No seriously, the Wolves think Darko is part of the answer

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After our little talk this morning about whether the Wolves are worse than the Nets this season, we have an interesting look at what they’re thinking long-term. Sure, their draft was a complete bust, Al Jefferson has been clashing with management, Kevin Love is the best player in the doghouse at this moment, and Corey Brewer’s improvement this season hasn’t been enough to stop their need for a legitimate two-guard.

But hey, they’ve got a plan! They’re bringing Darko back!

That’s right, Darko Milicic, who you may remember as a pivotal cog of Detroit, Memphis, New York 2003 pre-draft hype, was dead-set on returning to Europe this season before being traded to Minnesota for peanuts. The Wolves have subsequently tossed him into the starting role, benching and relatively burying Kevin Love, one of the better young players on their team.

NBA FanHouse’s Tim Povtak reports that the Wolves are planning to offer Darko a multi-year contract when he becomes a free-agent this summer. They are expected to be bidding against the Absolutely No One Else’s, who are looking to add to their core of temperamental headcases with questionable basketball ability and limited offensive repertoires. 

You can see why the Wolves are thinking of re-signing him, he’s averaging 6.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 23 minutes. Okay, that was a joke. No lie, his per-40 numbers aren’t bad. 10 points, 10 boards, and 2 blocks. If his conditioning was such he could log serious minutes, he wouldn’t be bad. So maybe there’s something there.

After all, since adding Milicic, the Wolves have been on a tear, winning 14 straight and 20 of 21.

Wait, did I say winning? I meant losing. The Wolves have been losing at an epic rate.

It’s not that Darko doesn’t have potential. He does. But if this is what the Wolves consider a big part of their reclamation of the fallen franchise, it’s a risky gamble to take.

But hey, they have more wins than the Nets. So they’ve got that going for them.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.