Malik Beasley

Timberwolves Notes: Beasley, Hernangomez, Towns, Gupta

Even though he’ll be a restricted free agent when the offseason arrives, Malik Beasley opted to attend the Timberwolves‘ in-market camp, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Beaskey may be risking an injury that could affect his value, but he wanted to get back on the court after six months away from organized basketball, and his decision was noticed by management.

“I’m smiling and giggling,” said president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas. “Coach (Ryan Saunders) can speak to it, that’s what I love about our group. We’ve got workers. Coach and I were sitting in a meeting before this, and Beasley calls to say how much he wants to play and be here throughout it.”

Beasley, 23, is positioned for a nice raise after making an impact in 14 games since being acquired from Denver at the trade deadline. He became a starter in Minnesota and averaged 20.7 PPG while shooting 42.6% from 3-point range. The Wolves have interest in re-signing him, and his appearance seems to be an expression of loyalty.

There’s more from camp, all courtesy of Krawczynski:

  • The only notable player missing is restricted free agent Juan Hernangomez, who is filming a movie with Adam Sandler. Krawczynski notes that the acting commitment was made before the NBA finalized plans for the teams that didn’t go to Orlando.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell have emerged as leaders during camp and are trying to set an example for their teammates. “D’Angelo worked out this morning at 7 a.m. Karl’s been the 6 a.m. guy in the gym,” Saunders said. “It’s good to get out there. Even though you can only do it with one player, one coach, it’s been nice for me to be able to get not hands-on, but hands-on at a safe social distance and focus on things that we feel these guys need to work on and know they need to work on to take not just their games to the next level, but take this team to the next level.” Rosas said Towns has fully recovered from a wrist injury that sidelined him for a month before the hiatus.
  • Executive vice president Sachin Gupta will remain with Minnesota after being one of the finalists for the Kings’ GM job. Gupta seemed to be the favorite earlier this week and the Wolves were preparing for him to leave, but Sacramento opted for Monte McNair instead.

Wolves Plan To Re-Sign Beasley, Hernangomez

Re-signing Malik Beasley and Juan Hernangomez will be a priority for the Timberwolves during the offseason, president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas told Dane Moore of WCCO Radio in Minneapolis (Twitter link). Both players are headed for free agency after being acquired in a four-team deal in February.

“We want those guys to be Timberwolves for a long, long time,” Rosas said. “Hopefully, for the rest of their careers.”

After occupying a bench role in Denver, Beasley moved into the starting lineup when he arrived in Minnesota and was putting up the best numbers of his career before the hiatus. The 23-year-old guard averaged 20.7 PPG in 14 games with the Wolves while shooting career highs from the field (47.2%) and 3-point range (42.6%). The team will need to extend a $3.9MM qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent.

Hernangomez, 24, also became a starter upon moving to Minnesota and averaged 12.9 PPG and 7.3 RPG in 14 games. The fourth-year power forward will be an RFA if the Wolves make a $4.6MM qualifying offer.

In the same interview, Rosas indicated that Minnesota plans to be aggressive again this offseason, similar to last summer when the team traded up to get Jarrett Culver on draft night, then pursued D’Angelo Russell in free agency (Twitter link). Rosas points out that the Wolves could have three picks in the top 33, which he called potentially “the most draft capital” of anyone (Twitter link).

Northwest Notes: Z. Collins, Conley, Beasley

Trail Blazers big man Zach Collins, who underwent shoulder surgery in November, is one of many injured NBA players whose return timelines has been complicated by the league’s hiatus. A report in January indicated that Collins was still on track to make it back in March, but he didn’t suit up before the league suspended its season on March 11.

Without the ability to participate in full-contact practices and scrimmages, Collins in a bit of a holding pattern as he nears the final stage of his rehab process. Still, as Chris Burkhardt of NBC Sports Northwest writes, Collins’ comments during a conversation with Trail Blazers Courtside strike an optimistic tone when it comes to a potential return this summer.

