Connect with us


NBA Rumors: Timberwolves Have a Problem With Kevin Love

The Timberwolves can only ignore their Kevin Love problem for so long… Lakers holding onto Pau? Clippers/Knicks talks are dead…

Yannis Koutroupis



Check out our breakdown of the biggest rumors of the day in our NBA Rumor Round-Up. For more rumors and news, check out Basketball Insiders’ headlines, which are constantly being updated.

Kevin Love Wants Out?

Wolves fans’ nightmare has come true, earlier than scheduled. We knew Love’d split ASA eligible ’14-15. But now he’s forcing premature exit.

Prior 2 AS break, KL alerted Flip he’ll exercise summer ’15 out & sign elsewhere. Expect him 2B moved B4 deadline or off season.

Naturally, had Taylor done right thing (owner’s call, not DKahn) & given KL 5 years vs 4 w/3-yr out, Wolves would’ve had him through ’16-17

Smart money supports educated speculation circulating KL wants 2 play 4 Lakes. He’s comfortable in LA. Played 4 UCLA. Girlfriend’s there.

Still LA has no assets 2 swap & Jbuss is turnoff…

KL will only commit 2 team w winning culture. Meaning Celtics r in his sights, as are Bulls. Both have lots to exchange…

James Dolan’s reputation precedes him on fast break, essentially disqualifying NYK. Playing w Melo also is great unappealing, I’m informed.

via Peter Vecsey on Twitter

Shortly after Vecsey put out this series of tweets, Timberwolves general manager Flip Saunders came out and flatly denied them.

Earlier in the day Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor also said that he hasn’t been presented any trades involving Love. They are trying to build around him still, with their eyes currently set on Memphis’ Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince.

Regardless of whether they want to deal with it right now, the Wolves certainly have a problem on their hands with Love’s pending free agency. They’re fortunate that he says all the right things publicly. During All-Star Weekend he mocked how easily rumors get started and in an interview with GQ Magazine he voiced confidence in his team and said that they’re better than the Lakers, the team many have reported he wants to join.

However, the threat of losing him for nothing next summer is one they can only ignore for so long. Love’s not going to sign an extension this offseason – but he probably wouldn’t even if he was happy, it’s just not a good business decision – and more competitive teams with better track records are going to come after him hard in free agency. Minnesota, even with the ability to offer him an extra year at $20+ million than everyone else, would still be at somewhat of a disadvantage. They still have time to give him the necessary help to strongly consider staying, but if they don’t do so by this time next year, Taylor is going to have trade offers for Love on his desk awaiting his approval.

Lakers Keeping Pau?

Laker plan taking shape: Trade Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman in next 17 hours and they get under tax AND no longer HAVE to trade Pau Gasol

Last tweet what some rival execs now expect Lakes to do. Trade Hill. Trade Kaman. Then roll w/Pau into July to re-sign or sign-and-trade him

Via Marc Stein of ESPN on Twitter/su_note]

Somehow, Gasol looks like he’s going to find a way to survive another deadline. It’s only fitting given how the last few years have gone. This offseason, though, his Laker lifespan almost definitely will be coming to an end. The Lakers could potentially get much higher value via a sign-and-trade than they could have at the deadline, given that they don’t end up moving him before 3 pm EST. In the summer they’ll be able to move him to a team of his choice, a team that actually wants him. Despite the fact that he’s been involved in trade rumors for years now, Gasol will be motivated to work with the Lakers on a sign-and-trade because it will expand his options beyond just teams with cap space.

The Lakers are fielding plenty of interest in Jordan Hill, including the Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Pelicans. It seems logical to believe that whichever team doesn’t end up getting Hill, Kaman could be an easy sell to.

These minor moves by the Lakers to get under the luxury tax threshold set the stage for some potential franchise-altering transactions this offseason.

This lines up with Adrian Wojnarowski’s latest report that the Raptors were going to be holding onto Kyle Lowry for the playoffs, but questions about the Raptors’ intentions will linger until the deadline passes. Ujiri has had over half a season to evaluate and although the team is playing well this season, he’s not there to make one postseason appearance. He’s there to build a perennial contender and if a move that makes them better in the long-term comes along, we could see the Raptors make some changes despite their current success.

