Wolves swing-man Kevin Martin talks about the issues the Wolves had this year, what looks to be a crazy off-season and the future of the team.
Are You Ready For The Circus?: With a small handful of games remaining for most of the NBA, several teams are heading into the offseason with looming doubts and daunting questions; none may be bigger than the Minnesota Timberwolves’ and their future with star forward Kevin Love.
Love’s name has been kicked around in trade rumors for most of the season and it’s expected that Love-mania will resume in full force this summer.
Minnesota unfortunately finds itself at a crossroads of sorts with head coach Rick Adelman, who is likely out at season’s end and needing to try and convince Love that his brightest future remains in Minnesota.
The popular opinion is that the Wolves have to move Love this summer while they can control the market in some ways and extract the most value out of a trade involving Love. However, the word around the team is that not only will the Wolves not move their star this summer, there are still some in the organization that believe the right coaching hire and the ability to offer him the most guaranteed money for his services could sway Love into a new long–term deal.
»In Related: The Timberwolves Salary Cap Chart.
There may be some delusions in that approach, but the logic that’s being laid out is simple. The Wolves won’t get nearly anything in return for Love in trade, so why not take their chances? If things are still uncertain at the trade deadline, the team would look to liquidate. The idea is that Minnesota, when healthy this year, looked like a playoff-caliber team, and with a few roster tweaks and the right coaching hire, the roster is talented enough to compete, even in the West. That, combined with a boat load of money, might be enough to sway Love into staying beyond his current contract.
If this sounds familiar, it’s exactly what the Orlando Magic did with Dwight Howard, conceding that six months of Howard and a possible playoff run was better than anything they could command in trade. A circus ensued and the rest is well documented history.
»In Related: The History Of The NBA Trades That Got Done.
The Atlanta Hawks did something similar with Josh Smith, only to find almost no market last year at the trade deadline for him and ultimately lost an All-Star caliber player for nothing in return this past summer.
The Wolves seem like they are more open to letting things play out with Love than trying to conduct a fire sale for him this summer, even though that might be the best return they can get.
As with all trades, the right combination of assets could turn a “no” into a “yes” fairly quickly, but if you are expecting Minnesota to open the trade hotline once their season comes to an end, it does not appear like that is their plan, in fact it seems like the Wolves are ready to hold on to Love, knowing full well they won’t get anything close to what he is, in return and that putting him in a winning situation might sway him into staying.
The Orlando Magic thought the same thing about Howard… Queue up the circus music it looks like the Wolves are ready to open the curtain for what is likely going to be a rumor filled summer.
Re-Drafting The 20102 Draft: They say ‘hindsight is 20/20’, which means you can always accurately predict what just happened, but as we learn every year from the NBA Draft process, teams don’t always get the draft right. Admittedly some of a player’s success is directly tied to where he landed and the opportunities his team gave him, but if you look back at the 2012 NBA Draft, there are some players that would clearly get ranked and ultimately picked a little differently if the draft could be done again today.
Here is a look at how the 2012 NBA Draft would likely play out based on what we know today:
|1||New Orleans Hornets||Anthony Davis|
|2||Charlotte Bobcats||Damian Lillard|
|3||Washington Wizards||Bradley Beal|
|4||Cleveland Cavaliers||Andre Drummond|
|5||Sacramento Kings||Dion Waiters|
|6||Portland Trail Blazers (from Brooklyn)||Terrence Ross|
|7||Golden State Warriors||Jared Sullinger|
|8||Toronto Raptors||Harrison Barnes|
|9||Detroit Pistons||John Henson|
|10||New Orleans Hornets (from Minnesota via Clippers)||Maurice Harkless|
|11||Portland Trail Blazers||Kendall Marshall|
|12||Houston Rockets (from Milwaukee)||Terrence Jones|
|13||Phoenix Suns||Tyler Zeller|
|14||Milwaukee Bucks (from Houston)||Thomas Robinson|
|15||Philadelphia 76ers||Jeremy Lamb|
|16||Houston Rockets (from New York)||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist|
|17||Dallas Mavericks (traded to Cleveland)||Tony Wroten|
|18||Houston Rockets (from Utah via Minnesota)||Miles Plumlee|
|19||Orlando Magic||Draymond Green|
|20||Denver Nuggets||Evan Fournier|
|21||Boston Celtics||John Jenkins|
|22||Boston Celtics (from Clippers via Oklahoma City)||Jae Crowder|
|23||Atlanta Hawks||Will Barton|
|24||Cleveland Cavaliers (from Lakers, traded to Dallas)||Kyle O'Quinn|
|25||Memphis Grizzlies||Austin Rivers|
|26||Indiana Pacers||Jeffery Taylor|
|27||Miami Heat (traded to Philadelphia)||Festus Ezeli|
|28||Oklahoma City Thunder||Andrew Nicholson|
|29||Chicago Bulls||Meyers Leonard|
|30||Golden State Warriors (from San Antonio)||Robert Sacre|
Don’t agree? Drop your Re-Draft in the comment section below.
