Timberwolves Rumors

Stein’s Latest: Simmons, Sixers, NBPA Executive Director

The structure of Ben Simmons‘ contract may embolden him in his plans to hold out from the Sixers, Marc Stein of Substack writes in his latest newsletter. As Stein explains, Simmons received 25% of his 2021/22 salary on August 1 and will receive another 25% on October 1, meaning he’ll already have earned half of his $33MM salary for the season by the time the preseason starts.

[RELATED: Ben Simmons Adamant About Not Attending Camp, Not Playing For Sixers]

League rules permit the Sixers to assess substantial fines for each game he misses during his holdout (approximately $228K per game), but Stein suggests those fines won’t be docked from Simmons’ pay until November, after the first pay period of the regular season. If Simmons was on a more traditional payment schedule, those fines would be more costly, but it will take a while for them to put a dent into the $16.5MM he’ll already have earned this season.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • Don’t expect the Sixers and Simmons to follow the blueprint that Al Horford and the Thunder or John Wall and the Rockets have, according to Stein. While those rebuilding teams were comfortable holding out their veteran players until they found a suitable trade partner, the 76ers continue to try to convince Simmons to report to training camp and have “zero interest” in reaching a mutual agreement to allow the three-time All-Star to remain away from the team, says Stein.
  • According to Stein, many of the teams that have engaged the Sixers in Simmons trade talks – including the Timberwolves, Raptors, Spurs, Cavaliers, and Kings – typically aren’t major players in free agency, and like the idea of securing a young impact player who is under contract for four years. However, most of those teams don’t have stars that would interest Philadelphia, or have made them unavailable in trade negotiations (such as the Wolves with Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards, or the Kings with De’Aaron Fox).
  • The NBPA has enlisted Chicago-based search firm Heidrick & Struggles to help seek out a new executive director to replace Michele Roberts, according to Stein, who says that “well-placed observers” believe Roberts’ replacement could be an unexpected selection who hasn’t yet been publicly identified.
  • Stein, who previously named Malik Rose as a candidate to become the NBPA’s executive director, suggests Noah Croom, Arne Duncan, Nichole Francis Reynolds, Pat Garrity, and Mark Termini are other viable contenders for the job. Croom and Garrity are veteran team executives, Termini is a longtime player agent, and Duncan and Reynolds work outside of the NBA in education/politics and business, respectively.

Timberwolves Sign Bowen, Silva, Lewis, Miller

The Timberwolves have signed forwards Brian Bowen II and Chris Silva and guards Matt Lewis and Isaiah Miller, according to a team press release.

The signings give Minnesota a full 20-man camp roster. Terms were not disclosed, but they’re all training camp deals.

Bowen started all five games for the Timberwolves in the Las Vegas summer league, averaging 8.4 PPG and 4.2 RPG in 24.5 MPG. He has played 12 games for the Pacers.

Silva saw action in 15 total games last season for the Heat and Kings, where he averaged 2.1 PPG and 1.8 RPG. Silva was dealt to the Kings at the trade deadline and waived in late April.

Lewis went undrafted out of James Madison University. He was named the CAA Player of the Year last season.

A report that the club was signing Miller to an Exhibit 10 contract came to light in late July. He also played in all five games of the summer league games, averaging 7.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 2.0 APG in 16.2 MPG.

Wolves Sign Leandro Bolmaro To Rookie Contract

SEPTEMBER 18: Bolmaro has officially signed his rookie deal, according to the NBA transactions log.


SEPTEMBER 14:  Leandro Bolmaro, the No. 23 pick in the 2020 draft, will be signing his rookie scale contract with the Timberwolves this week, according to Dane Moore of Blue Wire (Twitter link). Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News adds (via Twitter) that the deal is expected to be completed in the next 24 hours. SEPTEMBER 14:

The Wolves stashed Bolmaro overseas for a year after drafting him — he remained with Barcelona in Spain for another season in 2020/21 before coming stateside.

The 21-year-old guard won a Liga ACB championship and a Spanish Cup title with the team in 2021, and was named the ACB Most Spectacular Player (essentially an award for the player who shows up the most on the league’s highlight reel). He averaged 6.4 PPG, 1.8 APG, and 1.5 RPG on .500/.453/.867 shooting in 33 Liga ACB games (15.5 MPG).

As a No. 23 pick, Bolmaro will sign a rookie contract identical to the one signed by this year’s 23rd overall selection, Usman Garuba. That means he’ll earn about $2.35MM as a rookie and $11.8MM over four years, as our breakdown shows.

The Wolves, who also reached agreements with restricted free agents Jarred Vanderbilt and Jordan McLaughlin last week, are expected to formally announce those deals soon, per Wolfson. Once Vanderbilt, McLaughlin, and Bolmaro are locked up, Minnesota’s regular season roster looks set, barring a trade, according to Moore, who notes that the club would have to cross the luxury tax line in order to retain a 15th man.

The Wolves will have 12 players on guaranteed contracts, plus Naz Reid and Jaylen Nowell on non-guaranteed deals.

Timberwolves Notes: Bolmaro, Prince, Vanderbilt, McLaughlin, Towns

Timberwolves rookie guard Leandro Bolmaro plays fearlessly, head coach Chris Finch told Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and other media members this week. The 23rd pick in the draft, Bolmaro is expected to sign his rookie contract shortly.

“We love that about him. He competes, he’s bouncy, he just knows how to play basketball,” Finch said. “He moves well off the ball, fits in around all of the pieces we already have.”

We have more on the Timberwolves:

  • Forward Taurean Prince, acquired in the Ricky Rubio deal with Cleveland, believes he’ll play all three frontcourt positions at some point this season, Hine adds in the same story. “The ball moves around and like coach said it gives a lot of opportunity to everybody,” Prince said. “Those are the best systems because everyone likes to play off each other and it maximizes everyone’s potential as well.”
  • Jarred Vanderbilt officially signed his new three-year, $13.8MM contract on Wednesday. According to Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link), the first-year salary is $4.05MM and he’ll get $4.374MM in 2022/23. Vanderbilt’s 2023/24 salary of $4.698MM is partially guaranteed at $300K. The contract also includes $162K in likely bonuses and $405K in unlikely bonuses, Smith adds.
  • Jordan McLaughlin also inked his new three-year, $6.5MM deal this week. The first-year salary will be $2MM, Smith tweets. In 2022/23, he’ll receive $2.16MM. His 2023/24 salary of $2.32MM is non-guaranteed. The contract includes $100K in unlikely bonuses in all three seasons.
  • A refocused Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the reasons for optimism in Minnesota, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. The past two seasons for the team’s top big man have been marred by injuries and personal tragedy. He’s been working on his game diligently this summer, which bodes well for his continued development. Anthony Edwards’ encore after a powerful finish to his rookie campaign, plus the ability of Finch to have a full off-season to prepare the team for the upcoming season, should also entice fans. Krawczynski delves into a number of topics in the mailbag, including the possibility of Malik Beasley or D’Angelo Russell taking a sixth-man role.

Northwest Notes: Beverley, Billups, Brase, Thunder

Patrick Beverley hasn’t missed the playoffs since his NBA career began in 2012, and he’s determined to keep his postseason streak alive in his first season with the Timberwolves, writes Chris Hine of The Star-Tribune. Beverley was traded from the Clippers to the Grizzlies and then from Memphis to Minnesota this summer, winding up with an organization that only been to the playoffs one time since 2004.

“My biggest focus is seeing how locked in we can be each and every night consistently, over a preseason, a season and eventually if we’re doing the right things getting to the playoffs,” Beverley said today during his introductory press conference. “Basketball is basketball. That won’t change. But everything else in the middle, I think you can control that to put yourself in a position to win a lot of games.”

Team president Gersson Rosas sees Beverley as a player who “can change the whole defense,” which will be a priority for a Wolves team that was 28th in defensive rating last season. Beverley will also be a veteran leader on a team filled with young players.

“Understand what’s going on. Understand positioning. Understand spacing. Understand timing and once you understand those things, you’re a student of the game and then you’re able to become a teacher,” Beverley said. “When … you’re able to teach the defense or teach that position, you put yourself in the position to be successful defensively.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Tutoring sessions with Tyronn Lue during last year’s COVID-19 hiatus convinced Chauncey Billups to try coaching, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic. Billups, who was an announcer for the Clippers at the time, learned the game from a different perspective during that makeshift coaching camp, which routinely lasted four to five hours a day. Billups spent a season as an assistant with L.A. before being hired as head coach of the Trail Blazers this summer.
  • Matt Brase is the newest addition to Billups’ staff with the Trail Blazers, per Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype. Brase was an assistant to Mike D’Antoni in Houston from 2018-20.
  • The Thunder and their G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, will share the Paycom Center as their home arena this season, writes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. They are scheduled to play home games on the same day 15 times.

