Malik Beasley

Jarrett Culver To Undergo Ankle Surgery

Timberwolves reserve wing Jarrett Culver will undergo arthroscopic surgery on May 7 to address “debridement of scar tissue and loose body” in his right ankle and will be sidelined for the rest of the 2020/21 NBA season, per a team press release.

In his second pro season, the 6’6″ shooting guard out of Texas Tech saw a reduced on-court role with Minnesota, averaging 5.3 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 14.7 MPG across 34 games, all significant decreases from his rookie season numbers. The ankle issue has already cost Culver 17 games this year.

According to Chris Hine of the Star Tribune, the Timberwolves still see the 22-year-old former lottery selection as a promising roster element, despite his stagnation in output this season.

“He’s still a big part of our future as we see it,” head coach Chris Finch said. “So we want to be sure that we give him the best chance to have the proper preparation going into next year, and it’s important.”

In other Timberwolves injury news, the man who supplanted Culver as the club’s starting two guard, Malik Beasley, has returned to on-court workouts this week as he continues to recover from a left hamstring injury.

Beasley has had a career year with the Timberwolves, averaging 19.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 2.4 APG over 32.8 MPG, all career bests over a full season. Beasley averaged similar numbers in the 14 games he played for Minnesota after being acquired in a 2020 deadline deal with the Nuggets. Finch indicated that he was hopeful Beasley could suit up for a few of the lottery-bound Timberwolves’ final games this season.

“He wants to play,” Finch said. “I think, psychologically, he wants to go into the offseason knowing that he’s in game-ready shape.”

Malik Beasley To Miss 4-6 Weeks With Injured Hamstring

Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley will miss the next four-to-six weeks due to a Grade 3 left hamstring injury, The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweets.

Beasley played 29 minutes against Memphis on Friday, then missed Minnesota’s game against Philadelphia on Saturday for what was initially described as a minor hamstring injury. The injury turned out to be much more severe after an MRI was conducted, according to a team press release. He’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks, the release adds.

Beasley is averaging 19.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG and 2.4 APG while making 39.9% of his 3-point attempts. He re-signed with Minnesota on a four-year, $60MM contract in November as a restricted free agent.

With Minnesota wrapping up its schedule on May 16, it sounds like Beasley’s season could be over.

The news of Beasley being sidelined coincides with the return of backcourt partner D’Angelo Russell, who will play on Monday after missing 26 games due to a knee injury.

Northwest Notes: Porter, Brown, Jerome, Russell

Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. has become a much different player in his second NBA season, writes Kyle Fredrickson of The Denver Post. A year ago, there were concerns about Porter’s effort, especially on defense, as well as his tendency to rely too much on the three-point shot. But now his game is flourishing and he has won the full trust of the coaching staff. The concerns about his back that made him available with the 14th pick in the 2018 draft appear to be gone as well.

“(Porter) is getting so much more comfortable,” Nuggets guard Will Barton said. “He knows that he’s going to play and he knows that we count on him. You’ve seen him grow on the other side of the ball. It’s a nice thing to see, especially for a guy with his talent. When he’s stepping up and playing defense, it’s only going to open up his game more and open up our team’s game. He’s just becoming a heck of a player. You can just see his IQ growing with each game and each possession. It’s a pleasure to see, man. I’m very excited for him and his future.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Moses Brown has been one of this season’s most pleasant surprises, writes Nick Gallo of OKCThunder.com. After earning First Team and All-Defensive Team honors in the G League, the 21-year-old center has continued that level of play with the Thunder, averaging 11.5 points and 11.8 rebounds since being added to the rotation after the All-Star break. “I’m just a player that plays hard and does everything that is asked of me to do. I’m very into the game,” Brown said. “This is what I love to do. I can’t really see myself doing anything else. Not saying that I can’t, but I just don’t want to.”
  • Teams are starting to notice how dangerous Thunder guard Ty Jerome is as a three-point shooter, states Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Jerome has been limited to 16 games after suffering a high ankle sprain in the preseason, but he’s shooting 42.5% from beyond the arc.
  • The Timberwolves haven’t set a timetable for D’Angelo Russell to return from knee surgery, but there are indications it might happen this week, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Russell underwent an arthroscopic procedure in mid-February and was projected to miss four to six weeks. Minnesota may need him to replace Malik Beasley, who strained a hamstring Friday night. “It’s more minor than it is significant,” coach Chris Finch said, “but these things are tricky with hamstrings.”