“I definitely think I am on the right track,” said the Trail Blazers’ big man. “Right now it’s tough because the last part of my development was playing and we can’t play right now. I’m just trying to simulate that as much as I can right now without going through contact with other players. It feels really good. Like I said before, I haven’t really had any setbacks in my rehab. From day one it’s all been pretty smooth, it’s just a long process. But it feels great. I’m really happy with where I’m at.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Although his first season with the Jazz has been a little up and down on the court, Mike Conley said in a Twitter Q&A on Tuesday that the transition to Utah itself has been as smooth as he could have hoped. “Salt Lake has been unbelievable to me,” Conley said, per Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. “My family loves it. Obviously some of the best fans in the world. Truly a different experience for us, I think being in the mountains and altitude has been an adjustment. But, everywhere you go everyone is a diehard Jazz fan and truly care about you and your family.”
  • With restricted free agency looming for Malik Beasley, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic examines the swingman’s value, openly wondering if Beasley’s impressive play in 14 games with the Timberwolves will be enough to earn him a contract in the range of four years and $60MM+.
  • Before today, our most recent collection of Northwest notes was posted on Monday night. You can found that round-up right here.

Western Notes: Lakers Loan, Bagley, Walton, Towns

The Lakers returned a $4.6MM loan they received from a federal government program intended to help small businesses during by the coronavirus pandemic, according to ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz. The Lakers applied for relief through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. When many small businesses were shut out of the program, the team opted to return the money.

“Once we found out the funds from the program had been depleted, we repaid the loan so that financial support would be directed to those most in need,” the team said in a statement. “The Lakers remain completely committed to supporting both our employees and our community.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Kings coach Luke Walton isn’t sure how much big man Marvin Bagley III will play if the season resumes, Jason Jones of The Athletic reports. Bagley has played in only 13 games this season due to a left foot sprain and a broken thumb. “In talking to Marvin, he feels much better,” said Walton, who added Bagley would still have to go through protocols during injury rehab, including three-on-three and five-on-five play.
  • Walton struck an optimistic tone regarding his club in the same story from Jones. “I love where we’re at as a group,” Walton said. “I think our future is bright, I think we have a great group of guys. This is a hard thing, winning consistently in any pro sport is hard. But when you get a good group of guys that works hard and likes each other and is willing to trust each other, I think, is how you make that happen.” Sacramento was 28-36 when play was halted but had won seven of its last 10 games.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the Timberwolves and it has brought organization members closer on an emotional level, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. Karl-Anthony Towns’ mother, Jacqueline, and a relative of Malik Beasley succumbed to complications from the virus. “We’ve done everything possible for our players and our staff and their families to make sure they’re as safe as possible,” president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said. “Once it affects you the way it’s affected us now, we’re ultra-sensitive to the fact that we want to be here for our players and their families and our staff.”

Northwest Notes: Nuggets Draft, Plumlee, Ingles, Beasley

The Nuggets’ front office has focused on the draft during the hiatus and they could prioritize perimeter shooting, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic writes. Vanderbilt’s Aaron Nesmith, Villanova’s Saddiq Bey, Alabama’s Kira Lewis Jr. and Arizona’s Josh Green are among the wings who could be available with Denver’s first-round pick. The Nuggets traded away their pick but own the Rockets’ first-rounder, which currently puts them at No. 21 or 22 overall.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Mason Plumlee is a luxury that the Nuggets may not be able to afford after this season, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. The reserve center is a steady contributor due to his rebounding, passing and ability to finish on the break. He was also a featured piece in their defensive lineups but Plumlee will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and financial constraints may force the club to let him walk.
  • Jazz swingman Joe Ingles plans to return to Australia when he retires but he’s not sure what the future holds when his current contract expires, according to Aaron Falk of the team’s website. “My whole plan was to play out my deal and make a decision after that,” Ingles said. “But if it’s time to go home and put them in school and settle down, that’s obviously my first priority. It’s not whether I want to keep playing. It’s a family deal.” Ingles is signed through the 2021/22 season, including a one-year, $13MM extension he signed last October.
  • Guard Malik Beasley has already made his way into the Timberwolves’ long-term plans, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. Beasley averaged 20.7 PPG in 14 games after he was acquired from the Nuggets. Beasley is noncommittal. “Right now it’s tough to decide for anything,” Beasley said. “We don’t even know if we’re playing or not, so it’s just tough to decide that.” Minnesota, which also holds Beasley’s Bird Rights, only has to extend a $3.9MM qualifying offer to make Beasley a restricted FA.

