Timberwolves Rumors

Wolves Notes: Gobert, Russell, Edwards, Anderson, McDaniels

With Karl-Anthony Towns sidelined for the start of the Timberwolves‘ training camp due to a non-COVID illness, center Rudy Gobert didn’t get a chance to work with his new frontcourt partner in his first formal practice with the team on Tuesday. But Gobert said he felt “great” energy on Tuesday and spoke specifically about developing chemistry with new pick-and-roll partner D’Angelo Russell.

“He can see it all,” Gobert said of Russell, according to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. “There’s a few times when I didn’t know that he saw me, and he still saw me. It’s really impressive and it’s really exciting.”

As for his partnership with Towns, Gobert said the two big men have been in contact since he was traded to Minnesota in July and have talked about how they’ll be able to maximize each other’s talent.

“On both ends on the floor and even off the floor, just be a great friend, be a great support for him and then on the court, just let that relationship carry over,” Gobert said. “Help him be the best Karl he can be and I know, just by being himself, he’s going to help me be the best Rudy I can be.”

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • Gobert’s friend and fellow Frenchman Nicolas Batum said he was glad to see the longtime Jazz center dealt to Minnesota and thinks Gobert will be better off for it, as Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times tweets. “I don’t think I will say I like it because (the Wolves) beat us in the play-in last year,” Batum said. “… But just for my friend, I am happy to see him with a good team, new spot, new everything, new life for him. He needed that.”
  • Anthony Edwards added 11 pounds of muscle this offseason without increasing his body fat, multiples sources tell Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. “I feel like I’m in better shape, more than anything,” Edwards said. “That’s going to take everything to the next level.”
  • Within the same story, Krawczynski examines a few takeaways from the Wolves’ Media Day, including why veteran forward Kyle Anderson signed with Minnesota as a free agent and what he’ll bring to the team. “Those guys in Minnesota really competed, one through 11, 12, those guys all played really hard,” Anderson said. “You could see the cohesiveness, they played hard for one another. So when it came down to this summer and which team I wanted to sign with, I think this was an easy call.”
  • After working hard to keep Jaden McDaniels out of the trade package for Gobert this summer, the Timberwolves are working just as hard to unlock the young forward’s full potential, Krawczynski writes in a separate article for The Athletic. Among the interesting details in Krawczynski’s story: Minnesota determined that McDaniels’ optimal shooting arc is 47 degrees and used an app during summer workouts to ensure that he was consistently releasing it at that angle.

Paschall Pondered Retirement

  • Eric Paschall pondered retirement this summer before signing a two-way contract with the Timberwolves, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets. Donovan Mitchell, his former teammate in Utah, gave him steady encouragement through the process.

Northwest Notes: Russell, Gilgeous-Alexander, Jokic, Brown

D’Angelo Russell has an expiring $31.4MM contract, but the Timberwolves guard doesn’t want to dwell on becoming a free agent after the season, he told Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“Nothing changes,” he said. “You see guys approaching a contract year and doing it incorrectly and it becomes magnified if you’re doing it incorrectly. You might not be going about things the right way or ways you would be going about it if it wasn’t a contract year. I try to keep it consistent, my approach.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who begins a five-year, $179.3MM extension this season, believes that the Thunder are ready to turn the corner, he told Andrew Schlecht of The Athletic“I know what I signed up for when I signed a five-year extension… and I don’t think we’re going to be losing for much longer,” he said. “I believe in this team.”
  • Fresh off signing a super-max extension, Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic says he hopes to play his entire career with the organization, Mike Singer of the Denver Post tweets. “That’s the goal,” Jokic said.
  • The Nuggets finished last season ranked No. 15 in team defense. Coach Michael Malone wants to see dramatic improvement, Singer relays in another tweet“Our goal this year is to be a top-five defense,” he said.
  • Bruce Brown left the Nets and signed a two-year contract with the Nuggets in free agency. Malone has big plans for him, Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports tweets“I don’t think people understand the importance that Bruce Brown is going to bring to this team,” he said.

PJ Dozier Signs With Timberwolves

SEPTEMBER 26: The Timberwolves have officially signed Dozier, finalizing their training camp roster, the team announced in a press release.


SEPTEMBER 17: Free agent swingman PJ Dozier is signing a contract with the Timberwolves, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

The former Nuggets wing tore his ACL in December. He was cleared for full basketball activities in mid-June.

Noted for his defense, Dozier emerged as a key reserve for Denver in recent years, appearing in 97 games from 2019-21. He averaged 6.7 PPG and 3.1 RPG on .408/.321/.676 shooting in 19.0 minutes per contest.

After Dozier was injured, he was traded from the Nuggets to the Celtics in January, then to the Magic at the February trade deadline. Orlando waived him shortly after acquiring him, making him an unrestricted free agent.

New Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly is naturally quite familiar with Dozier since he was Denver’s top exec up until this offseason.