Clippers, Knicks Talks Dead

After several rounds of negotiations, the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks have abandoned discussions on a proposed trade centered on guard Iman Shumpert, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Knicks had interest in bringing back Clippers point guard Darren Collison and rookie Reggie Bullock as part of a package, but wanted Los Angeles to accept Raymond Felton in the deal, sources said. The Clippers resisted the Felton element of the deal, and were reluctant to part with Bullock or any draft picks in talks, sources said.

Clippers general manager and coach Doc Rivers has been determined to upgrade athleticism on the wings and sees Shumpert as a player who can complement JJ Redick and Jared Dudley. Redick is expected to miss a month with a back injury.

Via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports

In Wednesday night’s contest Iman Shumpert suffered an injury, so this deal likely would have been doomed even if it was still being discussed.

Attaching Felton to Shumpert seemed to be the only way the Knicks were willing to let him go, which has been enough to scare away every team. Felton is on the books through 2015-16 for just under $4 million a year. It’s his play that scares teams away more than his contract, though. Felton is averaging career-lows nearly across the board; the Knicks are likely going to be stuck with him for the duration of his deal, or at least until it only has a couple months left on it.

Yannis Koutroupis is Basketball Insiders' Managing Site Editor and Senior Writer. He has been covering the NBA and NCAA for seven years.


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Monte Morris: Waiting for his Chance

Nuggets two-way guard Monte Morris talks to Basketball Insiders about his time with Denver.

David Yapkowitz



Monte Morris has only seen action in three NBA games with the Denver Nuggets this year. While most players who receive little playing time spend most of their time at the end of the bench cheering their teammates on, Morris’ situation is a bit different. He’s spent the majority of his rookie year in the G-League.

The NBA’s minor league has grown tremendously since it’s inception in 2001. All but four NBA teams have a G-League affiliate now. There are plans for the New Orleans Pelicans to have their own team by next season, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has spoken about having a team in Mexico.

As part of the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement, they expanded the partnership between NBA teams and their G-League affiliates even more by adding two-way contracts. Essentially creating a 16th and 17th roster spot, two-way players are allowed to split time between an NBA team and the G-League.

For Morris, two-way contracts are an added opportunity for players to make an NBA roster.

“It’s a good chance for guys to make a roster, especially second-round picks to get a chance,” Morris told Basketball Insiders. “With two-way contracts, I feel like they’re going to get a lot better as far as rules and things like that go. This is the first year so they’re testing it out, but it’s a good opportunity. It’s a blessing at the end of the day.”

Morris was drafted by the Nuggets with the 51st overall pick in last summer’s draft. Second round picks are not afforded the guaranteed contract stability that comes with being a first-round pick. He was tabbed for a two-way contract almost immediately after he was drafted.

He had a stellar four years of college at Iowa State, where he was one of the top point guards in the nation as a senior. He also had a strong showing in Las Vegas with the Nuggets’ summer league team.

The Nuggets were a little crowded in the backcourt to begin the season with Jamal Murray and Emmanuel Mudiay ahead of Morris in the rotation. When Mudiay was injured and out of the rotation, Mike Malone opted to go with Will Barton as the backup point guard. The Nuggets’ trade deadline acquisition of Devin Harris pushed Morris farther back on the depth chart.

“The toughest thing is just staying mentally tough, staying true to yourself, and developing your own craft,” Morris told Basketball Insiders. “Just not losing that self-confidence cause you might not play when you go up. When you come down here [G-League], take advantage of it, have fun, and keep getting better.”

Morris has definitely done his part to stand out in the G-League. The Nuggets are without a sole affiliate, so they’ve used the Houston Rockets G-League team, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, to get Morris additional experience. In 36 games with the Valley Vipers, he’s put up 18.2 points per game on 47.8 percent shooting from the field, 35.6 percent from the three-point line, 4.6 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 1.8 steals.

He believes that if called upon, he can be a major contributor for the Nuggets. There are certain aspects he can bring to the team and he thinks it’s possible for him to play with Murray in the backcourt together.

“I think I can bring energy off the bench. I feel like me and Jamal Murray, the way the game is going you can play small ball. I feel like I can bring pace to the game and play defensively,” Morris told Basketball Insiders. “I like getting after it when I’m up there with those guys on defense and getting guys open shots. I know we got a lot of scorers, my goal would be getting everybody their shots.”

