Taurean Prince

Spurs Notes: Players’ Meeting, Landale, COVID Concerns, Walker

The Spurs held a players-only meeting in the locker room after last Thursday’s 25-point loss to the Timberwolves, forward Thaddeus Young informed Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. “We took that butt whooping and we went back into the locker room and we talked for 20, 30 minutes, the whole team,” Young said. “Everyone voiced their issues and their points.”

Second-year lottery pick Devin Vassell was among those who spoke most eloquently.

“He basically said, ‘Come on. Let’s try to figure this thing out. Let’s talk about it. Let’s put everything out there on the table,'” Young said.

Young viewed that as a positive sign for the team building around young players.

“That’s what you want from young guys. I could do it, but at the end of the day, you want these younger guys to start stepping up,” Young said (Twitter links here).

San Antonio had the weekend off and will face Phoenix on Monday.

We have more on the Spurs:

  • Big man Jock Landale has entered the reconditioning phase after being cleared from the league’s health and safety protocols, Orsborn tweets. Landale entered protocols approximately two weeks ago and hasn’t played since November 1.
  • Though the team is fully vaccinated and some have received booster shots, players are wary of contracting the virus and are taking more precautions on the road, forward Doug McDermott told Orsborn. “That (being vaccinated) still doesn’t mean anything because you still see positive tests. I think a good example was in the NFL,” McDermott said. “You are seeing a lot of positive cases there and I think the same will be true of us (in the NBA) around Thanksgiving.”
  • Guard Lonnie Walker IV holds no hard feelings toward Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince, Orsborn writes. Prince was ejected after being issued a Flagrant 2 foul for striking Walker in the chest and face during the second half as Walker drove to the basket. “It was fine,” Walker said. “I’ve gotten hit a lot worse than that. I don’t think it was on purpose. I’m real cool with Prince.”

Timberwolves Notes: Prince, McDaniels, Vanderbilt, Beasley

After spending some time out of the Timberwolves‘ rotation, Taurean Prince delivered his best game of the season on Thursday with 13 points and three rebounds in 15 minutes, writes Chris Hine of The Star-Tribune.

Prince, who was acquired from the Cavaliers in an offseason trade, has been putting up the worst numbers of his career since coming to Minnesota. He’s been particularly bad as a three-point shooter, connecting at just 19% before Thursday’s game. After sinking three of his five shots from long distance vs. San Antonio, Prince hopes the worst is over.

“Maybe a couple years ago I would’ve felt some type of way or acted a certain way,” he said of the reduced playing time. “But now I’m to the point where I just want to hoop. I’m with a great organization. We got something going here. … For me to feel any type of way about playing time right now would be — it’d be a little bit selfish on my behalf. Just try to stick together, see it all through and things will come together.”

There’s more from Minnesota:

  • Jaden McDaniels has struggled with foul trouble in his second NBA season, but apart from that he has been tremendous on defense, Hine adds in the same story. Coach Chris Finch rates him as an “A or A-minus” defender and says opponents are starting to take notice. “Every game pretty much we have some opponent coming over saying to our bench he can really guard,” Finch said. “(Suns guard) Chris Paul said it the other day: ‘Who is this guy? He can really guard.'”
  • Since moving into the starting lineup five games ago, Jarred Vanderbilt has provided an edge to the first unit, notes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Minnesota doesn’t have a traditional power forward, so the undersized Vanderbilt tries to fill the role by outworking opponents. “Very aware, very self-aware. Mature,” Finch said of Vanderbilt. “Understands who he is as a basketball player. That’s 90% of the battle of getting better in this league.”
  • Malik Beasley‘s shot has been off this season, but he has been able to hold onto his rotation spot by improving on defense, Krawczynski adds. Beasley credits studying film with helping him to better understand what opposing players are trying to do.

Western Notes: Jazz, Payton II, Prince, Forrest

Some newcomers on the Jazz made a strong impression during the team’s open practice on Saturday, as relayed by NBA.com. Utah welcomed thousands of fans to partake in a Q&A with head coach Quin Snyder and watch the final part of a team scrimmage via Zoom.

