Marc Lore

Wolves Notes: Defense, McDaniels, Gobert, Morris, Ownership

While Defensive Player of the Year favorite Rudy Gobert has earned much of the credit for anchoring a Timberwolves defense that ranked No. 1 in the NBA this season, Minnesota turned in an impressive defensive performance without Gobert available on Monday, limiting the Nuggets to just 80 points on 34.9% shooting and forcing 19 turnovers in a Game 2 blowout.

“We’ve had some really, really good defensive efforts this year, but that has to be right up there with the best of them,” Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch said, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “On the ball, off the ball, the physicality, the execution of the game plan. … Just really locked in on defense.”

Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns led the offensive attack for the Wolves with 27 points apiece, but it was fellow starter Jaden McDaniels who turned in the game’s best plus-minus mark (+26) despite recording as many fouls as points (5) and making just 2-of-7 shots from the floor. McDaniels’ under-the-radar impact didn’t go unnoticed by his head coach.

“He hasn’t connected in the scoring column, but my God, he’s a +26. The other day he was a +23,” Finch said (Twitter link via Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic). “He didn’t have a bucket. He’s got five points in the series and he’s a +50. It’s not about how you score, it’s about how you help your team win.”

Here’s more on the Wolves, who will take a 2-0 lead over the defending champs back home to Minnesota:

  • Gobert, who missed Game 2 due to the birth of his first child, is expected to return to the lineup for Game 3, says McMenamin. That game won’t be played until Friday, giving the teams three days off this week.
  • Finch lauded his team after Monday’s win for its effort on defense, sharing the ball, and generally playing like a team that fans want to root for, as Chris Hine of The Star Tribune writes. Naz Reid suggested those traits are the result of a culture that has improved in recent years. “When I first got here, [the culture] wasn’t the best, it wasn’t perfect,” Reid said. “But obviously we’re all humans, and over that time we gradually got better. We got more cultured. Time to where we kind of became a unit, a team where we trust each other. We’re selling out for each other.”
  • The Timberwolves still need 10 more victories to win a championship, but they look like the NBA’s best team right now, contends Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune. Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports makes a similar case in a column of his own, writing that Minnesota has made the Nuggets look like anything but champions.
  • Wolves reserve point guard Monte Morris exited Game 2 due to a right index finger sprain, the team announced (via Twitter). It’s unclear whether the injury will force him to miss additional time going forward. Morris has played just 40 total minutes across Minnesota’s six playoff games, so his possible absence wouldn’t have a significant impact on the team’s rotation.
  • As the Wolves continue to dominate on the court, the team’s off-the-court ownership battle between Glen Taylor and the Marc Lore/Alex Rodriguez group is headed to arbitration. Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic spoke to a handful of legal experts to get a sense of what to expect from that process. “I see this as an uphill battle for Taylor,” one sports investment banker told Vorkunov,” but something that might make sense for him to have potential asymmetric upside if he can either prevail or find a way to get a settlement or a higher number.”

Northwest Notes: Finch, Nori, Wolves, Clarkson, Thunder

There is “increased optimism” that Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch will be seated near the team’s bench when Game 1 of the Timberwolves/Nuggets series tips off on Saturday, according to The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania (Twitter link). Finch suffered a torn patellar tendon during Minnesota’s first-round series against Phoenix and underwent surgery on the knee on Wednesday.

