Naz Reid

Wolves Pick Up Team Options On Naz Reid, Jaylen Nowell

The Timberwolves are picking up the 2022/23 team options on Naz Reid and Jaylen Nowell, sources tell Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Both players will earn $1,930,681 next season, and both deals are non-guaranteed. Reid’s contract will become guaranteed on July 20, while Nowell’s guarantee date is in January.

As Krawczynski notes (via Twitter), both reserves were productive last season, but were essentially depth pieces in the postseason, so neither player has a clear-cut standing on Minnesota’s roster going forward. However, head coach Chris Finch recently praised Nowell, according to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune.

We saw in short stints out there what he’s able to do,” Finch said of Nowell. “He’s an x-factor, he’s a game-changer. I think everybody needs that. He has the ability to create his own basket, he has the ability to attack switching. He’s actually an underrated play-maker.”

Finch added that the Wolves wants to find regular minutes for him going forward.

“… But now we’re trying to figure out how to get a role, a more consistent role, for him, and we want him to feel as a part of our young core as anybody else that’s here,” he said as part of a larger quote.

Both Reid, a center, and Nowell, a guard, will turn 23 this summer. In 77 games (15.6 MPG) last season, Reid averaged 8.3 PPG and 3.9 RPG on .484/.343/.765 shooting, with his minutes, points and rebounds all declining from ’20/21.

Nowell averaged 8.5 PPG, 2.0 RPG and 2.1 APG on .475/.394/.783 shooting in 62 games (15.7 MPG) in ’21/22. Both players are entering their fourth seasons and have spent their entire careers with Minnesota.

Injury Notes: Heat, Brown, Hill, Z. Williams, Reid

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra was noncommittal on Friday when asked for a status update on Jimmy Butler (sore right knee) and Kyle Lowry (left hamstring), according to Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Butler missed Game 5 of Miami’s first-round series against Atlanta, while Lowry missed Games 4 and 5 after leaving Game 3 early.

I don’t want to jump the gun on anything. I just like the progress that everybody’s made. We’ll see if they can make more progress tomorrow. It will just be a daily update,” Spoelstra said.

Butler’s injury is considered relatively minor, with no MRI or other imaging planned. Muscle strains are notoriously tricky to deal with, so Lowry might be out longer, but his hamstring strain is also not considered to be serious, per Chiang and Jackson.

I’m expecting them to get healthy day by day, honestly,” Bam Adebayo said when asked if he expects Butler and Lowry to be available for the start of the second round. “If they can go, they can go. If they’re not, we got to go out there regardless. You can’t push back Game 1.”

Here are some more postseason injury notes from around the NBA:

  • Head coach Ime Udoka told reporters, including Jay King of The Athletic (Twitter links), that Celtics star Jaylen Brown is dealing with hamstring tightness and had it evaluated recently. Despite the injury, Brown is expected to play in Game 1 against Milwaukee on Sunday.
  • George Hill (abdominal strain) was unable to practice on Friday, per Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer. He’s out for Game 1 but the team is hopeful he might return during the second-round series against Boston, tweets Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The veteran guard missed the entire first-round series against Chicago with the injury and hasn’t played since April 8.
  • Grizzlies rookie wing Ziaire Williams (right knee soreness) was unavailable for Friday’s Game 6 contest against the Timberwolves, the team announced (via Twitter). He’d previously been listed as doubtful. Wolves big man Naz Reid also missed Game 6 due to personal reasons (Twitter link via Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic).

Timberwolves Notes: Finch, Trade Deadline, McDaniels, Towns

Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch believes the team’s depth is “showing itself” over the course of the season, according to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune (via Twitter).

We thought we had good depth the beginning of the season. At times we were inconsistent with that,” Finch said.

Discussing the team’s roster ahead of the trade deadline, Finch said the Wolves don’t feel the need to make moves, suggesting that the biggest improvement they can make will come from internal growth.

Mainly we don’t feel any great pressure to do anything with this roster at this point in time. We’re pretty happy with where we are and guys are playing well and being the best versions of themselves we thought they could be.

I don’t think anyone thinks we’re by any means a finished product. All rosters change from season to season. We don’t feel any great pressure to have to do something right now. Internal growth is always going to be the best accelerant for teams to take the next step,” Finch said, per Hine.

