Leonsis won't be bringing back the 'Bullets' moniker

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UPDATE 11:09 AM: Leonsis further clarified his stance on a potential name-change on his blog (also courtesy of Mike Prada): “In regards to a name change of the team, we have a lot of work to do
right now on re-crafting the team itself, focusing on the draft, our
number 1 pick, free agency, selling season tickets, suites and club
seats, new interactive outreach programs, working with customers,
prospects and media, crafting a new organizational structure aimed at
maximizing our services to customers, working on making the Verizon
Center the best it can be for our community, and finding new and
improved ways to serving our communities of interest.

…With all of that going on understanding that to effectuate a name
change could take two to three years. This simply isn’t a priority for
us right now. We can’t change the name of the team for next season. It
is June and the new season starts in October. There will be no name
change. We can’t change the name. It is pretty simple.”

10:28 AM: ‘The Wizards’ is kind of a goofy team name, and at this point it serves as a constant reminder of the more disappointing years in franchise history. Rather than think of what the Big Three in D.C. did or could have been, the Wizards name reminds us of an aging Michael Jordan that couldn’t let go, Kwame Brown being Kwame Brown, and guns in the locker room. Pretty much all unicorns and rainbows.

The Wiz, behind new owner Ted Leonsis, a roster clearing, and the probable selection of the fantastic John Wall, is set for a clean slate. As such, many thought the team should revert to the name it held from 1974-1998: the Washington Bullets.

Leonsis thinks otherwise, but noted that a uniform change could be on the way in the future. From Mike Prada of Bullets Forever:

Ted’s not changing the name, saying he’s amazed that, of all the things
they need to do, it seems to him that many fans care about a name
change the most.  He did say that, at some point, he would look into
changing the team uniforms back to “more traditional colors,” noting
that “it’s no secret I like red.”

So Wizards they shall be, and for the moment, still clad in blue, white, and gold. Maybe in a way, it’s a good thing; Leonsis has an opportunity to breathe new life into the Wizards brand, and drafting Wall would be a huge first step in accomplishing that feat. Reverting to the Bullets name would be running from the team’s recent history, while staying as the Wizards is confronting that history head-on.

Report: Timberwolves active in trying to land Paul George or Jimmy Butler

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Minnesota is one of the NBA’s best positioned up-and-coming teams. They have a franchise cornerstone in Karl-Anthony Towns, a quality No. 2 in Andrew Wiggins, maybe like Zach LaVine can blossom into an All-Star, and players such as Gorgui Dieng and Nemanja Bjelica could be part of the picture. Maybe Ricky Rubio, too, although he’s further along his career arc. A lot of people look at this team and think around 2020, when the Warriors fade (or break apart), the Timberwolves can step up to elite.

Tom Thibodeau is apparently not willing to be that patient — he’s looking to get in the Paul George/Jimmy Butler talks, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Thibodeau helped develop Butler in Chicago and they have a great relationship, he certainly makes the Timberwolves better next season. Same with George, although he’s a rental who almost certainly bolts after the coming season

My question to the Timberwolves: Why?

What was wrong with the building trajectory they are on? I get it, they haven’t been to the playoffs since 2004, a ton of money was just sunk into upgrades at the Target Center, and the owner is not getting younger. Those are all non-basketball reasons to screw up what the basketball side is doing right. It’s the mistake of poor franchises to let that happen.

Could the Timberwolves use a point guard of the future, more depth on the wings and better defenders all around? You bet. But they don’t need to rush the development program either. If Minnesota can land Butler only giving up Rubio and a protected future first or something, sure, but the Bulls continue to ask a very high price for a deal.

Outside of personal feelings, why would the Timberwolves do that?

Report: LaMarcus Aldridge unhappy playing for Spurs

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The Spurs trading LaMarcus Aldridge – they’re reportedly shopping him – could open enough cap space to sign Chris Paul.

But that isn’t the only reason San Antonio is trying to move Aldridge.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

According to a person with knowledge of the Spurs forward’s situation, it’s the 31-year-old’s unhappiness in San Antonio that is the driving force behind the Spurs’ trade talks on Thursday. The five-time All-Star, according to the person, is hopeful that San Antonio can find a better fit for his talents.

Rumors about the Spurs trading Aldridge emerged early in the season, as he was reportedly unhappy about Kawhi Leonard getting the spotlight. When Aldridge signed with San Antonio, it seemed Leonard could do the heavy lifting as the team’s best player and Aldridge could get outsized credit as the leading scorer. But Leonard has emerged as the go-to offensive player, pushing Aldridge into a supporting role both in reality and reputation. Gregg Popovich calling out Aldridge publicly during the playoffs surely didn’t improve relations.

Aldridge turns 32 this summer and will likely become a free agent after next season. Wanting to leave the Spurs – held up as the NBA’s best culture – will raise additional red flags.

San Antonio might not get as much as it hopes in a trade for Aldridge. If Chris Paul is coming, the Spurs wouldn’t need as much for Aldridge. But they won’t know about Paul until July.

San Antonio also values building a roster of players who’ve, as Popovich puts it, “gotten over themselves.” If that’s not Aldridge, the Spurs might not want to keep him around.

There are numerous factors to weigh and incomplete information, but this is the twisting road San Antonio is navigating.

Here’s Knicks’ reported asking price from Celtics in Kristaps Porzingis trade

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Knicks president Phil Jackson’s asking price for Kristaps Porzingis is reportedly “massive.”

Just what does that mean?

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

According to a Knicks source, Jackson is asking for the third overall pick in Thursday’s draft as well as next year’s Brooklyn pick along with Jaylen Brown and Jae Crowder. This version of the deal would not include Boston taking on Joakim Noah‘s contract.

All the Knicks fans who threatened to relinquish their fandom if the team traded Porzingis – most would love this deal.

Would the Celtics? I doubt it.

The question is whether there’s a middle ground between what New York wants and what Boston would do. It’s possible Jackson won’t budge and is just shopping Porzingis on the off chance someone accepts outlandish requests like these and to teach Porzingis a lesson for skipping his exit meeting.

Report: First-round draft prospect says Phil Jackson fell asleep during his workout

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Like I said, there are better reasons to criticize Phil Jackson than him saying his priority was the Knicks and that he had discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis.

Jay Williams of ESPN:

A top-15 draft pick told me the other day, because we were involved in this out of this conversation about Phil Jackson and the Knicks, and he said, “Phil Jackson was falling in and out of sleep in my workout.”

Yes. “Falling in and out of sleep at my workout.” This is what this guy told me.

Especially given Jackson’s salary and reputation for not being a diligent worker, this story is too good to check out.