Northwest Notes: M. Brown, Muscala, Blazers, Beasley, Nuggets

Moses Brown‘s new contract with the Thunder is a four-year deal worth $6.8MM, according to Royce Young of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that the second and third years are non-guaranteed. There’s a fourth-year team option for 2023/24, Young adds.

If Brown keeps playing like he has in his last four games (14.3 PPG, 16.8 RPG), that deal could wind up being a major bargain for the Thunder. However, one aspect of it is relatively player-friendly — as Bobby Marks of ESPN observes (via Twitter), Brown’s rest-of-season salary of $1.25MM is about $750K than he would have earned if he received the prorated minimum.

Because Oklahoma City remains about $4MM below the minimum salary floor, per Marks, there was no reason for the team not to go above the 2020/21 minimum for Brown. The Thunder’s cap situation also provides little incentive to try to save money by buying out any of their current veterans, so it makes sense that Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman is reporting that a buyout with Mike Muscala is “unlikely to happen.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • After trading for Norman Powell at last week’s trade deadline, Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey told Jason Quick of The Athletic that the team had to “shake things up” since “things were starting to look stale.” According to Quick, Portland – with two open roster spots after the trade – will likely peruse the buyout market in search of another wing or guard who could play back-of-the-rotation minutes.
  • Having completed the 12-game suspension he received following his February legal sentencing, Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley said he thinks he’s in a better place. “I feel like my life is where it needs to be,” Beasley said, according to Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. “I got a chance to work on myself on and off the court. I learned from my mistakes, and I’m ready to move on for it.”
  • After making his Nuggets debut in a blowout win over Atlanta on Sunday, Aaron Gordon liked what he saw, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN details. “I see no limits for this team,” Denver’s newest forward said. “It looks like we have all the pieces that we need. We have the depth. It’s like we are covered in a lot of different spots offensively, defensively. As long as we are all working together, there’s no stopping us.”

Wolves Rumors: Russell, Beasley, McDaniels, Gordon, Powell

As the Timberwolves approach the trade deadline, they have no intention of entertaining trade offers for big man Karl-Anthony Towns, shooting guard Anthony Edwards, or point guard D’Angelo Russell, sources tell Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

As Krawczynski explains, the Wolves view those three players as cornerstone pieces and are eager to see how they look together under new head coach Chris Finch once Russell returns to action.

Russell, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to remove a loose body in February, has started to work out with the club and could begin participating in team activities this weekend or early next week, per Finch (via Krawczynski). D-Lo’s exact return date will hinge on how knee responds following last month’s procedure.

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • Minnesota has been receiving a number of calls about Malik Beasley and Jaden McDaniels, sources tell Krawczynski. However, the club is reluctant to part with either player. The Wolves believe McDaniels has the potential to develop into a versatile, shot-blocking power forward who would be an ideal complement for Towns.
  • Krawczynski confirms a previous Bleacher Report story that indicated the Wolves and Magic were making progress on a potential Aaron Gordon trade prior to the forward’s ankle injury earlier this season. By the time Gordon returned from that injury, Minnesota had fallen well out of the postseason, and the 25-year-old is hoping to be sent to a playoff team. That doesn’t mean the Wolves couldn’t still acquire him, but they may not be confident about their ability to sign him beyond his current contract.
  • During his televised Trade Deadline special with Adrian Wojnarowski this afternoon, ESPN’s Zach Lowe suggested the Magic would “love to get their hands on” McDaniels in any Gordon trade with the Wolves.
  • The Timberwolves have previously inquired about trading for Raptors swingman Norman Powell, but were unable to agree on compensation, says Krawczynski.

