David Kahn's letter to Wolves fans: rebuilding of the Timberwolves "nearly complete"

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Thumbnail image for david-kahn.jpgAt least the Timberwolves are being open with their fan base. That’s a positive.

First there was the odd full-page letter to the fan base in the Star Tribune yesterday. Then there was the personal letter from the architect of the current Timberwolves, GM David Kahn, to Wolves fans. Here are some highlights, but check out the whole thing at the Star Tribune:

At this point, I can safely say that the rebuilding of the Timberwolves roster is, at long last, nearly complete.

Well, come to think of it, it hasn’t taken that long…

During the last 14 months, we have added several pieces to our ballclub:  perimeter shooting, athleticism and length to the roster, and all while maintaining our youth.  Just as important, we have done so with an eye toward adding more talent by choosing to operate under the salary cap.

The reality is, we are still lacking a dominant player – our version of Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade or Kevin Durant – and that will remain an item at the top of the To-Do list.

It’s possible this player could emerge from within the roster…

However, if one of our players fails to emerge, we will be prepared to find more talent for our team – and we will seek a singular move rather than a series of moves, as we did these last 14 months.

Last season Darko earned $7.5 million in the final year of a four-year deal.  He took almost a 50 percent paycut to return to the NBA.  He wants to be here and we want him here.  There simply aren’t many centers of his size and athleticism who are capable of playing an all-around game.

Um okay. Far be it from me to burst the bubble of preseason optimism, but a couple things.

Getting that “dominant player” is actually the hardest thing to do for GM. There are a handful of them in the league — how many players are there in the league who could lead a team to an NBA title as “the man?” Ten? (We can argue the margins of that if you want, but it’s pretty close to that.) There are 30 teams that want those players and the teams that have them don’t give them up willingly (see Cavaliers, Cleveland). And really, you need to have a couple of them or pair them with someone just off the list.

You have to be able to lure those handful of elite players as a free agent — which frankly would be hard to do in Minnesota — or draft them. Which is about as likely as winning the lottery. Literally. You say Minnesota could trade for Carmelo Anthony and I say do you think they have any chance of signing him to an extension?

So this singular move thing… not so simple.

The rest of the roster being nearly complete? There are young players with potential but how they are used in the T-Wolves “run and triangle” system leaves us wondering how good they really are. Some may pan out, some will not — Beasley was a good risk, but don’t bet on it beign a single, let alone a home run. Kevin Love is good enough to make Team USA and play well — maybe you should try giving him a bigger role.

And you kept Darko at half the price? Well, somebody really an unexpected steal with that contract.

Really, just go read the whole letter. You’ve earned the break from reality.

Doc Rivers on DeMarcus Cousins: “I’m 55. It’s tough for me to call a grown man ‘Boogie'”

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The Kings trade with the Pelicans has made DeMarcus Cousins the NBA’s mostdiscussed player lately.

But Clippers president/coach Doc Rivers isn’t sure he can address Cousins by his nickname.

J.A. Adande of ESPN:

Cool story, Glenn.

Deron Williams clears waivers, intends to sign with Cavs

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 01:  Deron Williams #8 of the Dallas Mavericks brings the ball down the floor against the Charlotte Hornets during their game at Spectrum Center on December 1, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Free agent guard Deron Williams has cleared waivers and told the Cleveland Cavaliers he intends to sign with them.

Williams, a five-time All-Star, was waived earlier this week by Dallas. He will give the defending NBA champions a playmaker they’ve needed all season and one LeBron James demanded.

Williams cannot sign with the Cavs until Monday. Cleveland hosts the Milwaukee Bucks that night. The Cavs will be the fourth team for Williams, who is averaging 13.1 points this season.

Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue can bring him off the bench and also play him with Cleveland’s starters to give James and Kyrie Irving rest before the playoffs.

Kyle Lowry plays through injury in All-Star game, out for Raptors now

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 19:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors and Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors in action during the 2017 NBA All-Star Game at Smoothie King Center on February 19, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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Kyle Lowry participated in the 3-point contest. He played nearly 18 minutes in the All-Star game.

But when the Raptors played the Celtics in their first game after the break, Lowry never saw the court.

He was sidelined with a right wrist injury suffered in Toronto’s final game before the break.

Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet:

He can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened and didn’t even feel it during the game, but when Lowry woke up the next morning he knew something was up.

“Honestly, I thought I’d slept on it wrong — I thought it would go away,” Lowry said. “It was a little sore, but I paid no attention to it.”

Unconcerned at the time, Lowry didn’t tell anyone but his wife about the wrist pain, and took off for New Orleans where he participated in both the NBA’s three-point contest and all-star game this past weekend. He received some treatment in between his all-star appearances and iced his wrist on and off, but he still saw little cause for alarm.

“I thought over the break it would rest up and heal up,” Lowry said. “But it constantly stayed bothering me.”

“That’s a blow — that’s a huge blow for us,” Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said Friday evening after announcing the injury. “I don’t know how long he’s going to be out. But, no, it’s not a one-day thing.”

This is bad — bad for the Raptors and bad for Lowry’s reputation.

Lowry might have wanted to show his toughness by not running to the doctor for every bump or bruise. But this will also raise questions about whether he prioritized the shine of All-Star Weekend over the grind of Toronto’s season. Lowry is not a trained medical professional, so it’s understandable he misdiagnosed his injury. But he makes his living using his body, and his employer provides trained medical professionals to handle these types of things. Lowry’s bet that his wrist would heal over the break clearly backfired.

And now the Raptors pay the price. They traded for Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker to make a push, but that’ll be much tougher without the the team’s best player. Toronto beat Boston without Lowry, but the Raptors are still fourth in the Eastern Conference. Passing the Wizards for third is paramount to avoiding a second-round matchup with the Cavaliers and getting a clearer path back to the conference finals.

Every game matters now for Toronto, and wherever blame falls, Casey nailed the outcome: Lowry’s injury is a huge blow.

Brandon Ingram posterizes Taj Gibson on alley-oop (video)

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The Lakers wouldn’t trade Brandon Ingram for DeMarcus Cousins, because they believe in Ingram (or because they couldn’t get on the same page about a deal, but let’s go with a belief in Ingram).

The Thunder traded for Taj Gibson because he provided, among other things, stellar rim protection.

One of those worked better than the other on this play.