Timberwolves Rumors

Edwards, Haliburton, Reaves Commit To Team USA

Timberwolves All-Star guard Anthony Edwards and Pacers star guard Tyrese Haliburton are among the players who have committed to Team USA this summer, Joe Vardon and Shams Charania of The Athletic report. Team USA will compete for the FIBA World Cup in the Philippines.

Lakers shooting guard and restricted free agent Austin Reaves, Nets forward Mikal Bridges and Bucks forward Bobby Portis have also made commitments.

Knicks guard Jalen Brunson has pledged to play for Team USA as well, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link).

The 12-man roster is still being assembled by USA Basketball managing director Grant Hill and no roster additions have been formally announced yet.

Edwards, who averaged 24.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists this season, was a member of the USA Select Team for the Tokyo Olympics. Team USA has begun to prioritize bigger guards who can hold their own defensively and shoot well from the perimeter in international competitions, according to The Athletic duo. Edwards and Reaves fit that mold.

Team USA begins training camp Aug. 3 in Las Vegas, plays its first exhibition game Aug. 7 against Puerto Rico and will also make stops in Spain and the United Arab Emirates before its World Cup opener Aug. 26 against New Zealand.

Wolves Hosting Free Agent Camp In Couple Weeks

  • The Timberwolves are hosting a free agent camp on June 14 and 15, reports Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News and Skor North (via Twitter). One former NBA player who will be present is guard Sharife Cooper, who spent his rookie season in 2021/22 with the Hawks. Cooper played for the Cavs’ G League affiliate, the Cleveland Charge, this past season, averaging 21.3 PPG, 6.3 APG and 3.8 RPG on .431/.316/.853 shooting in 25 regular season games (32.5 MPG).

And-Ones: Nurse, Carmelo, Luxury Tax, First-Round Picks

Former Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is considering his options after reportedly taking his name out of the Bucks’ coaching search, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Nurse had interviews this week with the Sixers and Suns, and sources tell Pompey that he’s reviewing the jobs to determine which would be the best fit. A source refused to confirm to Pompey that Philadelphia has made a formal offer.

Pompey points out that Nurse has a long-time working relationship with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, whom he worked with in Houston as head coach of the Rockets’ G League affiliate. Nurse built a reputation for developing talent during that time, winning two G League titles and sending 23 players to the NBA, Pompey adds.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Before announcing his retirement this week, Carmelo Anthony received interest from a “high-level” European team, Marc Stein writes in a Substack column. However, Anthony decided he didn’t want to play in another league after spending 19 years in the NBA.
  • Nine teams finished the season in tax territory, Eric Pincus notes in his updated luxury tax tracker on Sports Business Classroom. The Clippers had the highest team salary at $191,189,228 and will be assessed a $140,302,811 tax bill, per Pincus’ projections. The largest tax payment is $163,153,075 for the Warriors, who had $188,371,492 in salary. The Celtics, Nets, Mavericks, Nuggets, Lakers, Bucks and Suns are the other taxpaying teams. The other 21 franchises will receive about $15MM each through the tax, Pincus tweets.
  • NBA fans are anticipating an active summer trade market, but it could be limited by teams that have reduced their options due to past moves, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. Hollinger notes that nine teams already owe unprotected future first-round picks, and others have lightly protected first-rounders on the move. Some executives at the draft combine suggested to Hollinger that front offices may become less likely to give up multiple first-rounders in the future, even when star players become available. Hollinger identifies the Hawks, Nets, Mavericks, Warriors, Clippers, Heat, Bucks, Timberwolves and Suns as teams that could be considered “stuck.”

2023 NBA Draft Picks By Team

Two of the biggest winners on draft lottery night last week were the Hornets and Pacers. Charlotte moved up two spots from the pre-lottery standings to claim the No. 2 overall pick. The Pacers, meanwhile, stayed put in the lottery, but because San Antonio leapfrogged Houston in the first round, Indiana moved up 18 spots from No. 50 to No. 32 in the second round due to a convoluted set of trade criteria.

The Hornets and Pacers have something else in common: Charlotte and Indiana are the only teams that control more than three picks in the 2023 NBA draft. In fact, the two clubs own five selections apiece, accounting for 10 of the 58 total picks in this year’s event.

