Minnesota Timberwolves – Hoops Rumors Legitimate NBA free agent and trade rumors. 2018-04-21T03:00:48Z https://www.hoopsrumors.com/feed/atom Luke Adams <![CDATA[Timberwolves’ Justin Patton Undergoes Foot Surgery]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=91875 2018-04-19T13:40:46Z 2018-04-19T13:40:46Z Timberwolves rookie center Justin Patton is done for the season, with the team announcing overnight in a press release that Patton has undergone surgery on his left foot. He will be out indefinitely, according to the Wolves.

It’s the second time Patton has had surgery on the same foot within the last year. Shortly after he was drafted by the Wolves last summer, the rookie underwent a procedure to repair a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot. The latest surgery is designed to encourage further healing of that same fracture, per the Timberwolves’ announcement.

According to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link), Minnesota is hopeful that Patton will be ready to go for the start of training camp in the fall. Still, as Krawczynski observes, the nagging foot issues are a concern, since similar foot problems have felled promising NBA big men in the past.

The 16th overall pick in last year’s draft, Patton appeared in just one game for the Wolves during the 2017/18 season, playing four minutes during an April 1 loss to Utah. He did see action in 38 G League games, however, posting 12.7 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 1.4 BPG in 23.1 minutes per contest.

The Wolves will have to decide this offseason whether to exercise or decline Patton’s $3,117,240 option for the 2019/20 season. Third-year options for players on rookie scale contracts are rarely declined, so I don’t expect the team to turn this one down. Still, the 20-year-old will be under some pressure to make it back from this foot surgery and show some potential on the court in Minnesota next season.

Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Justin Patton To Miss Game 3]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=91836 2018-04-18T21:37:38Z 2018-04-18T21:37:38Z
  • The Timberwolves will be without rookie center Justin Patton tonight because of a sore left foot, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.
  • ]]>
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Community Shootaround: Possible First-Round Upsets]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=91615 2018-04-16T14:49:27Z 2018-04-16T14:49:27Z Game 1 is in the books for all eight of the NBA’s first-round playoff matchups, and several of those games set up potentially fascinating series. Six of the eight higher seeds held their home-court advantage in the first game, but some of those favorites looked a little shaky in their victories, leading to plenty of speculation about first-round upsets.

    We’ll start with the weekend’s biggest upset, which took place in Cleveland, where the Pacers dismantled LeBron James and the Cavaliers in Game 1. It won’t be a surprise if the Cavs eventually pull out this series, but their 98-80 loss on Sunday was something we haven’t seen since James returned to Cleveland in 2014. In their last three first-round series, the Cavs have swept the Celtics, Pistons, and – one year ago – the Pacers.

    Of course, these Pacers are a much different team than the squad swept out of the postseason a year ago. Victor Oladipo looked like the best player on the floor on Sunday, and players like Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Lance Stephenson looked great in supporting roles. This Pacers team was overlooked and underappreciated all season, and appear poised to give the Cavs all they can handle in round one.

    The other Game 1 upset occurred in Portland, where the Pelicans edged out a two-point win over the Trail Blazers. Anthony Davis (35 points, 14 rebounds) was the best player on the court in that game, but Jrue Holiday‘s impact shouldn’t be understated. Besides posting 21 points and seven assists, Holiday also locked up Damian Lillard on the other end of the court — Lillard made just six of 23 shots.

    The Pelicans don’t have a whole lot of standout talent behind Davis and Holiday, but Nikola Mirotic (16 points, 11 rebounds) stepped up as a reliable third option on Saturday. If he – or another Pelican – can continue to support Davis and Holiday throughout the series, New Orleans should have a chance.

    Elsewhere, the Raptors, Rockets, and Thunder had to battle to the end to hold off the Wizards, Timberwolves, and Jazz, respectively, but came away with Game 1 victories. The Bucks pushed the Celtics to overtime before losing Eric Bledsoe and Giannis Antetokounmpo to foul problems and ultimately losing the game. None of those four favorites is a mortal lock to advance, though Houston is probably close.

    The Warriors and Sixers took care of business with comfortable wins over the Spurs and Heat, respectively.

    What do you think? Will we see an upset – or multiple upsets – in the first round of the postseason? Which lower-seeded teams do you think look like the best bets to advance to round two?

    Head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

    Chris Crouse <![CDATA[Pair of Wolves Talk Injuries, Team's Playoffs]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=91569 2018-04-15T22:30:39Z 2018-04-15T20:36:44Z
  • Taj Gibson, who signed a two-year, $28MM deal with the Wolves last summer, played through pain during Wednesday’s playoff-clinching win and he’ll do the same during the team’s series with the Rockets. “No different, just got to play through it,” Gibson said of the pain he played through earlier in the week (via Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune). “There’s not much improvement. It’s just something that’s going to have to heal up in the offseason and get rest.”
  • Jimmy Butler has played only three games for the Wolves since recovering from knee surgery earlier in the season. Still, he’s confident that the team, despite the injuries woes, will be able to compete in the franchise’s first playoff series since 2004, Zgoda relays in the same piece. “I feel good, well-rested to tell you the truth,” Butler said. “I’€™m confident in myself and these group of guys. Everybody’s locked in and focused. We don’t have anything to worry about, just go out and play.”
  • ]]>
    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Thibodeau Traded The Future To Get Better Now]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=91531 2018-04-15T02:05:00Z 2018-04-15T02:05:00Z The Timberwolves broke their 14-year playoff drought because coach/executive Tom Thibodeau was willing to trade away the future to get better now, writes Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. Thibodeau signaled a new direction for the franchise last June when he shipped Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the seventh pick in the draft to Chicago in exchange for Jimmy Butler. He followed that up by signing veteran free agents Taj Gibson, Jeff Teague, Jamal Crawford, Aaron Brooks and more recently, Derrick Rose.

    Austin Kent <![CDATA[2018 NBA Draft Order Tiebreaker Results]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=91430 2018-04-14T00:03:39Z 2018-04-13T21:49:48Z After a series of tiebreakers were conducted Friday night, the lottery odds for the NBA Draft have been finalized. Similarly, the draft order for teams outside of the lottery has been decided as well.

    While a total of four two-way ties and one four-way tie were all broken by coin toss, the biggest winner of the night would have to be the Mavs who will now officially boast the third-greatest odds when the lottery is drawn on May 15.

    Although the Hawks equaled Dallas in futility, both teams limited to 24 wins on the year, they’ll slot in one spot behind them at No. 4. That means, if neither team secures a top-three pick when the lottery results are revealed, they’ll just pick after them, the same as if they had won one more game. Both teams, however, will have nearly identical odds (13.7% versus 13.8%) of securing a top-three pick in the lottery.

    The Bulls also won big today, edging out the Kings for the No. 6 spot. Sacramento will have an identical shot at landing at top-three pick, however.

    The four-way tie between Utah, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Indiana ended with the Thunder at No. 20, the Jazz at No. 21, the Pelicans at No. 22 and the Pacers at No. 23.

    That Oklahoma City pick will head to Minnesota while the 22nd pick will go straight to the Bulls as part of the Nikola Mirotic deal.

    The Heat won the tiebreaker for the the 16th pick, ahead of the Bucks, and will send that to Phoenix as part of the Goran Dragic trade back in 2015.

    Milwaukee claiming the No. 17 pick is particularly interesting since, had they won the tiebreaker, they would have had to flip the pick to the Suns as part of the Greg Monroe trade. Since they didn’t, they’ll keep the pick and send a protected first-rounder in 2019, so long as it falls between 4-16.

    The Spurs won the coin toss between themselves and the Timberwolves and will now pick at No. 18. Minnesota’s 19th pick will go to Atlanta as part of a 2015 Adreian Payne trade.

