Minnesota Timberwolves – Hoops Rumors Legitimate NBA free agent and trade rumors. 2019-12-10T15:50:07Z https://www.hoopsrumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Luke Adams <![CDATA[Rockets Interested In Robert Covington]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=146944 2019-12-10T14:07:08Z 2019-12-10T14:07:08Z A day after Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Rockets were willing to surrender future assets for help on the wing, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer identifies one specific target Houston is eyeing. League sources tell O’Connor that the Rockets have “serious interest” in Timberwolves forward Robert Covington.

Houston isn’t the only team with interest in Covington — O’Connor hears from multiple sources that playoff teams are monitoring the availability of the veteran, who will turn 29 on Saturday. As a very effective three-and-D player with a favorable contract, Covington could net a strong package for the Wolves if they decide to move him before this year’s deadline, O’Connor writes.

In 22 games (all starts) this season, Covington is averaging 12.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 1.3 SPG with a .455/.369/.902 shooting line for Minnesota. He has an $11.3MM cap hit, with guaranteed salaries of $12.1MM (2020/21) and $13MM (’21/22) to follow.

For the Rockets, putting together a trade package for Covington might be tricky. While Houston could offer its first-round pick in 2020 and/or 2022, matching salaries would be an issue. The team signed Nene to a contract loaded with incentives in the hopes of using him as a salary-matching piece in a deal for a player like Covington, but the NBA ruled that Nene’s outgoing salary in a trade can only be $2.56MM (his guaranteed base) rather than $10MM (his actual cap hit), limiting the club’s options.

The Rockets are also right at the tax line, meaning they could face stricter salary-matching rules, depending on how a deal is structured. If Houston is unwilling to trade one of its five highest-paid players (James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, and P.J. Tucker), the club would have to package at least three smaller contracts for someone like Covington, which would be difficult for Minnesota to accommodate.

For what it’s worth, new Wolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas was Daryl Morey‘s top lieutenant for years in Houston, so Rosas will be very familiar with the Rockets’ roster.

JD Shaw <![CDATA[Andrew Wiggins Plans To Remain Aggressive Despite Slump]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=146818 2019-12-09T12:58:08Z 2019-12-08T23:36:12Z
  • Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins remains committed to staying aggressive and attacking the basket this season, Chris Hine of the Star Tribune writes. Wiggins has averaged a career-best 24.9 points on 45% shooting through 17 games. He’s seen his numbers slightly regress in the past couple of weeks, but that won’t deter the 24-year-old from continuing to do what he does best. “I feel like that’s how it goes,” Wiggins said. “I just haven’t been hitting. It’s not just shots. It’s layups. It’s stuff around the rim. I’m right there to drop it in, and they’re just going in and out. I’m just going to keep doing the same thing and I know it’s going to drop.”
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    Alex Kirschenbaum <![CDATA[Culver Remains Confident Amid Rocky Shooting Start]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=146778 2019-12-09T12:56:35Z 2019-12-08T21:41:05Z
  • Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune assessed rookie shooting guard Jarrett Culver‘s uneven start for the Timberwolves. Culver is shooting 36.9% from the field, 25.9% from three-point range, and just 43.5% from the free throw line. At 10-11, Minnesota harbors legitimate playoff aspirations in the West, where the team is currently seeded seventh. Improvement from Culver could make a significant difference in a playoff push, and he remains optimistic that his shooting would stabilize. “I’ve put in a lot of work,” Culver said, “so I trust it and I know it’s going to fall.”
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    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/7/19]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=146714 2019-12-08T11:34:45Z 2019-12-08T03:01:54Z Here are Saturday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the league:

