Timberwolves Rumors

Latest On Darius Garland

While Ja Morant and R.J. Barrett are viewed as virtual locks to follow Zion Williamson off the board on draft night, point guard Darius Garland is still receiving serious consideration at No. 3, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter link). A source tells Givony that Garland will be conducting a last-minute workout with the Knicks tomorrow.

According to Keith Smith of RealGM (Twitter link), there are people around the NBA who believe it’s a mistake to view this as a three-player draft, since that view discounts Garland. There are even some evaluators who consider Garland 2019’s second-best prospect, Smith adds. ESPN’s Jordan Schultz (Twitter link) has also heard rave reviews for Garland from various league sources.

A source tells Givony (Twitter link) that Garland is 100% healthy again after undergoing knee surgery in November, and should be fine to participate in Summer League play. Garland’s private pre-draft workouts have been impressive, per Givony, who names the Lakers, Cavaliers, and Bulls that have worked out the 19-year-old.

Despite his rising stock, Garland is still unlikely to crack the top three ahead of Morant or Barrett. Marc Berman of The New York Post tweets that the Knicks are doing their due diligence on the former Vanderbilt point guard.

However, Garland is also receiving plenty of interest at No. 4, Givony notes. According to Givony, the Timberwolves, Celtics, and Bulls are among the teams that have considered the possibility of trading up to No. 4, with Garland in mind. The Pelicans currently hold the fourth overall pick as a result of the Anthony Davis blockbuster with the Lakers.

The Hawks are also among the teams that have aggressively explored trading up, using the Nos. 8 and 10 overall picks, a source tells Givony (Twitter link). Givony writes that the Knicks rebuffed that package for No. 3, but the Pelicans may be considering it for No. 4. It’s not clear which player the Hawks, who have promising young point guard Trae Young under contract long-term, would be targeting.

Russell Unlikely To Stay If Irving Signs With Nets

D’Angelo Russell is highly unlikely to remain with the Nets if Kyrie Irving signs with Brooklyn, sources told Ian Begley of SNY TV.

The Nets are considered the favorites to land the Celtics’ point guard, though there’s no indication that other potential suitors have been ruled out, Begley continues.

The Nets can open up as much as $66MM of cap space to sign two major free agents if they renounce Russell’s rights. They can make him a restricted free agent by extending a $9.16MM qualifying offer but renouncing him would clear his $21MM cap hold.

The Pacers, who are shopping for a point guard, are keenly interested in Russell, Begley adds. The Magic, Timberwolves and Jazz are also expected to pursue him in free agency.

Begley’s story contradicts a previous report that suggested the Nets were willing to pair up Russell and Irving as their starting backcourt.

Cameron Johnson Worked Out For Wolves

  • In addition to his previously-reported workouts, Cameron Johnson (UNC) has auditioned for the Timberwolves, Celtics, Thunder, Sixers, and Warriors, tweets Gery Woelfel of Woelfel’s Press Box.

Workouts For Doumbouya, Washington

  • French standout Sekou Doumbouya spent a day with the Timberwolves earlier this week, undergoing some medical testing and a workout, reports Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Doumbouya is the No. 9 ranked prospect by ESPN. Minnesota owns the No. 11 pick in this month’s draft.
  • Wolfson adds that Kentucky’s PJ Washington worked out for the Timberwolves today alongside some other prospects. ESPN ranks Washington as the No. 16 overall prospect.

Kyler’s Latest: Celtics, Capela, Kyrie, Sixers, More

After reporting earlier this week that the Celtics had “engaged pretty seriously” on Rockets center Clint Capela, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders has provided a few more details today. Sources tell Kyler that Boston has “expressed considerable interest” in Capela. However, he may be more of a Plan B or C for the Celtics, particularly if they’re still serious about pursuing Anthony Davis.

As Kyler details, league sources are skeptical that the Celtics will keep and use all three of their first-round picks (Nos. 14, 20, and 22). Meanwhile, Houston has been trying to get first-round prospects in for workouts despite not currently holding any draft picks — Kyler writes that the Rockets have been suggesting to agents that they have the ability to acquire a pick in the top 20.

