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In January of 2012, Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves agreed to a contract extension worth between $60 million and $62 million. Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and former team president David Kahn refused to offer Love a max five-year deal, which would have made him Minnesota’s “designated player.” The logic was that the Timberwolves would save the max extension for Rubio when he was eligible for a contract extension.
Over two years later, and Love is now officially a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Rubio is looking to collect the max extension that was preserved for him years ago. However, after three seasons in the NBA, Rubio has not shown the sort of development that would justify giving him a max extension. As of today, according to Wolfson, the Timberwolves are offering Rubio a four-year, $43 million extension.
At 23 years old, Rubio is one of the best up-and-coming point guards in the league. In his rookie season, Rubio contributed 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 2.3 steals in 34.2 minutes per game. Unfortunately, Rubio suffered an ACL tear in March of 2012, and missed the final 41 games of his rookie season. In the last two seasons, Rubio’s nightly production remained roughly the same and last year he publicly stated that constantly losing games had sucked the fun out of basketball, which was affecting his play.
The issue for Rubio is that while he is clearly talented, he is not as far along in his development as the Timberwolves had hoped. He is a gifted play-maker and passer, and a good defensive player. But Rubio is still an inconsistent shooter from the perimeter and defenses will continue giving him space and daring him to hit jump-shots until he fixes his shooting mechanics.
If Rubio and the Timberwolves do not come to terms on an extension, he will become a restricted free agent next offseason.
The Miami HEAT continue to re-build their roster after losing LeBron James earlier this offseason, and according to the Miami Herald, the HEAT are considering rounding out their roster with one more guard and one more big man.
With Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Shabazz Napier and Dwyane Wade in the backcourt, there is still a need for another guard that can score and make plays for others.
Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders first reported the HEAT’s interest in Leandro Barbosa, who will be playing for the Brazilian national team in the upcoming FIBA World Cup Tournament. Barbosa, 31, played briefly with the Phoenix Suns last season, appearing in 20 games and averaging 7.5 points per game as a reserve.
Jordan Crawford was traded by the Boston Celtics last season to the Golden State Warriors and in 81 games played between both teams, he averaged 11 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists a game. Crawford is a talented offensive player and underrated play-maker, but is not a great decision-maker and is just a 30.6 percent career three-point shooter. However, on a veteran’s minimum deal, both Barbosa and Crawford could be valuable additions.
In terms of frontcourt help, the HEAT are considering free agent centers Emeka Okafor and Ekpe Udoh. Okafor missed all of last season because of a severe neck injury. When healthy, Okafor is a very solid defensive center, but it is unclear how healthy Okafor is at this point.
Udoh underwent knee surgery last season and played in just 42 games. Udoh proved to be a valuable defensive player early in his career with Golden State, but has been inconsistent at best these last few seasons in Milwaukee. If either center is close to 100 percent healthy, they could also prove to be valuable reserve players for the HEAT.
Jackson also reports that the HEAT have shown interest in free agents Chris Douglas-Roberts, Andray Blatche and Jason Maxiell.
On Saturday, the Minnesota Timberwolves traded Alexey Shved and Luc Mbah a Moute to the Philadelphia 76ers, along with a 2015 first-round draft pick, for Thaddeus Young.
The 76ers are rebuilding their team from the ground up, and it was unclear what role Shved and Mbah a Moute would have with the team. Now, Tom Moore of The Intelligencer, citing league sources, says that both players will likely stay with Philadelphia.
The 76ers are in the middle of a complete rebuild, and there is nothing to lose by holding onto both Shved and Mbah a Moute. Shved had a promising rookie season with the Timberwolves, but lost significant playing time to shooting guard Kevin Martin, who was acquired as a free agent. Mbah a Moute and Embiid, both natives of Cameroon, have a relationship dating back to 2011 when Embiid attended Mbah a Moute’s basketball camp in Cameroon. This is where Embiid’s journey to the NBA started, and now both players will be teammates in Philadelphia.
Mbah a Moute will be asked to mentor Embiid and help him adapt to life in the NBA. However, at age 27, Mbah a Moute still has value on the court as well. While he is not a high scorer by any means, Mbah a Moute is a very good perimeter defender and overall competitor.
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