With Finch’s mobility impacted due to the injury, assistant coach Micah Nori will take on a larger role, as expected (Twitter link via Krawczynski). But it sounds like the Wolves will at least be able to have their head coach nearby rather than watching the game from the locker room or a suite. As Chris Hine of The Star Tribune tweets, team staffers appeared to be working with Finch on Friday to figure out a spot for him to sit, with the goal to get him as close to the floor as possible.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Nick Williams of The Star Tribune takes a closer look at the next step in the Timberwolves‘ ownership dispute after a mediation session this week was unsuccessful. As Williams details, the two sides – current majority owner Glen Taylor and minority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez – will now head to arbitration, which must take place in Minneapolis within the next six months. A three-person panel will hear the case, according to Williams, with each side choosing one arbitrator and then agreeing on a retired judge from Minnesota to serve as the third arbitrator.
  • There’s a chance that veteran guard Jordan Clarkson appeared in his last game for the Jazz this season, Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune writes. The oldest and longest-tenured player on the roster, Clarkson is under contract for two more seasons, but has a team-friendly deal that could make him an appealing offseason trade target. “Tomorrow’s tomorrow, I don’t really try to look too far forward,” Clarkson said. “But I love this organization, I love this state, city. I love playing for this team, [head coach Will Hardy] and everybody. If it’s the last, that just is what it is.” If the Jazz were to move him, it would be to make way for younger players on the roster. He’s due to make about $14MM in each of the next two seasons.
  • The Thunder followed up a week-long break at the end of the regular season with a four-game sweep of New Orleans in the first round, so it’s no surprise that head coach Mark Daigneault has no problem with another lengthy layoff before the second round begins. “If you’ve got bumps and bruises it gives you time to heal and get everybody’s tank full from a recovery standpoint,” Daigneault said, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. “Disadvantages would just be a lot of time in between games, an amount of time we’re not used to. … But I thought we managed it pretty well in the last stretch.”

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Timberwolves Notes: Connelly, Nori, Finch, Ownership

Timberwolves team president Tim Connelly joined the organization two years ago with a deliberate, aggressive plan in mind for returning Minnesota to contender status, writes Chip Scoggins of The Star Tribune.

With core pieces Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and Jaden McDaniels already all in place, Connelly opted to go for size and veteran help, ultimately rounding out his starting five with former Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley.

Now, Minnesota’s defense in all facets is helping guiding the club deep into the playoffs. The Timberwolves, the West’s No. 3 seed with a 56-26 regular season record, have won a playoff series for the first time in 20 years. Scoggins concedes that he did not appreciate just how good Conley still was when Minnesota acquired him in a February 2023 trade, while also noting that much of the league was critical of Connelly’s decision to obtain Gobert for major future draft equity.

There’s more out of Minnesota:

  • Connelly recently addressed questions about how the team will handle what could be a very pricey roster in the offseason, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune (via Twitter). “I think we’re a contender now,” Connelly said. “We have to believe it. We’re entering the second round with an unblemished playoff record. This room certainly thinks we’re a contender. Relative to what the offseason looks like, it would be unfair to answer those questions prior to our conclusion and what we hope not to conclude for a long time.”
  • Connelly also had high praise for assistant coach Micah Nori, who finished out the closing minutes of team’s Game 4 win over the Suns after head coach Chris Finch left the bench due to a patellar tendon injury. Micah is gonna make a great head coach when some smart team hires him,” Connelly said, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link). “The whole staff is really connected and I think Finch empowers those guys, so it’s a collective.”
  • Just one day removed from a surgery on his ruptured right knee patellar tendon, Finch was back in action on Thursday with the Timberwolves, overseeing a team practice, writes Andrew Lopez of ESPN. Minnesota intends to have Finch available with the the team once its second round series against the Nuggets tips off in Denver on Saturday. “Finch is obviously a leader and a super tough guy,” Connelly reflected. “I have a ton of respect for him bouncing back so quickly… He’s really excited about the series and it’s great to have him back.”
  • Mediation efforts between Timberwolves minority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez and majority owner Glen Taylor did not ultimately succeed in resolving the two sides’ ownership dispute, Darren Wolfson of KSTP Sports tweets. They’ll move on to arbitration, which Wolfson believes could happen several weeks from now.

Timberwolves Notes: Nori, Finch, Ownership, Rebounding

Speaking on Wednesday to reporters, Timberwolves assistant coach Micah Nori said that Chris Finch‘s knee surgery went well, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter links). According to Nori, the team is still considering options for Finch for Game 1 on Saturday, including the possibility of moving some seats around on the bench to make room for the head coach.

If having Finch on the bench isn’t practical, he may end up watching from a suite and joining the team before the game and at halftime, Nori said. According to the Wolves’ assistant, there were some conversations about the idea of Finch texting the staff with observations during the game, but Finch apparently doesn’t love the idea of meddling in that way.