    As is always the case, the loser of any tiebreaker will end up with the better pick in the second round. In the event of the four-way tie, all four teams will simply be flipped, giving the Pacers the 50th pick and so on.

    Here’s a rundown of what the draft order currently looks like, prior to the results of the May lottery.

    Pick Team
    1 Suns
    2 Grizzlies
    3 Mavs
    4 Hawks
    5 Magic
    6 Bulls
    7 Kings
    8 Cavaliers
    9 Knicks
    10 76ers
    11 Hornets
    12 Clippers
    13 Clippers
    14 Nuggets
    15 Wizards
    16 Suns
    17 Bucks
    18 Spurs
    19 Hawks
    20 Wolves
    21 Jazz
    22 Bulls
    23 Pacers
    24 Trail Blazers
    25 Lakers
    26 76ers
    27 Celtics
    28 Warriors
    29 Nets
    30 Hawks
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Details On Traded Picks, Upcoming Draft Tiebreakers]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=91258 2018-04-12T15:56:54Z 2018-04-12T05:20:17Z With the 2017/18 NBA regular season in the books, the postseason matchups are set in both the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference.

    More importantly for fans of most non-playoff teams, the end of the regular season means that the 2018 NBA draft picture is clearer than ever. The 2018 draft order is close to being set and – with a small handful of exceptions – most of this year’s traded draft picks with protections on them have now officially changed hands or officially stayed put.

    However, there are still some major question marks surrounding the draft order, since several clubs finished the regular season with identical records, and draft tiebreakers don’t work like playoff tiebreakers do. In order to break these ties, the NBA will conduct random drawings this Friday, as Jonathan Givony of ESPN notes (via Twitter).

    [RELATED: 2017/18 NBA Reverse Standings]

    For lottery teams, such as the 24-58 Mavericks and Hawks, who finished tied for third in the lottery standings, the implications of those drawings are huge. Whichever team wins that tiebreaker will have ever-so-slightly better odds at the first overall pick (13.8% to 13.7%), and will be in position to claim the higher first-round pick if neither team lands in the top three.

    For instance, if the Suns and Grizzlies remain at No. 1 and No. 2 in the lottery and another team leapfrogs the Mavs and Hawks, the winner of the tiebreaker between Dallas and Atlanta would claim the No. 4 overall pick — the loser would get No. 5. For the second round, the loser of the tiebreaker would receive the higher selection.

    Here are the draft tiebreakers that will be conducted on Friday:

    • Mavericks vs. Hawks for Nos. 3, 4.
    • Kings vs. Bulls for Nos. 6, 7.
    • Bucks vs. Heat for Nos. 16, 17.
    • Spurs vs. Timberwolves for Nos. 18, 19.
    • Pacers vs. Pelicans vs. Thunder vs. Jazz for Nos. 20-23.

    Several of those tiebreakers will also affect this year’s traded picks. Most notably, the Bucks/Heat drawing has massive implications for Milwaukee and Phoenix — the Bucks’ first-round pick will head to the Suns if it lands at No. 16, but Milwaukee would keep it if it ends up at No. 17. In other words, each team has a 50/50 shot at the pick. If the Bucks keep it, they’d owe their 2019 first-round selection to Phoenix, albeit with somewhat similar protections.

    Here’s a breakdown of the traded first-round picks for 2018. A check mark indicates the pick will definitely be sent to the indicated team:

    • Nets pick to Cavaliers (✔️): Eighth in lottery standings
    • Lakers pick to Sixers (97.1%) or Celtics (2.9%): 10th in lottery standings
      • Note: Celtics will receive pick if it lands at No. 2 or No. 3 via the lottery.
    • Pistons pick to Clippers (97.5%): 12th in lottery standings
      • Note: Pistons will keep pick if it lands in top three via the lottery.
    • Heat pick to Suns (✔️): No. 16 or 17 (tie)
    • Bucks pick to Suns (50%): No. 16 or 17 (tie)
      • Note: Bucks will keep pick if it lands at No. 17 via a random drawing.
    • Timberwolves pick to Hawks (✔️): No. 18 or 19 (tie)
    • Thunder pick to Timberwolves (✔️): No. 20, 21, 22, or 23 (four-way tie)
    • Pelicans pick to Bulls (✔️): No. 20, 21, 22, or 23 (four-way tie)
    • Cavaliers pick to Lakers (✔️): No. 25
    • Raptors pick to Nets (✔️): No. 29
    • Rockets pick to Hawks (✔️): No. 30

    Here’s a breakdown of the traded second-round picks that will change hands in 2018:

    • Bulls pick to Knicks (✔️): No. 36 or 37 (tie)
    • Nets pick to Sixers (✔️): No. 38
    • Knicks pick to Sixers (✔️): No. 39
    • Lakers pick to Nets (✔️): No. 40
    • Hornets pick to Magic (✔️): No. 41
    • Clippers pick to Nuggets (✔️): No. 43
    • Bucks pick to Nets (✔️): No. 45 or 46 (tie)
    • Heat pick to Rockets (✔️): No. 45 or 46 (tie)
    • Nuggets pick to Lakers (✔️): No. 47
    • Trail Blazers pick to Mavericks (✔️): No. 54
    • Cavaliers pick to Hornets (✔️): No. 55
    • Celtics pick to Thunder (✔️): No. 57
    • Warriors pick to Nuggets (✔️): No. 58
    • Raptors pick to Suns (✔️): No. 59
    • Rockets pick to Sixers (✔️): No. 60
    Clark Crum <![CDATA[Western Conference Playoff Seeding]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=91216 2018-04-12T04:57:39Z 2018-04-12T04:54:42Z 11:54pm: The Trail Blazers have defeated the Jazz in their regular season finale and clinched the No. 3 seed with the win. Here are the first-round matchups in the Western Conference:

    • Rockets (No. 1) vs. Timberwolves (No. 8)
    • Warriors (No. 2) vs. Spurs (No. 7)
    • Trail Blazers (No. 3) vs. Pelicans (No. 6)
    • Thunder (No. 4) vs. Jazz (No. 5)

    9:47pm: The Timberwolves have beaten the Nuggets and clinched the final spot in the 2018 NBA Playoffs. We now know the following.

    • The Nuggets will miss the playoffs
    • The Timberwolves are the No. 8 seed.
    • The Spurs are the No. 7 seed.
    • If the Trail Blazers beat the Jazz:
      • Pelicans are No. 6
      • Jazz are No. 5
      • Thunder are No. 4
      • Blazers are No. 3
    • If the Jazz beat the Trail Blazers:
      • Thunder are No. 6
      • Pelicans are No. 5
      • Blazers are No. 4
      • Jazz are No. 3

    8:54pm: The Thunder lead the Grizzlies by 12 with less than nine minutes remaining, while the Pelicans lead the Spurs by 18 with less than 10 minutes remaining. Barring a surprise comeback by Memphis or San Antonio, here is how the playoff picture looks after wins by Oklahoma City and New Orleans.

    Jazz: 3 or 5

    Trail Blazers: 3 or 4

    Thunder: 4 or 6

    Pelicans: 5 or 6

    Spurs: 7 or 8

    Timberwolves: 8 or 9

    Nuggets: 7 or 9

    4:37pm: As we indicated earlier today, the Nuggets and Timberwolves will face-off tonight with the final spot of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on the line.

