From Steve Kyler at Hoopsworld:
Minnesota Is Crazy: The Minnesota Timberwolves have to officially be classified as crazy.
The Wolves have offered virtually every team in the league some kind of trade proposal, so at this point there could be as many as 29 trade combinations that drop.
The Wolves have offered almost everyone on their roster at some point this month and they have tried almost every angle imaginable to obtain another top 10 pick in this year’s draft.
Sources close to the Clippers say that Minnesota offered the #16 pick and Corey Brewer to the Clippers in exchange for the #8 pick, they have offered multiple player and pick packages to the Indiana Pacers for the #10, and last night league sources said the Timberwolves had at least agreed to the idea of swapping the #16 and Corey Brewer with the Toronto Raptors for the #13 and Hedo Turkoglu – a deal that couldn’t drop until July 1st because of cap reasons.
– Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. I can’t take all these rumors anymore. I’m just going to sit back and let the show unfold/implode.
TWolves Turn Down Pacers #10 pick for Flynn:
From Ray Richardson at Pioneer Press:
The Timberwolves rejected the Indiana Pacers’ offer to trade the No. 10 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft for Wolves point guard Jonny Flynn, Minnesota president of basketball operations David Kahn said Monday.
“They called last week,” Kahn said of the Pacers. “We turned it down in a second.”
– Too much here to speculate on, so I won’t even begin. But it would be nice to land Granger (somehow.) Trade any/everything. Otherwise, a trade with the Pacers is just crap for crap.
The Debate on DeMarcus Cousins
From Jerry Zgoda at the Star Tribune:
Almost every NBA draft contains a contradiction such as Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins, a player who excites league executives with his talent and vexes them with serious questions about his maturity and habits.
He’s the kind of prospect over whom somebody someday will feel regret.
But will it be the team that drafts him or the ones that don’t?
“He is either going to get a general manager fired or get him executive of the year,” ESPN college basketball and NBA draft analyst Fran Fraschilla said.
– Oh boy. Them fightin’ words.
What Will the Sixers Do With The #2 Pick
From Phil Miller at the Star Tribune:
Three days before they procure what they hope will be another franchise cornerstone, the Timberwolves are comfortable with their evaluations, and confident that they know how Thursday’s NBA Draft will go.
Well, except for one spot.
Philadelphia, picking second, “is kind of the question mark,” said Wolves assistant general manager Tony Ronzone. “They’re posturing [that they’ll pick Evan] Turner, but they talked about Wesley Johnson today. They’ve talked about [Derrick] Favors, too. They’re doing what they should do” by keeping other teams wondering, which could produce a trade offer or two.
– I know what they should do… trade the #2 pick to the Wolves. There, I solved it.
Interview With Kahn: “We’re Right in the Middle of Re-Re-Re-Re-Rebuilding”
From Sean Deveney at The Baseline:
In a little more than a year on the job, Timberwolves general manager David Kahn has retooled his roster, added coach Kurt Rambis and created a reputation for unorthodoxy—especially at draft time, when last year he chose point guards Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn with consecutive picks. This offseason, holding the Nos. 4, 16 and 23 picks in the draft, Kahn again figures to be a major player on draft night. He spoke with Sporting News’ Sean Deveney
– Mildly interesting interview.
For more Wolves/NBA/Draft/Rumors & News please click “Read More” to continue…
Draft Buzz: Nets Considering Wesley Johnson at #3?
From Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports:
Perhaps it won’t be long until panic starts to set into the Minnesota Timberwolves, where two things need to become increasingly clear: They’re far overvaluing Al Jefferson’s(notes) trade value; and Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson is no longer assured to be available to them with the fourth pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.
All along, the Wolves had planned to select Johnson at No. 4, and yet the New Jersey Nets are holding serious discussions about drafting the small forward and taking their chances with trying to sign a power forward in free agency. The Nets had long favored Derrick Favors, but are debating now about how long it will take for him to become a regular contributor. New Jersey is still contemplating DeMarcus Cousins, too.
Under general manager David Kahn, the Wolves are becoming the organization that no one wants to send players. Kahn’s condescending, abrasive style is frustrating to rival GMs and agents because few people believe he has the background, knowledge or credentials to even hold the job. To his credit, Kahn did hire a personable assistant GM, Tony Ronzone, who can work the phones for him.
Nevertheless, Cousins wouldn’t work out for the Wolves. Nor did Georgetown center Greg Monroe, who traveled to the two teams in the next two spots, Sacramento and Golden State. Favors reluctantly worked out for the Wolves only to have Kahn insult him by calling him “out of shape.” This infuriated Favors’ agent Wallace Prather, and has strained the relationship there. It makes no sense for the Wolves to draft another power forward, anyway.
Minnesota wants Memphis’ Rudy Gay(notes) in free agency, but sources say the only way Gay will even consider the Wolves is if they massively overpay him. That’s why the Wolves were so determined to draft Johnson and why they have to be terrified that he could be gone at No. 4.
The Wolves are also willing to move point guard Jonny Flynn(notes), and have discussed a deal with the Indiana Pacers, sources said. The Wolves are willing to part with the 16th and 23rd picks as part of a bigger package to move up to No. 10. This way, the Wolves could possibly gain the leverage to make a deal with Philadelphia to secure the No. 2 pick and grab Ohio State’s Evan Turner.
Sources say Flynn was frustrated throughout the season with the triangle offense and clashed with Wolves coach Kurt Rambis over the system. Rambis brought the offense with him from the Los Angeles Lakers, but traditionally it’s worked best with bigger guards. Minnesota could turn its team over to Ramon Sessions(notes) next season or gain another point guard elsewhere. The Wolves own the rights to Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio(notes), but he won’t consider leaving for the NBA until next season. Even then, Rubio’s camp still needs to be sold on the organization.