With Nori set to serve as the Timberwolves’ acting head coach if Finch is unavailable for Game 1, Krawczynski takes a more in-depth look at the veteran assistant whom Anthony Edwards calls a “genius.” According to Krawczynski, Nori has an “encyclopedic grasp of opponent tendencies” and delivers feedback to players in a uniquely humorous way.

“He’s brutally honest but still funny,” said Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, who worked with Nori when the coach was on Michael Malone‘s staff in Denver from 2015-18. “He says brutally honest stuff in really funny ways. That’s what makes him a really interesting, really funny guy.”

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • As reported last week, the mediation session in the Timberwolves’ ownership dispute between Glen Taylor and the Alex Rodriguez/Marc Lore group is beginning on Wednesday. Nick Williams of The Star Tribune examines what that means, noting that if the issue isn’t resolved through mediation, the next step would be an arbitration process that must be completed within six months.
  • Eben Novy-Williams and Michael McCann of Sportico also check in on the Wolves’ ownership situation, noting that the retired judge who will oversee the mediation process (Rick Solum) has a lengthy history with sports lawsuits — he also mediated a 2020 suit filed against Taylor by a group of plaintiffs who accused the Wolves’ owner of “sabotaging their investment into a medical device company.” Rodriguez and Lore chose Solum from a handful of possible mediators provided by Taylor, per Sportico.
  • The Timberwolves’ effective shooting percentage during their first-round series vs. Phoenix was lower than their regular season mark, but their offensive rating was up by 8.6 points per 100 possessions, according to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune, who points to the team’s offensive rebounding as a key reason for its success on that end of the floor. Minnesota’s 39.2% offensive rebounding percentage has easily been the best mark of any team in the first round, but it will be tested against a Nuggets squad that ranks third in playoff defensive rebounding percentage (78.8%).
  • In case you missed it, the NBA announced today that Mike Conley won this season’s Teammate of the Year award. We have the full story here.

Mediation In Wolves’ Ownership Dispute Scheduled For May 1

A mediation session regarding the Timberwolves‘ ownership dispute between Glen Taylor and a group led by Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez has been scheduled for May 1 in Minneapolis, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Lore and Rodriguez had agreed to a succession plan that would see them gradually buy into the Timberwolves before taking over majority control of the franchise this year. They previously purchased a 36% stake in the team and had been prepared to buy another 40% before Taylor announced last month that he was nixing the deal and retaining majority control of the Wolves.

Taylor claimed at the time that the deadline in the purchase agreement had passed without Lore and Rodriguez making their final payment, while Lore and Rodriguez insisted that they had the capital on hand and were awaiting NBA approval.

The incoming ownership group indicated that there was language in the purchase agreement that should give them a 90-day extension to secure that approval from the league, and expressed confidence that they’ll eventually gain majority control of the franchise.

Within an in-depth look at the ownership dispute, Joe Pompliano of Huddle Up says that if the mediation process doesn’t result in a resolution, the matter will be heard by a three-person arbitration committee — one member of that committee would be picked by Taylor, one would be chosen by Rodriguez and Lore, and the third would be mutually agreed upon by the two sides.

If the issue still isn’t solved at that point, it would go to court. Pompliano suggests Taylor, who would be on his “home turf” and previously served as a senator in Minnesota, would feel as if he had the advantage in that situation. However, sources close to the situation who spoke to Pompliano feel that the battle will eventually end with Lore and Rodriguez taking over majority control.

Here are a few more items of interest from Pompliano’s report:

  • The 36% stake that Lore and Rodriguez purchased so far has come entirely out of Taylor’s initial 70% share, rather than the remaining 30% controlled by about a dozen minority stakeholders. Some of those minority owners have been “looking for liquidity for years” but haven’t been able to cash out yet due to the nature of the purchase agreement, per Pompliano.
  • Because Lore’s and Rodriguez’s shares so far have come entirely out of Taylor’s portion of the team, his stake would have fallen to 34%. However, Taylor “quietly” purchased a 2.96% share from limited partner Bill Sexton to ensure that he retained control of more of the team (37%) than Lore and Rodriguez (36%). According to Pompliano, there are questions about why Taylor would do that unless he was preparing to retain majority control of the team and nix the sale agreement.
  • Pompliano hears from sources that Minnesota’s hiring of Tim Connelly as president of basketball operations and the trade for Rudy Gobert were spearheaded by Lore/Rodriguez and received resistance from Taylor, which A-Rod has suggested in recent media interviews (Twitter video link).
  • Pompliano confirms reporting from Wojnarowski that Lore and Rodriguez submitted a payroll projection for next season that came in below the projected luxury tax line. However, Pompliano hears that this is “relatively normal,” and that many team owners submit lower projections before revising them later — especially if the club has postseason success.