    And while that game will be the only winner-gets-in, loser-gets-eliminated contest tonight, there are numerous other games with playoff seeding implications on the line. In the Western Conference, only the Rockets and the Warriors know their playoff seeding. Seeds three through eight are all still up for grabs, as follows:

    Jazz: 3, 4, or 5

    Trail Blazers: 3, 4, or 5

    Pelicans: 5, 6, 7, or 8

    Spurs: 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8

    Thunder: 4, 6, or 8

    Timberwolves: 6, 7, 8, or 9

    Nuggets: 6, 7, or 9

    We will be updating the Western Conference playoff seeding scenarios – in real time – as games finish this evening, so stay tuned to Hoops Rumors for all relevant up-to-the-minute developments.  For now, here are some initial notes that are not conditional upon other game results:

    • The Jazz and Trail Blazers winner gets the No. 3 seed.
    • The Thunder will be the No. 8 seed with a loss to the Grizzlies.
    • As noted above, the loser of the Nuggets and Wolves will finish ninth in the Western Conference standings.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Wolves Convert Amile Jefferson To Standard Contract]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=91199 2018-04-11T21:03:47Z 2018-04-11T19:19:24Z The Timberwolves have converted Amile Jefferson‘s two-way contract to a standard NBA deal, the team announced today in a press release. The move ensures that the rookie forward will be eligible to play in the postseason, assuming Minnesota earns a spot.

    Jefferson, who turns 25 next month, went undrafted out of Duke in 2017 and joined the Timberwolves for training camp. After being waived by the team prior to the start of the regular season, Jefferson headed to the Iowa Wolves for the 2017/18 season. He remained there all year, never appearing in a game for the NBA squad even after signing a two-way contract in January.

    In 47 G League games, Jefferson averaged 17.8 PPG and 12.8 RPG for Iowa, making shots at a 62.4% rate. He set a new NBAGL record by racking up 36 double-doubles.

    Minnesota still had an open spot on its 15-man squad, so no corresponding roster move was required to make room for Jefferson. With the Cavs, Lakers, Clippers, and Raptors having also made moves to fill their roster openings in recent days, the Hornets and Wizards are the only two teams that still have open spots. It’s not clear if Washington intends to sign a 15th man by the end of the day — Charlotte’s season ended on Tuesday, so the Hornets will head into the offseason without a full roster.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Poll: Denver Nuggets Vs. Minnesota Timberwolves]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=91185 2018-04-11T16:34:55Z 2018-04-11T16:34:55Z The NBA’s playoff race has been a wild one this year, and there are still dozens of potential scenarios for the final version of this year’s NBA standings.

    Still, while we may have to wait until the end of tonight’s slate to determine seeds and first-round matchups, 15 of 16 playoff spots have been clinched, leaving just one final slot available. And to make matters simpler, that last spot will be decided in a single game, with the Timberwolves hosting the Nuggets in a winner-take-all contest tonight.

    The Nuggets and Timberwolves enter tonight’s action with matching 46-35 records, so the loser of the regular season finale will be a hard-luck lottery team, while the winner could end up as high as No. 6 in the Western standings. It’s the NBA’s first winner-gets-in, loser-gets-eliminated regular season finale since 1997, according to the league (Twitter link via Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press).

    Denver has recent history on its side heading into the end-of-season showdown. The Nuggets have won six consecutive games while battling for their postseason lives, beating the Thunder, Bucks, Pacers, Clippers, and Trail Blazers during that stretch — the other win during that streak came against the Timberwolves, last Thursday in Denver.

    Conversely, the Timberwolves have struggled during the season’s second half after looking like a potential top-four seed earlier in the year. Since getting to 31-18 on January 22, Minnesota has posted a mediocre 15-17 record.

    Of course, the Wolves were without star forward Jimmy Butler for most of that stretch, and Butler’s back now. So is Paul Millsap, who missed a huge chunk of the season for the Nuggets, and Gary Harris, who was recently sidelined for 11 games with a knee injury. In other words, with the possible exception of Taj Gibson, who is dealing with a sore neck, both teams figure to be at full strength tonight.

    The Timberwolves are slight favorites in the eyes of oddsmakers, and NBA.com’s experts favor Minnesota too, but that’s more about home-court advantage than the Wolves being the better team. This game could easily go either way.

    What do you think? Which team will win tonight’s game and earn a spot in the NBA postseason, the Nuggets or the Timberwolves? Vote below and then jump into the comment section to share your two cents!

    Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[NBA Teams That Still Have Open Roster Spots]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=90831 2018-04-06T20:15:15Z 2018-04-06T20:15:15Z Unless an NBA team is ravaged by injuries, it likely won’t use the 15th man on its roster very often. Many teams dedicate that spot to a prospect who spends much of his time in the G League rather than with the NBA squad. Other teams don’t even bother carrying a full 15-man roster, creating modest savings by not having to pay a player in that final slot.

    Still, by the end of the regular season, most teams have filled their 15 roster spots in one way or another. If a club signs a player with one or two days left in the season, the money owed to that player for the current year is extremely minimal. Additionally, those deals often include non-guaranteed salaries for the following season, allowing a team to take an extended look at the player during the summer.

    With six days left in the 2017/18 season, several teams still have open roster spots, but there’s a good chance that most – or all – of these clubs will fill those slots with free agents by next Wednesday.

    Here are the teams that still have an open roster slot and are worth watching in the coming days:

    • Charlotte Hornets
    • Cleveland Cavaliers
      • Note: The Cavs have two open roster spots and will need to sign at least one player before the regular season ends.
    • Los Angeles Clippers
    • Los Angeles Lakers
    • Minnesota Timberwolves
    • Toronto Raptors
    • Washington Wizards
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Jimmy Butler Plans To Return Friday For Wolves]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=90832 2018-04-06T18:57:20Z 2018-04-06T18:57:20Z Timberwolves forward Jimmy Butler intends to return to action on Friday night against the Lakers, two people familiar with Butler’s decision tell Marc Stein of The New York Times. Butler, who has been sidelined since February 23 due to a torn meniscus, will undergo one final test during pregame warmups tonight, but plans on playing.

    Butler was active for Thursday night’s game against Denver and was listed as available to play, but ultimately never saw any action. With that loss, the Timberwolves fell into a tie for eighth place in the West with Denver — both teams are 44-35. While Minnesota still holds the tiebreaker and the final playoff spot for now, the club has little room for error during the season’s final week.

    After facing the Lakers in Los Angeles on Friday night, the Wolves will host the Grizzlies on Monday night, then host the Nuggets for Wednesday’s regular season finale, which could determine the No. 8 seed in the West. Minnesota has played sub-.500 ball since Butler went down, so getting him back would be huge for the club, assuming he’s healthy.

    In 56 games for the Wolves this season, Butler has averaged 22.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.0 APG, and 1.9 SPG.

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Jimmy Butler Doubtful For Key Game In Denver]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=90690 2018-04-05T01:46:38Z 2018-04-05T01:46:38Z
  • It appears the Timberwolves and Nuggets will both be missing key players for tomorrow night’s showdown in Denver. Jimmy Butler is listed as doubtful for Minnesota as he tries to come back after surgery to fix a torn meniscus, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague are both questionable. Denver guard Gary Harris will miss the game as he continues to rehab a right knee injury, according to Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune (Twitter link).
  • ]]>
    Mark Suleymanov <![CDATA[Butler 'This Close' To Making Return]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=90621 2018-04-04T04:48:02Z 2018-04-04T02:55:36Z With four crucial games left in the regular season, Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler said he is “this close” to returning following practice on Tuesday, per Dave Campbell of The Associated Press. Minnesota’s next game is against the Nuggets on Thursday and it’s possible Butler will be available.

    The Timberwolves have been without Butler since February 23, when he tore his meniscus and underwent surgery sidelining him for an estimated four-to-six weeks. In 56 games before the injury, Butler was arguably Minnesota’s best two-way asset as he played his usual strong defense while averaging 22.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 5.0 APG.

