Jordan McLaughlin

Western Notes: Alvarado, Payne, Crowder, McLaughlin

Pelicans rookie Jose Alvarado is elated about the start to his professional career, William Guillory of The Athletic writes. Alvarado signed a two-way contract with New Orleans after going undrafted last year, appearing in 18 games so far this season.

“I’m still at the beginning, but I feel like this is about as good of a beginning as I could possibly ask for,” Alvarado said in his interview with Guillory. “I just want to keep it going and show everybody how grateful I am to be here.”

Alvarado, 23, played college ball at Georgia Tech for four seasons. In addition to his 18 NBA appearances, he’s also played in five G League games this season, averaging 19.8 points on 52% shooting from the floor and 43% from three-point range.

Along with Alvarado, the Pelicans also have Devonte’ Graham, Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Kira Lewis Jr. and others in the backcourt. Gary Clark currently occupies the team’s other two-way spot.

Here are some other notes out of the Western Conference:

  • Suns guard Cameron Payne and forward Jae Crowder suffered wrist injuries in the team’s win over Indiana on Saturday, Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic writes. Both players exited the game early and won’t play in Monday’s contest against Utah, according to Kellan Olson of 98.7 Arizona Sports (Twitter link). Crowder sustained a wrist contusion, while Payne suffered a sprain. “It’s tough,” teammate Mikal Bridges said. “It kind of put my mood down a little bit when at the end the game seeing those guys hurt a little bit. You always want to have your whole team out there, but just pray for them tonight and next man up, but yeah, obviously you always want to have your team out there.”
  • Wolves guard Jordan McLaughlin has exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team announced on social media. McLaughlin has missed five straight games. He’s appeared in 28 contests this season, averaging 2.2 points and 2.4 assists in 11.2 minutes per contest.

COVID-19 Updates: White, Green, McLaughlin, Roby, Azubuike

Spurs guard Derrick White exited the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols last night, per Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). White suited up for San Antonio and logged 25 minutes off the bench in an eventual 101-94 victory over the Clippers on Saturday.

The 6’4″ combo guard out of Colorado shot 7-of-11 from the field and 2-of-4 from the free-throw line for a total of 19 points in the victory. He also chipped in four assists, four rebounds, a steal and three blocks. White is currently averaging 14.6 PPG, 5.4 APG and 3.5 RPG during his sixth NBA season with the 16-27 Spurs.

Here are more COVID-19 updates from around the NBA:

  • Nuggets reserve power forward JaMychal Green has entered the league’s COVID-19 protocols, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The 31-year-old veteran is averaging 5.7 PPG and 3.7 RPG across 35 contests with the Jazz during the 2021/22 NBA season.
  • Timberwolves reserve point guard Jordan McLaughlin has entered the league’s coronavirus protocols and will be unavailable for Minnesota ahead of today’s contest against the Warriors, according to Minnesota’s PR team (Twitter link).
  • Thunder power forward Isaiah Roby has exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols, according to Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman (via Twitter). The 6’8″ big man was available to play in yesterday’s 107-102 loss to the Cavaliers, though he was ultimately a DNP – CD.
  • Jazz center Udoka Azubuike has cleared the protocols, tweets Ryan Miller of KSL.com. The 22-year-old seven-footer has appeared sparingly for Utah thus far this season, suiting up for just six games.

Northwest Notes: McLaughlin, Wolves, Whiteside, Favors

After riding the pine for the first three quarters of an eventual 96-89 Timberwolves victory over the Pelicans on Sunday, reserve point guard Jordan McLaughlin made sure to maximize his minutes when his number was called during the game’s fourth quarter, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune.

“We all have our job to do and mine is to be ready at all times,” McLaughlin said. “So, I’m just going in there, trying to change the game, pick up full court, be a pest on defense and push the pace on offense and make plays.”

A 5’11” point guard out of USC, the 25-year-old McLaughlin re-signed with Minnesota over the summer on a three-year, $6.5MM deal, with a team option for the final season. Hine notes that head coach Chris Finch had stuck with a 10-man rotation before ultimately turning to McLaughlin in a successful strategic maneuver to close out New Orleans. McLaughin’s solid offensive contributions in a win for the 2-1 Timberwolves could certainly earn him future rotation time.

In 12 minutes on Sunday, McLaughlin netted a +5 plus-minus rating, to go along with six points on two-of-three shooting, two steals, two boards and an assist. During the Timberwolves’ Monday rematch against the Pelicans on Monday, however, McLaughlin was less successful. In 11 minutes during the 107-98 loss, McLaughlin scored no points and registered a -10 rating, though he did chip in three assists and a rebound.