Here’s more on Minnesota:

  • Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic breaks down which Wolves players are most likely to be moved by the deadline on February 10. He believes that Patrick Beverley is a wild card, because both sides are interested in an extension, but if that doesn’t come to fruition before the deadline, he might be dealt. Krawczynski views Malik Beasley, Naz Reid and Josh Okogie as the three prime trade candidates worth monitoring, all for different reasons.
  • Second-year forward Jaden McDaniels is starting to get noticed after being selected to the Rising Stars game at All-Star weekend, Hine writes for The Star Tribune. McDaniels, the 28th overall pick of the 2020 draft, has proven to be a versatile, impactful defender. McDaniels was passed over by the media for All-Rookie teams last season, but Finch says people across the NBA know how good he is. “He has a lot of fans around the league, I do know that,” Finch said. “A lot of coaches or opposing players know he’s a tough matchup, and he’s really playing well and, at the right time, caught the eye of the league.”
  • In a column for The Star Tribune, Patrick Reusse opines that Karl-Anthony Towns has shown improvement this season, even if his individual numbers may not reflect that. Towns was recently named an All-Star reserve for the Western Conference, his third selection to the game.

COVID-19 Roundup: Nets, Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Knicks, Wizards, Thunder

The NBA’s new guidelines regarding its health and safety protocols have resulted in several players being released from protocols this morning. The league and its players union agreed Monday to shorten the minimum required quarantine period for a vaccinated COVID-positive players and coaches from 10 days to six.

Here is the latest news on who has entered and cleared protocols today:

  • Nets stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are out of protocols, as is LaMarcus Aldridge, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. While Durant and Aldridge may be ready for Thursday’s game, Irving is still working his way back into game condition and remains ineligible to play in home games because he hasn’t met New York City’s vaccine requirement.
  • Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince has cleared protocols and will rejoin the team, but won’t play tonight against the Knicks, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Minnesota also gets back Anthony Edwards and Naz Reid (Twitter link).
  • Cavaliers power forward Evan Mobley has cleared protocols and is set to reunite with the club today, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com tweets that the Cavaliers hope to have Mobley play in tonight’s game against the Pelicans, but will put him through his pregame paces first to gauge his conditioning level.
  • Unfortunately, just as one of Cleveland’s best players recovers, another will be absent. Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, enjoying a nearly All-Star-level season with Cleveland, has entered the NBA’s coronavirus protocols, tweets Kelsey Russo of The Athletic.
  • Knicks rookie point guard guard Miles McBride has cleared protocols, the team has announced (via Twitter). New York adds that he has rejoined the team ahead of its game tonight against the Timberwolves.
  • Veteran Heat power forward Udonis Haslem has entered the league’s coronavirus protocols, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. Heat point guard Kyle Lowry is also in protocols. Miami assistant coach Chris Quinn will return to the sidelines, Chiang adds.
  • Wizards forwards Rui Hachimura and Montrezl Harrell have entered the league’s COVID-19 protocols, joining six other Washington players, the team has announced (Twitter link). Hachimura has missed the Wizards’ entire season thus far due to personal reasons. Among the others, unvaccinated All-Star guard Bradley Beal is still in protocols and Wallace reports that his status is “questionable” prior to the Wizards’ upcoming contest against the Heat tonight. Center Thomas Bryant, wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and guards Anthony Gill, Aaron Holiday and Raul Neto are still in protocols.
  • Thunder rookie guard Josh Giddey has entered the league’s health and safety protocols, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Head coach Mark Daigneault has also entered the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, and will be replaced by assistant coach Mike Wilks starting with this evening’s contest against the Kings, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). Wilks, a former journeyman NBA guard, suited up for four games with the Thunder during the 2009/10 season, Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman adds (Twitter link). Players Darius Bazley, Tre Mann, Aleksej Pokusevski, and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl remain in the protocols for Oklahoma City.
  • Keep track of all the players currently in COVID-19 protocols through out our daily tracker.

Arthur Hill contributed to this report.

COVID-19 Updates: Suns, Blazers, Rockets, Wolves, More

Here are the latest health and safety protocols updates from around the NBA:

Entering the protocols:

  • Jae Crowder and Elfrid Payton have become the first two Suns players to enter the COVID-19 protocols, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
  • The Trail Blazers‘ outbreak continues to grow, with Jusuf Nurkic and Cody Zeller among the players now in the protocols, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Seven Portland players have been placed in the protocols since Friday.
  • Rockets guard Garrison Mathews became the second Houston guard to enter the protocols today, joining teammate D.J. Augustin, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Timberwolves big man Naz Reid is now in the health and safety protocols, bringing Minnesota’s list of affected players up to eight, tweets Chris Hine of The Star Tribune.
  • The Thunder announced today that they’ve placed rookie guard Tre Mann in the protocols. Oklahoma City now has two players affected — Mann and Darius Bazley.