– Tons of interesting nuggets in this post… who knows how credible they are though. Sigh.
LeBron to ‘Sota?
From Sam Smith at Bulls.com:
So how would LeBron fit with the Minnesota Timberwolves? I know, I laughed, too. But then I was told it wasn’t such a funny idea, which suggests even more so that this recruitment of James is going to take even more forms than we imagined possible.
The talk is the Timberwolves intend to be very aggressive with their cap space and not accept some veteran or modest talent under the assumption no free agent would go there. As it was pointed out to me, Brett Favre went there because it was a better chance to win. And Favre left New York to go to Minnesota, whose sports teams, including the Twins, have a successful track record and supportive fan base.
The thinking goes like this: The Timberwolves have three firsts and seem willing to part with Al Jefferson, a post up inside player, or Kevin Love. Say Jefferson is in greater demand because he is a bigger scorer. They offer Jefferson and their three firsts, including No. 4, to Denver for Carmelo Anthony. Denver has an aging group with Kenyon Martin and Chauncey Billups and likely is headed down. Here’s a chance to recoup fast at a time they easily could lose Anthony in a year. So they get a potential star center and a top five pick to build a better core. And maybe pick up something for their veterans as they seem to have peaked. And Minnesota has Jonny Flynn, Love, Darko Milicic and Corey Brewer and goes for LeBron and even maybe works a sign and trade by getting Ricky Rubio to the Cavs and also LeBron out of the conference. Far fetched? Sure, but you never say never in the NBA, and perhaps more significantly, it suggests the bidding for James is hardly going to be among just the four or five teams who gutted their rosters for cap room.
– For the record, Sam Smith is borderline retarded and never right about anything.
Should the TWolves Resign Darko?
From Kevin Lindsey at Bleacher Report:
Most of the attention for the Minnesota Timberwolves approaching the 2010 NBA draft has focused on what wing player will be on the roster at the beginning of next season.
The Wolves are desperately in need of a marquee wing player that can create his own shots. Ideally, this player would also come with a personality and American Idol looks that will allow him to become the new face of the franchise.
The Wolves fans need someone to create excitement and a buzz about the direction of the organization in year two of the rebuilding process.
– I’ve said we should resign him if the price is right. Who knows what will happen with the draft though? Cousins? Whiteside?
DeMarcus Cousins vs. NBA Player Development
By just about every measure out there (including John Hollinger’s, and the private statistical rankings of three NBA teams) Kentucky big man DeMarcus Cousins was the most productive player in the NCAA last year and is the guy who projects as the best NBA player out of this draft class. If the computers were drafting, they’d take Cousins first overall. And, for the record, Hollinger’s draft rater has a better track record than the actual draft — so ignore it at your peril.
What’s more: Watch Cousins play! You don’t need to trust stats at all. He’s not only huge and strong, but he’s also super skilled around the hoop. Rebounds that he has no business getting stick to his hands instead of everybody else’s. Defenses that overplay his right hand get punished to the left. When the double-team comes, sometimes he shoots over it anyway … but the ball still goes in more than you’d have any right to expect.
Meanwhile, his critics say he’s crazy, fat or both. Maybe so. But it sure hasn’t hurt his ability to produce so far.
“The only thing crazy about him,” says a person close to him, “is that he can’t stop getting double-doubles.”
– Too bad he apparently doesn’t want to play for the Wolves and won’t work out for us. He’s the best value at #4 however, if he’s still there. And to Kahn’s credit, he said not working out for the Wolves wouldn’t deter us from drafting him. At the very least, we could draft him and trade him for a slower, whiter, crappier player and like a million bucks. Or something.
Coming Attractions: Top “Rights” Held For Foreign Players
From Jonathan Givony at Draft Express:
There are a number of “rights held” prospects who could emerge as significant signings for their NBA teams this summer or beyond. Let’s explore the most interesting among them.
• Ricky Rubio, Timberwolves, No. 5 pick in 2009 draft. The golden boy of Spanish basketball declined to join a crowded backcourt in Minnesota last summer, instead opting to stay in Spain. He appears to have made the right choice: After moving from DKV Joventut to crosstown rival Regal FC Barcelona, Rubio won the Euroleague title, mostly as the team’s starting point guard.
Rubio is still only 19 but already has experience playing in an Olympic gold-medal game, a Euroleague Final Four, a EuroCup Final Four, a Copa del Rey final and a Spanish ACB league playoff finals series. His maturity, creativity and feel for the game are exceedingly rare for a teenager, making him arguably the most hyped European talent ever.
Rubio said recently that he will not play in the NBA before 2011, when he can exercise a 1 million euro buyout in his Barcelona contract. The point guard remains noncommittal when discussing his desire to play for the Timberwolves, as opposed to the NBA in general; Minnesota — which drafted another point guard, Jonny Flynn, one pick after selecting Rubio last year — still has work to do to sell him on playing there, according to high-level sources in the Rubio camp.
• Nikola Pekovic, Timberwolves, No. 31 pick in 2008 draft. The tough, aggressive 6-10 Serbian center is the most productive per-minute scorer in European basketball (30 points per 40 in Greece with Panathinaikos Athens, 27 points per 40 in the Euroleague). Pekovic, 24, would be a valuable addition to an NBA frontcourt, despite his limitations as a perimeter defender and defensive rebounder. Panathinaikos has offered him a contract worth three million euro, but sources in Europe say Pekovic is likely to head Stateside this summer.
– Yay for the Timberpuppies.
The 2010 Draft Shooting Guard Crop
From Matt Kamalsky at Draft Express: