Timberwolves Rumors

Northwest Notes: Clingan, Shannon, Juzang, Braun

Donovan Clingan didn’t do much offensively in his Trail Blazers Summer League debut but the former UConn center showed off his defensive prowess, Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report notes. Clingan had 13 rebounds and five blocks while altering numerous other San Antonio shots.

“I thought he was awesome,” Portland Summer League coach Jonah Herscu said. “I thought he protected the paint. His size really impacts the other team at the offensive end.”

The lottery pick was less impressed by his outing than his coach was.

“I feel like there were a couple shots around the rim that I could have contested better or blocked,” Clingan said. “There were some floaters they made that I’m not happy with. I wish I’d rebounded the ball a little bit better in the first half.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Rookie Terrence Shannon Jr. isn’t guaranteed a rotation spot with the Timberwolves but he had a solid showing in his Summer League debut. Shannon, selected with the No.27 pick, played with force and physicality while racking up 25 points. “I was just proud of how he handled the game, managed it. He took great shots; he didn’t force anything,” Summer League coach Chris Hines told The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski. “But one of the things that I loved about him was he competed on defense.”
  • The Jazz‘s decision to offer restricted free agent Johnny Juzang a four-year contract shows that they are looking within the organization to round out the roster, Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune writes. There are better players on the free agent market than Juzang, Larsen notes, but the Jazz feel he can play a spot role. They filled Juzang’s two-way slot with Taevion Kinsey, who played last season for the G League Salt Lake City Stars.
  • Christian Braun is the logical successor to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — who left for Orlando as a free agent — as the Nuggets’ starting shooting guard, but he’s not taking that for granted, according to Bennett Durando of the Denver Post. “We have a lot of similarities, I think,” he said. “Defensively, kind of being pests. Offensively, we both fit alongside Nikola (Jokic). And it’s the reason we were brought in. I was brought in to play with those guys, and so was he. … I think I’m gonna do a great job the same way he did a great job. And I’m excited for that. I’m excited for the opportunity to, like I said, go out and earn it.”

Groups Revealed For 2024 NBA Cup

The NBA has announced the five-team groups for this year’s in-season tournament, now renamed the Emirates NBA Cup, the league announced in a release on Friday (Twitter link).

Like last year, there are six groups — three each from the Western Conference and Eastern Conference — and each conference was split into five groups based on last year’s standings. One team was selected at random from each group to determine the group round matchups.

The results are:

  • West Group A: Timberwolves, Clippers, Kings, Rockets and Trail Blazers
  • West Group B: Thunder, Suns, Lakers, Jazz and Spurs
  • West Group C: Nuggets, Mavericks, Pelicans, Warriors and Grizzlies
  • East Group A: Knicks, Magic, Sixers, Nets and Hornets
  • East Group B: Bucks, Pacers, Heat, Raptors and Pistons
  • East Group C: Celtics, Cavaliers, Bulls, Hawks and Wizards

The NBA Cup begins with group play, which runs from Nov. 12 to Dec. 3. Each team plays one game against each of the four opponents in its group. The NBA released a matchup matrix to help fans follow along (Twitter link).

Just like last season, the winner of each group advances to a knockout round alongside the team with the best record in each conference that didn’t win a group. The semifinals and finals will again be played in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Last year, the Lakers won the inaugural in-season tournament over the Pacers. LeBron James was named the tournament MVP after dropping 24 points in the title game.

The full game and broadcast schedule for group play will be announced next month.

Scotto’s Latest: Jones, Kennard, Martin, Okogie, Knicks, Shamet, Klintman

The Clippers are showing interest in free agent guard Tyus Jones in sign-and-trade scenarios, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reports in his latest around-the-league notebook.

While this is just speculation on Scotto’s part, the Clippers could look to use some combination of the expiring contracts of P.J. Tucker and Russell Westbrook or draft compensation and Bones Hyland in sign-and-trade scenarios for the Wizards guard.