Northwest Notes: Wolves Ownership, Banton, Williams, Jazz

The 56-25 Timberwolves, battling for the No. 1 seed in the West, have emerged as one of the best teams in the league this season. But Minnesota’s fraught ownership situation has suddenly taken center stage in the club’s best season over the last 20 years, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

As the Wolves look to advance beyond the first round of the postseason for just the second time ever, the grievance between majority owner Glen Taylor and minority owners Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore has uncomfortably remained persistent. The two sides seem destined for mediation or arbitration, and Krawcyznski believes their very public dispute could linger far beyond the end of the 2024 postseason.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Trail Blazers point guard Dalano Banton is doing the most to maximize his play with Portland, per Libaan Osman of The Toronto Star. “I think everyone wants the chance to show what they can do and make a name for themselves,” Banton said. “I just looked at it that way. I know I’ve been sitting on the bench for three years in this league, I know that time was of the essence in my third year.” Osman notes that Portland is expected to exercise its $2.2MM team option on Banton’s contract. Thanks to injuries to many of the Trail Blazers guards who are ahead of him in the team’s rotation, Banton has been averaging 16.7 PPG on .418/.339/.777 shooting in his 29 games with the team, along with 4.8 RPG, 3.5 APG and 0.9 SPG.
  • Center Robert Williams III played just six contests with the Trail Blazers before tearing his right knee ligament in November, which required a season-ending surgery. He spoke with reporters this week for the first time since then, writes Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report. “It was pretty tough,” Williams said. “But it was eye-opening. I got a chance to work on stuff while I was put down for a minute.”
  • The rebuilding Jazz have been immersed in something of a half-hearted tank since Danny Ainge began offloading Utah’s franchise cornerstones, but the team hasn’t always been making the right decisions with its personnel-building thus far, opines Gordon Monson of The Salt Lake Tribune.

Adam Silver On Wolves Dispute, Porter Investigation, More

Speaking to the media on Wednesday following a two-day meeting of the league’s Board of Governors, commissioner Adam Silver said the NBA likely won’t get involved in the Timberwolves‘ ownership dispute between current majority shareholder Glen Taylor and minority stakeholders Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune.

It’s not clear whether there will be a role for the league to get involved,” Silver said. “… They have a purchase agreement and there’s a dispute now in the purchase agreement and in their purchase agreement, they, in essence, pre-agreed to a dispute resolution mechanism that includes mediation and arbitration, and that’s where it stands.

There is no role for the league in that process.”

At Taylor’s request, Lore and Rodriguez agreed to buy the Timberwolves in three parts over multiple years. Lore and Rodriguez made the first two payments and currently control a 36% stake in the franchise, but Taylor voided the contract when he said the duo didn’t complete their final purchase option for another 40% on March 27. Silver suggested the unique structure of the deal may not permitted in future ownership transactions.

It’s certainly not ideal to have a stepped transaction like this,” Silver said. “I mean, it met our rules from that standpoint. And it’s what Glen Taylor wanted and it’s what they were willing to agree to at the time. But I think once the dust clears on this deal, it may cause us to reassess what sort of transactions we should allow.”

