Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin have been out of the lineup for what seems like an eternity. In reality, Pekovic has missed the last 13-straight games with bursitis in the right ankle and Martin has missed the last 7-straight games with a broken thumb.
Their return to the court to a very big step in the right direction on Thursday afternoon. The Wolves held practice at the Phoenix Suns facility and both Martin & Pek participated in the 5-on-5 scrimmages. They both said following practice that they hope to play on Saturday.
If both do indeed return to the starting lineup it will be interesting to see who the starting small forward is. Corey Brewer has started all but one game (when he missed it for the birth of his child). It will also be interesting to see how this affects Shabazz Muhammad who is fresh off the best game of his NBA career.
If Martin and Pek do return, I'd expect them both to start, but it's likely that their minutes will be limited (especially Pekovic) as both will have conditioning issues.
In other news, the NBA has suspended DeMarcus Cousins for one game (and was fined $20K) for punching Houston's Patrick Beverley in the stomach. The Sacramento Kings are Minnesota's next opponent, however he will serve his suspension on Friday when the Kings play the Lakers in L.A.
Stay tuned to HOWL's Injury Report these next couple days for further updates on Pek & KMart.
Kevin Love imitated James' off-the-wall alley oop practice dunk with his rendition...
So, who did it better? :)
For the second time this season, Kevin Love took home Western Conference Player of the Week honors.
The Wolves went 2-1 in the week and Love averaged 36.7 points & 12.7 rebounds.
This is the second time in his career and this season that he's won this award. He also took home POTW honors in week one of this season.
Charlotte's Kemba Walker was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
Love's scoring has been incredibly impressive and he's shown little signs of slowing down.
Coming into the Trade Deadline, it sounded as though if someone was going to be heading to Minnesota it would be exiled Denver guard Andre Miller. The Wolves & the Wizards were the two teams that were in contention to acquire Miller and round about 11:30amCST; the Wizards, Sixers & Nuggets pulled the trigger on a deal that sent Miller to Washington, Jan Vesely to Denver and Eric Maynor & two second-round picks to Philadelphia.
Once Andre Miller was traded to the Wizards, I had a pretty good feeling that the Wolves weren't going to be involved in any trades today.
There was a report in the afternoon of Minnesota going after Cleveland's Jarrett Jack, in a likely Barea--Jack swap, but the two sides couldn't come to an agreement.
It was officially confirmed that the Wolves were not involved in any deals by about 2:20 via the Twitter account of Minnesota's PR department.
I was hoping for a J.J. Barea trade, but it's likely for the best that the Wolves didn't make any panic moves to give up any valuable assets for a player who likely won't be on the team next season.
The Timberwolves will finish out the season with the same 15 guys they began it with, with the hope that they can at least end the season on a high note.
We're fast approaching the Trade Deadline--a day that I always look forward to, year after year. I usually spend the day sitting at my computer on Twitter constantly hitting refresh from about 8am-2pm. That is my plan...once again.
This season is Flip Saunders' first at the helm and it will be very interesting to see what he does at the deadline. I think the Wolves will make a deal, but I don't know that it will be a significant one.
The Wolves already made a trade early in the season sending Derrick Williams to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Unfortunately with a bit of a logjam at the forward positions (Brewer, Budinger, Cunningham, Muhammad, Hummel and even Alexey Shved--in certain lineups).
There are differing reports on who exactly is 'available' for Minnesota. Some reports say that everyone except Kevin Love is untouchable, others say that J.J. Barea, Alexey Shved & Dante Cunningham are all available. I don't see Saunders trading Kevin Love (at least not this season) despite what all these NBA analysts are saying. I can understand why the Wolves would trade him now--get a couple young guys and lotto picks for the loaded 2014 Draft, because it's pretty clear that this team isn't going to make the playoffs. I also understand retaining him because he's not eligible to be a free agent until after next season, when he can decline that player option and join the 2015 free agent class.
According to multiple reports, the Mavericks & Lakers are trying to put together trade packages to pry him away from the Wolves before Thursday. I can't see them putting together any kind of package good enough. Are you interested in Ryan Kelly or Robert Sacre and some second round picks? How about Monta Ellis & Sam Dalembert with a late-first round pick next season? Unless the Thunder call offering KD or the Heat offer up LBJ, I can assure you that Love will still be a Wolf come Thursday evening.
Is anyone else getting a little tired of hearing a new weekly 'rumor' that states: "The (insert team name) are interested in Minnesota's Kevin Love." Who wouldn't be interested in Love? He's the NBA's best rebounder, a Top 5 scorer and a big man with three-point range. All 30 NBA teams would/should want him.
So, with the unrealistic Kevin Love rumors out of the way, let's get on to Andre Miller, J.J. Barea, Chase Budinger & the Memphis Grizzlies.
Last night, Woj sent out a tweet that had stated that 'discussions' had taken place between the Grizzlies and the Wolves on a deal that would reportedly send Chase Budinger & J.J. Barea to Memphis and bring Tayshaun Prince and (maybe) Tony Allen to Minnesota.
Usually, I'd say that I'm for any trade that rids the team of J.J. Barea. I'm not a fan and while he's nowhere near the main problem with these underperforming Wolves, he's still one of the problems. It sounds as though Flip is shopping Barea hard and that's what I like to hear.
However, this trade rumor with the Grizzlies is not ideal for the Wolves. They'd be giving up two of their best shooters (on a team that continues to struggle to hit three-pointers) and they'd be getting to defensive vets on bad contracts. Tony Allen makes another $15million the next three years after this season and Tayshaun Prince makes $7.7million next season. Tony Allen is a perennial All-Defensive team candidate and he would definitely bring an added toughness defensively for the Wolves (something that is foreign and strange to this Wolves squad as currently constructed). I think it's a great idea to add some defense to this team, but I don't know that Allen and the ghost of Tayshaun Prince are the answer. Prince is having the worst season of his NBA career. Beyond Prince's rookie season where he averaged just over 10 minutes a night, he's averaging career lows across the board: points (6.1), rebounds (3.1) & assists (1.7). Add to those awful stats the near $8million he's making next season and I don't envision anyway in which this really helps the Wolves. If you want added defensive toughness, play the guy you already traded for who (given the chance) could help these Wolves (Mbah a Moute). With Allen, I like the initial idea of him on the team, but the lengthy contract he signed this offseason, that he'd be 'on the books' until he's 36 years old and the fact that he's played just 27 games this season with a hand injury--and I don't see why the Wolves would mortgage what little financial flexibility they may have this offseason for two aging defensive players who struggle to score.
I think this 'rumor' was something that the Grizzlies put out to try and spark some interest from the other 28 teams out there. I'd love for the Wolves to add more defensive toughness, but this isn't an ideal trade.
The other big rumor out there is Minnesota's interest in Andre Miller. We've talked about Miller in the past and his situation (see those past posts in the News section for more on that). Miller has been adamant that he WILL NOT return to the Nuggets (despite their dire need for a reserve point guard). It has also been reported that the Minnesota Timberwolves are Miller's #1 choice among teams that have expressed interest in him. Unfortunately it's not up to Miller and the Nuggets ultimately don't care where he'd like to go.
A swap of J.J. Barea for Andre Miller has been proposed, but the Nuggets aren't interested in J.J. The Wolves are looking to pawn Barea off elsewhere and assuming they can do that, it sounds as though there will be another trade that will bring Miller to Minnesota.
The trade deadline is Thursday at 2pmCST. Stay tuned to HOWL for all your TWolves trades (& rumor) updates.
In his first time as an All-Star starter, Love posted 13 points & 9 rebounds in just under 33 minutes of action.
Compared to some of his All-Star peers, Love's performance was underwhelming.
It's no secret that the All-Star game is all about 30-foot three-pointers, eye popping dunks and beautifully orchestrated alley-oops. It leaves little appreciation for players like Love & Nowitzki and even Tony Parker. It's all about players with athleticism and that's not something Love possesses in mass quantities--especially compared to one of his rival power forwards: Blake Griffin.
We all knew Kevin Durant would go off for some insane point total and if the West won for a fourth-straight time he'd probably walk away with the MVP hardware.
I think we all were a bit surprised that Griffin matched Durant in points (each scoring 38). With Durant & Griffin scoring 38 points in tonight's All-Star game they are now tied for 4th in scoring in an All-Star game. Wilt Chamberlain still holds the record from the 1960s with 42 points scored. They also became the highest scoring duo of all-time in All-Star game history.
That wasn't the only records broken/set at tonight's All-Star game, here's the rest courtesy of a graphic from @cjzero...
In addition to 13 points (5-11 FG, 2-7 3PT, 1-4 FT) & 9 rebounds, Love also added 2 assists and 1 steal.
Despite 76 combined points from Blake & KD and the West holding an 18 point lead at one point, the East rallied behind a three-point barrage from Carmelo Anthony & some incredible play from 21-year-old Kyrie Irving. They erased the deficit and clamped down on Durant late in this one to secure the victory.
Players on the winning team receive $50,000 each and players on the losing team each get $25,000.
You can find a full box score and some highlights here.