Nine additional teams each have three 2023 picks, joining the Hornets and Pacers to control nearly two-thirds of the draft — those 11 teams hold 37 of this year’s 58 picks, leaving the other 19 clubs to divvy up the remaining 21 selections.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, three teams don’t own any 2023 draft picks. The Bulls, Knicks, and Sixers will sit out this year’s event unless they acquire a pick via trade.

To present a clearer picture of which teams are most – and least – stocked with picks for the 2023 NBA draft, we’ve rounded up all 58 selections by team in the space below. Let’s dive in…

Teams with more than two picks:

  • Charlotte Hornets (5): 2, 27, 34, 39, 41
  • Indiana Pacers (5): 7, 26, 29, 32, 55
  • San Antonio Spurs (3): 1, 33, 44
  • Portland Trail Blazers (3): 3, 23, 43
  • Orlando Magic (3): 6, 11, 36
  • Washington Wizards (3): 8, 42, 57
  • Utah Jazz (3): 9, 16, 28
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (3): 12, 37, 50
  • Brooklyn Nets (3): 21, 22, 51
  • Sacramento Kings (3): 24, 38, 54
  • Memphis Grizzlies (3): 25, 45, 56

Teams with two picks:

  • Houston Rockets: 4, 20
  • Detroit Pistons: 5, 31
  • Atlanta Hawks: 15, 46
  • Los Angeles Lakers: 17, 47
  • Los Angeles Clippers: 30, 48

Teams with one pick:

  • Dallas Mavericks: 10
  • Toronto Raptors: 13
  • New Orleans Pelicans: 14
  • Miami Heat: 18
  • Golden State Warriors: 19
  • Boston Celtics: 35
  • Denver Nuggets: 40
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: 49
  • Phoenix Suns: 52
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: 53
  • Milwaukee Bucks: 58

Teams with no picks:

  • Chicago Bulls
  • New York Knicks
  • Philadelphia 76ers

2023 NBA Offseason Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves have historically been one of the worst teams in the league, particularly before and after the Kevin Garnett era. But they were one of the best stories of 2021/22, doubling their win total by going 46-36 and making the playoffs as the No. 7 seed before losing their first-round series against Memphis in six games.

Minnesota was determined to avoid regression last offseason and made one of the most shocking trades in NBA history, dealing away three rotation players, five first-round picks and a pick swap for center Rudy Gobert. Unfortunately, his frontcourt partner Karl-Anthony Towns missed much of ’22/23 due to a major calf injury, so the Wolves still only have a small sample size to examine the fit between the two former All-NBA big men.

The Wolves hovered around .500 for much of the season, ultimately finishing 42-40 and avoiding the risk of draft-lottery disaster by making the playoffs as the No. 8 seed (Utah controls Minnesota’s first-round pick, No. 16 overall). Late-season injuries to Naz Reid and Jaden McDaniels hurt their depth entering the postseason though, and the Wolves lost their first-round series to the Nuggets in five games.

While it’s a noteworthy accomplishment that the Wolves made the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2002-04, they have their sights set much higher going forward after trading away so many assets for Gobert.

The Timberwolves’ Offseason Plan

Minnesota is faced with a lot of difficult questions this offseason. The most prominent is whether or not the pairing of Gobert and Towns can ultimately lead to a championship when they’re taking up such a huge portion of the payroll, especially when it’s clear the future hinges on the evolution of Anthony Edwards (and, to a lesser extent, Jaden McDaniels).

I’m not going to go too deep into revisiting the Gobert trade, but needless to say it does not look good at all for the Wolves. Is there anyone right now that would even take Gobert in a one-for-one trade for Walker Kessler, the No. 22 overall pick last year who was sent to the Jazz as part of the deal?

Gobert makes $131.5MM over the next three seasons and will turn 31 years old next month. Kessler, who finished third in Rookie of the Year voting and nearly doubled Gobert’s block total (173 vs. 95) in far fewer minutes, will earn $10.7MM over the next three seasons and turns 22 in July. And the Wolves still owe the Jazz four additional first-rounders and a pick swap, not to mention the other players involved.