Morris has been able to show he can produce at the NBA level, even if it’s a small sample size. On Feb. 9, only the second game he’s played in with Denver, he scored ten points on 4-5 shooting from the field, dished out six assists, and nabbed three steals against the Rockets.

Players on two-way contracts are allowed a maximum of 45 days with the NBA team. Those days are not solely game days; they include practices and travel days as well. Once those 45 days are up, NBA teams have the option of converting a two-way contract to a standard NBA deal provided they have roster space.

If a player uses up the 45 days and does not have their contract converted, they go back to the G-League. They can rejoin their NBA team once the G-League season ends but are not able to play in the playoffs.

For now, Morris is just biding his time, waiting for his opportunity. He’s staying ready for when the Nuggets might need him. In the meantime, he’ll continue to take advantage of what the G-League has to offer.

“It’s definitely a good starting point. It’s just all about how guys attack it on and off the court,” Morris told Basketball Insiders. “It’s just being a pro and not losing confidence in your ability when you go up and don’t play. You just got to be ready, you’re really one injury away, one call away to step on and have to play.”

Continue Reading


Middleton, Bucks Aiming To ‘Lock In’ As Season Comes To Close

Spencer Davies catches up with Milwaukee Bucks swingman Khris Middleton in a Basketball Insiders exclusive.

Spencer Davies



Basketball Insiders had the chance to chat with Khris Middleton about the direction of the Milwaukee Bucks as the season comes to a close.

You guys won three out of four before you came into Cleveland. What was working during that stretch?

Just being us. Doing it with our defense, playing fast-paced offense. Just trying to keep teams off the three-point line. We haven’t done that. We didn’t do that [Monday] or two games ago, but it’s something we’ve just gotta get back to.

With the offense—it seems like it’s inconsistent. What do you think that’s got to do with mostly?

Just trying to do it by ourselves sometimes. Standing, keeping the ball on one side of the floor. We’re a better team when we play in a fast pace. And then also in the half court, when we move the ball from side-to-side it just opens the paint for everybody and there’s a lot more space.

For you, on both ends you’ve been ultra-aggressive here in the last couple weeks or so, does that have to do with you feeling better or is it just a mindset?

I’ve been healthy all year. Right now, it’s the end of the season. Gotta make a push. Everybody’s gotta lock in. Have to be confident, have to be aggressive. Have to do my job and that’s to shoot the ball well and to defend.

Have you changed anything with your jumper? Looking at the past couple months back-to-back, your perimeter shooting was below 32 percent. In March it’s above 45 percent.

I feel like I got a lot of great looks earlier this year. They just weren’t falling. Right now, they’re falling for me, so I have the same mindset that I had when I was missing and that’s to keep on shooting. At some point, they’re gonna go down for me.

Is knowing that every game at this point means more an extra motivator for you guys?

Definitely. We’re basically in the playoffs right now. We’re in a playoff series right now where we have to win games, we have to close out games, in order to get the seeding and to stay in the playoffs. Each game and each possession means something to us right now.

Is it disappointing to be in the position the team is in right now, or are you looking at it as, ‘If we get there, we’re going to be alright’?

I mean, we wish we were in a better position. But where we’re at right now, we’re fine with it. We want to make that last push to get higher in the seeding.

Lots of changes have gone on here. Eric Bledsoe came in two weeks into the season. You had the coaching change and lineup changes. Jabari Parker’s been getting situated before the postseason. How difficult does that make it for you guys to build consistency?

Yeah, it was tough at first. But I think early on we had to adjust on the fly. We didn’t have too many practices. There was a stretch where we were able to get in the film room, get on the court, and practice with each other more.

Now it’s just at a point where we’re adding a lot of new guys off the bench where we have to do the same things—learn on the fly, watch film. We’re not on the court as much now, but we just have to do a great job of buying in to our system, try to get to know each other.

Does this team feel like it has unfinished business based on what happened last year?

Definitely. Last year, we felt like we let one go. Toronto’s a great team. They’re having a hell of a season this year, but I feel like we let one go. This year’s a new year—a little add of extra motivation. We’ve been in the playoff position before, so hopefully, we learn from it when we go into it this year.

Would you welcome that rematch?

I mean, we welcome anybody man. We showed that we compete with any team out here. We can’t worry about other teams as much. We just have to be focused on us.