Players such as Hassan Whiteside, Eric Paschall and Jared Butler all played well. Whiteside joined the Jazz on a one-year, minimum deal this summer after spending last season with the Kings. He made the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team in 2016 and led the league in rebounding in 2017.

“His half roll, his short roll, obviously his floater,” Jazz star Donovan Mitchell said of Whiteside, specifically noting his game on the offensive end as well. “He’s done it against us, he’s done it for his whole career, I think that’s one thing that he brings.”

There’s more out of the Western Conference:

Timberwolves Notes: Bolmaro, Prince, Vanderbilt, McLaughlin, Towns

Timberwolves rookie guard Leandro Bolmaro plays fearlessly, head coach Chris Finch told Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and other media members this week. The 23rd pick in the draft, Bolmaro is expected to sign his rookie contract shortly.

“We love that about him. He competes, he’s bouncy, he just knows how to play basketball,” Finch said. “He moves well off the ball, fits in around all of the pieces we already have.”

We have more on the Timberwolves:

  • Forward Taurean Prince, acquired in the Ricky Rubio deal with Cleveland, believes he’ll play all three frontcourt positions at some point this season, Hine adds in the same story. “The ball moves around and like coach said it gives a lot of opportunity to everybody,” Prince said. “Those are the best systems because everyone likes to play off each other and it maximizes everyone’s potential as well.”
  • Jarred Vanderbilt officially signed his new three-year, $13.8MM contract on Wednesday. According to Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link), the first-year salary is $4.05MM and he’ll get $4.374MM in 2022/23. Vanderbilt’s 2023/24 salary of $4.698MM is partially guaranteed at $300K. The contract also includes $162K in likely bonuses and $405K in unlikely bonuses, Smith adds.
  • Jordan McLaughlin also inked his new three-year, $6.5MM deal this week. The first-year salary will be $2MM, Smith tweets. In 2022/23, he’ll receive $2.16MM. His 2023/24 salary of $2.32MM is non-guaranteed. The contract includes $100K in unlikely bonuses in all three seasons.
  • A refocused Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the reasons for optimism in Minnesota, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. The past two seasons for the team’s top big man have been marred by injuries and personal tragedy. He’s been working on his game diligently this summer, which bodes well for his continued development. Anthony Edwards’ encore after a powerful finish to his rookie campaign, plus the ability of Finch to have a full off-season to prepare the team for the upcoming season, should also entice fans. Krawczynski delves into a number of topics in the mailbag, including the possibility of Malik Beasley or D’Angelo Russell taking a sixth-man role.

Timberwolves Trade Ricky Rubio To Cavaliers

AUGUST 3: The Timberwolves and Cavaliers have officially announced the trade in a pair of press releases.

The timing is curious, since the free agency moratorium is underway and trades can’t be formally completed during that time. However, the NBA’s official transactions log suggests the deal was finalized on Monday, presumably before the new league year began.

The announcement comes on the heels of Rubio racking up 38 points for the Spanish national team in a losing effort against Team USA on Tuesday.

JULY 29: The Timberwolves have agreed to trade Ricky Rubio to the Cavaliers in exchange for Taurean Prince, a 2022 second-round pick, and cash, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Wojnarowski’s original report stated that the second-round pick and cash were going from Minnesota to Cleveland, but according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link), the Wolves are actually acquiring those assets along with Prince.

Subsequent reporting confirms as much — Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report tweets that the Cavs are sending $2.5MM to Minnesota as part of the deal, while Wojnarowski tweets that the pick changing hands is the Wizards’ 2022 second-rounder, which had been controlled by Cleveland.

It’s an interesting deal for the Cavaliers, who already have Darius Garland running the point and Collin Sexton acting as a secondary ball-handler. Giving up assets for Rubio doesn’t necessarily mean the Cavs have to move on from one of those players (likely Sexton), since the team needs depth at the point and was seeking a reliable veteran, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link). Still, that added depth would make it easier for Cleveland to move Sexton, who has been the subject of some trade rumors this month.