Timberwolves Re-Sign Jarred Vanderbilt, Jordan McLaughlin

SEPTEMBER 15: The Timberwolves have officially announced their new deals with both Vanderbilt and McLaughlin, confirming the signings in a press release.


SEPTEMBER 10: Restricted free agent forward Jarred Vanderbilt has agreed to stay with the Timberwolves on a three-year, $13.8MM contract, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Vanderbilt’s contract starts at $4MM and include some likely and unlikely bonuses, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. It’s fully guaranteed for the first two years and partially guaranteed in the final year of the deal, Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype tweets.

Vanderbilt played 64 games, including 30 starts, last season. He averaged 5.4 PPG and 5.8 RPG in 17.8 MPG. He was limited to 28 games combined in his first two seasons, including a stint with the Nuggets.

The Timberwolves are also re-signing another restricted free agent, Jordan McLaughlin. He’ll receive a three-year, $6.5MM contract, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets. The first two years are guaranteed.

McLaughlin, who is entering his third season, appeared in 51 games last season, including two starts. He averaged 5.0 PPG and 3.8 APG in 18.4 MPG and adds depth at the point guard spot.

2021/22 NBA Over/Unders: Northwest Division

The 2021/22 NBA regular season will get underway next month, so it’s time to start getting serious about predictions for the upcoming campaign and to resume an annual Hoops Rumors tradition.

With the help of the lines from a handful of sports betting sites, including Bovada and BetOnline, 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 2020/21, our voters went 17-13 on their over/under picks. Can you top that in ’21/22?

As a reminder, the NBA played a 72-game schedule in 2020/21, so a team that won 41 games last year finished with a 41-31 record. This year, a club that wins 41 games would be a .500 team (41-41). For added clarity, we’ve noted the record that each team would have to achieve to finish “over” its projected win total.

We’ll turn today to the Northwest division…


Utah Jazz

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Jazz poll.


Denver Nuggets

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Nuggets poll.


Portland Trail Blazers

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Trail Blazers poll.


Minnesota Timberwolves

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Timberwolves poll.


Oklahoma City Thunder

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Thunder poll.


Previous voting results:

Atlantic:

  • Brooklyn Nets (55.5 wins): Over (63.2%)
  • Philadelphia 76ers (51.5 wins): Under (70.0%)
  • Boston Celtics (46.5 wins): Over (58.1%)
  • New York Knicks (42.5 wins): Over (65.1%)
  • Toronto Raptors (36.5 wins): Under (50.6%)

Northwest Notes: Mitchell, Micić, Krejci, Simmons

Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell played through an ankle injury during Utah’s two-round 2021 postseason run. In a new conversation with Sam Amick of The Athletic, Mitchell has indicated that the injury is healing nicely.

“The ankle feels good,” Mitchell said. “I’ll be ready to go. I think last year definitely was shaky. There were just so many different obstacles with the ankle and whatnot, but — like I said — no slight to Phoenix or Milwaukee or the Clippers, you know, (but) I feel like if we were healthy, you know, we… get to the Finals.”

The Jazz fell 4-2 to the Clippers in the second round of the Western Conference Finals. The Clippers were missing their best player, Kawhi Leonard, for the final three contests of the series, while Utah’s starting guards – Mitchell and Mike Conley – were coming off injuries of their own.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Guard Vasilije Micić revealed in a podcast interview with Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews that he was tendered a strong offer to join the Thunder for the 2021/22 season, but ultimately decided to remain in Europe, with the Turkish club Anadolu Efes. Micić cited a few factors behind his decision. A big one was that he wanted to be able to play in the Olympic qualifying games for Serbia in July and wouldn’t be able to sign Oklahoma City until August, so he didn’t want to risk an injury while he was still unsigned. Micić, a draft-and-stash prospect, was named the EuroLeague MVP while helping Anadolu Efes win the 2021 EuroLeague title.
  • Thunder guard Vit Krejci will resume five-on-five workouts this week, reports Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. The 21-year-old Krejci, selected with the No. 37 pick and flipped to the Thunder on draft night, tore his ACL in September 2020. He recently signed his first NBA contract.
  • As chatter grows surrounding a potential Timberwolves deal for Sixers All-Star Ben Simmons, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic unpacks what a deal could look like, as well as how likely it looks that a deal could happen between these particular franchises, with Minnesota apparently uninterested in including their two most valuable players, Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. Krawczynski notes that a trade appears unlikely before the start of training camp, and that Sixers team president Daryl Morey will do his darnedest to drum up more interest in Simmons around the league. If the market for Simmons remains relatively apathetic, Krawczynski opines that the Timberwolves have a chance to add him.