“We have literally 15 guys on the roster that can play at a high level, night in and night out,” McLaughlin said. “We have a really deep team, and every night we’ve got to bring it, withstand the punches and just keep rolling with them and try to overcome it at the end.”

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Following their aforementioned 107-98 Monday defeat to the Pelicans, the Timberwolves held an intense practice, focused on emphasizing passing and looking for open teammates, writes Chris Hine of the Star Tribune“The person that’s open gets the ball,” shooting guard Josh Okogie commented. “Obviously, we have (D’Angelo Russell) and (Karl-Anthony Towns), and those guys are the stars on our team, and those guys get, obviously, more leniency on the shots they do take because they’ve proved that they can make those shots. But in the normal flow of the offense, I feel like whether it’s me, Malik (Beasley), Taurean (Prince), Jaden (McDaniels), whoever it is … If the person is open, I feel like they should get the ball.” Minnesota head coach Chris Finch confirmed the intensity of the practice following the loss. “It was a little testy,” Finch said. “A lot of the guys talking about what could have been done better or different. … I’d rather have that than guys in there who don’t care and not say anything, they’re not bothered. Then winning doesn’t mean enough to you.”
  • New Jazz reserve center Hassan Whiteside seems to be taking to his new fit on a playoff-caliber roster behind All-Star center Rudy Gobert quite well, per Tony Jones of The Athletic. Jones notes that the Jazz have outscored opponents by 20 points during the time Whiteside has logged on the floor in Gobert’s stead during the young season. “This is why they brought me here,” the 32-year-old said. “I knew what I was getting myself into when I signed here, so I had to prepare myself for how the Jazz liked to play. They like to have a rolling big. They want to have the shot-blocking. They’ve been really successful at it in the past, so I know how they like to play. I just have to put myself in a position to be successful.” Through two games as of this writing, Whiteside is averaging 7.0 PPG, 9.5 RPG, and 1.5 BPG in just 17.0 MPG.
  • Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault intends to rest veteran center Derrick Favors during one game of their back-to-back sets, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). Daigneault noted that this strategy was agreed upon by both Oklahoma City and Favors. The 6’9″ 30-year-old out of Georgia Tech has started two of his three contests with the Thunder thus far, averaging 4.0 PPG and 6.3 RPG across 16.3 MPG.

Details On Timberwolves’ Dismissal Of Gersson Rosas

The Timberwolves‘ dismissal of president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas was made for “performance reasons,” a high-ranking team source told Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania of The Athletic. The team’s lack of success during Rosas’ tenure was a key factor in the decision, and complaints from staffers about Rosas’ leadership also played a part, per The Athletic’s duo.

However, another issue that factored into the timing of the move was the fact that the Wolves recently learned that Rosas – who is married – had a “consensual intimate relationship” with a member of the organization, according to Krawczysnki and Charania, who suggest that the relationship made several people within the franchise uncomfortable.

The Athletic’s deep dive into the situation in Minnesota’s front office uncovered sources who said Rosas worked his staffers long hours without giving them much input into personnel decisions. Some members of the front office took issue with those decisions, such as the one to include such light protections (top-three) on the first-round pick the Wolves sent Golden State in the D’Angelo Russell trade.

Rosas did have backers within the organization, including some who reached out to The Athletic in recent weeks to defend the way things were going, per Krawczynski and Charania. Some of Rosas’ defenders believe the pandemic and the change of ownership were factors that contributed to tension in the front office, while Rosas himself “vehemently disputed” that there were any significant problems with the team’s culture.

Still, many of The Athletic’s sources described Rosas’ tenure as dysfunctional, and when those complaints reached ownership, Glen Taylor, Alex Rodriguez, and Marc Lore decided the situation was untenable and a move needed to be made sooner rather than later.

“It’s hard,” said one staffer who followed Rosas to Minnesota after he was hired in 2019. “He’s not who I thought he was.”

The report from Krawczynski and Charania is worth checking out in full if you’re an Athletic subscriber. Here are some of the other highlights:

