Malik Beasley

Timberwolves Notes: Draft, Simmons, Sikka

The Timberwolves have traded away their picks in this month’s draft but they’re still preparing as if they’ll wind up participating, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. They’re co-hosting pre-draft workouts this weekend with the Jazz.

“Just because we don’t have a pick on whatever day today is doesn’t mean we’re not going to have a pick on draft night,” team president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said. “The worst thing you can do is be caught unprepared and we’re fortunate we have players on our roster that are valued by other teams. We have opportunities to jump in the draft at very strategic levels and that’s a testament to our players, the value they have around the league.”

We have more on the Timberwolves:

  • Rumors surfaced late last month that the team would explore a trade with the Sixers for Ben Simmons. Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic explores how Simmons might fit in and what it would take to bring him to Minnesota. The Timberwolves could match up salaries by including Ricky Rubio and Malik Beasley in a deal, but it’s likely Philadelphia would ask for D’Angelo Russell and/or future first-rounders, Krawczynski notes.
  • Robby Sikka has resigned from his position as the Wolves’ VP of basketball operations and wellness, Krawczynski writes in a separate story. Rosas hired Sikka two years ago to improve the team’s ability to stay healthy, revamp its player nutrition program and work with head athletic trainer Gregg Farnam to oversee the rehabilitation of injuries.
  • Forward Juan Hernangomez, who had been preparing to represent Spain in the Olympics, dislocated his left shoulder during an exhibition game and will miss the Tokyo games. Get the details here.

Timberwolves Reportedly Have Trade Interest In Ben Simmons

The Sixers, who are weighing what changes to make to their roster this offseason, continue to insist they’re committed Ben Simmons for the long term. However, if the 76ers seriously explore a potential Simmons trade this offseason, the Timberwolves are among the teams expected to show interest, Darren Wolfson of SKOR North said on The Scoop (audio link).

“I texted with somebody that knows Ben Simmons incredibly well (and) has working knowledge of all things NBA,” Wolfson said. “My text the other day said, ‘How badly do the Wolves want to trade for Ben Simmons?’ This individual sent me a text back, it was one word: ‘Badly.’

“Make no mistake, the Wolves have trade interest in Ben Simmons,” Wolfson continued. “… (President of basketball operations) Gersson Rosas is going to show – or already has, going back many months – interest in Ben Simmons.”

As Kurt Helin of NBC Sports writes, the Wolves probably aren’t parting with Karl-Anthony Towns or Anthony Edwards in any deal this offseason. That would leave D’Angelo Russell as the likely centerpiece in any offer for Simmons. Alternatively, Minnesota could package Malik Beasley and Ricky Rubio in order to put together enough salary to match Simmons’ $33MM+ cap hit.

However, even if the Wolves were to add draft picks to their offers, it’s unclear how appealing those offers would be to Daryl Morey and the Sixers. Should the 76ers move their three-time All-Star, they’d want to make a deal that would improve the team’s chances of competing for a title in 2022, rather than one heavy on draft picks. Morey would likely aim higher than a package headed by Russell or Beasley/Rubio.

Still, it’s an interesting idea, particularly given the Wolves’ quest to add a power forward this summer. While Simmons has been considered a point guard for the majority of his NBA career, the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up is more than capable of guarding threes and fours, which would make him an intriguing fit in Minnesota.

Northwest Notes: Conley, Micic, Beasley, Newman-Beck

The Game 3 loss to the Clippers showed that the Jazz will likely need Mike Conley to win the series, writes Christopher Kamrani of The Athletic. Conley hasn’t played since suffering a strained hamstring on June 2 in the first round against Memphis.

Conley has experienced hamstring issues throughout the season, Kamrani adds, and the Jazz avoided playing him on back-to-back nights to minimize the risk of a serious injury. Utah was able to beat L.A. twice at home without its All-Star point guard, but it will be tough to close out the series without him on the court.

Before Game 3 on Saturday night, Jazz coach Quin Snyder dismissed the notion that Conley was being kept on the sidelines because his team had a 2-0 lead.

“It has nothing to do with us feeling any form of accomplishment, having won a couple of games. Mike’s not ready to go yet,” Snyder said. “He’s working hard every day to try to get back. But, in no way are we feeling even some small form of success. Obviously, you’re glad you won a couple of games, but seeing we lost Game 1 against Memphis last series, and the Clippers obviously lost against Dallas and then won the series — we know how difficult a series this is going to be. And when Mike’s ready, he’ll be back.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Thunder own the draft rights to Vasilije Micic, who was named MVP of the EuroLeague last month, but a decision on his NBA future will have to wait a few weeks, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. The 27-year-old Serbian point guard may be ready to consider the NBA this summer, but Oklahoma City isn’t willing to commit a roster spot until after the July 29 draft, when it could have two picks in the top five. Micic is much older than the Thunder’s core and the team is already set at point guard, so his draft rights could become a valuable trade asset, Mussatto adds.
  • Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley, who is serving a 120-day jail sentence for a gun incident last year, posted a letter to fans on his Instagram account this week, relays Jeff Wald of Fox 9. “I’m not looking for sympathy or anything like that, just to understand I could easily fold and I won’t,” Beasley wrote.
  • The Timberwolves won’t bring back Sam Newman-Beck as head coach of their G League affiliate in Iowa, tweets NBA writer Dane Moore. Newman-Beck was hired at the same time as former Wolves coach Ryan Saunders, but coach Chris Finch wants to build a new coaching staff all the way to the G League.

Northwest Notes: Mitchell, Wolves, Thunder, Nuggets

Donovan Mitchell declared himself ready to return on Sunday from the ankle sprain that has sidelined him since April 16, but the Jazz disagreed with the All-Star’s assessment, ruling him out for Game 1.

As Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets, Jazz head coach Quin Snyder explained before the game that the team’s medical staff met with Mitchell after shootaround and decided to hold him out. Snyder acknowledged that Mitchell wasn’t thrilled with the decision, MacMahon adds.

The last-minute change of plans also left Mitchell’s teammates confused, writes Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. Rudy Gobert said he was “surprised” to wake up from his nap and find out that Mitchell wasn’t playing, while Bojan Bogdanovic was unsure about the reason for the decision.

“I mean, I don’t know what happened, honestly, with the decision for him and the medical staff to keep him out,” Bogdanovic said. “You should ask him.”

The decision figures to face increased scrutiny due to the fact that the Jazz lost Game 1 to the Grizzlies on Sunday night. However, the good news is that Game 2 won’t take place until Wednesday, giving Mitchell two days before Utah returns to the court. It would be surprising if the 24-year-old remains active for that game — late on Sunday night, he tweeted, Sorry y’all… I wish I could say more…. I’ll be out there soon!”

Here are a few more Northwest notes:

  • Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic identifies five challenges facing the Timberwolves as their offseason begins, including filling out Chris Finch‘s staff, addressing a hole in the frontcourt, and determining Malik Beasley‘s role going forward.
  • Spenser Davis of Daily Thunder passes along three key takeaways from Thunder GM Sam Presti‘s end-of-season press conference. Presti indicated that he expects Oklahoma City’s rebuild to take some time and told reporters that he’d be open to moving either up or down in the draft, depending on where the Thunder’s picks land.
  • Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post contends that the Nuggets are already approaching must-win territory in Game 2 of their first-round series after dropping Game 1 to Portland.

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.