Rubio, who is currently representing Spain at the Tokyo Olympics, averaged a career-low 8.6 PPG for Minnesota in 2020/21 and shot just .388/.308/.867 in 68 games (26.1 MPG). However, the 30-year-old remains an effective play-maker (6.4 APG) and received praise for his leadership of the young Wolves.

The Timberwolves will create some extra financial flexibility below the luxury tax line as a result of this deal, as Rubio is on a $17.8MM expiring contract, while Prince is making $13MM in the last year of his contract. The team now projects to be about $5.4MM below the tax, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

It’s unclear if Minnesota intends to keep Prince, but the team was lacking in reliable forward depth this past season, so the former Baylor standout could help out there. He’s a career 37.0% three-point shooter and knocked down 40.0% of his attempts from beyond the arc for Brooklyn and Cleveland in 2020/21.

Trade Rumors: Warriors, T. Harris, OKC, Jordan, Sexton, Wolves

Trade speculation involving the Warriors‘ top assets – including James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, and possibly future first-round picks – has died down a little since the draft came and went without a deal, with team owner Joe Lacob publicly stating a major deal this offseason is unlikely.

A source within the organization tells Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area that there’s only one player the Warriors would be willing to make all those aforementioned assets available for, and that player hasn’t been made available via trade.

While the player wasn’t specifically named, Andrews writes that it’s hard not to assume it’s a reference to Bradley Beal, whom Golden State’s stars would reportedly love to add to the roster. However, Beal continues to give no indications that he wants the Wizards to move him.

Here are a few more trade-related notes and rumors from around the NBA:

  • In addition to shopping Ben Simmons, the Sixers have made Tobias Harris available, according to veteran NBA reporter Mitch Lawrence of SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter link), who says the Rockets turned down a potential deal for Harris.
  • The Thunder are a possible candidate to take on DeAndre Jordan in a trade with the Nets, says Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. It’s not clear if Oklahoma City would become involved in a multi-team trade to make that happen or if it’d be a straight salary-dump deal.
  • Fischer also reports in the same story that a trade involving Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton appears unlikely at this point.
  • The Timberwolves “had eyes” for Kyle Kuzma before the Lakers reached a deal to send him to the Wizards, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who says Minnesota could pursue Kuzma again if Washington makes him available. Fischer adds that the Wolves are open to flipping Taurean Prince after acquiring him from Cleveland.

Northwest Notes: Wolves, J. Butler, Mudiay, Favors

The Timberwolves‘ second stint with former No. 5 overall pick Ricky Rubio wasn’t the fairy tale reunion either side hoped for, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic in a breakdown of the team’s trade with Cleveland and what it means for the Wolves moving forward.

While the Wolves are receiving solid three-and-D wing Taurean Prince as the return for Rubio, Krawczynski writes that Prince isn’t viewed as the solution to the team’s long-running search for a starting power forward, but rather as a rotation wing.

One benefit to the deal is an added $4.8MM in cap flexibility, which could allow the Wolves to use their entire taxpayer mid-level exception while possibly adding last year’s first round pick Leandro Bolmaro as well. Kracwzynski writes that the team explored trades into the draft and for Hawksforward Danilo Gallinari, but in the end were satisfied with the return of Prince.

We have more news from around the Northwest Division:

  • Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune details the Jazz‘s excitement upon trading down in the draft to land Baylor guard Jared Butler with the 40th pick, as well as two future second rounders. Butler, whom Utah was initially targeting in the first round, is viewed as someone who can play off the bench immediately, or even fill in should the Jazz lose Mike Conley to free agency.
  • Veteran point guard Emmanuel Mudiay will play for the Trail Blazers during Summer League, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The former No. 7 pick has bounced around the league since being traded from the team that drafted him, the Nuggets, to the Knicks in 2018, but the 25-year-old will be looking for a chance to get his career back on track with a strong showing in Las Vegas.
  • Derrick Favors was caught off-guard by the trade that will send him from the Jazz to the Thunder,writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. “Honestly, I’m still trying to process what happened,” Favors said. “It was tough to go to New Orleans, but I thought that there was a chance that I would come back to Utah. Now, I know this is it. So, there’s a lot to think about and a lot to work out.”