Minnesota already had 19 players on its roster — 12 with fully guaranteed salaries, three with partially guaranteed or non-guaranteed standard contracts, two on Exhibit 10 deals, and two more on two-way pacts. Dozier will fill the 20th spot for now.

Terms of Dozier’s contract were not disclosed, but it’s likely to be a non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed contract, giving him the opportunity to fight for a spot on the 15-man opening day roster.

Northwest Notes: Brown, Grand Rapids Gold, Wolves, Presti

Versatile role player Bruce Brown is getting comfortable ahead of his first season with the Nuggets, writes Ethan Fuller of Basketball News. The swingman signed a two-year, $13.2MM deal with Denver as a free agent this summer.

“[Knowing my role] was huge, because you don’t want to go to a team where it just won’t work, right?” Brown told Fuller. “So I knew coming to Denver — the way they play, it’s a lot of cuts, slips [and] corner threes. And then, they got a lot of guys who know how to play the game of basketball, so the game would be a lot easier.”

Brown hopes to thrive alongside 2021 and 2022 MVP Nikola Jokic, one of the game’s best passers.

“I feel like I’m one of the best cutters in the league,” Brown said. “So I can find open spots. make the game easier for him, knock down corner threes [and] just take some pressure off.”

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • The assistant coaches under newly-named Grand Rapids Gold head coach Andre Miller have been announced, per a Nuggets press statement. Denver’s G League affiliate has upgraded Nate Babcock, an assistant coach under Jason Terry in 2021/22, to the role of associate head coach. The team is also adding two new assistants, Jeff Trepagnier and James Fraschilla, to its bench.
  • In a new Timberwolves reader mailbag, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic discusses Minnesota’s jumbo-sized All-Star frontcourt tandem of Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert, the health of Anthony Edwards‘s knee, head coach Chris Finch, and more.
  • Head of basketball operations Sam Presti addressed a variety of hot Thunder topics during a preseason press conference on Thursday, writes Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman. Presti spoke about the timeline for star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as he recovers from a left MCL sprain, the team’s decision to sign swingman Luguentz Dort to a lucrative contract extension this summer, his thoughts on draft-and-stash guard Vasilije Micic, and more.

Roster Remains Deep Despite Gobert Trade

  • While some people wonder how Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert will fit together, the Timberwolves’ biggest issues will likely be a lack of knockdown shooters and lead ball-handlers, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. Minnesota is actually quite deep, despite all the bodies the team swapped to acquire Gobert, and Krawczynski breaks down each position in this in-depth piece.

Anthony Edwards Fined $40K For Social Media Comments

The NBA has fined Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards $40K for his use of “offensive and derogatory language” on social media, per a press release.

The fine is in response to a now-deleted video that Edwards posted to his Instagram account earlier this month. Edwards used homophobic language in the video, disparagingly describing a group of people as “queer.” After removing the video, the former No. 1 overall pick apologized for recording and posting it.

“What I said was immature, hurtful, and disrespectful, and I’m incredibly sorry,” Edwards wrote (Twitter link). “It’s unacceptable for me or anyone to use that language in such a hurtful way, there’s no excuse for it, at all. I was raised better than that!”

The NBA noted in today’s announcement that Edwards “acknowledged that his actions were inappropriate,” suggesting his apology was taken into account as the league weighed potential discipline.

The $40K fine for Edwards is in line with the penalties other stars have faced in recent years for homophobic remarks. Nikola Jokic was fined $25K in 2018 for making such a comment during a post-game interview, while Kevin Durant was fined $50K in 2021 for directing homophobic language toward actor Michael Rapaport on Twitter.

2022/23 NBA Over/Unders: Northwest Division

The 2022/23 NBA regular season will tip off next month, so we’re getting serious about predictions for the upcoming campaign and continuing an annual Hoops Rumors tradition.

With the help of the lines from a handful of sports betting sites – including Bovada, BetOnline, and Betway – we’re running through the predicted win totals for each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. In a series of team-by-team polls, you’ll get the chance to weigh in on whether you think those forecasts are too optimistic or too pessimistic.

In 2021/22, our voters went 16-14 on their over/under picks. Can you top that in ’22/23?

We’ll wrap up our series today with the Northwest division…


Denver Nuggets


Minnesota Timberwolves


Portland Trail Blazers


Utah Jazz


Oklahoma City Thunder

  • 2021/22 record: 24-58
  • Over/under for 2022/23: 22.5 wins
  • Major offseason moves:

Previous voting results:

Atlantic

  • Boston Celtics (55.5 wins): Under (56.1%)
  • Brooklyn Nets (51.5 wins): Under (64.5%)
  • Philadelphia 76ers (50.5 wins): Over (76.1%)
  • Toronto Raptors (46.5 wins): Over (65.7%)
  • New York Knicks (40.5 wins): Under (63.0%)

Central

  • Milwaukee Bucks (52.5 wins): Over (75.5%)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (47.5 wins): Over (73.4%)
  • Chicago Bulls (44.5 wins): Over (51.6%)
  • Detroit Pistons (28.5 wins): Over (51.6%)
  • Indiana Pacers (23.5 wins): Under (62.8%)