It’s possible that the Celtics could trade one of their first-rounders to another team, and the Rockets are likely exploring deals with clubs outside of Boston. Still, it’s worth watching to see if those two teams end up getting something done on or before draft night.

Here’s more from Kyler:

  • Although Kyler, like others, has heard that the Celtics are operating as if Kyrie Irving probably won’t return, he writes that the club is prepared to offer Irving a maximum-salary deal to see if he’ll turn it down.
  • There’s a sense that Philadelphia will make full maximum-salary offers to Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, per Kyler. The Sixers are making sure that their players and other teams know they’re serious about keeping their core intact, according to Kyler, who adds that there’s a belief that Butler and Harris would re-sign if the team does put those offers on the table.
  • Kyler says that the Cavaliers, Suns, Hawks, Timberwolves, Magic, Hornets, Heat, and Celtics are all viewed as candidates to trade top-20 picks in the draft, either for veteran players or to move up or down in the draft.

Draft Notes: Zoosman, Obiesie, Eboua, Holman, Herro

Israeli Yovel Zoosman, a 6’6” small forward, will keep his name in the draft, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets. Zoosman plays for Maccabi Tel Aviv, which just advanced to the Israeli league playoff finals. Zoosman is ranked No. 53 on Givony’s Top 100 prospects list.

We have more draft decisions and workouts:

  • German point guard Josh Obiesie will stay in the draft, according to another Givony tweet. Givony has Obiesie ranked No. 64 overall and No. 10 among point guard prospects.
  • Forward Paul Eboua, Cameroon native, has withdrawn his name from the draft, according to Givony (Twitter link). He joins 11 other international players — Gytis Masiulis, Abdoulaye N’Doye, Digue Diawara, Aleksandr Balcerowski, Aleix Font, Zoran Paunovic, Dalibor Ilic, Louis Olinde, Jonas Matisseck, Tadas Sedekerskis and Vrenz Bleijenbergh — who have also decided to pull out of the draft. Matas Jogela, a Lithuanian forward, and William McDowell-White, an Australian guard, will remain in the draft, according to Givony (Twitter links).
  • Mississippi State forward Aric Holman worked out for the Raptors on Monday, according to Ian Begley of SNY TV (Twitter link). He visited the Knicks last week and will work out for the Kings, Lakers and Cavaliers this week, Begley adds.
  • First round prospect Tyler Herro (Kentucky) has worked out for the Spurs and will also visit the Pacers and Timberwolves, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Herro is ranked No. 18 overall and No. 4 among shooting guards by Givony.

Wolves Notes: Vanterpool, C. White, Doumbouya, Terrell

The Timberwolves hired David Vanterpool as associate coach to improve the defense and motivate Andrew Wiggins, which might be the toughest jobs in the organization, suggests Michael Rand of The Star-Tribune. Team president Gersson Rosas interviewed Vanterpool for the head coaching slot before deciding to stick with Ryan Saunders, so the former Trail Blazers assistant obviously made a good impression.

However, Rand points out that Vanterpool will be taking over a defense that has ranked in the bottom third of the league for the past five seasons and that even defensive specialist Tom Thibodeau couldn’t fix. Vanterpool has a solid relationship with Wiggins from coaching him with Team Canada in 2015, but raising his level of play has been a concern even before the club signed him to an extension two years ago.

There’s more news out of Minnesota:

  • North Carolina guard Coby White held an individual workout for the Wolves Friday, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. White is listed at No. 8 in the list of top 100 prospects compiled by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, and Minnesota doesn’t pick until No. 11, so the Wolves may be thinking about trading up. The team held a separate six-player workout yesterday that included Rayjon Tucker (Arkansas-Little Rock), Amir Coffey (Minnesota), Dedric Lawson (Kansas) and Kris Wilkes (UCLA) (Twitter link).
  • French standout Sekou Doumbouya held a pro day today and will pay a visit to Minnesota for a workout early next week, according to Wolfson (Twitter link). The 6’9″ forward comes in ninth on Givony’s list .
  • Aaron Brooks, who ended his playing career with the Wolves during the 2017/18 season, attended a free agent camp with the team this week as a coach, Wolfson adds. At age 34, Brooks is hoping to make the transition into coaching. He played for seven teams in an 11-year career.
  • Two-way player Jared Terrell did well in the G League, but didn’t get much of a chance to showcase his skills at the NBA level in his rookie season, writes Kyle Ratke of NBA.com. Terrell, who averaged 7.9 minutes in 14 games with the Wolves, will now wait for an invitation to be part of Minnesota’s Summer League team.