    Just 2.5 games separate the seventh-place Timberwolves and the 10th-place Clippers with four games to go. Having a healthy Butler back in the lineup for this crucial stretch would provide a huge boost to the team’s playoff hopes.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Nurse, Vanterpool Top List Of Rising Head Coach Candidates]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=90596 2018-04-03T20:16:36Z 2018-04-03T20:16:36Z No NBA head coaches were replaced during the 2017 offseason, but that’s very unlikely to be the case for 2018. Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post and Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports suggest that as many as 10 or 11 teams could be on the lookout for a new head coach this offseason.

    That list of teams includes three teams with interim head coaches – the Suns, Grizzlies, and Bucks – as well as lottery teams like the Knicks, Magic, Pistons, Hornets, and Hawks. Playoff contenders like the Nuggets and Clippers could also consider a change, particularly if they miss out on the postseason.

    Not all of those teams will replace their current head coaches, but there should be a good deal of turnover in the NBA’s coaching ranks this spring. That could open up the door for assistant coaches or G League head coaches who haven’t yet had the opportunity to run their own NBA squads to interview for those jobs in the coming weeks.

    With that in mind, Mannix spoke to over three dozen “high-ranking team executives,” getting each of those execs to name two assistants they view as viable head coaching candidates. Mannix’s only criteria? The executives polled couldn’t name assistants from their own staffs, and the assistants named couldn’t have any NBA or major-college head coaching experience already.

    Here are the top vote-getters in Mannix’s poll, all of whom were mentioned by at least three different executives:

    1. Nick Nurse (Raptors assistant)
    2. David Vanterpool (Trail Blazers assistant)
    3. Igor Kokoskov (Jazz assistant)
    4. Stephen Silas (Hornets associate head coach)
    5. Adrian Griffin (Thunder assistant)
    6. Nate Tibbetts (Trail Blazers assistant)
    7. Chris Finch (Pelicans assistant)
    8. Jerry Stackhouse (Raptors 905 head coach)
    9. Ryan Saunders (Timberwolves assistant)
    10. Jay Larranaga (Celtics assistant)

    Of course, not every team seeking a new head coach in the offseason will be eyeing candidates in this pool. Some clubs will want a candidate with previous head coaching experience, and there should be no shortage of those — Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, David Blatt, David Fizdale, and Monty Williams are among the veteran coaches who have been linked to various teams already. Other clubs may target a coach from the NCAA pool, such as Villanova’s Jay Wright.

    Still, the NBA assistants listed above are viewed around the league as future head coaching candidates, and are the names to keep an eye on if your favorite team is considering a change on its bench.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Poll: Which Western Contenders Will Miss Playoffs?]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=90567 2018-04-03T13:57:01Z 2018-04-03T13:54:37Z Three teams in the Western Conference have clinched playoff berths, with the Rockets, Warriors, and Trail Blazers likely locked into the top three seeds, in that order. However, after those top teams, the race for the conference’s final five postseason spots remains hotly contested.

    The Spurs (45-32) are ostensibly in the driver’s seat for the No. 4 seed and home-court advantage in the first round, but a late-season slide could still put their playoff spot in jeopardy. San Antonio has back-to-back road games against the Clippers and Lakers on tap this week, followed by home games against Portland and Sacramento, and a regular season finale in New Orleans. While it’s still possible that Kawhi Leonard could return for one or more of those games, the club isn’t counting on that.

    While the Thunder (45-33) remain in contention for the No. 4 spot too, they’re also one bad week away from slipping out of the playoff picture, particularly since they hold virtually no tiebreakers against their Western competitors. You can probably pencil OKC in for a win at home vs. Memphis next Wednesday, but before that game, the Thunder will have to deal with the Warriors at home, and the Rockets and Heat on the road.

    The Jazz (44-33) have won 27 of their last 34 games, but that hasn’t been enough to pull away from the pack in the West. A home-and-away set against the Lakers this week bodes well, but Utah will also have to host the Clippers and Warriors before finishing the season in Portland. Holding tiebreakers over the Spurs, Pelicans, and Clips could come in handy.

    The Timberwolves (44-34) could badly use Jimmy Butler in their lineup down the stretch, and he’s still expected to be back before the end of the season, but his exact return date remains up in the air. Home-and-away games against Denver may ultimately decide Minnesota’s playoff fate, though the Wolves will also face a pair of lottery teams in the Lakers (road) and Grizzlies (home). Minnesota’s tiebreakers over the Thunder, Jazz, Pelicans, and Clippers look big now.

    The Pelicans (43-34) have lost four straight games, putting their playoff spot at risk, but those losses came against four very good teams. They’ll have a chance to turn things around this week when they host the Grizzlies and visit the Suns. After that, the schedule gets tough again — the Pelicans close out by visiting the Warriors and Clippers before hosting the Spurs.

    If any of those five teams falter, the Nuggets (42-35) and Clippers (41-36) will be ready to take advantage, though neither team has it easy down the stretch. In addition to facing Minnesota twice, the Nuggets also host the Pacers and Trail Blazers. The Clippers have one road game left in Utah, and will host the Spurs, Pelicans, and Lakers. The Nuggets and Clippers will also face one another in L.A. on Saturday.

    Got all that? Great. Now, we want to know what you think. How will the season’s final nine days play out? Which two of the top 10 teams in the West will end up missing the playoffs? Vote below in our poll and jump into the comment section below to share your thoughts!

    Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Jimmy Butler Participates In 5-On-5 Practice]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=90538 2018-04-02T21:00:53Z 2018-04-02T21:00:53Z The Timberwolves only have four games left in the regular season, but Butler is still expected to return before the playoffs. Minnesota’s next game is on Thursday in Denver, and the Wolves would certainly like to have their veteran star back for that contest, which will be big for playoff purposes.

    Jimmy Butler‘s return date remains unclear, but it looks like the Timberwolves forward is getting closer and closer to getting back into the lineup. According to Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link), Butler took part in five-on-five action during practice today for the first time since injuring his knee in February.

    The Timberwolves only have four games left in the regular season, but Butler is still expected to return before the playoffs. Minnesota’s next game is on Thursday in Denver, and the Wolves would certainly like to have their veteran star back for that contest, which will be big for playoff purposes.

    If Butler can’t suit up for the Timberwolves on Thursday, he could aim to return Friday against the Lakers, next Monday against the Grizzlies, or for next Wednesday’s finale against the Nuggets once again.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Five Traded 2018 Draft Picks With Protections To Watch]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=90523 2018-04-02T18:30:51Z 2018-04-02T18:30:51Z A ton of 2018’s first- and second-round picks have been included in trades already, and many of those traded picks have protections on them. In those instances, the pick only changes hands if the protection conditions are met — for example, the Hawks traded their second-round pick to the Clippers, but included top-55 protection on it, meaning L.A. would only receive it if it falls between 56 and 60. Given Atlanta’s record, that obviously won’t happen.

    For many of this year’s traded picks, there’s not much drama left related to those protections. Either they definitely won’t change hands, like that Hawks second-rounder, or they definitely will — like the Rockets‘ first-round pick, which is headed to Atlanta with top-three protections on it.

    However, there are a handful of traded draft picks whose status remains up in the air. The season’s final few games will determine which teams end up with those picks, or whether they change hands at all.