But I digress. Gobert is on the roster now, and the Wolves can only hope that he returns next season as the dominant paint protector he had been for the better part of the past decade. That version of Gobert was not present for much of ’22/23 — he didn’t receive a single vote for All-Defense or Defensive Player of the Year after making six consecutive All-Defensive First Teams and winning three Defensive Player of the Year awards from 2016-22. His trade value has bottomed out, because he has never been a great offensive player.

The Wolves will almost certainly offer Edwards a rookie scale max extension, and his fellow 2020 draft class member McDaniels is likely to get a very lucrative extension as well. It will be interesting to see exactly how much he receives with the addition of a possible fifth year for non-max rookie scale extensions.

Those extensions won’t take effect until ’24/25, which gives the Wolves a little bit of breathing room this offseason. But that’s also the main reason why I think they should explore the trade market for Towns this offseason in an effort to split his salary slot into smaller pieces. It doesn’t seem like they’ll actually do that, but that’s what I would do.

After signing a super-max extension last summer following an All-NBA appearance in ’21/22, Towns will earn an estimated $220MM+ from 2024-2028 (35% of the salary cap). Edwards will likely be making 25-30% of the cap as well, depending on whether he makes an All-NBA team next season. Gobert will be making nearly $44MM in 2024/25, which is close to the max. Even conservatively projecting McDaniels for a salary of $20MM, the Wolves would be faced with an enormous payroll two years from now. That isn’t sustainable.

Towns is an incredibly skilled and talented offensive player, but he doesn’t make great decisions and I doubt he’ll ever hold up well enough on defense to be worth that financial commitment. His brief playoff performances have been uneven at best.

The question is, what can they get for Towns? He’s only 27, so he’s theoretically in his prime. Minnesota wants to give itself the best chance to win the championship, so draft picks are unlikely to be of interest unless they can be rerouted as part of a three-way trade. Young players on rookie contracts would be appealing, but matching salaries wouldn’t be easy.

The Wolves are highly likely to guarantee the salaries of Mike Conley and Taurean Prince for ’23/24, as both were key rotation members last season. That would push their ’23/24 payroll up to $139.8MM — over the projected $134MM cap — with nine players under contract. Staying under the $162MM luxury tax while improving the roster will be tricky, especially when considering their own free agents, which include Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Jaylen Nowell and Naz Reid.

I really like Alexander-Walker’s defense, but I’m not sure he’s a lock to receive the $7MM qualifying offer that would make him a restricted free agent. If the Wolves don’t issue the QO, the 24-year-old would be unrestricted and free to sign with any team. That doesn’t mean the Wolves couldn’t bring him back, but it would be a risk if they do want to retain him, since they’d lose control of the process.

The other young guard, Nowell, might have one foot out the door already, based on various reports throughout the season. He seems intent on testing his value on the open market. Interest seems likely to be tepid though after a down season that saw him shoot just 28.9% from deep.

Reid, on the other hand, should attract a lot of interest after a career year. The Wolves have said they want to retain him, and they have his Bird rights, but I wonder if he’ll look for an opportunity for more minutes elsewhere in his first foray into free agency. Losing him would be a big blow to the team’s frontcourt depth, but you could also argue it would be difficult to justify paying him with Gobert and Towns already under long-term contracts. I’m very curious to see what type of deal he’ll get. I would rather have Reid at around $12MM per year than pay Towns four or five times that much in the future.

Jordan McLaughlin, whose contract is non-guaranteed, had a disappointing and injury-riddled season as the backup point guard. His contract is affordable enough, but I think the Wolves will look to upgrade that position, whether it be in free agency or via trade. Conley showed he could still contribute at a quality level last season, but he’ll be 36 when next season starts and on an expiring contract. Point guard is a position to watch going forward in Minnesota.

How many of their own free agents the Wolves retain — and how much they pay them — will determine whether or not they’ll have access to the full mid-level exception to sign other free agents.