What has to happen for you guys to achieve your full potential?

Lock in. Just play as hard as we can, play unselfish, and do our job out there night-in, night-out.

Continue Reading


NBA Daily: Raptors Look To Fine-Tune The Defense

The Toronto Raptors’ defense had a letdown against the Cavaliers, but has been outstanding overall.

Buddy Grizzard



The Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors engaged in an offensive shootout on Wednesday that could be a playoff preview. The Cavs protected home court with a single-possession, 132-129 victory. Afterward, the Raptors spoke about the types of defensive adjustments the team needs to make as the postseason rapidly approaches.

“That’s how a playoff game would be,” said DeMar DeRozan, who missed a three at the buzzer that could have forced overtime. “This is a team we’ve been playing against the last two years in the postseason. Understanding how we can tighten up things defensively, how to make things tougher for them [is key].

“[It’s] little small things that go a long way, and not just with them … with every team.”

Raptors coach Dwane Casey concurred with DeRozan that fine-tuning of the defense is needed. He also pointed out that, with young contributors such as center Jakob Poeltl and power forward Pascal Siakam on the roster, defensive experience against the league’s best player, LeBron James, is something they will have to gain on the fly.

“I don’t think Jakob Poeltl played against him that much, and Siakam,” said Casey. “This is their first time seeing it. I thought Jak and Pascal did an excellent job, but there are certain situations where they’ve got to read and understand what the other team is trying to do to them.”

Poeltl was outstanding, leading the bench with 17 points and tying for the team lead in rebounds with eight. Casey praised the diversity of his contributions.

“I thought he did an excellent job of rolling, finishing, finding people,” said Casey. “I thought defensively, he did a good job of protecting the paint, going vertical. So I liked what he was giving us, especially his defense against Kevin Love.”

Basketball Insiders previously noted how the Raptors have performed vastly better as a team this season when starting point guard Kyle Lowry is out of the game. Much of that is due to Fred VanVleet’s emergence as one of the NBA’s best reserve point guards. VanVleet scored 16 points with five assists and no turnovers against Cleveland. It’s also a reflection of how good Toronto’s perimeter defense has been up and down the roster.

According to ESPN’s defensive Real Plus-Minus statistic, three of the NBA’s top 15 defensive point guards play for the Raptors. VanVleet ranks seventh while Lowry is 12th and Delon Wright is 14th. Starting small forward OG Anunoby ranks 16th at his position.

The Raptors also rank in the top five in offensive efficiency (third) and defensive efficiency (fifth). Having established an identity as a defensive team, especially on the perimeter, it’s perhaps understandable that Lowry was the one player in the visiting locker room who took the sub-standard defensive showing personally.

“It was a disgraceful display of defense by us and we’ve got to be better than that,” said Lowry. “We’ve got to be more physical. They picked us apart and made a lot of threes. We’ve got to find a way to be a better defensive team.”

Lowry continued the theme of fine-tuning as the regular season winds down.

“I think we’ve just got to make adjustments on the fly as a team,” said Lowry. “We can score with the best of them, but they outscored us tonight. We got what we wanted offensively. We’re one of the top teams in scoring in the league, but we’re also a good defensive team.”

Lowry was clearly bothered by Toronto’s defensive showing, but Casey downplayed the importance of a single regular-season game.

“We’ve got to take these games and learn from them, and again learn from the situations where we have to be disciplined,” said Casey. “It’s not a huge thing. It’s situations where we are that we’ve got to learn from and be disciplined and not maybe take this step and over-help here. Because a team like that and a passer like James will make you pay.”

While the Raptors continue to gain experience and dial in the fine defensive details, Casey was insistent that his players should not hang their heads over falling short against Cleveland.

“Hopefully our guys understand that we’re right there,” said Casey.

The Raptors host the Brooklyn Nets tonight to open a three-game home stand that includes visits from the Clippers Sunday and the Nuggets Tuesday. After that, Toronto visits the Celtics March 31 followed by a return to Cleveland April 3 and a home game against Boston the next night. With three games in a row against the other two top-three teams in the East, the schedule presents plenty of opportunities for the Raptors to add defensive polish before the playoffs begin.

Continue Reading

The Strictly Speaking Podcast


Trending Now