a significant difference in a playoff push, and he remains optimistic that his shooting would stabilize. “I’ve put in a lot of work,” Culver said, “so I trust it and I know it’s going to fall.”
  • Thunder head coach Billy Donovan spoke with reporters about the likelihood of a Danilo Gallinari trade this season. “I’ve had no conversations with anybody about that,” Donovan said, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. “My feeling has always been that all these guys that are here, that they’ll be here… If you’re focused on things that are out of your control, you’re not gonna necessarily be able to do anything well.” A free agent in 2020, Gallinari is a versatile stretch forward on the last season of a three-year, $64.8MM contract.
  • New Trail Blazers starting power forward Carmelo Anthony spoke with reporters after a Tuesday shootaround at the Staples Center. ESPN’s Baxter Holmes reports that Anthony was enthused about his fit with Portland, and the early returns have backed up Anthony’s sentiments. “Man, when you feel wanted,” Anthony said, “it settles a lot of things.”

Northwest Notes: Porter Jr., Craig, Culver, O’Neale

Amid the news that the team has picked up his option for the 2020/21 season, forward Michael Porter Jr. is eager to take the court for the first time with the Nuggets, Mike Singer of the Denver Post reports. Porter will make his preseason debut against Portland on Tuesday. He missed all of last season with a back injury after being drafted No. 14 overall and didn’t play any summer league games due to a knee injury.

“I feel like I’ve prepared my whole life to be an NBA player,” the Nuggets’ forward said. “It’s crazy because I watch these players growing up and now we’re on the same court. I kind of had to have a mindset change. These are my opponents. I can’t be a fan of these dudes anymore.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Torrey Craig will open the season as the Nuggets’ starting small forward, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic predicts. He’s the best defensive option at that spot and has made improvements to his offensive game. “Torrey shot lights out in September and he’s shot it very well in camp,” coach Michael Malone told Kosmider. “If he shoots it the way he did in the playoffs, he’s going to be a guy who is hard to keep off the floor.” Craig made 47.2% of his three-point attempts in 14 playoff games, compared to his 32.4% showing in the regular season.
  • Lottery pick Jarrett Culver has wasted no time making a strong impression at Timberwolves camp, the team’s play-by-play announcer Alan Horton tweets. Coach Ryan Saunders said Culver has been the early standout in the preseason. “He’s definitely made some plays that make you look around and say wow,” Saunders said. “Now those might be normal plays for someone who’s been in the league, but for a rookie in his first couple of days, it was impressive.”
  • With the departures of Derrick Favors and Jae Crowder, forward Royce O’Neale could play an even bigger role with the Jazz this season, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune reports. O’Neale appeared in every regular-season game last season, averaging 20.4 MPG.  Coach Quin Snyder is experimenting with the 6’6” O’Neale playing power forward in small ball lineups. “[I’m] just trying to be a leader, [trying to] step up, helping out on defense, helping new guys any way I can,” O’Neale said.

Wolves Sign Jarrett Culver To Rookie Contract

After having to wait a couple weeks to officially acquire him, the Timberwolves have officially signed Jarrett Culver to his rookie contract, tweets Darren Wolfson of SKOR North. The team tweeted out photos of Culver putting pen to paper.

Minnesota agreed to acquire Culver in a draft-night trade with the Suns, parting with Dario Saric to move up from No. 11 to No. 6 for the Texas Tech swingman. Because Phoenix required cap room to absorb Saric’s salary, the two teams had to wait until after the July moratorium to finalize the deal.

Culver, who declared for the draft after his sophomore season, averaged 18.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.7 APG, and 1.5 SPG with a .461/.304/.707 shooting line in 38 contests last season for the Red Raiders, leading the team to an appearance in the national championship game.

On his first NBA contract, Culver is projected to earn about $5.8MM in his rookie season and $26.4MM if he plays out the full four-year deal.

As our list of draft pick signings show, 24 of 30 first-rounders have now officially signed their rookie contracts, including every player selected in the top 12.

Suns Acquire Saric, Johnson From Wolves For Culver

JULY 6: The Timberwolves have officially acquired the draft rights to No. 6 pick Jarrett Culver in exchange for Saric and the rights to No. 11 pick Cameron Johnson, the team announced today in a press release.

JUNE 20: The Timberwolves and Suns have reached an agreement on a trade, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that Minnesota is moving up to No. 6. In exchange for the sixth overall pick, Phoenix is receiving Dario Saric and the No. 11 overall pick, says Woj.

It’s the second trade agreement of the day for the Suns, who also reached a deal to send T.J. Warren and the No. 32 pick to the Pacers. Saric will help fill in the gap in the frontcourt created by Warren’s departure, slotting in as a stretch four alongside franchise center Deandre Ayton.