  • New interim head of basketball operations Sachin Gupta is well-regarded by team officials and is expected to get a chance to earn the permanent job, sources tell The Athletic. However, Krawczynski and Charania note that Gupta did “butt heads” with Rosas this summer when Gupta sought to make a lateral move to the Rockets for a similar job with higher pay, and Rosas blocked him. Rosas defended the decision by saying that the move wouldn’t have been a promotion, and it was too close to the draft and free agency to let a top executive with so much knowledge of Minnesota’s plans leave to join a rival. According to The Athletic, Rosas “banished” Gupta from the team’s offices in August and allowed him to seek employment elsewhere at that point, but Gupta decided to stay with the Wolves after ownership got involved.
  • Some player agents had issues with Rosas’ negotiating tactics, according to Krawczynski and Charania, who point to the team’s recent contract talks with Jordan McLaughlin as one example. A source tells The Athletic that Rosas reneged on promises about the role McLaughlin would have going forward after Patrick Beverley was acquired. Although agents recognized Rosas’ primary allegiance was to the organization, they expected better treatment in certain scenarios, according to The Athletic’s duo. “Rosas was the cause of mishaps and pulled his promises,” the source said of the McLaughlin negotiations.
  • Rosas’ decision to replace head coach Ryan Saunders with Chris Finch during the season without considering any other candidates – including minority candidates – wasn’t popular with some staffers, and neither was the decision to part with veteran scout Zarko Durisic last year, per Krawczysnki and Charania. Some people believed those moves flew in the face of Rosas’ portrayal of the organization as a “family.”
  • Krawczynski and Charania say Rosas was “working feverishly” this offseason to try to acquire Ben Simmons, who was viewed by some people in the organization as the roster’s missing piece. It’s unclear if Gupta will have the same level of interest in the Sixers star.
  • A report from Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report confirms and adds some details to many of the issues reported by The Athletic, including the recent discovery of Rosas’ “consensual extramarital affair” with a team staffer.

Timberwolves Notes: Bolmaro, Prince, Vanderbilt, McLaughlin, Towns

Timberwolves rookie guard Leandro Bolmaro plays fearlessly, head coach Chris Finch told Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and other media members this week. The 23rd pick in the draft, Bolmaro is expected to sign his rookie contract shortly.

“We love that about him. He competes, he’s bouncy, he just knows how to play basketball,” Finch said. “He moves well off the ball, fits in around all of the pieces we already have.”

We have more on the Timberwolves:

  • Forward Taurean Prince, acquired in the Ricky Rubio deal with Cleveland, believes he’ll play all three frontcourt positions at some point this season, Hine adds in the same story. “The ball moves around and like coach said it gives a lot of opportunity to everybody,” Prince said. “Those are the best systems because everyone likes to play off each other and it maximizes everyone’s potential as well.”
  • Jarred Vanderbilt officially signed his new three-year, $13.8MM contract on Wednesday. According to Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link), the first-year salary is $4.05MM and he’ll get $4.374MM in 2022/23. Vanderbilt’s 2023/24 salary of $4.698MM is partially guaranteed at $300K. The contract also includes $162K in likely bonuses and $405K in unlikely bonuses, Smith adds.
  • Jordan McLaughlin also inked his new three-year, $6.5MM deal this week. The first-year salary will be $2MM, Smith tweets. In 2022/23, he’ll receive $2.16MM. His 2023/24 salary of $2.32MM is non-guaranteed. The contract includes $100K in unlikely bonuses in all three seasons.
  • A refocused Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the reasons for optimism in Minnesota, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. The past two seasons for the team’s top big man have been marred by injuries and personal tragedy. He’s been working on his game diligently this summer, which bodes well for his continued development. Anthony Edwards’ encore after a powerful finish to his rookie campaign, plus the ability of Finch to have a full off-season to prepare the team for the upcoming season, should also entice fans. Krawczynski delves into a number of topics in the mailbag, including the possibility of Malik Beasley or D’Angelo Russell taking a sixth-man role.

Timberwolves Re-Sign Jarred Vanderbilt, Jordan McLaughlin

SEPTEMBER 15: The Timberwolves have officially announced their new deals with both Vanderbilt and McLaughlin, confirming the signings in a press release.


SEPTEMBER 10: Restricted free agent forward Jarred Vanderbilt has agreed to stay with the Timberwolves on a three-year, $13.8MM contract, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Vanderbilt’s contract starts at $4MM and include some likely and unlikely bonuses, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. It’s fully guaranteed for the first two years and partially guaranteed in the final year of the deal, Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype tweets.

Vanderbilt played 64 games, including 30 starts, last season. He averaged 5.4 PPG and 5.8 RPG in 17.8 MPG. He was limited to 28 games combined in his first two seasons, including a stint with the Nuggets.

The Timberwolves are also re-signing another restricted free agent, Jordan McLaughlin. He’ll receive a three-year, $6.5MM contract, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets. The first two years are guaranteed.

McLaughlin, who is entering his third season, appeared in 51 games last season, including two starts. He averaged 5.0 PPG and 3.8 APG in 18.4 MPG and adds depth at the point guard spot.