    Let’s dive in and take a closer look at five of those protected picks worth watching down the stretch…

    1. Pistons‘ first-round pick (to Clippers; top-4 protection)
      • The Pistons are likely to finish the season 12th in the lottery standings, so this pick is extremely likely to end up with the Clippers. But that could change if Detroit lucks out in the lottery — at No. 12, the Pistons would have a 2.5% chance of jumping into the top three and keeping their pick.
    2. Bucks‘ first-round pick (to Suns; top-10 protection and 17-30 protection)
      • As of today, the Bucks’ 41-36 record has them tied with the Heat for the 15th or 16th pick in the draft. That would mean the Suns receive Milwaukee’s selection. That could change though, if the Bucks get hot to finish the season, pushing the pick back to 17th or 18th overall. Milwaukee has games left against Boston, Philadelphia, and three lottery teams, so that scenario is in play. If it happens, Milwaukee would keep its 2018 first-rounder and owe the Suns a protected first-rounder (protected for 1-3 and 17-30) in 2019.
    3. Timberwolves‘ first-round pick (to Hawks; top-14 protection)
      • At 44-34, the Timberwolves are up one game in the loss column on the ninth-seeded Nuggets, and two on the tenth-seeded Clippers. The Wolves’ remaining two games against Denver will be crucial for determining whether they make the playoffs and lose their pick or miss the playoffs and keep it (they’d owe their 2019 lottery-protected first-rounder to Atlanta in that case).
    4. Thunder‘s first-round pick (to Timberwolves; top-14 protection)
      • The 45-33 Thunder are slightly better positioned than Minnesota to clinch a playoff spot, but that could change quickly — Oklahoma City has games against Golden State, Houston, and Miami on tap, and doesn’t hold a tiebreaker edge over most of the other Western Conference playoff contenders. I expect the Thunder to hang onto a playoff spot, but if they don’t, they’ll keep their 2018 first-rounder and owe their 2019 lottery-protected first-rounder to Minnesota. Interestingly, if the final playoff spot comes down to the Thunder and Wolves, Minnesota could end up with two first-round picks for 2018 or none.
    5. Bucks‘ second-round pick (to Nets if in 31-47 range; to Suns if in 48-60 range)
      • As is the case with their first-round pick, the Bucks’ second-round selection is right on the edge here, currently projected to be 45th or 46th. A strong finish for the Bucks could mean that second-rounder lands with Phoenix, but for now it seems more likely to head to Brooklyn.
    Mark Suleymanov <![CDATA[Wolves Notes: Rose, Butler, Additions]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=90460 2018-04-01T19:01:50Z 2018-04-01T19:01:50Z Derrick Rose was a member of the Jazz for two days before the team waived him, following a three-team trade deadline deal with the Cavaliers and Kings. Rose spoke to reporters, including Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News, and labeled the experience of being acquired and waived by Utah as “weird and bittersweet.”

    Rose said he never traveled to Utah, instead remaining in Cleveland until he signed with the Timberwolves. The move reunited Rose with his former coach, Tom Thibodeau. Currently nursing an injured ankle, Rose is confident he can be a positive cause for the team even if injuries and playing time are limiting him.

    “It’s all about faith, bro,” Rose said. “With faith, I don’t worry about any of that. I let other people worry about that. Why should I worry about it? I know how much I put into my body and my craft, so as long as I’ve got faith I don’t worry about anything else. All of this is out of my control anyway.”

    After 16 uneventful games with the Cavaliers, Rose has suited up for just five games with the Wolves, averaging 6.6 PPG and 1.6 APG in 11.6 minutes per contest.

    Check out more Wolves notes below:

    • Jimmy Butler was cleared for contact drills on Friday, a big step in his recovery from a torn meniscus, Kent Youngblood of The Star Tribune relays. Butler suffered the injury on February 23 and underwent surgery two days later, with a prognosis for a four to six-week recovery. “He had a good workout, did the shootaround, and stayed and played afterward,” Thibodeau said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
    • After a recovery day on Saturday, Butler underwent his first five-on-five contact scrimmage today and came out of it well, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune tweets. The Wolves’ next game is Thursday against Denver and it’s possible Butler is ready to play. “He’s doing good,” Thibodeau said.
    • The Wolves made a slew of veteran acquisitions before the season, including Butler, Jamal Crawford, Taj Gibson, and Jeff Teague. All of these players have been vital to the team’s success this season and will be just as important come playoff time, Patrick Reusse of the Star Tribune writes.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Krawzcynski On Towns, Bjelica, More]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=90156 2018-03-28T20:18:24Z 2018-03-28T20:18:24Z
  • In a mailbag for The Athletic, Jon Krawczynski examines Karl-Anthony Towns‘ future extension, Nemanja Bjelica‘s upcoming free agency, and more Timberwolves-related topics.
  • ]]>
    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/25/18]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=89902 2018-03-26T03:16:04Z 2018-03-25T21:58:11Z Here are Sunday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

    • The Rockets have recalled center Zhou Qi from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. The 7’1” center has made 14 brief appearances with the Rockets this season. He’s averaging 11.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 2.3 BPG in G League play.
    • The Raptors recalled forward Nigel Hayes from their Raptors 905 affiliate, the team’s media relations staff tweets. Hayes has appeared in 43 G League games this season, averaging 15.0 PPG and 6.1 RPG. He’s also made two cameo appearances for Toronto, which signed him to a second 10-day contract on March 16th.
    • The Timberwolves recalled rookie center Justin Patton from their Iowa affiliate, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The 7-footer averaged 12.7 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 1.4 BPG for the Iowa Wolves, who did not qualify for the G League playoffs. Patton has yet to make his NBA debut.
    • The Warriors recalled Damian Jones from the Santa Cruz Warriors, the team announced in a press release. The center has averaged 15.0 points and 8.1 boards in 44 games with the affiliate. Also, two-way forward Chris Boucher has also been recalled from Santa Cruz. He appeared in one game with the Warrior.
    • The Suns recalled veteran big man Alan Williams from their G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns, as part of his rehab process in returning from a torn right meniscus, per an official press release.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Tom Thibodeau Has Liked Derrick Rose's Fit]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=89550 2018-03-21T17:57:46Z 2018-03-21T17:57:46Z
  • Many observers viewed Derrick Rose as a questionable fit for the Timberwolves, given his inability to consistently make outside shots. However, since signing with the team two weeks ago, Rose has given Tom Thibodeau the flexibility to experiment with some new backcourt combinations, as Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune writes. The Wolves’ head coach said he likes having Rose play alongside Jamal Crawford and Jeff Teague (or Tyus Jones) to put pressure on opposing defenses, and also praised the former MVP’s play on the other side of the ball. “He’s playing great defense,” Thibodeau said. “I don’t think people see it. He did in the Washington game. But we need everyone playing well.”
  • ]]>
    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Wolves Rumors: Butler, Bjelica, Gibson, Rose]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=89330 2018-03-18T23:00:52Z 2018-03-18T23:00:52Z Jimmy Butler offered an update on his medical condition at a press conference before tonight’s game. Butler, who had surgery last month for a torn right meniscus, said there’s no projected date for his return, but he hopes to play before the end of the regular season.

    “I’m excited at my progression because I know how close I am to returning back to the floor with my guys,” he says in a video tweeted by KSTP Sports. “I have a little bit of [recovery] time left, but I know my guys are going to stick this thing out and do what they’ve been doing. Keep us in that race, and when I come back we’ll see what we have left in the tank.”