Jones, our No. 15-ranked free agent, averaged 12.0 points and 7.3 assists per game last season while shooting 48.9% from the field and 41.4% from beyond the arc.

We have more from Scotto:

  • The leaguewide expectation is that Luke Kennard will return to the Grizzlies after the organization declined his team option before free agency, Scotto writes. Kennard averaged 11.0 PPG on 45.0% shooting from deep last season.
  • As we noted earlier Friday, it’s likely the Sixers look to use newly signed KJ Martin‘s contract as a trade chip when he becomes eligible to be moved on Jan. 15. The Sixers could trade for a player making $14MM if they packaged Martin alongside three minimum-salary players in a trade.
  • The Suns gave Josh Okogie a similar deal to what Martin got and could also look to utilize his salary as a trade chip, Scotto reports. However, unlike Martin, Okogie’s deal can’t be aggregated with other players on Phoenix’s roster due to the team’s position relative to the second tax apron.
  • The Knicks are trying to add both size and shooting to their roster this offseason, Scotto writes. Davis Bertans has previously been mentioned as an option for the Knicks, and they’re also expressing interest in free agent guard Landry Shamet. As reported, New York has shown interest in Walker Kessler but Utah’s asking price remains high. Meanwhile, Precious Achiuwa remains open to a return to New York.
  • Outside of the Knicks, Scotto reports that Shamet has drawn “exploratory interest” from the Bucks, Heat and Timberwolves. A return to the Wizards isn’t out of the question either.
  • The Pistons are attempting to finalize a contract with their No. 37 overall pick Bobi Klintman. Klintman is expected to end up on the 15-man roster on a multiyear contract, according to Scotto. The Pistons were intrigued by his size and shooting ability and are hoping to have him on a standard deal.

And-Ones: Moneke, Harrell, Offseason, Sarkar, TNT, G League

Former Kings forward Chima Moneke drew NBA interest this offseason, but his pricey contract buyout was a major obstacle, so he’ll be remaining with Spanish team Baskonia for the 2024/25 season, reports Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com. Moneke is expected to be a sought-after free agent in Europe when his contract expires in 2025 and could consider an NBA return again at that point, Urbonas notes.

Moneke appeared in just two NBA regular season games for Sacramento during the first half of the 2022/23 season before being waived in January 2023. However, the former UC Davis star has thrived overseas in recent years, earning All-Liga ACB (Spanish League) honors in 2022 and 2024 and winning an LNB Elite (French League) championship in 2023.

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

  • Former Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell published a story on The Players’ Tribune this week detailing what he has gone through off the court in recent years – including the death of his grandmother, a marijuana-related arrest, and a torn ACL and meniscus – and expressing a desire to get back into the NBA. Harrell was waived last October by the Sixers following his offseason knee injury.
  • What roster moves are still on tap for NBA teams now that only a few notable free agents are still on the board? John Hollinger of The Athletic explores that question, naming some possible trade candidates – including Brandon Ingram and Lauri Markkanen – and potential contract extension recipients to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.
  • Somak Sarkar, the former Timberwolves employee who was fired for stealing thousands of files, will avoid jail time after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized computer access, per Baxter Holmes of ESPN. A Minnesota judge ruled that Sarkar will serve probation for up to two years and pay a fine of $200.
  • With TNT Sports seemingly on the verge of losing its NBA broadcast rights, Michael McCann of Sportico considers whether Warner Bros. Discovery (TNT’s parent company) has any legal recourse to contest the league’s agreements with new partners NBC and Amazon.
  • The G League Ignite is no more, but the G League Fall Invitational will still take place this September, according to an announcement from the league. The G League United – a select team made up of top NBAGL prospects – will face Serbian team Mega Basket on September 4 and 6 at Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz.

Timberwolves Re-Sign Daishen Nix On Two-Way Contract

The Timberwolves have re-signed free agent guard Daishen Nix to a two-way contract, according to NBA.com’s official transactions log. Michael Scotto of HoopsHype was first to note the news (via Twitter).