Here’s more from Silver’s press conference, which covered several other topics:

  • Raptors big man Jontay Porter, who is on a two-way deal, is under league investigation following multiple instances of betting irregularities related to his on-court performance. According to Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press, Silver said Porter could be permanently barred from the NBA if what he’s accused of is discovered to be true. “I have enormous range of discipline available to me,” Silver said. “It’s cardinal sin what he’s accused of in the NBA. The ultimate extreme option I have is to ban him from the game. That’s the level of authority I have here because there’s nothing more serious.” Porter has been listed as out for personal reasons for the past 10 games.
  • The NBA has multiple partnerships with gambling companies. Silver suggested the incident may cause the league to reevaluate those relationships going forward, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “At the end of the day, there’s nothing more important than the integrity of the competition,” Silver said. “And so, any issue raised around that is of great concern to me and to all commissioners, to all people who are safeguards, who are all people who are in a position and have a responsibility to safeguard the game. Again, this is a burgeoning industry in the United States. It’s been legal in other places in the world for decades. There’s lessons to be learned from the way that sports betting is monitored and regulated in other jurisdictions. And again, I think as these unfortunate examples come along, we may have to adjust our rules and our partner gaming companies and those companies that aren’t our partners may have to adjust their behavior as well.”
  • Silver said foul calls are down about four per game since the All-Star break and that’s something the league is pleased about, Mahoney writes. “I think there was a sense earlier in the season that there was too much of an advantage for the offensive players,” Silver said as part of a larger quote. “But again, the context is two fouls per team per game, and the end result, most importantly, we think is a better game.”
  • According to Mahoney, Silver once again reiterated that expansion won’t be on the table until the league finishes a new media rights deal. While Seattle and Las Vegas have long been rumored as frontrunners to land new teams, Silver said no talks have begun and “no one has an inside track to getting a deal done.”
  • Silver said star players have averaged 15% more games played this season with the additions of the player participation policy and 65-game requirements, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. The NBA will set an attendance record in ’23/24 as well, Silver added.

Lore, A-Rod Reportedly Projected Reduced Payroll For Wolves

As part of their final option to purchase a majority stake, Timberwolves minority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez projected a team payroll of $171MM for the 2024/25 season in documents shared with current majority stakeholder Glen Taylor, the NBA, and The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

As Wojnarowski writes, the Wolves currently project to have a payroll of about $198MM in ’24/25. $171MM is obviously a significant reduction from that figure. It’s also just shy of the projected $171.3MM luxury tax line.

Lore and Rodriguez are currently in a contractual dispute with Taylor for majority ownership of the Wolves. Both sides declined to comment for the story, which isn’t surprising, as Wojnarowski hears the NBA asked those involved not to discuss the matter publicly. All three owners gave several interviews a couple weeks ago after Taylor announced he was retaining majority ownership of the Wolves and WNBA’s Lynx.

According to Wojnarowski, the reduced payroll for next season was one factor that led Taylor to void the contract with Lore and A-Rod. Taylor was concerned that such a cut “would jeopardize the franchise’s ability to compete for a championship,” Woj adds.

Of course, there’s some irony there, since Taylor isn’t exactly known for being a big spender. Since he bought the Wolves in 1994, he has only paid a total of $25MM in luxury tax penalties, with less than $2MM coming since 2005. The Wolves project to be above the second tax apron next season, with a tax bill exceeding $25MM.

I just think (we) built this team,” Taylor told The Athletic in explaining why he’s not putting the team back on the market. “We’ve got the players now. And it appears to me that we should have a very positive run for a number of years, and I want to be a part of that.”

While there have been rumors about Lore and Rodriguez’s ability to spend on the team going forward, since neither is a billionaire, they did approve of the contract extensions for Jaden McDaniels and Mike Conley as minority owners, sources tell Wojnarowski. Those deals increased Minnesota’s projected tax bill for ’24/25.

Lore and Rodriguez were also reportedly instrumental in hiring president of basketball operations Tim Connelly, who made the blockbuster trade for Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner Rudy Gobert. That move was quite controversial at the time, but it has paid off thus far in ’23/24, with the Wolves currently 55-24, the No. 1 seed in the West.

Northwest Notes: Wolves, Anderson, Jokic, KCP, Blazers

The NBA’s league office hasn’t taken any public stance on the Timberwolves‘ ownership battle, but has kept up to date on the details of the situation and wasn’t caught off guard when longtime team owner Glen Taylor announced last week that he intended to retain his majority stake in the franchise, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

Within a look at what might be next for the Timberwolves as Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez look to wrest majority control from Taylor, Windhorst shares a few new details on the standoff. Sources tell ESPN that the sales agreement between the two sides is about 50 pages long and features “numerous protections” for Taylor, so his side believes it’s on “firm legal ground” despite claims for the Lore-Rodriguez group that they met all the requirements.