Salary Cap Situation

Guaranteed Salary

Dead/Retained Salary

  • None

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

  • Nathan Knight ($1,997,238): Early Bird rights
    • Note: Knight’s salary would be partially guaranteed ($380,718) if his option is exercised.
  • Total: $1,997,238

Non-Guaranteed Salary

  • Mike Conley ($10,040,000)
    • Note: Partial guarantee. Conley’s salary would become fully guaranteed if he’s not waived on or before June 24.
  • Taurean Prince ($7,650,000)
    • Note: Prince’s salary would become fully guaranteed if he’s not waived on or before June 28.
  • Jordan McLaughlin ($2,320,000)
    • Note: McLaughlin’s salary would become fully guaranteed if he’s not waived on or before June 30.
  • Total: $20,010,000

Restricted Free Agents

Two-Way Free Agents

Draft Picks

  • No. 53 overall (no cap hold)

Extension-Eligible Players

  • Mike Conley (veteran)
  • Rudy Gobert (veteran)
  • Jordan McLaughlin (veteran)
  • Jaylen Nowell (veteran)
  • Naz Reid (veteran)
  • Anthony Edwards (rookie scale)
  • Jaden McDaniels (rookie scale)

Note: These are players who are either already eligible for an extension or will become eligible before the 2023/24 season begins. Nowell and Reid are only eligible until June 30.

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Note: The cap holds for Turner, Brooks, and Monroe remain on the Timberwolves’ books from prior seasons because they haven’t been renounced. They can’t be used in a sign-and-trade deal.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Mid-level exception: $12,220,600
  • Bi-annual exception: $4,448,000
  • Trade exception: $4,374,000
    • Note: Expires on July 6.
  • Trade exception: $3,688,117

Note: The Timberwolves would lose access to the full mid-level exception and the bi-annual exception if their team salary surpasses the tax apron.

Knicks Notes: Randle, Barrett, Hart, Quickley, D. Rose

The Knicks will listen to trade offers this summer for Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, but they won’t be eager to move either player unless they get a major star in return, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News says in a discussion of the team’s offseason plans with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype and Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Randle is coming off an All-NBA regular season, but he was disappointing in the playoffs for the second time in three years, although an ankle injury contributed to that. Scotto doesn’t believe other teams value him as highly as New York’s front office does, but Bondy questions whether Randle is an effective leader for the Knicks now that they’ve seemingly established themselves as a consistent playoff team. Begley notes that Randle has a personal connection with senior executive William Wesley and team president Leon Rose and states that management won’t try to deal him just because of a disappointing postseason.

Begley points out that some members of the front office were willing to send Barrett to Utah in last summer’s negotiations for Donovan Mitchell, so he’s likely to be made available again if the right deal comes along. Bondy believes any team talking about trading a star player to the Knicks would have to decide whether it would prefer Randle or Barrett in return.

There’s more on the Knicks from that conversation:

  • Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns have been mentioned as potential trade targets, but the three writers are skeptical that either deal will happen this summer. Scotto notes that Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey doesn’t like to trade star players unless he’s getting another one in return and suggests that the Heat look like a better option if Philadelphia ever decides to part with Embiid. Bondy points out that the Towns rumors have been around for a long time, and while he heard two years ago that coach Tom Thibodeau wouldn’t be opposed to a reunion with the Timberwolves big man, things might have changed since then.
  • Thibodeau’s affection for free agent Josh Hart and his CAA connections could help push his next contract into the range of $18MM per year, Scotto adds. He cites a consensus among attendees at last week’s draft combine that Hart plans to re-sign with New York.
  • Immanuel Quickley raised his value with a season that saw him finish second in the Sixth Man of the Year balloting, and his extension could be worth $80MM to possibly $100MM over four years, according to Scotto. Bondy cautions that the Knicks will have to be careful about how much they pay Quickley with big-money deals for Jalen Brunson, Randle, Barrett and likely Hart already in place.
  • The Bulls seem like a natural destination for Derrick Rose, whose $15.6MM team option for next season is unlikely to be picked up, Scotto states. Begley also mentions the Bucks, who were rumored to have interest in Rose during the season.

Gobert Goes Into "Dark Retreat"

  • Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert went into a “dark retreat” last week, much like quarterback Aaron Rodgers did before he was dealt to the New York Jets, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Gobert wrote on a social media that he spent “64 hours in full darkness.” It’s part of Gobert’s plan to have “the best summer” of his career as he looks to bounce back from an inconsistent first season with the franchise.