»In Related: The Top 100 NBA Draft Prospects.
Six Things You Need To Know: Every day we try and give you the six thing you may have missed. Here are the six things you need to know today:
- Former Pac-12 Star Carlon Brown Peaking in Israel.
- NBA Rumors: Faried Unsure of Future in Denver.
- 2014 NCAA Tournament Video Preview: (7) UConn vs. (8) Kentucky.
- Kevin Durant Is Already An All-Time Great Scorer.
- Which GMs Are On The Hot Seat?
- Is There A Team That Could Knock Off The Pacers or The HEAT?
More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @TheRocketGuy, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @SusanBible @TommyBeer, @JabariDavisNBA , @NateDuncanNBA , @MokeHamilton , @JCameratoNBA and @YannisNBA.
Dejounte Murray: The Spurs’ Latest Steal
The Spurs have a history of drafting talented players late in the draft. Dejounte Murray is emerging as their most recent steal, writes David Yapkowitz.
It seems like almost every NBA season, the San Antonio Spurs end up selecting a player late in the draft who unexpectedly goes on to become a valuable contributor, sometimes even a star. The entire draft in itself can often be a crapshoot, but the lower the pick, the lower the chances of a team finding a solid rotation player. But with the Spurs, it’s as if they hit far more often than they miss.
Their pick from a year ago is shaping up to be no exception as the injury to starting point guard Tony Parker has opened up a huge opportunity for Dejounte Murray; one that he is taking advantage of.
There is a lot of preparation by analysts leading up to the NBA draft. Several mock drafts are created up until draft night itself. Murray was often projected to be a high first-round pick, possibly even a lottery pick. He had a solid freshman season at the University of Washington where he averaged 16.1 points per game, six rebounds, and 4.4 assists.
Draft night arrived and he ended up slipping to the bottom of the first round (29th overall), far later than he had anticipated. Following his selection, LeBron James himself, who is represented by the same sports agency as Murray, tweeted out some words of encouragement for the young rookie. He let Murray know that he may not have been drafted where he wanted to, but that he was with the best organization in the league.
Murray pretty much rode the bench last season as a rookie, which is not at all uncommon for a first-year player on a veteran team with championship aspirations. He was inactive for most of the final two months of the season. In the first round of the playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies, and most of the second round against the Houston Rockets, he was relegated to garbage time duty. Perhaps if he’d been drafted as high as initially projected, he might have had a bigger opportunity at getting minutes right away.
That all changed, however, against Houston in Game 2 when Parker went down with the injury that he is still recuperating from. Murray was thrust into the starting lineup and he responded as well as an inexperienced rookie under the bright lights of the playoffs could. In Game 4, although the Spurs lost, he had eight points on 50 percent shooting along with three assists. He actually didn’t play in Game 5, but in the Spurs closeout Game 6 win, he poured in 11 points, ten rebounds, five assists and two steals while shooting 50 percent from the field.
Even though the Spurs were ultimately swept in the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, Murray continued his steady play with 8.3 points, 3.8 assists, and three steals.
At the start of this season, Murray has taken his momentum from the end of last season and carried it over. He was given the starting point guard spot in place of Parker on opening night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He responded on national television with 16 points on 7-8 shooting from the field, five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
It’s still too early to tell, but it’s highly possible that the Spurs have found their starting point guard of the future once Parker eventually decides to hang it up. At 6-foot-5, Murray is a tall point guard and his length gives him the potential to develop into an elite defensive player. He can score the basketball and he is improving his court vision and playmaking.
One area he could improve in is his outside shooting. Although he did shoot 39.1 percent from the three-point line last season, he only took 0.6 attempts. In his lone college season, he shot 28.8 percent from downtown. If he can improve his range and really begin to put together his entire package of skills, we’ll be talking yet again about how the Spurs bamboozled the rest of the league and found a draft-day gem.
NBA Saturday: Jabari Bird Experiences The NBA Whirlwind
Jabari Bird entered a hostile environment Friday night after being on his couch just three days before.