Exiting the protocols:

  • Point guard De’Aaron Fox returned to action on Sunday when the Kings hosted Memphis. Fox had been in the health and safety protocols since December 16.
  • A pair of TimberwolvesPatrick Beverley and Josh Okogie – are no longer in the health and safety protocols, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. They’re both listed as questionable for Monday’s game vs. Boston.
  • Clippers forward Marcus Morris has cleared the health and safety protocols, though he remained inactive on Sunday as he goes through a reconditioning period, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.
  • Cavaliers wing RJ Nembhard was no longer listed on the team’s injury report on Sunday and played vs. Toronto, so he’s out of the protocols. Isaac Okoro has exited the protocols too, though he’s still working his way back, according to head coach J.B. Bickerstaff (Twitter link via Kelsey Russo of The Athletic).

Olympic Notes: Johnson, Garland, Bey, Durant, Satoransky

The Spurs’ Keldon Johnson, Cavaliers’ Darius Garland and Pistons’ Saddiq Bey will move up from the U.S. Select Team and play for Team USA in exhibition games, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

The trio will fill in for Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton, who will join Team USA after the Finals. Johnson, Garland and Bey would be candidates to join Team USA for the Olympics if any players have to bow out.

Exhibition games in Las Vegas will begin on Saturday with a matchup against Nigeria.

We have more on the Olympics:

  • Select Team members Cameron Reynolds, Josh Magette, John Jenkins and Dakota Mathias will remain in Las Vegas and will be available for exhibition games, Brian Windhorst of ESPN writes. The pool of Select Team players has been reduced by injuries and COVID-19 protocols. Timberwolves big man Naz Reid suffered a minor injury in Thursday’s practice, Windhorst adds.
  • Nets superstar Kevin Durant will look to collect his third gold medal in Tokyo and he’s energized by that possibility, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. “I committed to USA Basketball when I was coming out of college,” Durant said. “And every chance that I can get that I’m healthy and my mind is in the right place to play basketball, I’m going to go out there and play. Finished the year off healthy, the regular season and the playoffs, so I felt it’d be cool to get a kickstart on next season by getting in shape a little earlier in the summer with Team USA.”
  • Bulls guard Zach LaVine will be facing backcourt partner Tomas Satoransky in Group A play and he’s looking forward to the matchup, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago relays. Satoransky will play for the Czech Republic, which is in Team USA’s Group along with Iran and France. “I’m looking forward to playing them and having some bragging rights,” LaVine said good-naturedly. “Hopefully, we really kick their butt.”

Roster Announced For U.S. Select Team

The roster has been released for the U.S. Select Team, which will help Team USA prepare for the Olympics, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Select Team, which will practice with and scrimmage against the national team during the upcoming training camp in Las Vegas, is made up mostly of first- and second-year NBA players. It will be coached by Erik Spoelstra of the Heat.

Making up the roster are:

Free Agent Stock Watch: Northwest Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. 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:

Hamidou Diallo, Thunder, 22, SG (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3.9MM deal in 2018

Diallo has entered the conversation for the Most Improved Player award. The Dennis Schröder trade to the Lakers opened up a little more playing time for the third-year guard and he has seized the opportunity, nearly doubling his scoring average (12.5 PPG from 6.9 PPG) and also contributing on the boards (5.4 RPG) while making more plays for his teammates (2.5 APG).

Diallo’s perimeter shooting remains an issue (28.9% on 3-point attempts) but he’s reached double figures in 13 of his last 15 games. He will be a restricted free agent and it will be intriguing to see if another team will overlook his perimeter woes and extend an offer sheet to force the Thunder’s hand.

Naz Reid, Timberwolves, 21, C (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $4.2MM deal in 2019

Very little has gone right for Minnesota this season but Reid continues to be a bright spot. The undrafted second-year big man is averaging 12.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG and 1.2 BPG and his 3-point shot is improving (39.7%). Reid had a 29-point performance against OKC and a 23-point outing against the Clippers this month. He filled the stat sheet with 18 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three blocks in an overtime loss to Indiana on Wednesday.

Reid’s $1.78MM salary for next season is non-guaranteed; the Timberwolves’ front office will have some tough roster decisions to make over the next year but that won’t be one of them.

Gary Trent Jr., Trail Blazers, 22, SG (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3.92MM deal in 2018

Trent, who will be a restricted free agent, emerged as a valuable rotation piece in his second season a year ago. He’s become even more important with CJ McCollum sidelined by a foot injury. Trent is averaging 15.3 PPG while knocking down an impressive 44.7% of his 3-point attempts despite taking 7.2 shots per game from deep. He’s averaging 19.8 PPG during the team’s current six-game winning streak. The Blazers already have $70MM committed to their starting guards next season; can they afford to hold onto Trent if someone lavishes the sharpshooter with a lucrative offer sheet?