Windhorst also hears from sources that Taylor – who has paid less than $2MM in luxury tax penalties since 2005 – remained very involved in operating the team as the Wolves made several significant financial commitments in recent years that project to take them well beyond the luxury tax line in 2024/25 and beyond. Last fall, for example, he was “haggling over details” in Jaden McDaniels‘ $131MM extension, Windhorst says.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Kyle Anderson has looked like “the Kyle of old” in recent weeks, according to head coach Chris Finch, which has helped key an offensive resurgence for the Timberwolves, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. As Krawczynski details, Anderson has played more power forward during Karl-Anthony Towns‘ absence and often orchestrates the offense when he’s in the game. The veteran wing figures to play a key role in the postseason for Minnesota before becoming an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
  • Despite dealing with some pain in his right wrist and left hip as of late, Nuggets center Nikola Jokic isn’t looking to take any time off as the team attempts to secure the No. 1 seed in the West, writes Bennett Durando of The Denver Post. “My goal is to play every game, and that’s my mindset,” Jokic said on Tuesday after matching his season high with 42 points to hold off the Spurs. Denver currently holds the West’s top spot by a half-game over Minnesota and Oklahoma City.
  • Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette takes a look at Nuggets wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s quest to earn an All-Defensive nod for the first time in his 11th NBA season.
  • A 10-game losing streak has put the Trail Blazers (19-56) in position to possibly slip below San Antonio (18-58) and Charlotte (18-57) in the standings and finish as a bottom-three team, which would result in the best possible draft lottery odds, notes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian.

Northwest Notes: Murray, SGA, Sharpe, Wolves, Jazz

Jamal Murray continues to deal with a sprained left ankle and swollen right knee, having missed a fourth consecutive game on Friday vs. Minnesota. According to a report from ESPN, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone told reporters before Friday’s game that Murray is improving, but said he’s “not ready to go out there and compete at the level that we need him to” and hinted that the star guard may remain out for Sunday’s game vs. Cleveland.

Still, Malone isn’t worried at this point that Murray’s health issues will extend into the postseason, adding, “I do think he will be back on the court before the playoffs start.”

It should be an eventful spring and summer for Murray, assuming he gets – and stays – healthy. After seeking a second straight NBA championship with the Nuggets, the 27-year-old hopes to suit up for the Canadian national team at the Olympics in Paris, he confirmed to Eurohoops.

“I’m excited to be there,” he said. “We have a great squad, (it) was great to see them win a medal (at the 2023 World Cup). Hopefully, we can go our way and win gold this summer.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed a second consecutive game on Friday vs. Phoenix due to his right quad contusion. Head coach Mark Daigneault said that Gilgeous-Alexander will continue to be considered day-to-day, so there’s no indication at this point that the injury will result in an extended absence (Twitter link via Joel Lorenzi of The Oklahoman).
  • Trail Blazers guard Shaedon Sharpe, who is recovering from core muscle surgery, is with the team on its current seven-game road trip and will continue to be evaluated after participating in non-contact and conditioning drills in the G League earlier this week, per the club (Twitter link). Sharpe hasn’t played since January 11, but there’s still hope that he’ll return in the season’s final two weeks.
  • Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch said on Friday that he has great relationships with Glen Taylor, Marc Lore, and Alex Rodriguez, so he won’t be taking sides in the franchise’s ownership struggle and doesn’t expect the situation to affect his team at “troop level,” tweets Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. “If there was ever a definition of ‘above your pay grade,’ this is it,” Finch added.
  • After expressing some concern in mid-February about the frustration level in the Jazz‘s locker room, Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune says the locker room vibes in Utah are “way better” now. However, that comes with an important caveat — according to Larsen, since the Jazz have fallen out of the postseason race, they’re no longer as stressed about winning games, as “the sting of losing is absolutely gone.”