A former McDonald’s All-American who went undrafted in 2021 after one season with the G League Ignite, Nix spent his first two NBA seasons with Houston. The Rockets waived him in June 2023 before his salary for the 2023/24 season became guaranteed.

Nix, 22, signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Timberwolves last September and then was converted to a two-way contract in October. He only appeared in 15 NBA games last season for a total of 50 minutes.

Nix appeared in 13 Showcase Cup and regular season games in ’23/24 for Minnesota’s G League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves, putting up impressive averages of 22.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.5 steals in 36.3 minutes per contest. He struggled with scoring efficiency, however, posting a .397/.244/.643 shooting line.

As our tracker shows, Nix fills Minnesota’s third and final two-way spot, joining Jaylen Clark and Jesse Edwards.

Timberwolves Promote Matt Lloyd to General Manager

The Timberwolves have promoted senior VP of basketball operations Matt Lloyd, announcing today in a press release that he has been named the team’s new general manager.

The promotion cements Lloyd’s place as the No. 2 man in Minnesota’s front office, behind only president of basketball operations Tim Connelly.

“We are thrilled for Matt and his well-earned promotion,” Connelly said in a statement. “He’s a wonderful teammate whose tireless work ethic and positivity have made a huge impact on our organization.”

Lloyd was one of Connelly’s first hires back in 2022 after having previously served in Orlando’s front office as an assistant general manager, interim GM, and VP of basketball operations. He also had a lengthy stint in the Bulls’ front office earlier in his career.

Lloyd was a finalist in Charlotte when the Hornets were seeking a new head of basketball operations earlier this year. According to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link), even after they hired Jeff Peterson in that role, the Hornets offered Lloyd a similar role in their new-look front office to the one he had in Minnesota, but he opted to remain with the Wolves. Now he has been rewarded with a promotion.

Team Canada Finalizes 2024 Olympic Roster

The Canadian national team has formally announced its 12-man roster for the Paris Olympics, making its final cuts ahead of Wednesday’s exhibition games against Team USA.

Team Canada’s 12-man squad is as follows:

While the group obviously isn’t as star-studded as the U.S. roster, it’s headed up by a 2024 MVP finalist (Gilgeous-Alexander) and a guard who was the second-best player on the 2023 NBA champions (Murray). In total, it features 10 active NBA players, and all of them played regular roles for their respective teams in 2023/24.

The only two non-NBA players are Birch, who spent six seasons in the league but now plays in Spain, and Ejim, a former Iowa State standout and a Team Canada veteran who has been a productive contributor for several teams in Europe since 2014.

Andrew Wiggins is among the notable names missing from Team Canada’s squad for Paris. He was on the original training camp roster but withdrew right before camp began due to what the Warriors referred to a mutual decision. Various reports, however, suggested that Golden State was the party driving that decision.

Grizzlies rookie Zach Edey also removed his name from the training camp roster in order to focus on Summer League and his first NBA season.

Trail Blazers guard Shaedon Sharpe and Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin, both of whom were coming off injuries that ended their 2023/24 seasons, were among the players who attended training camp but weren’t in the mix for roster spots for the Paris Olympics. Timberwolves forward Leonard Miller was in that group too.

This will be the first time Canada has been in the men’s basketball event at the Olympics since 2000.

Timberwolves Sign Jesse Edwards To Two-Way Contract

The Timberwolves have signed center Jesse Edwards to a two-way contract, according to the NBA transactions log. The team has confirmed the signing in a press release.

Edwards participated in both the G League Elite Camp and the NBA’s combine but went undrafted last month. The 24-year-old spent four seasons at Syracuse, then finished up his college career at West Virginia. He played 23 games for the Mountaineers and averaged 15.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 28.3 minutes per game.

In his last season with the Orange, the seven-f00t Edwards averaged 14.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in 32.6 minutes while making 32 starts.

The Amsterdam native suited up for the Netherlands Senior National Team during the 2023 World Cup qualifying tournament and the 2022 EuroBasket tournament.