Simmons Could Be Wolves' Best Hope For Playoff Return; Team Kept Young Players While Staying Under Luxury Tax

As the NBA nears the start of the 2021/22 season, tensions continue to simmer between All-Star Ben Simmons and his current team, the Sixers. Philadelphia is hoping to deal Simmons for win-now assets, while Simmons, despite having four years left on his current contract, has threatened to not report for training camp and beyond if he is not moved. The more the two sides’ stalemate drags on, the better the Timberwolves‘ odds are of swooping in to deal for the former No. 1 lottery pick, posits Michael Rand of the Star Tribune.

Rand wonders if adding Simmons could be the move Minnesota needs to return to the playoffs for the first time since the team’s lone full Jimmy Butler season in 2017/18. Rand thinks the Timberwolves should be ready to offer anyone not named Anthony Edwards or Karl-Anthony Towns in exchange for Simmons.

A year ago, the Sixers would most likely have even balked at an offer for Edwards or Towns, though that has changed now as Simmons’ value has declined following a disastrous postseason performance on offense. Simmons, a great defender and passer, could be an ideal fit for a hyper-athletic wing like Edwards and a jump-shooting center like Towns. The Timberwolves could be an excellent landing spot for Simmons, but whether or not they have enough to offer in return for the All-Defensive First Teamer without including Edwards or Towns remains to be seen.

  • The Timberwolves managed to avoid the NBA’s luxury tax this summer while still retaining Jarred Vanderbilt and Jordan McLaughlin, two promising young players, on affordable three-year contracts, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. The 22-year-old Vanderbilt looks ready to take next steps at the power forward position, where he should see significant run, along with the newly-acquired Taurean Prince. Krawczynski notes that the 6’9″ Vanderbilt should especially help the club with rebounding, and could even be given the nod as the team’s starting power forward heading into the year.

Latest On Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons doesn’t appear inclined to do the Sixers any favors when it comes to trying to boost his trade value and helping them find a deal. As Dan Feldman of NBC Sports relays, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer suggested during a recent appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic Philadelphia that Simmons and his camp weren’t fans of comments made – and actions taken – by head coach Doc Rivers and president of basketball operations Daryl Morey over the course of the year.

Rivers said at the end of the season that he wasn’t sure Simmons could be the point guard for a championship team, while Morey claimed last winter that the Sixers weren’t moving the three-time All-Star, despite the fact that the team was discussing him in James Harden trade negotiations.

“(Simmons’ camp is) saying to themselves, ‘Why should we help the 76ers out?’ when they feel like, when Doc Rivers said what he said, no one apologized,” Pompey said during his radio appearance. “Doc Rivers wasn’t reprimanded by the team or this and that. Or there’s an organization where, in the preseason last year, when they were saying they weren’t trying to trade him, but everyone knew they were trying to trade him.”

Within an in-depth look at the Simmons situation, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps and Bobby Marks say that when the Sixers’ brain trust – including owner Josh Harris – met Simmons and his representatives in Los Angeles last month, the team planned to tell the 25-year-old it couldn’t find a deal for him and hoped to move forward with him.

However, Simmons was steadfast in asking to be traded and made it clear he doesn’t intend to come to training camp if he’s still on the roster by the end of September. According to Bontemps and Marks, while the 76ers may be hoping Simmons can boost his trade value by getting off to a strong start during the regular season, “the point was made” during that L.A. meeting that increasing his value isn’t Simmons’ responsibility.

Here’s more on the Simmons situation:

  • If Simmons doesn’t report to camp, the Sixers would have the option of suspending him and fining him 1/145th of his salary per day, according to Bontemps and Marks. Alternatively, the team could fine him $2,500 for his first missed practice, $5,000 for his second missed practice, and $7,500 for his third, plus “reasonable” fines for any missed practices after that.
  • If the Sixers decide they don’t want to burn any bridges and choose not to suspend or fine Simmons for failing to show up to camp, Bontemps and Marks expect the NBA to step in. As the ESPN duo observes, the league won’t want to set a precedent that a player can decide not to report to camp without being penalized.
  • While he concedes that anything is possible, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said during an appearance on The Jump (video link) that he highly doubts Simmons and the Sixers will be able to repair their relationship.
  • Noting that the Timberwolves and Cavaliers have been frequently mentioned as two of the teams that remain in the hunt for Simmons, Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice considers what hypothetical Simmons trades with those clubs might look like.