    There’s more news out of Minnesota:

    • Butler’s injury has provided an opportunity for Nemanja Bjelica, who is increasing his value on the free agent market with his recent performance, writes Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. Bjelica was averaging just nine minutes per game before the All-Star break, but has topped 40 minutes three times in March. “To be hon­est, I just try to play as good and hard as I can and at the end of the day, ev­er­y­bod­y will be fine,” Bjelica, who will be a restricted free agent, said about the possibility of staying in Minnesota. “I’m hap­py here. My fam­i­ly is hap­py. Some­times I hate Jan­u­ar­y be­cause it’s so cold, but I kind of got used to it.”
    • Also taking on a heavy workload is veteran forward Taj Gibson, Zgoda notes in a separate story. In his first season with the Wolves after signing as a free agent last summer, Gibson is averaging 33.5 minutes per night, roughly five minutes more than his career peak set four seasons ago. The 32-year-old said he doesn’t mind the extra work. “Life is too short to be holding back,” Gibson said. “I go out there and lay it on the line, just do what I got to do. When I come off the court, I don’t want to have any regrets when I go home. I don’t worry about minutes or how much I play.”
    • Historical trends are working against Derrick Rose ever being an effective player again, according to Zach Kram of The Ringer. His study finds that a small percentage of guards who have made an All-NBA team are ever able to raise their level of play after their first below-average season.
    Mark Suleymanov <![CDATA[Northwest Notes: Wiggins, Stockton, Harkless]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=89200 2018-03-18T12:37:35Z 2018-03-17T14:05:57Z Despite reports of whispers this week that Andrew Wiggins is unhappy as the Timberwolves‘ third option, the Minnesota guard and head coach Tom Thibodeau rejected those reports, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune writes.

    Wiggins, 23, is in his fourth season with the Wolves but his numbers are down from the past two seasons. The former first overall pick is averaging 17.9 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 69 games. However, Thibodeau denied that the team’s leading shot-taker is unhappy with his role.

    “I know Andrew’s character,” Thibodeau said. “There’s no way in the world Andrew is saying any of that, particularly from a guy who’s taken the most shots on our team.”

    Earlier this week, Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN (Twitter link) said that Wiggins has “whispered to teammates” that he’s unhappy being a third option behind Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler — who is sidelined with a torn meniscus. “It’s just someone’s word of mouth. It wasn’t no quote from me,” Wiggins said. “Everyone that knows me knows I don’t talk much, I just go with the flow … I don’t whisper. If I say something, I’m going to say it clearly and loudly.”

    Check out more Northwest Division notes below:

    • David Stockton, the son of Jazz legend John Stockton, agreed to a 10-day contract with Utah on Friday. The elder Stockton played with the Jazz for 19 seasons, becoming the NBA’s all-time assists leader and 2008 Hall of Fame inductee. Brad Rock of The Deseret News writes that John and the rest of the Stockton family are excited for the 26-year-old and his newest NBA opportunity. “I’m glad to stay out of that,” John Stockton said of his comparisons between him and his son. “He’s his own player and it wouldn’t do him any good to try to be me. He can just be the best he can be.”
    • Having reached 100 three-point attempts on the season, Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless is now eligible to receive a $500K bonus for his three-point shooting percentage, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Harkless will receive the bonus if his percentage is greater than 35%; he’s shooting 37.6% from the beyond the arc.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Butler's Recovery 'Moving Along Pretty Well']]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=89006 2018-03-14T20:32:46Z 2018-03-14T20:32:46Z
  • Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau said that Jimmy Butler is “moving along pretty well” in his rehabilitation from knee surgery, according to Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. Minnesota’s star forward isn’t jumping yet, but has been running on an antigravity treadmill, Zgoda adds. A February report on Butler’s recovery timetable estimated that he’d miss four to six weeks — we’ll reach the three-week mark this Sunday.
  • ]]>
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Derrick Rose Hopes To Make Impact For Wolves]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=88801 2018-03-12T16:21:21Z 2018-03-12T16:21:21Z The Rose signing drew some criticism from observers who felt that the Timberwolves didn’t need more depth at a point guard spot that already features Jeff Teague, Tyus Jones, and Aaron Brooks. However, Thibodeau and the Wolves’ guards believe that the team’s backcourt depth make sense in today’s NBA, where many teams play more than one point guard at a time, says Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune.

    Appearing in his first game for the Timberwolves on Sunday, Derrick Rose played just seven minutes. While Rose says he’s not looking to “take someone’s spot” or step on anybody’s toes in Minnesota, he hopes to earn the opportunity to play a larger role down the stretch, as Steve Aschburner of NBA.com writes.

    “I want [Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau] to see me and be like, ‘Damn, he’s still got it,'” Rose said. “I want him to count on me. I want to be held accountable. You know what I mean? I don’t just want to be, like, an average guy on the team riding along just to see how far they go. I really want to add.”

    The Rose signing drew some criticism from observers who felt that the Timberwolves didn’t need more depth at a point guard spot that already features Jeff Teague, Tyus Jones, and Aaron Brooks. However, Thibodeau and the Wolves’ guards believe that the team’s backcourt depth make sense in today’s NBA, where many teams play more than one point guard at a time, says Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune.

    Mark Suleymanov <![CDATA[Northwest Notes: Rose, Collison, Lillard]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=88653 2018-03-10T21:56:13Z 2018-03-10T21:52:17Z Derrick Rose is officially a member of the Timberwolves and made his first comments since the signing was made official. Injuries have diminished Rose’s skill set and playing time in recent seasons and there are questions about how much he can realistically help Minnesota down the stretch.

    Rose told reporters, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, that he does not need validation from anybody about his playing level.

    “I mean, this is how I feel about it, the whole perspective on it,” Rose said. “You can have your perspective on me, as far as I’m a bum, I can’t play, I can’t shoot, this and that. All right, cool. I have no hard feeling with that. I’m cool with that. If that’s how you feel, that’s how you feel. But at the same time, I don’t need your validation. Like, I know who I am. I know the type of player I am. You respect that and I respect that and we should be good.”

    The 29-year-old never got on track with the Cavaliers this season, averaging 9.8 PPG and 1.8 RPG in just 16 games. However, he did appear in 64 games with the Knicks last year, averaging 18.0 PPG and 4.4 APG. Rose did not play on Thursday against the Celtics but is expected to play against the Warriors on Sunday.

    Check out other Northwest Division notes below:

    • Thunder big man Nick Collison has been with the organization since the 2004/05 season when the organization was still known as the Supersonics. As the current team prepares for the postseason, Collison said to former teammate and NBA Soundsystem host, Brent Barry, that consistency is Oklahoma City’s biggest issue, per Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. Like you know, the playoffs, every possession counts,” Collison said. “Consistency’s been an issue with us this year. But we do have a veteran group and we’ve played well against the best teams. So for us, just finding that consistency and being able to play possession by possession and being able to grind out some good solid basketball for a long time. If you want to make a run, you gotta play for two months. I think consistency’s huge for us.”
    • Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is enjoying another strong season and feels he should be in the conversation for Most Valuable Player, Sean Meagher of OregonLive.com writes. “I don’t see why I wouldn’t be mentioned,” Lillard said. “But obviously James Harden is having a special season and they’re the No. 1 team in the league right now. He’s been runner-up for a few years where I feel like he could have easily won it. What he’s doing individually, and what their team is doing, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the winner.”
    Austin Kent <![CDATA[Why Glen Taylor Changed Tune On Derrick Rose Signing]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=88616 2018-03-10T00:21:10Z 2018-03-10T00:21:10Z
  • We wrote last month that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor wasn’t interested in having his team sign Derrick Rose. That line of thinking changed after Jimmy Butler went down with his knee injury, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes.
  • ]]>
    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Derrick Rose Says He Just Wants To Win In Minnesota]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=88472 2018-03-08T20:17:11Z 2018-03-08T18:03:39Z Rose participated in today’s shootaround with the Wolves, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, and may play tonight against the Celtics, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link).