The Timberwolves also have 2023 draft pick Jaylen Clark on a two-way deal but still have another slot available.

Olympic Notes: France, Japan, Spain, Flagg, Brooks

The host nation for the 2024 Olympics officially confirmed its roster for the Paris games, announcing a 12-man squad headlined by centers Rudy Gobert and Victor Wembanyama of the Spurs and Timberwolves, respectively (Twitter link).

Besides France’s twin towers, other NBA players on the French squad include Clippers forward Nicolas Batum, Wizards forward Bilal Coulibaly, and free agent swingman Evan Fournier. Nando De Colo, Frank Ntilikina, and Guerschon Yabusele are among the other players on the team who have previous NBA experience.

As first reported by Gabriel Pantel-Jouve of BeBasket on Sunday (via Twitter), France’s final two cuts were also former NBA players — guards Elie Okobo and Theo Maledon won’t be on the 12-man roster for Paris.

Here are a few more notes on the upcoming Olympic games:

  • As expected, Japan’s official 12-man roster for the Olympics is headed up by Lakers forward Rui Hachimura and six-year NBA veteran Yuta Watanabe (Instagram link). Former Nebraska Keisei Tominaga, who recently agreed to an Exhibit 10 deal with the Pacers, is another notable name on the 12-man squad.
  • After winning their Olympic qualifying tournament over the weekend, Spain is making just one change for the Olympics, as Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops writes. Veteran wing Alex Abrines, who played in the NBA with Oklahoma City from 2016-19, has been medically cleared to play following an injury and will replace 2024 Spurs second-round pick Juan Nunez for the Olympics. The full roster, which includes Santi Aldama of the Grizzlies and the Hernangomez brothers, can be found right here (Twitter link).
  • Incoming Duke freshman Cooper Flagg said over the weekend that he was “pretty surprised” to be invited to be part of the Select Team for the U.S. training camp in Las Vegas, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. However, Flagg was the talk of that Vegas camp, earning rave reviews from players and coaches alike, according to Joe Vardon and Sam Amick of The Athletic. Select Team assistant coach Jim Boylen referred to the 17-year-old as “unbelievable,” while teammate Jaime Jaquez said Flagg was “playing out of his mind.” Flagg is a candidate to be the No. 1 pick in the 2025 draft. “He showed no fear,” Jalen Duren said. “He came and worked hard every day. You would think he’s already here, you know what I mean?”
  • After defeating Team USA with the Canadian national team for bronze at the 2023 World Cup, Dillon Brooks is eager to face a more star-studded U.S. in Wednesday’s exhibition game in Las Vegas, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic. “I take it as (just) another game, but me being who I am, I like to make a statement,” Brooks told reporters on Monday. “So I’ll be ready to play. Team Canada will be ready to play, and we’re gonna go balls to the wall and watch the film after and see if we got better.”

Jaylen Clark Returns After Long Injury Recovery

  • The Timberwolves’ Jaylen Clark has been cleared to play in the Summer League after recovering last season from a ruptured left Achilles tendon, the team announced in a press release. Minnesota drafted Clark in the second round last year despite Clark’s injury, which he suffered while playing for UCLA. Clark told Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune he can be a defensive factor in the league. “I just want to re-establish myself as the best defender in my class,” he said. “I can guard way bigger than what I am, and I’ve improved my jump shot a whole bunch. I’m going to try to break the steals record like I did at my college.”
  • The Timberwolves are looking toward rookies Rob Dillingham and Terrence Shannon Jr., 2023 second-round pick Leonard Miller and 2022 second-rounder Josh Minott to compete for rotation spots next season, according to Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “We got some holes right away that need to be plugged and there’s no doubt that they’re going to have to be filled by young players, whether it be these two guys [Dillingham and Shannon] or guys that have already been in the system, in the gym,” coach Chris Finch said. “That’s what we need to do. We’re excited about that challenge and we’re looking forward to these guys stepping up to it.”