    • The Thunder assigned Deonte Burton to the Oklahoma City Blue after he served a one-game suspension for a locker room altercation with a teammate, tweets Royce Young of ESPN. “I think it’s pretty clear, one-game suspension and we’ll all move on,” said coach Billy Donovan, who attributed the incident to healthy frustration over the team’s slow start. The second-year shooting guard is averaging 2.8 points and 1.8 rebounds in 12 NBA games this season.
    • The Wizards assigned Admiral Schofield and Justin Robinson to their Capital City affiliate so they could play in tonight’s game, the team announced on Twitter.
    • The Timberwolves assigned Jaylen Nowell to Iowa, according to a tweet from the team. The rookie shooting guard has gotten into just two games for Minnesota.
    • In a leftover move from yesterday, the Clippers recalled center Mfiondu Kabengele from their Agua Caliente affiliate.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Wolves Recall Naz Reid From G League]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=146116 2019-12-02T02:48:18Z 2019-12-02T02:48:18Z
  • The Timberwolves recalled rookie center Naz Reid from the G League on Sunday, per a team release.
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    JD Shaw <![CDATA[Keita Bates-Diop Continues Push Into Rotation]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145987 2019-12-01T02:07:30Z 2019-11-30T19:46:07Z
  • Timberwolves forward Keita Bates-Diop is slowly but surely forcing his way into the team’s rotation, Chris Hine writes for the Star Tribune. Bates-Diop, 23, was drafted 48th overall in 2018 by the Wolves after spending four seasons at Ohio State. He’s averaged 8.9 points in seven games (17.9 MPG) this season.
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    Chris Crouse <![CDATA[Front Office Approach Contributing To Andrew Wiggins’ Success]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145943 2019-11-30T01:07:21Z 2019-11-30T00:57:58Z Andrew Wiggins has failed to live up to the expectations of a No. 1 pick but Gersson Rosas didn’t see that in him when he took over the Timberwolves‘ team president role. Rosas saw the 6’8″ wing as a distressed asset and someone he could help to improve.

    “I’m a player development guy at heart,” Rosas told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. “I love these kind of projects.”

    Rosas was with the Rockets as James Harden bloomed into the superstar that he is today. Harden’s ascension didn’t happen overnight and the executive knew patience would be key with getting the most out of Wiggins. Stability would be another factor. Minnesota had shuffled through head coaches for much of the forward’s time with the club but with Ryan Saunders came familiarity. Saunders has been with the franchise in lower coaching roles since Wiggins came into the league and two have a strong relationship.

    The front office wanted Wiggins to work on his three-point shot this summer and according to Mannix, he spent more of the offseason in Minnesota this past summer than he has in any other year to accomplish that goal. He constantly reminds himself to take the three if it’s available, which is just part of the game plan of taking better shots overall.

    The results? Wiggins, who turns 25 in February, is averaging career-highs in a bevy of categories with points (25.3), assists (3.3), player efficiency rating (20.1) and true shooting percentage (.550) among the stats that reflect his improvement.

    “Anytime you have better play, more efficient play as you grow your usage, that’s something that’s pretty interesting,” Rosas said. “That’s him doing the work, the system helping him out and everything trending in a very, very positive way. It’s a commitment to competing, working and buying into what’s we’re doing that’s going to work for him. It’s going to work for our team.”

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[And-Ones: Africa, Pitino, Olympic Qualifiers]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145713 2019-11-27T01:12:55Z 2019-11-26T17:59:18Z Last night’s matchup between the Sixers and Raptors highlighted the growing influence Africa is having on the NBA, writes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Joel Embiid and Pascal Siakam both hail from Cameroon and were discovered through Basketball Without Borders.

    “Just to have two guys who are on separate teams but at the top of their teams means everything,” Siakam said. “It just shows the amount of talent we have on the continent, and for Cameroon, it’s a blessing and we’re excited about it. To represent our country at such a high level, it’s amazing.”

    Zillgitt notes that 12 African players made opening-night rosters and nearly 10% of the league has at least one parent who was born there. The NBA will continue to expand its outreach to the continent, with the Basketball Africa League scheduled to begin in March.

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

    • Former NBA and NCAA coach Rick Pitino has returned to Panathinaikos on a two-year contract, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Pitino led his team to the Greek Cup title last year as coach and team president, but left this summer in hopes of returning to the NBA.
    • The Olympic Qualifying Draw will take place tomorrow for teams that haven’t already secured a spot in the 2020 games, and Serbia’s Bogdan Bogdanovic knows that his nation’s path will be much smoother if it doesn’t have to face Slovenia with Luka Doncic. “There’s a lot at stake, and obviously it would be easier for us if we don’t play against him,” Bogdanovic said in an interview with Zurnal.rs (translated by Carchia). “But on the other hand we would love to see Doncic playing Olympic qualifiers here.” Belgrade will be among the four host cities for the tournaments, along with Victoria, Canada; Split, Croatia; and Kaunas, Lithuania.
    • ESPN’s Bobby Marks identifies a few under-the-radar moves that have made a difference in the first month of the season, including the Wizards adding Davis Bertans and Moritz Wagner, the Heat keeping Goran Dragic, the Suns getting better-than-expected contributions from Aron Baynes and Jevon Carter, the Thunder landing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the impressive coaching jobs by Monty Williams in Phoenix and Ryan Saunders in Minnesota.
    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Northwest Notes: Anthony, Teague, Nader, Thunder]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145709 2019-11-27T00:44:02Z 2019-11-26T16:40:31Z Monday marked Carmelo Anthony‘s best game since returning to the NBA, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Anthony led all scorers with 25 points in 31 minutes as the Trail Blazers won in Chicago. He got a nice reception from Bulls fans and drew accolades from players who are happy to see him back in the league.

    “I always advocated for him to be in the NBA,” Zach LaVine said. “… He’s better than a lot of people in the NBA, and he’s still getting it done. I think it was just bigger than that, and I’m glad to see him back here. Just not tonight.”

    The performance raised questions about whether the Bulls should have given Anthony an opportunity when they had the chance. After the Rockets exiled him last season, they shipped him to Chicago in January in a cost-saving move. The Bulls waived him 10 days later. Anthony might have been able to revive his career sooner in the Windy City, but as he said after last night’s game, “They didn’t ask.”

    There’s more from the Northwest Division:

    • Jeff Teague‘s acceptance of a bench role in Minnesota is a rare move for a player in the final year of his contract, notes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Teague met with coach Ryan Saunders over the weekend before the change was finalized, sources tell Krawczynski. Rookie Jarrett Culver started alongside Andrew Wiggins last night and helped the Timberwolves win in Atlanta. Wiggins has taken on more of the playmaking duties this year, leaving Teague without a defined role in the offense. With a $19MM expiring contract, Teague may draw some interest on the trade market before the February 7 deadline.
    • Abdel Nader can expect more playing time for the Thunder with Hamidou Diallo sidelined with an elbow injury, states Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. The third-year guard lives 15 minutes away from the team’s practice facility and sometimes works on his game until 3 a.m. “I’m a little bit crazy when it comes to the work I’ve gotta put in,” Nader said. “I wanna make sure my game feels tight — my shot, my handle, everything. That’s how I feel like I get better.”
    • Paul George and Russell Westbrook, who were the Thunder’s stars last year, had their first meeting of the season Friday when the Clippers hosted the Rockets and both have landed in better situations, contends Ben Golliver of The Washington Post.
    JD Shaw <![CDATA[Nowell, Martin, Bates-Diop Receive Major Opportunites]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145569 2019-11-26T01:11:58Z 2019-11-24T23:33:02Z
  • A trio of G League players received major opportunities with the Timberwolves on Saturday, as the team needed their services due to multiple players being sidelined to illness or injury, Chris Hine of the Star Tribune details. Minnesota recalled Jaylen Nowell, Kelan Martin and Keita Bates-Diop to play against Phoenix, with Bates-Diop recording 22 points and four rebounds in 37 minutes of work. “He’s capable,” teammate Andrew Wiggins said of Bates-Diop. “Keita’s a very versatile player. He can knock down a shot, great defender, even though he’s very good at getting to the rim and amazing off-the-ball player.”
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    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/23/19]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145487 2019-11-26T00:42:15Z 2019-11-24T02:46:55Z Here are Saturday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

    • The Hornets recalled Caleb Martin and Jalen McDaniels from their Greensboro affiliate, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Martin has gotten into three NBA games this season, while McDaniels has appeared in just one.
    • The Timberwolves recalled Jaylen Nowell from their affiliate in Iowa, the team announced in a press release. The second-round pick is averaging 18.5 PPG in six G League games.
    • The Pistons recalled rookie Sekou Doumbouya from Grand Rapids, according to an email from the team. He is averaging 18.4 PPG in eight games with the Drive.
    • The Jazz assigned Miye Oni and Nigel Williams-Goss to their Salt Lake City affiliate, the team announced on Twitter.
    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Northwest Division]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145387 2019-11-25T23:39:24Z 2019-11-23T02:50:12Z Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Northwest Division:

    Danilo Gallinari, Thunder, 31, SF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $64.7MM deal in 2017
    Gallinari’s biggest issue has been staying out of the trainer’s room. His 68 regular-season appearances with the Clippers last season was his most since the 2012/13 season. But when he’s healthy, he can fill it up. He’s averaging 19.1 PPG and 5.1 RPG while shooting 41.3 percent from deep. When he gets to the free throw line, he’s money (at least 90 percent since 2016/17). At 31, Gallinari still has a few more good years left and will get a hefty long-term offer next summer.

    Mason Plumlee, Nuggets, 29, C (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $41MM deal in 2017
    Plumlee doesn’t stretch defenses like a majority of big men these days but he does enough to stay on the court. He’s the team’s fourth-leading rebounder despite averaging 16.6 MPG. He’s also adept at finding teammates (2.3 APG). Plumlee’s role figures to diminish if 2018 first-round Michael Porter Jr. starts to make a bigger impact but for now, Plumlee has a steady second-unit role on a contender. However, his annual salary will take a big dip next summer.

    Jordan Bell, Timberwolves, 24, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.62MM deal in 2019
    The Timberwolves can make Bell a restricted free agent by extending a $2.0MM qualifying offer in June. Thus far, Bell hasn’t done anything to make them want to keep the former Warriors big man around for another season. He’s been glued to the bench through the first month of this season, playing a total of eight minutes since November 4th. Noah Vonleh and Gorgui Dieng are ahead of him in the rotation off the bench, so Bell’s role won’t expand unless injuries strike.

    Kent Bazemore, Trail Blazers, 30, SG (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $70MM deal in 2016
    Bazemore was acquired from the Hawks in exchange for another veteran swingman, Evan Turner. The trade has been a lose-lose situation for both teams. Neither has made an impact on their current teams. Bazemore is averaging single digits for the first time since the 2014/15 season despite steady playing time (23.6 MPG). He’s shooting 34.6 percent from the field and his PER is 8.7. That’s not exactly the way Bazemore wanted his walk year to unfold. He’ll be settling for a sizable pay cut next summer.

    Jeff Green, Jazz, 33, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.56MM deal in 2019
    Green is the quintessential journeyman, seemingly popping up on a different team every season. Normally, he puts up solid numbers wherever he lands. That hasn’t the case through the first 14 games this season. Green has been in a shooting slump, making just 33 percent of his attempts. He shot over 47 percent for Cleveland and Washington the past two seasons, so a breakout might be imminent. If not, Green’s rotation spot could be in jeopardy when Ed Davis‘ fractured leg heals.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Early Results Reduce Market For Chris Paul]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145265 2019-11-21T13:54:14Z 2019-11-21T04:58:24Z If the Thunder are hoping to trade Chris Paul soon, the first month of the NBA season hasn’t done them any favors, writes Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman, who notes that the teams most likely to be interested have all gotten off to strong starts.

    The Heat were the focus of trade rumors after Oklahoma City acquired Paul from the Rockets in July, but Miami sits at 10-3 after winning tonight. Offseason addition Jimmy Butler is the team’s assist leader at 7.2 per game as they are succeeding without a traditional point guard. The Heat have already made it clear that their interest in Paul is tied to a return of the draft picks they owe OKC, and they may be even more reluctant now to break up a winning combination.

    The Lakers have also been mentioned as a possibility because of Paul’s friendship with LeBron James. However, they hold the NBA’s best record at 12-2 and James leads the league in assists at 11.1 per game as he has developed an instant chemistry with Anthony Davis.

    The Timberwolves, who chased D’Angelo Russell in the offseason, are off to a better-than-expected 8-7 start, Tramel notes, while the Bucks, who have incentive to gamble for a title before Giannis Antetokounmpo can become a free agent in 2021, are 11-3 and are reluctant to become a taxpaying team.