When Gordon Hayward suffered a season-ending injury six minutes into the Boston Celtics’ season on Wednesday, he wasn’t the only player who saw his season changed in the blink of an eye.
“I was at home in California watching the game as a fan,” Jabari Bird said.
Bird was the 56th overall pick in last June’s NBA Draft. After playing his college ball at the University of California, the Celtics gave the 6-foot-6 swingman a shot to continue his career. After impressing throughout the preseason, Bird was signed to a two-way contract with Boston and returned home to the west coast.
That didn’t last long.
“After the game was over my phone was going off that I had to get on the quickest flight to Boston,” Bird said about opening night. “Got in 7:30 the next morning, suited up against Milwaukee, now I’m here in Philly.”
With the massive hole Hayward left in Boston’s roster due to his injury, the Celtics are going to have to turn to some unlikely performers throughout the season to pick up the slack. Bird didn’t light up the scoreboard or stuff his stat sheet, posting just three points and one rebound in 13 minutes of play. But down the stretch in a close game against the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night, Bird came up big on defense.
As the Celtics trailed the Sixers 61-53 with six minutes remaining in the third quarter, Bird subbed in for Jaylen Brown and was tasked with guarding J.J. Redick, who was in the midst of carrying Philadelphia with his lights out shooting.
After wiping away the Sixers lead and gaining an 86-84 advantage in the fourth quarter, the Celtics still had Bird sticking Redick. The Sixers’ shooting guard — and highest paid player — rose up for another three-point attempt which would’ve given Philadelphia a late lead and a momentum shift at home with a raucous crowd behind them. Only this time, Bird’s hand was in his face and the shot attempt didn’t find the back of the net.
In a big-time moment on the road, for a team facing a potential three-game losing streak to start the season, the unlikely rookie answered the call.
“Like I said before, he’s one of the best shooters in the NBA, really good perimeter scorer,” Bird said of Redick. “For the team to trust me with that responsibility, with us being down on the road needing to get a win, I was hyped up and ready to go. I was ready for the challenge.”
Placing such a responsibility like guarding Redick on a night where it seemed like the Sixers marksman couldn’t miss on a player who was sitting on his couch three nights ago seems like a bold strategy. Head coach Brad Stevens, however, knew what he was doing.
“All the way through preseason and training camp I felt like he was one of our better perimeter defenders,” Stevens said. “I think he has huge upside. His rebounding spoke for itself in preseason practices. His ability to guard off the ball, especially shooters coming off screens is just really good. He’s not afraid, and you knew he’d step up.”
Going from the couch to a red-eye flight from California to Boston, to the bench in Milwaukee, to the court in Philadelphia is nothing short of a whirlwind experience. With such a series of events, it’s hard to be coached into that moment. As a player, sometimes you have to just go out and play.
“I wasn’t prepared at all for tonight. Mentally I just had to lock into the game,” Bird said. “Coach just looked at me and said ‘Bird get Jaylen.’ ‘Alright.’ So that’s what I did.”
After signing Hayward to $127 million contract this summer, the Celtics were expecting the small forward to provide an elite scoring 1-2 scoring punch with Kyrie Irving. Obviously, at least for this season, Boston will need to move forward without that possibility. An opening night loss, followed by another defeat to Milwaukee the following night, had the Celtics 0-2 heading into Philadelphia and searching for answers a lot sooner than they may have anticipated just a week ago.
Bird’s journey during his first week in professional basketball represents how quickly things can change, and how the ripple effects of injuries and other moves have far outreaching waves.
“I was already packed, I was ready to go to the G-League,” Bird said. “We had training camp coming up. My bags were already packed, I was ready to get out the house. Then I got the call to go to Boston and I was like alright I’m ready to go, just gimmie a flight. And that’s what happened.”
All-star point guard, and Bird’s new teammate, Kyrie Irving doesn’t foresee the rookie leaving the clubhouse anytime soon. With the adversity the Boston Celtics have felt in the first week of the 2017-18 season, Bird’s addition and impact are a prime example of being ready when your number is called, and the culture this team is looking to create.
“Jabari is now probably gonna be on every trip with us,” Irving said. “Guys are gonna be called up and called upon to be ready to play. We just have to have that expectation that when we come into the game we’re gonna be able to play, and we trust one another and have each other’s backs.”
Mavs Guard Devin Harris on Personal Leave from Team
Guard Devin Harris will take an indefinite leave from the Dallas Mavericks after the tragic death of his brother, Bruce.
“I was with him yesterday and just encouraged him that when he’s ready to come on back,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I don’t know when that will be. He can take as long as he needs.”
Source: Tim MacMahon of ESPN