I've got to admit, I'm one fan who doesn't enjoy anything about All-Star Weekend. I don't care about D-League 'All-Stars'. I refuse to watch Kevin Hart act like an idiot in the Celebrity "All-Star" Game and regardless of his performance he always wins MVP (I know he gave it to Arne Duncan this season). I'm not a fan of the All-Star Game or the Rising Stars Challenge--glorified pickup games that have gotten so ridiculous, they're setting all kinds of offensive records year after year because there's less and less defense each game. I was once a fan of the three-point & dunk contests, but they continue to change the formats and they're some of the most ridiculous rules each year! They also picked the worst commentator to sit courtside for each segment (Reggie Miller). I also don't enjoy having to sit through and hour of intros by rappers who pretend as though they can sing! I will admit, I did enjoy the halftime show and the woman who sang the Canadian National Anthem. I also didn't understand why there was an interview with Barack Obama. Instead of asking the president basketball questions, why not take all these incredible legends and Hall-of-Famers that were in New Orleans this weekend (Magic Johnson, Julius Erving, Dominique Wilkins, Karl Malone, Bill Russell, etc.) and sit them down for a roundtable discussion about their thoughts on today's NBA and its players. I'd take an hour-and-a-half of that over Pharrell Williams squealing into a microphone 100 times out of 100. Hopefully new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will take some time and come up with some new ideas to bring new life to All-Star Weekend. Either that, or just scrap it entirely (still give the players recognition for the best of each conference) and give everyone the week off.
I apologize for the rant, but it's just frustrating, because there's so much potential with All-Star Weekend and year after year it's disappointment.
Kevin Love was selected to go first out of the eight participating members of the 2014 NBA All-Star Foot Locker Three-Point Contest.
A new twist to this year’s Three-Point Contest was a full rack of ‘money balls’. Usually every rack has one ‘money ball’ at the end worth 2 points and the rest being worth 1. They still had ‘money balls’ at the end of each rack, but in addition they replaced one regular rack with a full rack of ‘money balls’.
The shooter got the choice of where to put his ‘money rack’. Love chose to put it on the left wing, which was the second rack he’d shoot. Unfortunately he hit just 1 of 5 of that ‘money rack’, scoring just 2 points out of a possible 10.
Here are the rest of the results, rack-by-rack…
1st Rack: 3 of 5
2nd Rack: 1 of 5
3rd Rack: 4 of 5
4th Rack: 4 of 5
Final Rack: 1 of 5
That gave him a final score of 16 out of a possible 34.
Blazer guard Damian Lillard followed and immediately knocked off Love by scoring 18. Spurs sharpshooter Marco Belinelli was up next and he promptly knocked out Lillard by scoring 19. Warriors guard Stephen Curry was the final contestant for the West and finished with just 16, not good enough to advance.
First up for the East was the Nets’ Joe Johnson who scored the worst score of the contest with 11. Magic Most Improved Player candidate Arron Afflalo was up next and easily knocked off Johnson and scored 15. Wizards guard Bradley Beal followed Afflalo and scored the highest score of the first round with 21. As such, the final contestant Cavs pheom Kyrie Irving finished with just 17.
The final round was then between Belinelli representing the West & Beal representing the East. The finals round resulted in a19-19 tie, with Beal catching fire late to send it to a tiebreaker.
Marco won the tiebreaker with the best score of the night 24 to Beals’ 18.
Kevin Love who went first said that he knew 16 wasn’t going to be good enough, but he had a lot of fun. Love will finish his All-Star Weekend with the big game on Sunday night. Stay tuned to the News section for updates on how Love fared against the other All-Stars.
UPDATE (2/11 @12:25pmCST): The Timberwolves' Public Relations Twitter account sent out a tweet on Tuesday afternoon that said Adelman was not at practice today.
Eleven times last season Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman missed games for 'personal reasons'. Monday night's loss to the Houston Rockets was the first game he's missed this season.
Last year, we found out that he was absent because his wife was having health complications (unexplained seizures).
As of right now, it's uncertain why exactly Adelman wasn't on the sidelines Monday night, but for me personally there was one significant thought that I just couldn't shake: perhaps Adelman had called it a career and opted for early retirement mid-season.
I don't know if Adelman would be the type of coach to do that, but it's something we've seen throughout the years. The latest indication was last season when Scott Skiles called it quits on the Milwaukee Bucks.
I don't know that 'calling it quits' is quite the right narrative. Adelman is 67 years and is already secured his place in the Hall of Fame. The lone issue is that he's still chasing that championship that has eluded him in 20+ years as an NBA head coach. He's had teams that have come close (Portland) and he's had teams talented enough (Houston & Sacramento), but just hasn't been able to reach the pinnacle of NBA basketball.
The problem is: this Minnesota Timberwolves team isn't likely to even make the playoffs never mind being considered a championship contender.
Most analysts agree that this is more than likely Adelman's final season as an NBA head coach. The Wolves & Adelman have an option in his contract in which they could mutually agree to part ways and forgo the final year of the contract he signed prior to the 2011-12 season.
Terry Porter was the acting head coach for Monday's loss to the Rockets. Just as he was the acting head coach in those 11 games last season (where they Wolves went 2-9). Porter said prior to the game that he fully expects Adelman to return for the final game before the All-Star break (Wednesday vs. Denver).
We'll have more on this prior to Wednesday's game, stay tuned.
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