    Derrick Rose, who signed with the Timberwolves earlier today, will make $460,468 for the rest of the season, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. The move will carry a $290,951 cap hit for Minnesota, which still has one open roster space. The team will save about $100K between the signing of Rose and the buyout of Shabazz Muhammad, Marks adds (Twitter link). Rose still has about $460K remaining on the minimum-salary deal he signed with the Cavaliers last summer.

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Wolves Sign Derrick Rose]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=88459 2018-03-08T21:22:27Z 2018-03-08T16:57:51Z 10:57am: The signing is official, the team announced via Twitter.

    9:41am: Derrick Rose will sign with the Timberwolves for the rest of the season, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

    The move will reunite Rose with coach/executive Tom Thibodeau, who coached the point guard in Chicago during his MVP season of 2010/11. It also brings another former Bull to Minnesota, which has added Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Jamal Crawford and Aaron Brooks since last summer.

    Butler and Rose had a strained relationship in the past, but they worked out their differences two years ago, tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Rose delayed his signing because he was waiting for his wife to give birth, adds Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link). The baby arrived earlier this week.

    Rose had hoped to revive his career in Cleveland when he agreed to a one-year, minimum-salary deal in July. However, he hurt his ankle in the second game of the season and took a leave of absence in November.

    He played just 16 games for the Cavaliers, averaging 9.8 points and 1.6 assists, before being traded to Utah four weeks ago. He agreed to a buyout with the Jazz and has been out of the NBA since February 12.

    The Wolves have two open roster spots, so no move will be necessary before adding Rose. Because he was waived before March 1, he will be eligible for the playoffs if Minnesota qualifies.

    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Defense Sags Without Jimmy Butler]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=88224 2018-03-05T02:57:26Z 2018-03-05T02:57:26Z
  • The Timberwolves are 2-2 in the first four games without Jimmy Butler and their defense, in particular, has suffered without him, as Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune details. Metrics show that the Timberwolves have the 11th-best defensive rating with Butler on the court. When he’s not playing, their defensive rating is the worst in the league. Butler is recovering from knee surgery.  “Jimmy always guards the best perimeter player,” veteran guard Jamal Crawford noted to Hine.
  • ]]>
    Clark Crum <![CDATA[Justin Patton Reassigned]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=88077 2018-03-04T03:14:51Z 2018-03-04T03:10:46Z
  • The Timberwolves have reassigned rookie big man Justin Patton to the Iowa Wolves, the team announced today. Patton has appeared in 28 games for Iowa this season, averaging 12.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in 21.1 minutes per game.
  • ]]>
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Corey Brewer Signs With Thunder]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=87730 2018-03-03T14:41:59Z 2018-03-03T14:40:12Z MARCH 3: Brewer’s signing with the Thunder is official, per the NBA’s official transactions log.

    MARCH 1, 10:39am: Brewer has committed to sign with the Thunder once he clears waivers, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. Brewer talked to Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan and GM Sam Presti and considered three Eastern Conference teams before deciding.

    FEBRUARY 28, 6:50pm: Brewer is likely to sign with the Thunder after all, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Lakers officially waived Brewer earlier today, meaning the veteran swingman will be free to sign a contract with Oklahoma City as early as Friday.

    3:03pm: One source tells David Aldridge of TNT (Twitter link) that while the Thunder are definitely in the mix for Brewer, the veteran is more likely to land with an Eastern Conference team.

    10:44am: Amick (via Twitter) adds the Jazz and Pelicans to the list of teams that could also be in the mix for Brewer, noting that several of the teams he has mentioned are also keeping an eye on the Trevor Booker situation in Philadelphia.

    10:28am: The Lakers and veteran swingman Corey Brewer have reportedly reached an agreement on a buyout, which means he could become a free agent as soon as Friday. When Brewer does hit the open market, a deal with the Thunder is a “serious possibility,” according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

    As Wojnarowski notes, the ex-Gator is likely to be drawn to Oklahoma City by the presence of his former coach at Florida, Billy Donovan, who is now the Thunder’s head coach. Even aside from the Donovan connection, Brewer would be a logical fit for OKC, since the team has been on the lookout for one more option on the wing since Andre Roberson‘s injury, tweets ESPN’s Royce Young.

    While the Thunder may be the frontrunners for Brewer, he’ll talk to other teams too, per Wojnarowski. The 31-year-old is unlikely to rush his decision, according to Sam Amick of USA Today, who tweets that the Cavaliers, Wizards, Trail Blazers, and Bucks have also shown interest. Amick adds that Brewer – averaging a career-low 12.9 minutes per game this season – will be seeking a “legit role,” which figures to impact his decision.

    Although several playoff teams have already been linked to Brewer, his mediocre outside shot (.280 career 3PT%) will limit his appeal to some contenders. For instance, he’s not likely to be a fit for the Raptors, notes Josh Lewenberg of TSN (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News tweets that Minnesota has “kicked the tires” on the former Timberwolf, but says not to count on a reunion.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Timberwolves Recall Justin Patton From G League]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=87980 2018-03-03T05:03:50Z 2018-03-02T21:57:56Z
  • The Timberwolves have recalled rookie big man Justin Patton from the G League, according to a team press release. Patton, who has yet to make his NBA debut, may provide some emergency frontcourt depth for Minnesota on Friday night, with Shabazz Muhammad gone and Taj Gibson injured.
  • ]]>
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Community Shootaround: Western Playoff Race]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=87974 2018-03-02T18:56:57Z 2018-03-02T18:56:57Z While it remains to be seen whether the Rockets or Warriors will finish the season as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, there’s no risk of either team falling below No. 2. Houston currently has a half-game lead on the second-place Warriors and a 12-game lead on the third-place Timberwolves.

    After the top two teams in the West though, things get very interesting. As of today, there are seven Western teams separated by just two games in the loss column, with the 10th-seeded Jazz hanging around the race too. Here’s a current snapshot of the standings in the West:

    1. Minnesota Timberwolves (38-27)
    2. Portland Trail Blazers (36-26)
    3. San Antonio Spurs (36-26)
    4. New Orleans Pelicans (35-26)
    5. Oklahoma City Thunder (36-27)
    6. Denver Nuggets (33-28)
    7. Los Angeles Clippers (32-28)
    8. Utah Jazz (31-30)

    Several of these teams have lost key players via injury or trade this season. The Timberwolves are currently without Jimmy Butler; Kawhi Leonard has barely played for the Spurs; DeMarcus Cousins is out for the season for the Pelicans; the Thunder will be without Andre Roberson for the season; the Nuggets and Jazz have lost Paul Millsap and Rudy Gobert for big chunks of the season, though both are playing now; and, of course, the Clippers traded Blake Griffin before last month’s deadline.

    Of the eight teams vying for the final six playoff spots in the West, only the Spurs (3-7) have a losing record in their last 10 games, with the Trail Blazers (five straight wins) and Pelicans (seven straight wins) among the hottest teams in the group. Still, things could change quickly. Two or three losses in a row could send a team sliding down the standings in the West.

    These teams have between 17 and 22 games left in the regular season, so we’re entering the home stretch, and there will be a key matchup worth watching nearly every day. The next two nights, for instance, will pit the Timberwolves vs. the Jazz and the Thunder vs. the Trail Blazers.

    What’s your take on the Western Conference playoff race? Which two teams will miss the postseason? Which two teams will gain home-court advantage by nabbing the third and fourth seeds? Which first-round matchups would you most like to see?

    Jump into the comment section below to weigh in with your thoughts!

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Timberwolves Buy Out Shabazz Muhammad]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=87916 2018-03-02T05:15:13Z 2018-03-02T02:31:38Z 8:31pm: The Wolves announced in a press release that they have officially waived Muhammad.