O’Connor’s Latest: Collins, Bogdanovic, Gordon, Oladipo, More

The Hawks are receiving significant interest on star John Collins ahead of the trade deadline, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer writes. Among the interested teams are the Celtics, Kings, Mavericks, Pistons and Timberwolves.

Collins, who was drafted 19th overall by Atlanta in 2017, is averaging 18.2 points and 7.8 rebounds in 30.6 minutes per game this season. The 23-year-old’s role has decreased a little with the additions of Danilo Gallinari and Clint Capela, though he’s started in all 42 contests for the team this year.

Atlanta is seeking one young player and a first-round pick in any deal involving Collins, O’Connor notes. The team reportedly sought Malik Beasley and a first-rounder from the Timberwolves, but Minnesota ultimately declined the offer.

Here are some other notes from O’Connor as the March 25 deadline nears:

  • The Celtics‘ and Hawks‘ discussions surrounding Collins have also included Bogdan Bogdanovic, according to O’Connor. Bogdanovic signed a contract to join Atlanta in free agency, appearing in just 17 games this season due to injury.
  • The Rockets have discussed a deal with the Magic involving Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, though the team’s may need to find a third club to finalize any deal, O’Connor notes. Oladipo likely wouldn’t have a future in Orlando, as the 28-year-old spent the first three seasons of his career there and is set to reach free agency this offseason. The Rockets could also add a first-round pick or other assets to make a deal happen.
  • The Mavericks are among the teams who’ve held trade discussions with the Cavaliers on center Andre Drummond. Cleveland is hoping to move Drummond ahead of the deadline, though a buyout is likely if a trade doesn’t materialize in time.
  • The Warriors recently inquired on Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman, O’Connor reports, though talks stalled. Osman is shooting just 36% from the field and 32% from deep in his 40 games this season.
  • Grizzlies center Gorgui Dieng could receive a buyout if the team is unable to trade him, O’Connor writes. Dieng hasn’t played in the club’s last nine games.
  • According to O’Connor, the Warriors are shopping Kelly Oubre Jr., who is set to become a free agent at season’s end. Oubre’s averaging 14.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 30.4 minutes per game this season, making $14.37MM.

Northwest Notes: Millsap, Nuggets, Thunder, Blazers, Wolves

After being sidelined for 10 games by a left knee sprain, Nuggets big man Paul Millsap came off the bench in his first game back, but was reinserted into the starting lineup on Saturday when Monte Morris and Gary Harris were unavailable.

According to Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, Millsap approached him after that Saturday loss and reiterated that he’d be happy to continue coming off the bench or to accept another role to avoid impending the chemistry the new starting group had established (Twitter link via Mike Singer of The Denver Post). Millsap has started both of Denver’s games since then – both wins – but could return to the bench once Morris and Harris return.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

Western Notes: Beasley, Hollins, Nuggets, Whiteside, Parker

Replacing Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley during his suspension will have to be a team effort, Kent Youngblood of The Star Tribune writes.

Beasley was recently issued a 12-game suspension for conduct stemming from his charges last offseason. He’s averaged 20.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 32 games this season, meaning several players will likely have to step up in his absence.

“I see it as a great opportunity,” guard Jaylen Nowell said. “I’m not going to go out and force anything. I’m not going to go out there looking to put up more shots, just step outside myself. I’m going to keep playing the way I’m playing and make sure I’m not going to overthink it.

“But we’ve got other guys that are trying to step up, too. They’ve got opportunities, too, including myself. So it’s making sure that not just one person picks up the slack, but we all have to do it collectively, as a group.”

Here are some other notes from the Western Conference:

  • Lakers assistant coach Lionel Hollins isn’t expected to return to the bench until after the All-Star break, according to Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group (Twitter link). Hollins, a former NBA head coach, has missed the past four games due to personal reasons.
  • Mike Singer of the Denver Post explores five players the Nuggets should consider pursuing before the March 25 trade deadline. Singer mentions Magic swingman Terrence Ross, Spurs star DeMar DeRozan and others as potential options for the Nuggets, who currently hold an 18-15 record.
  • Kings center Hassan Whiteside and forward Jabari Parker are still out due to the league’s health and safety protocols, according to James Ham of NBC Sports California (Twitter link). Chimezie Metu also remains out with a broken wrist. Sacramento (13-20) is set to play Charlotte (15-17) on Sunday, having lost nine of its last 10 games.

