Timberwolves Rumors

Team Has Some Growing Up To Do

  • While the postseason experience will certainly help the Timberwolves down the road, they’ve got a lot of growing up to do, Chip Scoggins of The Star Tribune opines. Scoggins notes that Minnesota gave away three double-digit fourth-quarter leads against Memphis due to a lack of maturity and composure, abetted by poor shot selection. The fact that D’Angelo Russell played his way out of the crunch time lineup also needs to addressed.

Timberwolves Decline Option On Assistant GM Gianluca Pascucci

  • The Timberwolves have declined to pick up their option on assistant general manager Gianluca Pascucci‘s contract for next season, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, who explores what the team’s recent front office changes say about Sachin Gupta‘s future with the organization. Minnesota agreed this week to hire Steve Senior as an assistant GM.

Karl-Anthony Towns Receives Significant Medical Treatments

All-Star Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns had been playing through a litany of ailments during Minnesota’s recent playoff run, writes Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. The injuries were significant enough that Towns decided to receive several medical treatments for them in the hopes of avoiding offseason surgery.

According to Shelburne, the 6’11” big man out of Kentucky had been playing through the injuries throughout the Timberwolves’ postseason run, which included a play-in tournament win over the Clippers and a hard-fought 4-2 first-round loss to the Grizzlies.

Shelburne reveals that Towns had been struggling through pain in both his knees, plus a dislocated left wrist with ligament damage, an aggravated right hand middle finger joint, and a cyst in his left ankle. To address these maladies, the 26-year-old was given platelet-rich plasma injections and stem cell therapy in all the impacted areas.

Towns’ goal for receiving these various treatments now is to stave off surgery and completely recuperate from the procedures in time for Minnesota’s training camp in the fall.

Alongside second-year shooting guard Anthony Edwards, Towns led a resurgent Timberwolves team to a 46-36 regular season record and its first playoff berth in four years. Towns was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 24.6 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.1 BPG, and 1.0 SPG in 74 games. He also posted a slash line of .529/.410/.822.

A-Rod Focused On Wolves; Worked Out Several Prospects

  • After recent rumors that Timberwolves minority owner Alex Rodriguez might be interested in purchasing the Miami Marlins, his PR representative denied the claim. “Alex Rodriguez is 100 percent focused on owning the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx. Any report of him having interest in also buying the Miami Marlins or any other MLB team is entirely false,” said Ron Berkowitz of Berk Communications (via Twitter). A-Rod and co-owner Marc Lore are set to become majority shareholders of the Wolves in 2023/24.
  • After recent rumors that Timberwolves minority owner Alex Rodriguez might be interested in purchasing the Miami Marlins, his PR representative denied the claim. “Alex Rodriguez is 100 percent focused on owning the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx. Any report of him having interest in also buying the Miami Marlins or any other MLB team is entirely false,” said Ron Berkowitz of Berk Communications (via Twitter). A-Rod and co-owner Marc Lore are set to become majority shareholders of the Wolves in 2023/24.
  • Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News reports that the Timberwolves worked out several draft prospects on Thursday and Friday, including UCLA’s Johnny Juzang, Maryland’s Fatts Russell, Alabama’s Keon Ellis, North Carolina’s Kerwin Walton, and Richmond’s Jacob Gilyard (all Twitter links here).

And-Ones: Beasley, Delaney, Bolmaro, Duarte, EuroLeague, Ticket Prices

Michael Beasley has officially committed to play in the BIG3 league with 3’s Company this summer, Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw tweets. ESPN’s Marc J. Spears recently reported Beasley was expected to play in the league. The former No. 2 pick, who last played in the NBA with the Lakers during the 2018/19 season, has hired agent Andre Buck and will continue pursuing an NBA comeback. 

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA player Malcolm Delaney will miss the remainder of Olimpio Milano’s season due to an abdominal injury, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando tweets. Delaney won’t return to Milan next season. “Two special years, in which I played in two of the best teams I’ve ever been a part of, but with a lot of bad luck,” Delaney said. “I enjoyed my experience in Milan, on and off the court.”
  • Timberwolves rookie Leandro Bolmaro and Pacers rookie Chris Duarte will be among the coaches at the Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Americas camp next week, according to an NBA press release. The camp will be held from Monday to Thursday in San Luis Potosí, Mexico and will bring together the top high-school age boys and girls from Latin America, Canada and the Caribbean.
  • This year’s EuroLeague First Team selections have a distinct NBA flavor. NBA veterans Mike James, Shane Larkin and Nikola Mirotic were all selected to the First Team along with Walter Tavares and Sasha Vezenkov, Eurohoops.net tweets.
  • Ticket prices around the NBA continue to rise as attendance drops, Josh Kosman and Brian Lewis of the New York Post report. According to the Post, fans are now paying an average of $109 per ticket, an 18.6% increase since 2018/19. However, the number of paid fans at arenas has dropped 7.1% to 13,603 per game. Those numbers could impact the league’s negotiations with its broadcast partners.

Timberwolves To Hire Steve Senior As Assistant GM

The Timberwolves plan to hire Steve Senior from the Grizzlies as an assistant general manager with a focus on player development, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter links).