Wolves Hire Pablo Prigioni As Assistant Coach

Pablo Prigioni will leave the Nets to become an assistant coach with the Timberwolves, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He becomes the second addition to Ryan Saunders‘ staff in two days, joining former Trail Blazers assistant David Vanterpool, who agreed to join the Wolves yesterday.

Prigioni spent four years as an NBA player, including a brief stop in Houston in 2015 while new Minnesota president Gersson Rosas was an executive there. Prigioni will focus mainly on the Wolves’ offense, according to Wojnarowski.

The 42-year-old was a long-time star in Argentina and Europe become coming to the NBA. After retiring in 2016, he became head coach of Baskonia in Spain and joined Brooklyn’s staff prior as a player development coach to the start of this season.

Wolves Hiring David Vanterpool As Associate Head Coach

The Timberwolves are hiring David Vanterpool away from the Trail Blazers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that Vanterpool will be Ryan Saunders‘ new associate head coach.

As Wojnarowski explains, Vanterpool will play a key role on Saunders’ new staff and will be in charge of running the team’s defense.

Vanterpool, who played basketball professionally up until 2007, became an assistant on CSKA Moscow’s staff following his retirement as a player. He joined the Blazers’ staff when Terry Stotts was hired in 2012 and played a role in the development of Portland’s star guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

Long viewed as an NBA head coaching candidate, Vanterpool reportedly met with the Suns and Cavaliers about their open positions this spring before they hired Monty Williams and John Beilein, respectively. The Timberwolves also reportedly had some interest in Vanterpool as a possible head coach before they decided to retain Saunders.

Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News first reported last week that the Wolves were eyeing Vanterpool as a lead assistant.

Draft Notes: Culver, Fall, Edwards, Clarke

Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver made his case to be drafted third overall during a workout today with the Knicks, relays Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Calling himself “an elite two-way player,” Culver told reporters his defensive abilities separate him from other top prospects.

“Nowadays, it’s hard to find people who take pride in defense. But I’m one of them,” he said. “I take pride in defense. Being at Texas Tech taught me a lot, so I feel like on the defensive side I’m elite.”

Most mock drafts have Duke’s R.J. Barrett headed to New York, following Duke’s Zion Williamson and Murray State’s Ja Morant off the board. Culver said he’s confident in what he has to offer and doesn’t compare himself to Barrett.

“I feel like we’re great players, both of us,” Culver said. “He has a lot of talent, I have a lot of talent. And at the end of the day it’s not our choice where we go, it’s for everybody else to choose. So we just put in the work. I know he’s working hard, I’m working hard. So it is what it is.”

Culver already had a workout with the Lakers, who hold the No. 4 selection, and he has sessions scheduled with the next three teams in the draft, the Cavaliers, Suns and Bulls.

There’s more draft news tonight:

  • Central Florida’s Tacko Fall wasn’t able to participate in shooting drills with the Pacers today after rolling his ankle earlier in the workout, writes Wheat Hotchkiss of NBA.com. The injury doesn’t sound serious and the 7’7″ center made an impression by towering over his workout partners. “Whenever people see me, it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, he’s tall, but can he play?,'” Fall said. “It’s something that I had to work on. I have worked really hard. I have great people around me that have helped me become the player I am today. I just have to keep working.” Others at the session included Indiana’s Juwan Morgan, Florida State’s Mfiondu Kabengele and Clemson’s Elijah Thomas.
  • Purdue’s Carsen Edwards, who worked out for the Sixers today, has also been through sessions with the Pacers, Jazz and Nets, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. He has upcoming workouts set with the Bucks, Celtics and Thunder.
  • Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke has worked out for several teams already and has sessions scheduled with the Celtics, Nets, Bulls, Pistons and Timberwolves, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link).