Northwest Notes: Simmons, Wolves, Nuggets

As the NBA nears the start of the 2021/22 season, tensions continue to simmer between All-Star Ben Simmons and his current team, the Sixers. Philadelphia is hoping to deal Simmons for win-now assets, while Simmons, despite having four years left on his current contract, has threatened to not report for training camp and beyond if he is not moved. The more the two sides’ stalemate drags on, the better the Timberwolves‘ odds are of swooping in to deal for the former No. 1 lottery pick, posits Michael Rand of the Star Tribune.

Rand wonders if adding Simmons could be the move Minnesota needs to return to the playoffs for the first time since the team’s lone full Jimmy Butler season in 2017/18. Rand thinks the Timberwolves should be ready to offer anyone not named Anthony Edwards or Karl-Anthony Towns in exchange for Simmons.

A year ago, the Sixers would most likely have even balked at an offer for Edwards or Towns, though that has changed now as Simmons’ value has declined following a disastrous postseason performance on offense. Simmons, a great defender and passer, could be an ideal fit for a hyper-athletic wing like Edwards and a jump-shooting center like Towns. The Timberwolves could be an excellent landing spot for Simmons, but whether or not they have enough to offer in return for the All-Defensive First Teamer without including Edwards or Towns remains to be seen.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • The Timberwolves managed to avoid the NBA’s luxury tax this summer while still retaining Jarred Vanderbilt and Jordan McLaughlin, two promising young players, on affordable three-year contracts, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. The 22-year-old Vanderbilt looks ready to take next steps at the power forward position, where he should see significant run, along with the newly-acquired Taurean Prince. Krawczynski notes that the 6’9″ Vanderbilt should especially help the club with rebounding, and could even be given the nod as the team’s starting power forward heading into the year.
  • The Nuggets have revealed the assistant coaches slated to join their new G League team, the Grand Rapids Gold, per a team press release. Head coach Jason Terry, a former Sixth Man of the Year and champ with the Mavericks, will be helped on the bench by assistant coaches Travess Armenta (most recently a Nuggets player development coach and video department member), former Mississippi State assistant coach Tamisha Augustin, former Wizards assistant coach Jim Lynam Jr. and former Hawks assistant Nathan Babcock. This marks the first head coaching gig for Terry, a 19-year NBA veteran. He spent the 2020/21 season as an assistant coach at Arizona, his alma mater.
  • In case you missed it, free agent power forward Patrick Patterson has agreed to a training camp deal with the Trail Blazers.

Checking In On Remaining Restricted Free Agents

When Lauri Markkanen finally came off the board over the weekend, it left just two standard restricted free agents who are still unsigned, as our FA list shows. Both of those players are Timberwolves free agents: Jordan McLaughlin and Jarred Vanderbilt.

Restricted free agents never have a ton of leverage, especially this deep into the offseason. Some players who remain on the market for weeks, like Markkanen, can still land player-friendly deals, but if McLaughlin or Vanderbilt have been drawing interest around the NBA as coveted sign-and-trade candidates or potential offer sheet recipients, we probably would’ve heard about it by now.

McLaughlin looked like he might be in position to secure a favorable commitment from the Timberwolves after the team traded Ricky Rubio to Cleveland, but Minnesota’s recent move to acquire Patrick Beverley adds depth to the point guard spot and clouds McLaughlin’s future.

A year ago, McLaughlin ultimately decided to accept his qualifying offer and play on a two-way contract for a second consecutive season. This time around, his QO is the equivalent of a one-year, minimum-salary deal, but only a very small portion of that offer (about $84K) has to be guaranteed, so accepting it isn’t a great option.

The Wolves are likely willing to offer a more significant guarantee in 2021/22, but probably want to tack on at least one or two non-guaranteed, minimum-salary years to any deal for McLaughlin. With two-way player McKinley Wright in the picture as a potential third point guard, Minnesota has the roster flexibility to play hardball in its negotiations with McLaughlin.

Vanderbilt may be in a slightly better negotiating position, since he’s likely a higher priority for the Wolves. He started 30 games last season, earning a regular rotation role and showing the ability to handle minutes at power forward, the team’s most glaring weak spot.

Minnesota has a few options at the four, but Taurean Prince and Jake Layman won’t move the needle much, and Jaden McDaniels remains pretty raw. Vanderbilt would be a useful depth piece at the right price, which – in the Wolves’ view – is probably something not far above the veteran’s minimum.

As we wait to see what happens with McLaughlin and Vanderbilt, it’s also worth noting that there are technically four other restricted free agents still on the market. The following four players were made RFAs after finishing the season on two-way contracts:

For these four players, accepting a qualifying offer would mean getting another two-way contract with a $50K partial guarantee.