Senior has worked with several members of Minnesota’s organization in the past, including executive vice president of basketball operations Sachin Gupta and head coach Chris Finch with the Rockets, and assistant coach Pablo Prigioni with the Knicks, Krawczynski notes. Senior is highly regarded throughout the league.

Senior worked in player development with Memphis in addition to serving as director of video operations, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. He spent several years with the Knicks in player development and as a video coordinator, among other roles, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.tv, who adds that Senior is “well-respected” in New York.

It’s an interesting hire for the Timberwolves for a couple of different reasons. Firstly, they’re poaching Senior from the Grizzlies, the team that just beat them in the first round of the playoffs. Grizzlies GM Zach Kleiman was named the Executive of the Year earlier today, and player development has been a big factor in the team’s success.

Secondly, it’s one of the first major moves for Gupta, who received a first-place vote for Executive of the Year despite still only having an interim head of basketball operations title following the dismissal of Gersson Rosas in September. Minnesota previously signed Finch and all of his assistant coaches to multiyear contract extensions after the regular season concluded, and Finch and Gupta have publicly supported each other.

Previewing Timberwolves' Offseason

  • Ethan Fuller of BasketballNews.com previews the Timberwolves‘ offseason. Minnesota is coming off one of its most successful seasons in recent memory, making the playoffs for just the second time in the last 17 years. The team must decide whether to make a major move (such as trading D’Angelo Russell) or make minor adjustments with hopes of improving next season.

Northwest Notes: Wolves, Russell, Jazz, Hernangomez

The Timberwolves are coming off a thrilling season — one that featured their second playoff appearance in the last 17 years — but the road ahead will only be harder for the team, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. 

Minnesota finished the regular season with a 46-36 record. The team showed flashes of potential in its first-round series against the No. 2 Grizzlies, but ultimately lost in six games.

“We’ve got to take two steps forward while other teams take one step forward,” executive vice president of basketball operations Sachin Gupta said.

In addition to the Grizzlies, the West also has several other competitive teams. The Suns, Warriors, Nuggets and Mavericks will all likely be competing for a championship again next season. Minnesota fans may have enjoyed this season, but more work must be done before advancing in the playoffs.

Here are some other notes from the Northwest Division:

  • Trading D’Angelo Russell may be best for the Timberwolves, Michael Rand of the Star Tribune opines. Rand believes that Russell, who’s set to make $31.4MM next season, can’t be part of a championship core on his current salary. Russell is set to enter unrestricted free agency in 2023, so Minnesota could try to get something in return for him before then or risk losing him on the open market. The team still doesn’t have an established presence at point guard behind Russell. In 65 starts this season, he averaged 18.1 points and 7.1 assists per game, shooting 41%.
  • Sarah Todd of the Deseret News examines whether the Jazz will stay competitive in the West beyond this season. Utah lost its first-round series against Dallas in six games, raising questions about whether the team will keep Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert together. The Jazz have made the playoffs six straight seasons, but didn’t reach the conference finals once during that time.
  • In a separate story for the Deseret News, Todd explores what the future may hold for Jazz forward Juancho Hernangomez. The 26-year-old was productive in his 17 regular-season games with Utah, averaging 6.2 points on 51% shooting from the floor and 44% shooting from deep. His minutes were limited in the playoffs, however. He scored a total of 14 points in 56 minutes against Dallas, shooting 5-of-18 (28%) from the floor.

Stein’s Latest: Kings, M. Jackson, Russell, Brunson, Hornets

Mike D’Antoni‘s inability to advance to the second round of head coaching interviews with the Kings suggests that the team is making it a priority to upgrade its defense, according to Marc Stein, who observes in his latest Substack article that Sacramento ranked 27th in defensive efficiency this season after placing 30th in 2020/21.

According to Stein, former Golden State coach and current ABC/ESPN broadcaster Mark Jacksonreportedly one of three finalists along with Steve Clifford and Mike Brown – impressed Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, and appears to have a legitimate shot of returning to an NBA bench. All three of Sacramento’s finalists are known for their “fondness for defense,” says Stein.

If Jackson isn’t hired by the Kings, he’s expected to be a candidate for the Lakers‘ job, though he may not be high on their wish list, Stein writes, adding that L.A. is expected to take its time with its head coaching search and likely won’t move as quickly as Sacramento’s has.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • A number of rival teams expect the Timberwolves to attempt to trade guard D’Angelo Russell this offseason, according to Stein. Russell, who is good friends with Karl-Anthony Towns, will be on an expiring $31.4MM contract in 2022/23 after struggling in Minnesota’s playoff series vs. Memphis.
  • Mavericks team officials are expressing plenty of confidence behind the scenes that the team will be able to work out a new deal with free agent point guard Jalen Brunson this summer, says Stein. New York, Detroit, and Indiana have frequently been cited as potential suitors for Brunson.
  • If Quin Snyder decides to leave the Jazz this spring, the Hornets would have interest in him for their head coaching position, league sources tell Stein. Charlotte is in the market for a replacement for James Borrego.

Timberwolves Realize Progressing After Season Isn't Guaranteed

  • The Timberwolves realize that progressing after this season isn’t a guarantee and growth isn’t always linear, Dave Campbell of The Associated Press writes. Minnesota gave the No. 2 seed Grizzlies a run for their money in round one, but they ultimately lost in six games. The team has a young nucleus of Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and others that could be competitive for many years to come.