Northwest Notes: Conley, Millsap, Butler, Timberwolves

Jazz point guard Mike Conley isn’t concerned about a rift between teammates Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. Gobert and Mitchell are trying to repair their relationship after Mitchell felt Gobert’s careless actions led to his positive test for COVID-19. “They’re fine,” Conley said. “They’re competitors. They want to win.” Conley feels confident that there won’t be any locker room issues when the hiatus ends. “Our team chemistry has been as solid as ever and I am excited to hopefully get out there soon once this thing gets under control,” he said.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Paul Millsap‘s contributions to the Nuggets go beyond his raw statistics, Mike Singer of the Denver Post writes. Millsap provides a solid defensive presence and his leadership is unquestioned. He kept up the spirits of Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. when they endured rough times this season and he’s been a mentor for Jamal Murray and former Nugget Malik Beasley, Singer adds. Millsap will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
  • The fortunes of the Timberwolves probably wouldn’t have changed even if they passed on trading with the Bulls for Jimmy Butler, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune opines. Tom Thibodeau wouldn’t have had the patience to nurture a young core into a playoff team, Hine continues. Meanwhile, Chicago hasn’t been able to win with the players it received in the deal and is undergoing front-office changes, Hine adds.
  • The Timberwolves’ biggest priority this offseason is likely to be re-signing their restricted free agents, particularly Beasley, Hine writes in a mailbag piece. They’d also like to retain Juan Hernangomez, though that would leave them very little wiggle room for a splashy free-agent acquisition, Hine adds.

And-Ones: KG, Seattle, Free Agent Wings, Broekhoff

Speaking this week to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press, newly-elected Hall-of-Famer Kevin Garnett said he’d love to play a part in bringing the NBA back to the city of Seattle.

“If I have a dream, I would say that I would love to be able to go and buy the Seattle SuperSonics and reactivate the Seattle Northwest and get NBA loving back going into that area,” Garnett told Reynolds. “I think it’s needed and it’s essential. Seattle was huge to our league. Not just Portland, but the whole northwest. I would love to be able to do that.”

Although Garnett earned nearly $344MM over the course of his 21-year NBA career, per Basketball-Reference, it’s not clear that he has the net worth required to be the majority owner of an NBA franchise.

Still, if the league eventually becomes open to the idea of an expansion team in Seattle, it’s not inconceivable that Garnett could get involved in an ownership group. Dwyane Wade has previously expressed a desire to get involved in such an endeavor as well.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • In the first part of his breakdown of 2020’s free agent market for wings, Danny Leroux of The Athletic says Brandon Ingram is the most obvious candidate for a max-level deal, while Danilo Gallinari, Marcus Morris, Evan Fournier, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Malik Beasley are among the players who should be able to sign for more than the full mid-level.
  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report examines the most pressing salary cap issue facing each of the NBA’s 30 teams during the 2020 offseason.
  • Following a report from Sport5 (hat tip to Sportando) suggesting that Maccabi Tel Aviv may have interest in former Mavericks sharpshooter Ryan Broekhoff, the EuroLeague club responded by shooting down the idea that it’s already targeting players for next season amidst the COVID-19 uncertainty. “It was published today that Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv is ‘working on the next season’ and ‘targeting/interested’ in players,” the team said in a tweet. “We are clarifying here that this is false. The club doesn’t do that nowadays.”

Northwest Notes: Beasley, McCollum, Connelly, Farnam

The Timberwolves’ ceiling on retaining Malik Beasley could go into the range of $18MM annually, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune opines. Offering Beasley, a restricted free agent, an annual salary of $15-16MM seems like a fair price, Hine continues. Jerami Grant‘s three-year, $27MM contract with Denver might be the upper limit for another of Minnesota’s restricted free agents, Juan Hernangomez, Hine adds.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum remains optimistic the season will resume, he told Casey Holdahl of the team’s website. “I think we’re in a good place and I think the NBA has been at the front of the line in terms of making decisions that are health-based and not based on finances,” he said. “I think as long as we continue to follow those guidelines, we’ll be in a great spot to return at some point. Whenever that is, I know they won’t rush it, I know they’ll make sure everything is in place the way it should be.”
  • Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said the suspension of play has accelerated the timeline for offseason preparations, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post“The bulk of your energy is spent toward the draft, but you also have an eye on the offseason, free agency, any potential trades,” Connelly said. “There’s no shortage of video. We’re going to have a pick at No. 21 (from Houston), so you’re going to have to know a lot of players and know them as well as you possibly can.”
  • The Timberwolves’ longtime trainer, Gregg Farnam, has tried to remain a calming presence during the pandemic, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. “I’ve learned to remain calm and just kind of be able to evaluate what’s going on, dig through the process and provide the best information and care we can to the athlete,” Farnam said. “Let’s try not to get too excited because it seems like everybody else is very excitable, so I think that’s a good trait to have in my situation.”