    Paul’s contract remains an impediment to any deal, as he is signed for $41.3MM next season with a $44.2MM player option for 2021/22. He has played well for OKC, averaging 15.8 points and 5.6 assists through 14 games, but the Thunder appear to need at least one prospective trade partner to stumble before any progress can be made on a deal.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Northwest Division]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145140 2019-11-19T22:00:39Z 2019-11-19T22:00:39Z Over the course of the 2019/20 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

    All five Northwest teams entered the 2019/20 season with playoff aspirations, which could create an interesting situation by the trade deadline. Will several of these clubs be competing with one another for the top trade candidates on the market? Or will a couple Northwest teams fall short of their goals and pivot to selling as the deadline nears?

    While it’s too early to make any sweeping judgments on the five Northwest squads, all of whom have won between five and nine games, here are three players who could emerge as trade candidates as the season progresses:

    Chris Paul, PG
    Oklahoma City Thunder
    $38.5MM cap hit; increasing guaranteed cap hits through 2021/22

    When the Thunder officially acquired Paul from Houston on July 16, many NBA observers assumed his stint in Oklahoma City would be short-lived. Four months later though, Paul is still on OKC’s roster and has played pretty well in the early going, averaging 16.7 PPG, 5.3 APG, and .462/.426/.873 shooting through 13 games.

    It’s still possible that Paul will be part of two consecutive trades – no NBA teams have completed a deal since that July 16 blockbuster – but it has become increasingly obvious that his contract will be a major impediment. Even after this season, CP3 still has another two years and $85MM+ left on his deal, and the fact that it extends into the 2021/22 campaign is problematic. Given how star-studded the 2021 free agent class is expected to be, teams are reluctant to surrender significant cap space in that summer.

    While the Heat have been linked to Paul most often, I’d be surprised if Miami and Oklahoma City strike a deal. A team without major free agent aspirations for 2021 would be a better fit, so perhaps a club like the Timberwolves ultimately emerges as a more serious suitor.

    Jeff Teague, PG
    Minnesota Timberwolves
    $19MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

    Speaking of the Timberwolves, they’ve made it clear that they’re seeking a long-term answer at the point guard spot, which doesn’t bode well for Teague’s long-term future in Minnesota.

    Another sign Teague’s days with the Timberwolves may be numbered? When Gersson Rosas took over as the club’s president of basketball operations last summer, nine Wolves were eligible for free agency and a 10th had a non-guaranteed contract. None of those 10 players returned. Rosas will be aggressive in shaping the sort of roster he wants in Minnesota, and so far it doesn’t appear as if his vision overlaps much with that of the team’s previous decision-makers.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean that Teague is a goner, but his $19MM expiring contract would make him an ideal salary-matching piece if Rosas gets aggressive at this season’s trade deadline, since it’d be easier to move than the pricey multiyear contracts belonging to Gorgui Dieng and Andrew Wiggins.

    Hassan Whiteside, C
    Portland Trail Blazers
    $27.1MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

    At this point, the Trail Blazers still badly need Whiteside. Jusuf Nurkic remains sidelined for the foreseeable future, Zach Collins figures to miss most of the season with a shoulder injury, and Pau Gasol has yet to make his Portland debut.

    However, Whiteside is essentially a temporary placeholder in the middle until Nurkic is able to return. Once Nurkic is healthy, he’ll reclaim his starting spot, relegating Whiteside to a bench role. If Gasol is healthy and Collins is close to returning at that point, there will be even fewer minutes to go around in the frontcourt. And, of course, dissatisfaction with his playing time was what led Whiteside’s stint in Miami to go south.

    Whether or not Whiteside ends up on the trade block will hinge in large part on the health of those other three big men. If the Blazers are comfortable with their depth up front, Whiteside’s $27MM+ expiring contract could be a useful trade chip as the club seeks much-needed help at the forward spot. But if Portland is still shorthanded at center when the deadline arrives, moving Whiteside may not be a viable option.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Clark Crum <![CDATA[Naz Reid Recalled From Iowa]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=144920 2019-11-17T22:01:22Z 2019-11-17T22:01:22Z
  • Nearly three weeks after assignment, the Timberwolves have recalled rookie big man Naz Reid from the Iowa Wolves, Minnesota’s G League affiliate, according to a press release from the team. Reid is averaging 18.0 points, 8.6 boards, and 1.4 blocks for Iowa so far this season.
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