Signing that qualifying offer would provide no security, even though the Spurs, Clippers, Rockets, and Cavaliers do all have two-way slots open right now. Given the modest guarantee, a team likely wouldn’t hesitate to replace one of its two-way players in October with a camp invitee who has an impressive preseason. And as McLaughlin’s situation shows, even playing out a second year on a two-way QO wouldn’t necessarily give a player additional leverage in his next foray into restricted free agency.

Wolves Notes: Beverley Trade, Free Agency, Beasley

In his latest piece for The Athletic, Jon Krawczynski writes that for the Timberwolves, trading Juan Hernangomez and Jarrett Culver was not just about adding a veteran defender and shooter in Patrick Beverley, but also about dealing two players who were looking for a change of scenery to get their careers back on track.

According to Krawczynski, Culver grew disenfranchised with the Wolves as he fell further and further out of the rotation in 2020/21, which caused him at times to seem to lose all confidence in himself. Hernangomez wanted out from the team that barred his participation in the Olympics due to a shoulder injury that Spanish doctors had cleared him from, and even went so far as to reach out to team owner Glen Taylor to attempt to circumvent the decision of president Gersson Rosas.

Krawczynski adds that Rosas has a relationship with Beverley going back to his time in with the Rockets, the team that originally brought the defensive-minded point guard over from Europe and got his NBA career on track.

We have more Timberwolves news:

  • Krawczysnki suggests that adding a little extra money in the Beverley deal will further complicate the Wolves’ efforts to sign restricted free agents Jarred Vanderbilt and Jordan McLaughlin to multiyear deals. He expects Vanderbilt to receive a multiyear contract, while the team uses te minimum salary exception to add another point guard, either McLaughlin or someone else.
  • Trading Culver is a concession by Rosas that the first draft pick of his tenure, a pick he traded Dario Saric and the 11th pick to acquire, was a failure, writes Michael Rand of The Star Tribune. The idea, Rand writes, was for Culver to provide a similar skill-set Beverley will now be counted on for: to play hard-nosed defense and knock down threes. Rand adds that, on his expiring salary, Beverley could be a good trade chip if the team is underperforming at the trade deadline.
  • Darren Wolfson of SKOR North tweets that he’s been told Beverley is “very happy” with the trade to the Wolves. Beverley, no stranger to fighting for his place in the league, has had a tumultuous couple days, and while no longer on a championship contender, he has a chance to play a vital role for an up-and-coming team.
  • Malik Beasley has been released from jail after serving 78 days for pleading guilty to threats of violence, writes Jeff Day of The Star Tribune. Beasley was sentenced to 120 days, and was released after 78 for good behavior. If he completes his three years of probation, the charge will be dropped from felony to misdemeanor.

Northwest Notes: Wolves, Lillard, Jazz, Butler

Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas is urging fans to be patient after the team’s slow start to free agency, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Minnesota hasn’t made any significant additions since the signing period began on Monday, but Rosas said the plan is to keep the core of the team intact and try to build on the momentum from late last season. The Wolves had a .500 record over their final 22 games.

“We just want to see this team come together,” he said. “As well as this team played down the stretch last year, we didn’t have Malik Beasley available because of injury. This group, the value of continuity, the value of growth together and just repetition together as a team, we’re excited about what that growth might mean.”

The immediate concern will be keeping restricted free agents Jarred Vanderbilt and Jordan McLaughlin, Krawczynski adds. Both are facing a market where teams are left with limited resources and limited roster spots. Rosas spoke to them and their agents shortly after the signing period began.

Head coach Chris Finch foresees an expanded role for both players if they return. McLaughlin may become the primary backup at point guard now that Ricky Rubio is on the way to Cleveland, while Vanderbilt is one of the team’s most versatile defenders.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard helped Team USA capture a gold medal despite playing with an abdominal injury, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. He will require further testing once he returns from Tokyo. Lillard, who was determined to keep playing despite the injury, logged 27 minutes and scored 11 points in Friday’s gold medal game.
  • The Jazz were shopping for versatility in this year’s free agent market, per Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. General manager Justin Zanik said that’s what the team was lacking in the playoffs, which is why it pursued Rudy Gay and Hassan Whiteside, while trading for Eric Paschall and rookie Jared Butler. Zanik added that he’s likely done with significant moves for the offseason, and Walden points out that means Joe Ingles will probably remain with the team.
  • The Jazz won’t have Butler as part of their Summer League squad, Walden adds. The rookie had a health issue during the pre-draft process and hasn’t been in a contact setting for a long time. Zanik said management might have let him play if the games were “10 days later,” but they opted to be safe.