Southeast

  • Miami Heat (50.5 wins): Under (56.6%)
  • Atlanta Hawks (46.5 wins): Over (53.6%)
  • Charlotte Hornets (36.5 wins): Under (63.0%)
  • Washington Wizards (35.5 wins): Under (50.8%)
  • Orlando Magic (26.5 wins): Over (55.3%)

Pacific

  • Golden State Warriors (53.5 wins): Over (69.2%)
  • Phoenix Suns (53.5 wins): Over (60.2%)
  • Los Angeles Clippers (52.5 wins): Over (58.0%)
  • Los Angeles Lakers (45.5 wins): Under (66.6%)
  • Sacramento Kings (34.5 wins): Over (62.0%)

Southwest

  • Memphis Grizzlies (49.5 wins): Over (68.7%)
  • Dallas Mavericks (48.5 wins): Over (63.7%)
  • New Orleans Pelicans (44.5 wins): Over (61.2%)
  • Houston Rockets (24.5 wins): Under (61.8%)
  • San Antonio Spurs (23.5 wins): Under (67.5%)

Northwest Notes: Towns, Giddey, Vanderbilt, Nuggets

Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns doesn’t expect to have any issues shifting from center to power forward when he plays alongside new teammate Rudy Gobert in 2022/23. As Towns tells Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports, playing at the four is something he has gotten accustomed to doing over the course of his career.

“The last time I had something like this, obviously I had Gorgui Dieng, I played (power forward) a lot of years in the NBA. Fans forgot that. It’s OK,” he said. “And go back to me in college. This is how I played in college. Willie Cauley-Stein is like 7’2″. I don’t know what they’re missing in that.”

While Towns is far from the league’s most effective perimeter defender, he said he’s looking forward to the challenge of taking on those assignments. The All-NBA big man added that he expects talent to win out as he and Gobert attempt to develop chemistry.

“I think that Rudy’s one of the best defensive players we’ve ever had in the NBA. He has the hardware to prove it,” Towns told Henninger. “I think I’m one of the best offensive players and talents the NBA has ever seen. So putting us together gives us really a whole spectrum of talent to use.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Having appeared in just 54 games as a rookie, Thunder guard Josh Giddey has spent a lot of time in the gym and the weight room this summer preparing his body to withstand the rigors of an 82-game schedule, he told Matthew Sullivan of News.com.au. “It’s a long season so taking care of your body is a really important part of being an NBA player,” Giddey said, adding that he feels “ready to go” after missing the end of last season due to a hip issue.
  • New Jazz forward Jarred Vanderbilt spoke to Spencer Davies of BasketballNews.com about his fresh start in Utah, his impressions of new teammate Collin Sexton, and playing alongside Malik Beasley on a third team, among other topics. Vanderbilt said he’s looking forward to getting the chance to “expand and grow” his game with the Jazz.
  • In a mailbag for The Denver Post (subscription required), Mike Singer considers whether the Nuggets could realistically claim the No. 1 seed in the West, examines what the second unit might look like, and explains why the team re-signed Vlatko Cancar rather than pursuing a free agent like Juancho Hernangomez.

And-Ones: Top Under-25 Players, Wade, EuroLeague, More

Fifteen NBA executives polled by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype unanimously picked Mavericks star Luka Doncic as the NBA player under 25 years old whom they’d most want to build a team around. While Doncic’s selection comes as no surprise, there are some interesting picks further down Scotto’s list, which was derived from asking those 15 NBA execs to name the five players under 25 they’d most want to build around.

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum and Grizzlies guard Ja Morant ranked second and third, with Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley following them at No. 4. Former first overall picks Anthony Edwards (Timberwolves) and Zion Williamson (Pelicans) came in at Nos. 5 and 6, with last season’s Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes (Raptors) rounding out the top seven. You can check out Scotto’s full story to see the other seven rising stars who received votes.

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

  • After spending three years in an analyst role with the network, Dwyane Wade won’t return to TNT for the 2022/23 NBA season, reports Andrew Marchand of The New York Post. According to Marchand, TNT made an offer to retain Wade, but he decided to leave his position to focus on other business ventures.
  • Euroleague Basketball has appointed Dejan Bodiroga as its new president and Marshall Glickman as acting CEO, per a press release. They’ll replace Jordi Bertomeu, who served as president and CEO for 22 years and was a co-founder of Euroleague Basketball, which operates and oversees the EuroLeague and EuroCup, two of the world’s biggest non-NBA basketball leagues.
  • Former NBA star Baron Davis and ex-NBPA executive director Michele Roberts are among the backers of the new Fan Controlled Hoops league, which is scheduled to launch in February of 2023, as Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic outlines. The league, which will follow in the footsteps of Fan Controlled Football, will feature 4-on-4 games played on an LED floor, with fans getting the opportunity to illuminate parts of the court to create zones where players get extra points when they score.