    7:28pm: The Timberwolves and forward Shabazz Muhammad have agreed to a contract buyout that will allow Muhammad to reach free agency, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Michael Scotto and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic first reported (via Twitter) that the two sides were engaged in buyout negotiations.Shabazz Muhammad vertical

    By completing the buyout before the end of the day on March 1, Muhammad will retain his postseason eligibility for a new club, and Wojnarowski notes that the former lottery pick is hoping to catch on with a contender. According to Krawczynski (Twitter link), Muhammad’s camp had been discussing a buyout for the last two months, and Minnesota “finally relented.”

    “I’m very happy and can’t wait to get my next opportunity,” Muhammad told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link).

    Muhammad is just 25 years old and was a highly touted prospect out of UCLA, but after a couple promising seasons, he has seen his numbers drop off a cliff this year. With 3.8 PPG on .388/.211/.710 shooting, Muhammad has appeared in just 32 games for Minnesota in 2017/18, having fallen out of the rotation.

    While Muhammad has historically been a more productive scorer than he has shown this season, he has never been a particularly strong rebounder (2.8 career RPG), facilitator (0.5 APG), or outside shooter (.317 3PT%). So it remains to be seen whether any contending team will have serious interest in bringing him aboard for the stretch run.

    As for the Timberwolves, releasing Muhammad will reduce their roster count to 13 players on standard NBA contracts, so they’ll need to add someone soon to get back up to the NBA-mandated minimum of 14. Minnesota also figures to remain on the hook for Muhammad’s full $1,577,230 salary for this season, but we’ll see if he gave up most or all of his $1,795,015 player option for 2018/19 as part of the buyout agreement.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Derrick Rose Hoping For Long-Term Offer]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=87857 2018-03-02T00:28:10Z 2018-03-01T17:03:11Z Derrick Rose has received a couple of 10-day offers, but nothing more substantial since being waived by the Jazz, according to Ken Berger of Bleacher Report.

    Multiple team executives indicated to Berger that Rose may not return to the NBA until next season. An online video last week showed him working out at Cleveland State University, but it appears the type of offer he’s seeking may not emerge by the end of the season.

    The former MVP is hoping to join a contender that could accommodate him for more than just a short-term stop. Rose’s representatives thought there might be interest from the Thunder, who need a guard to replace the injured Andre Roberson, but there was no traction as of Wednesday, according to Berger. Oklahoma City will sign former Lakers swingman Corey Brewer once he clears waivers on Friday.

    The Clippers are also rumored to have interest, along with the Timberwolves, coached by Tom Thibodeau, who guided Rose during his MVP season with the Bulls in 2010/11. However, Berger states that Minnesota hadn’t reached out to Rose as of Wednesday night.

    Rose tried to revive his career in Cleveland, agreeing to a minimum-salary deal in July. He played just 16 games for the Cavaliers before being shipped to Utah three weeks ago at the trade deadline. Rose added to his long injury history with a sprained ankle in the second game of the season, then took a leave of absence from the team in November to contemplate his basketball future.

    His physical woes and perceived unreliability have made teams reluctant to offer him a long-term contract, Berger adds. Rose is only 29 and has played 66 and 64 games the past two seasons, but those issues are casting doubt over his NBA future.

    Clark Crum <![CDATA[Teague Must Step Up; Muhammad Staying Put]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=87798 2018-03-01T01:31:16Z 2018-03-01T01:31:16Z If the Timberwolves want to continue their winning ways while All-Star Jimmy Butler is sidelined, point guard Jeff Teague must continue to play with pace and aggression, opines Britt Robson of The Athletic Minnesota.

    • Timberwolves‘ reserve guard Shabazz Muhammad is not likely to be bought out after all, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. When asked about the possibility, Thibodeau simply said, “Nope, we like the team we have.”
    • In a piece for The Athletic Minnesota, Jon Krawczynski details Butler’s decision to have surgery on his damaged right meniscus. Fortunately for Butler and the Timberwolves, the procedure was neither a major repair nor a removal, and the hope is that he will be able to return to action without facing some of the long-term risks involved with removal.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Update On Open NBA Roster Spots]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=87738 2018-02-28T18:03:43Z 2018-02-28T18:03:43Z Earlier this month, we identified the NBA teams with open roster spots. Since then, clubs have completed a flurry of 10-day signings, and a couple players have even received rest-of-season deals.

    However, there are still plenty of teams around the league with openings on their respective rosters, which could come in handy with Thursday’s de facto buyout deadline around the corner. Once March 1 comes and goes, teams will have a better idea of which players will or won’t have postseason eligibility the rest of the way, creating a clearer picture for how to fill those open roster spots.

    In the space below, we’ll take a closer look at teams with an open roster spot, breaking them down into three categories. Each of the clubs in the first group actually has a full 15-man roster right now, but in each instance, one of those 15 players is only a 10-day contract. With those contracts set to expire soon, it’d be very easy and inexpensive for these teams to create an opening if they need to.

    Teams with full 15-man rosters who are carrying at least one player on a 10-day contract (10-day player noted in parentheses):

    The next list of teams includes the clubs with one open spot on their roster and no players on 10-day contracts. These clubs each have 14 players on standard, full-season NBA deals, leaving one spot open for either a 10-day player or a rest-of-season signing.

    Teams with one open roster spot:

    • Charlotte Hornets
    • Chicago Bulls
    • Los Angeles Clippers
    • Los Angeles Lakers
      • Note: The Lakers will create a second opening when they officially waive Corey Brewer.
    • Memphis Grizzlies
    • Minnesota Timberwolves
    • Oklahoma City Thunder
    • Sacramento Kings
    • Toronto Raptors

    Finally, the last group of teams features four clubs that have been grouped together before. These four teams saw their roster counts slip to 13 players around the time of the trade deadline, and each had to add a player to get back up to the NBA-mandated minimum of 14. To reach that minimum, each team signed a player to a 10-day contract. That means these four franchises still only have 12 or 13 players on full-season contracts, with at least one player on a 10-day deal.

    Teams with one open roster spot, plus at least one player on a 10-day contract:

    • Atlanta Hawks
    • Cleveland Cavaliers
    • Portland Trail Blazers
      • Note: 13 full-season contracts, plus Brandon Rush on 10-day contract.
    • Washington Wizards
      • Note: 13 full-season contracts, plus Ramon Sessions on 10-day contract.

    For roster-count details on all 30 teams, be sure to check out our roster count page, which we updated daily throughout the 2017/18 season.

    Note: Roster info current as of Wednesday, February 28 at 12:00pm CT.

    Mark Suleymanov <![CDATA[Jimmy Butler Undergoes Surgery On Torn Meniscus]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=87539 2018-02-26T13:50:37Z 2018-02-25T19:54:55Z Timberwolves All-Star Jimmy Butler underwent successful surgery on his torn right meniscus, the team’s PR department tweets. No timetable for Butler’s recovery is available and he will be sidelined indefinitely.

    Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweeted that Butler may be sidelined for four to six weeks after the surgery. The hope is for Butler to be healthy in time for the postseason.

    We noted yesterday that surgery was an option for Butler, who suffered the injury on a non-contact play in Friday’s loss to the Rockets. Butler reportedly received a second opinion before he went under the knife.

    Butler, 28, has played a pivotal role in Minnesota’s ascension in the Western Conference this season. In 58 games, he averaged 22.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 5.0 APG and anchored Minnesota’s defense. He leads the league with 37.5 minutes per contest.

    The Timberwolves hold third place in the West with a 37-26 record. However, there is just a 2.5-game difference between the Timberwolves and the eighth-place Pelicans. Losing Butler for the remainder of the regular season will test Minnesota’s ability to stay in the postseason picture.