And-Ones: Curry, Pelicans, Fredette, Maddox, NBA Con

The Warriors Stephen Curry won another NBA award, but it wasn’t for his on-court prowess. He’s the recipient of the Professional Basketball Writers Association’s 2023 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for his inspiring work in the community, the PBWA tweets. Curry was selected for promoting youth literacy, fitness and nutrition, as well as fostering gender equity in sports. Lakers center Wenyen Gabriel, Clippers forward Paul George and Celtics forward Grant Williams were the other finalists.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • The Pelicans’ lease at the Smoothie King Arena expires next June but they plan to renew it to remain there for several more years, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. However, after renewing the lease, they plan to commission a study on whether renovations can be made to upgrade the arena or whether a new one is needed. Commissioner Adam Silver has stated that every arena in the league needs to be state of the art. New Orleans’ arena has the fewest seats of any lower bowl in the NBA.
  • Former NBA player Jimmer Fredette is among the players chosen for the USA’s Men’s 3×3 World Cup Team, the organization tweets. Timberwolves video associate Kareem Maddox is also on the squad, Minnesota’s PR department tweets. The four-member team will compete in the FIBA 3×3 World Cup from May 30 to June 4 in Vienna, Austria.
  • The NBA is adding a new fan-friendly event at the Summer League in Las Vegas, according to a league press release. NBA Con, a celebration of the best of hoops culture, will debut at Mandalay Bay from July 7-9, 2023.  NBA Con will bring together the fashion, music, cuisine, art and technology that make the league a cultural phenomenon, with appearances by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, top draft prospects Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson and numerous current NBA stars.

Kyle Anderson Underwent Procedure On Eye

  • Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson, who sustained an eye injury during the team’s first-round playoff series, underwent surgery on Wednesday to address the issue, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News and SKOR North. While there’s no official timeline for Anderson’s recovery, there’s no indication he won’t be ready for training camp.

Anthony Edwards: “I Don’t Do It For The Money”

Anthony Edwards is virtually guaranteed to get a full max extension from the Timberwolves this summer, but he tells Chris Hine of The Star Tribune that money isn’t what motivates him. Edwards said he’s more focused on working to improve his game and earning recognition as one of the league’s top players.

“I’m ready to play. I’m not even — that’s cool. The money cool,” he said. “But I love the game of basketball. I don’t do it for the money. I do it because I just want to be known who they say, ‘He was a great player.'”

The 21-year-old shooting guard already has the look of a franchise player. He made his first All-Star appearance this year and posted his best NBA season, averaging career highs with 24.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. At a press conference following Minnesota’s first-round playoff loss, president of basketball operations Tim Connelly indicated the organization will try to add players who fit well around Edwards.

The early playoff exit left Edwards disappointed, as did the feeling that the Wolves suffered too many losses during the season because of poor late-game execution. He plans to become more assertive in those situations, adding that “making the right play is me taking the shot” unless he’s double teamed.

Edwards tells Hine that he’ll prepare for that responsibility by getting in “better shape than everybody else in the league.” He plans to spend much of the offseason in Minnesota, where he’ll train with defensive standout Jaden McDaniels and other teammates such as Josh Minott and Wendell Moore Jr. as he tries to improve his shooting touch under duress.

Edwards already has a clear example of what he hopes to accomplish.

“It’s really about just keeping your composure while you’re going up through your shot,” he said. “I sometimes try to rush my shot once I see it’s heavily contested, but I still can get it off in time. I got to learn how to keep my composure. Kind of like how Luka Doncic never rushes his shot no matter how close the defense is. I started to learn that as we were longer into the season.”

Edwards also stated that he was able to “figure out” how to maximize Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns late in the season. The pairing of the two big men got off to an awkward start, and their progress was delayed due to Towns’ extended absence with a calf injury.

Edwards added that along with a possible FIBA World Cup appearance this summer, he plans to fly to France to work with Gobert on their screen-and-roll combination.

“Man, I love Rudy. Me and Rudy got a great understanding,” Edwards said. “We talk all the time, and I think he can get a lot better as far as catching the ball, jump hooking. I tell him all the time, like ‘Rudy, I’m (going to) throw you the ball every time. I want you to jump hook or money dunk on somebody,’ and he be like, ‘I got you.’ This summer we’re going to get together and work on it. … He told me to trust him, and I started trusting him and giving it to him and he’s making the right play. Shout-out to him, he kept making the right play in the pocket whether he was finishing or kicking it out.”