Saric, 25, averaged 10.6 PPG and 5.6 RPG with a .437/.365/.880 shooting line last season in 81 games for the Sixers and Timberwolves. He was part of the package Philadelphia sent to Minnesota in exchange for Jimmy Butler, and has now been dealt twice in the last year.

Meanwhile, new Timberwolves head of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, who wasn’t part of the front office when the team acquired Saric last fall, is showing right away that he’s not afraid to be aggressive. Minnesota is now in position to potentially draft one of the top point guards of the 2019 class — with the Hawks expected to draft De’Andre Hunter at No. 4, at least one of Darius Garland or Coby White should still be on the board at No. 6.

There have been rumors in recent weeks linking the Timberwolves to point guards, since Tyus Jones and Derrick Rose are headed for free agency and Jeff Teague is entering the final year of his contract. We’ll have to wait to see what Rosas has in mind for the No. 6 pick though.

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Rosas had been trying to move up to No. 4 or No. 5 before ultimately reaching a deal with the Suns for No. 6.

Wolves Rumors: Draft, Wiggins, McConnell, Harris

The Timberwolves had five players in their top tier for Thursday’s draft, and knew they had no shot at Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, or R.J. Barrett, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Darius Garland and Jarrett Culver were the other players in that group, according to Krawczynski, who says that Minnesota may have preferred Garland to Culver, but didn’t hesitate to nab the Texas Tech wing at No. 6 over Coby White and others.

According to Krawczynski, the Timberwolves might have had an opportunity to move up to No. 4 before the Pelicans made a deal with the Hawks, but Minnesota was seeking the No. 11 pick and Robert Covington and would’ve wanted to dump Solomon Hill‘s unwanted contract on the Wolves.

Even after moving up to select Culver at No. 6, the Timberwolves stayed active, according to Darren Wolfson and Danny Cunningham of Skor North, who report (via Twitter) that the team had discussions about the No. 12 pick with the Hornets. Those talks didn’t seem to get far, per Wolfson, adding that Sekou Doumbouya was the presumed target at that spot for Minnesota.

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • The Timberwolves have been actively exploring options to move off Andrew Wiggins‘ contract, league sources tell Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link). It’s not clear if Minnesota is just gauging the market or if the club will continue to pursue a Wiggins deal as the offseason progresses.
  • Wolfson (Twitter link) hears that Sixers veteran T.J. McConnell is among the free agent point guards on Minnesota’s radar.
  • John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link) has heard that free-agent-to-be Tobias Harris has interest in the Timberwolves. That looks like a very unlikely pairing though, since Minnesota has no path to cap room and the Sixers won’t be eager to accommodate a sign-and-trade.
  • Bryan Gates is the latest coach expected to join Ryan Saunders‘ staff as an assistant, tweets Krawczynski. Gates, who had a previous stint in Minnesota, has served as an assistant in Sacramento for the past few seasons.

Draft Rumors: Wolves, Pistons, Hornets, Knicks

While the Timberwolves were exploring trades involving the No. 6 pick after acquiring it from Phoenix, they plan on hanging onto Jarrett Culver, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

Still, it’s safe to assume Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas will continue to be aggressive in exploring trade options, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News, who tweets that Rosas seems to be open to discussing anyone except Karl-Anthony Towns.

Here are a few more draft-night notes and rumors:

  • Sekou Doumbouya was higher than No. 15 on the Pistons‘ draft board, so the team was happy to snag him, a source tells Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). Ellis hears that the Pistons were also seriously considering big man Goga Bitadze at No. 15 (Twitter link). Pistons executive Ed Stefanski said that Detroit explored trading up, but teams wanted too much, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News.
  • The Hornets were close to trading up from No. 12, but felt like the price was excessive compared to what their options at No. 12 were, Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak said tonight (Twitter link via Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer). Kupchak added that Charlotte views PJ Washington as both a small forward and power forward.
  • Jalen McDaniels, Miye Oni, Zylan Cheatham, and Jaylen Nowell are among the prospects receiving consideration from the Knicks at No. 55, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who tweets that New York likely won’t draft Tacko Fall.

Latest On Cavs’ Pick At No. 5

With Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, R.J. Barrett, and De’Andre Hunter looking like strong bets to be the first four picks off the board in tonight’s draft, the Cavaliers are expected to select Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland at No. 5, according to reports from Marc Stein of The New York Times and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links).

However, that pick is not yet set in stone. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst (Twitter links), the Cavs like Garland, but are still entertaining trade offers to move down from No. 5.

Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reports (via Twitter) that the Cavaliers have received inquiries from the Timberwolves, Bulls, and Celtics about the No. 5 pick, but they’ve yet to get an offer they like.

Minnesota already moved up from No. 11 to No. 6. If the Wolves are set on a specific player, such as Garland, perhaps they’d be willing to give up another asset to move up one more spot.

Besides Garland, Texas Tech swingman Jarrett Culver could also be a target for teams considering a move into the top five. Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) hears that the Cavs haven’t even ruled out the possibility of selecting Culver themselves.