Will Barton, Nuggets, 30, SG/SF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $53MM deal in 2018

Barton has a player option worth $14.67MM for next season and the way he’s played this season, he’ll have no reason to opt out. Barton missed the summer restart due to a knee injury and hasn’t been a consistent factor on a team with championship aspirations. He scored 10 or fewer points in six of his last 10 outings before taking off a few games for personal reasons. His PER for the season is 11.6, well below average. The Nuggets need more from their wings, including Barton, if they want to make another deep playoff run.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Timberwolves Notes: Rubio, Rosas, Reid, Towns

Ricky Rubio hasn’t found a level of comfort since returning to the Timberwolves, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. After the Suns traded Rubio to Oklahoma City on draft day, Minnesota expressed interest in bringing him back to the place where he played his first six NBA seasons. However, he hasn’t developed a rapport with backcourt mate D’Angelo Russell, and the Wolves are sinking with their best player, Karl-Anthony Towns, sidelined by COVID-19.

“Trying to pick it up, but it’s tough,” Rubio said. “It is what it is. There’s no excuses. I’m going to keep working hard. I’ve been in the league for 10 years and I know who I am, but it’s off. My game is not here, and I’ve got to find it.”

Through the first part of the season, Rubio is averaging career lows at 6.2 points, 5.7 assists, and 3.1 rebounds per game. His shot has been off as he’s posting his worst marks ever in effective field-goal percentage (.369), field-goal percentage (.341) and 3-point shooting (.185).

“There’s a fine line of overthinking,” Rubio said. “Sometimes, if you think too much, it’s bad for you, but you can’t just let it go and go out there. You’ve got to fix it if things are not working. Got to feel better with the system, with what we’re running, and as a point guard, I’ve got to do my job.”

There’s more on the Wolves:

  • Rubio could wind up being a trade chip, suggests Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. The veteran guard will have a $17.8MM expiring contract next season, which could be useful to help match salary in a deal. Hine adds that team president Gersson Rosas views trades as the best way to improve.
  • Second-year center Naz Reid, who has taken over as a starter in Towns’ absence, shares the organizational philosophy of avoiding mid-range shots, Hine writes in a separate story. “It’s not that I can’t shoot them. It’s that I don’t feel right shooting (them),” Reid said. “The system of (rim) twos, threes, free throws is a proper system.”
  • Towns revealed this week that he was hit by a drunk driver in Los Angeles before the start of the season, relays Mark Medina of USA Today. Towns, who lost his mother and six other family members to COVID-19 last year, talked about the incident in a question-and-answer session on Instagram about how he has overcome so much adversity.

Northwest Notes: Conley, Grant, Reid, Daniels

Jazz guard Mike Conley has finally regained his health and is reminding everyone just how talented he is, Aaron Falk of NBA.com writes.

Conley recorded 25 points, five assists and three steals in a road victory over the Celtics on Friday, demonstrating his value at the point guard position.

“It’s just funny how people work,” teammate Donovan Mitchell said of Conley, as relayed by Falk. “Y’all can continue to hate and say what y’all want. I see it. I know he does, too. But that’s Mike Conley. He’s a Hall-of-Famer, one of the best to play at his position.”

Utah acquired Conley from Memphis last July in exchange for Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder, Grayson Allen, the draft rights to Darius Bazley and a protected first-round pick, solidifying its backcourt by pairing him and Mitchell together.

Conley had a slow start to the 2019/20 season, but the 32-year-old has increased his production in recent weeks as the team gears up for a playoff push. In total, he has averaged 13.9 points, 4.3 assists and 0.8 steals in 28.4 minutes per contest.

“There’s way less thinking,” Conley said of his team’s recent surge. “I’m just playing the game. After playing together for a while now, I’m feeling in charge, knowing how you can put guys in position to be successful and make plays, knowing what times in the game that I can be aggressive.”

There’s more out of the Northwest Division today:

  • Nuggets forward Jerami Grant is fitting in seamlessly with the team, Mike Singer of the Denver Post writes. “We’ll see how it goes in the offseason,” said Grant, who holds a $9.3MM player option for next season. “It’s definitely all situational, but I’m definitely comfortable here. I love my teammates, love the coaches, everything.”
  • The Timberwolves are rallying around rookie big man Naz Reid as he continues his impressive play, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. “Naz is great,” teammate James Johnson said. “Right now he’s not focused on one aspect of the game, he’s doing so many things that stats won’t ever show or that fans won’t ever see. The locker room feels it. Real basketball fans feel it. I’m sure you guys feel it. He keeps doing that, his job’s going to get more and more and his responsibilities are going to be more and more and he’s going to be ready for it.”
  • Eric Spyropoulos of NBA.com examines what Troy Daniels could bring to the Nuggets, with Denver signing the 28-year-old to a contract this past week. Daniels, known as a valuable three-point threat during his NBA career, is expected to provide depth off the bench as the Nuggets gear up for a postseason run.