Central Notes: Pistons, Prince, Bulls, Cavaliers

At 19-43, the Pistons currently are tied with the Magic for the third-best lottery odds in the NBA. James L. Edwards III of The Athletic wonders if Detroit is willing to go all-in on playing youngsters – including projects like Deividas Sirvydis – over veterans in its quest to maximize the team’s lottery odds as the season winds down.

Edwards is hopeful that the Pistons will do their darnedest to avoid too many more victories over superior teams, like their Monday 100-86 defeat of the Hawks sans star point guard Trae Young, to maximize their odds of landing a potentially transformative top-four pick.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Though Cavaliers forward Taurean Prince only underwent season-ending ankle surgery this past Tuesday, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com tweets that the issue is relatively long-term. The swingman considered surgery to address the issue even prior to the start of the 2020/21 season, per Fedor.
  • Chicago’s United Center, home to the Bulls and the NHL’s Blackhawks, will begin to welcome fans back for in-door game attendance at 25% capacity on May 7, per a team press release. Hundreds of friends and family of players will begin being permitted to attend games on May 7. Among other precautions, fans will be required to take a COVID-19 test 12 hours prior to tip-off.
  • With a 21-41 record, the Cavaliers are currently the No. 13 seed in the East and are bound for the 2021 draft lottery in what looks to be a stacked year. Kelsey Russo and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic appraise the various draft scenarios and trade options available to Cleveland as it heads into the offseason. The Athletic’s duo also considers which players among their intriguing roster that includes Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, rookie Isaac Okoro, and Jarrett Allen are keepers and which could be more valuable in trades.

Taurean Prince Undergoes Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery

Cavaliers forward Taurean Prince has undergone arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle, the team announced today in a press release. The procedure took place on Tuesday in New York.

Prince had been experiencing ongoing discomfort in his left ankle for several weeks, and there had long been an expectation that he’d undergo surgery during the offseason. However, as was reported last week, he and the team opted to move up that procedure, completing it before the end of the 2020/21 season.

The Cavaliers didn’t provide a specific timeline for Prince’s recovery, simply stating that he has been ruled out indefinitely. It’s safe to assume his season is over and that he’ll aim to be ready by the fall, but the club says his return to basketball activities will be updated as appropriate.

Prince, who started the season in Brooklyn, was sent to Cleveland in the four-team James Harden trade in January. He has appeared in a total of 41 games for the Nets and Cavs this season, averaging 9.5 PPG and 3.5 RPG with a very solid .400 3PT% in 22.1 minutes per contest.

Prince will be entering a contract year in 2021/22 — his expiring $13MM salary could make him a trade candidate either in the offseason or at next year’s deadline.

Taurean Prince Expected To Undergo Season-Ending Ankle Surgery

Cavaliers forward Taurean Prince is expected to undergo surgery on his ankle that would bring his 2020/21 season to an end, reports Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link).

While Prince has been a regular rotation player off Cleveland’s bench for most of the last month, there was always an expectation that he’d address his ankle by undergoing a procedure in the offseason, as we relayed earlier in April. It now appears he’ll get a jump on his rehab process by going under the knife before the season ends. A timeline for his recovery is not yet known.

Prince, who started the season in Brooklyn, was sent to the Cavaliers in the four-team James Harden trade in January. He has appeared in a total of 41 games for the two teams this season, averaging 9.5 PPG and 3.5 RPG with a very solid .400 3PT% in 22.1 minutes per contest.

Prince will be on an expiring $13MM contract in 2021/22, making him a potential trade candidate if he’s not in the Cavs’ plans beyond next season.