NBA Suspends Malik Beasley For 12 Games

The NBA is suspending Timberwolves swingman Malik Beasley for 12 games, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The suspension arrives a little over two weeks following Beasley’s recent sentencing stemming from charges related to an incident last September.

Before ruling on a suspension, the league wanted to look at sentencing documents related to Beasley’s hearing, per Chris Hine of the Star Tribune (via Twitter).

The 6’4″ shooting guard out of FSU pled guilty to making threats of violence with reckless disregard to risk, after he was accused of pointing a rifle at a pregnant woman, her husband and their teenage daughter in a vehicle outside his home. Beasley was dealt a 120-day sentence in the Hennepin County Workhouse with work release and a home confinement option. He is set to begin serving out the sentence when the 2020/21 season ends.

Despite the legal case, the Timberwolves opted to retain Beasley, who was a restricted free agent, in the 2020 offseason. He was re-signed to a four-year, $60MM deal.

Beasley released a statement, per Charania (Twitter link), to address the new suspension.

“I will take this time to reflect on my decisions,” he said. “I apologize to all the great fans out there who have supported me during this difficult time and I promise I will come back very soon as a better person and player.”

Team president Gersson Rosas issued a statement of his own in response to the league’s decision, according to Jon Krawcyznski of The Athletic (via Twitter): “As an organization, we fully support today’s decision by the NBA. As we work together with Malik to advance his development as a player and a person, we look forward to seeing his growth.”

The 24-year-old Beasley has been enjoying a career season for a struggling 7-26 Minnesota squad. Across 33 games for the Timberwolves (including 32 starts), he is averaging 20.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 0.8 SPG. Beasley’s shooting stats are similarly solid, as he sports a slash line of .455/.406/.847.

With Beasley out of commission, new head coach Chris Finch could look to use greener options to take over as the starting two guard. Second-year guard Jarrett Culver, the No. 6 pick out of Texas Tech in 2019, could get the nod to replace Beasley. Reserve shooting guard Josh Okogie could also see an increased minutes load with Beasley out.

Losing one of their best players over such an extended stretch could also help the Wolves further cement their status as the worst team in the league, giving them solid odds to land a blue-chipper in what is expected to be a loaded 2021 draft class — assuming they can hang onto their top-three protected pick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Malik Beasley Sentenced On Violence Charge

Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley received a 120-day sentence in the Hennepin County Workhouse with work release and a home confinement option after pleading guilty to making threats of violence with reckless disregard to risk, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The sentence will be served at the end of the season, and the threats of violence charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor once he completes three years of probation, Charania adds (Twitter link).

“We are very pleased with this outcome that will allow Malik to continue working on becoming a better person and making better choices,” said his attorney, Steve Haney.

The sentence also includes a three-year ban on alcohol and illicit drug use, with regular testing, and a lifetime ban on possessing firearms, writes Paul Walsh of The Star Tribune. A felony drug charge was dismissed as part of Beasley’s plea agreement.

Beasley, 24, was accused of aiming a rifle at a pregnant woman, her husband and their teenage daughter in an SUV outside his home in September. During a video hearing, he expressed remorse for his actions, Walsh adds, but explained that “for several weeks leading up to this incident, day and night, countless vehicles … came up to my house bothering my family and myself. I was worried and in fear for the safety of us and … all this caused me to be frustrated in this situation.”

Beasley’s house was listed on a Parade of Homes tour, even though had asked to have it removed, according to defense attorney Ryan Pacyga. The family was participating in the tour when the incident occurred.

Beasley asked the judge how he could “apologize face-to-face” to the victims and was instructed to write a letter to them and have it delivered. He is banned from having any future contact with the family.