Western Notes: Warriors, Beasley, Covington, Doncic

An abbreviated regular season if the season is restarted wouldn’t do teams like the Warriors much good, Anthony Slater of The Athletic argues. It would be easier for the teams currently owning a playoff berth to play some tuneup games while ending the season for the 14 lottery-bound teams. That would allow their front offices to focus on their roster remakes and players to work on their games, Slater adds.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Timberwolves will undoubtedly want to re-sign restricted free agent Malik Beasley, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Beasley averaged 20.7 PPG and 5.1 RPG while shooting 42.6% from long range in 14 starts since being acquired from the Nuggets. Beasley’s price tag has risen, with Krawczynski speculating that his original projection of four years and $48MM is probably not high enough. There aren’t many teams with significant cap room but the Knicks could make a run at him, he adds.
  • While the Timberwolves’ defense has suffered by trading Robert Covington to the Rockets, they got a much-needed infusion of offensive talent with the additions of D’Angelo Russell, Beasley and Juan Hernangomez in the four-team deal, Krawczynski writes in a separate story. They now have a point guard in Russell that can score and pass as well as any they’ve ever had, a shooting guard in Beasley who can score in bunches and a solid rotation player in Hernangomez.
  • Several members of the Mavericks’ front office and scouting staff believed Luka Doncic would have been viewed as the undisputed top prospect in the 2018 draft if he had played in the United States or attended the pre-draft workouts, according to an in-depth piece from Tim Cato and Sam Amick of The Athletic. GM Donnie Nelson was completely sold on Doncic and owner Mark Cuban wasn’t going to pass him up, since he ignored Nelson’s advice on Giannis Antetokounmpo five years earlier. The Mavs’ front office was confident Doncic wouldn’t be drafted earlier than third overall, allowing them to arrange a trade with the Hawks to move up and nab the eventual Rookie of the Year.

Northwest Notes: Clarkson, Mudiay, Beasley, Dort

Earlier this season, the Jazz traded former first-round pick point guard Dante Exum and a pair of second-round picks to the Cavaliers in exchange for guard Jordan Clarkson.

While Clarkson was already a proven commodity as a veteran scoring option off the bench, he has also been labeled as a “ball stopper” or a subpar defender by critics in the past, writes Ben Dowsett of Basketball Insiders. In Utah though, the combo guard has done a good job immersing himself into the Jazz’s culture, working hard to fit into the team’s system on both ends of the court, as Dowsett details.

In 31 games this season with the Jazz, Clarkson is averaging 15.8 PPG, while shooting 48.3% from the field and 38.2% from three-point range.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Staying with the Jazz, backup point guard Emmanuel Mudiay is happy in Utah and feels like his game has gone to another level, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. The former first-round pick returned to Madison Square Garden this week after the Knicks decided not to re-sign him last offseason.
  • It looks like the Timberwolves might’ve found a gem in Malik Beasleysuggests Michael Rand of the Star Tribune. Minnesota acquired Beasley from the Nuggets just days before the trade deadline in a massive four-team trade. In 11 games this season with the Wolves, he is averaging 21.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 2.3 APG, while shooting an impressive 43.9% from three-point range.
  • Rookie guard Luguentz Dort has now elevated himself into cult hero status with the Thunder fanbase, writes Logan Meyer of Daily Thunder. The undrafted guard out of Arizona State was signed to a two-way deal this summer but could be on the verge of signing a standard NBA deal soon. If the Thunder were to add him officially to the 15-man roster, he would able to participate in the postseason.