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.

Enjoy 50-best circus shots of last NBA season

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As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.

For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.

Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.

To avoid trash talk, Steven Adams told Kevin Garnett he didn’t speak English

Kevin Garnett
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Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.

Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.

Brilliant.

Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.

Pistons’ Stan Van Gundy “encouraged” by players speaking out, protesting social issues

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 17: Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons yells to his players during the first half of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on April 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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 Jason Miller/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption ***Stan Van Gundy
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Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.

Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.

A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.

“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…

“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”

Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.

The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.

Sunday is 16th anniversary of greatest dunk ever: Vince Carter over Frederic Weis

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It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.

But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.

Best. Dunk. Ever.

By anyone.

Weis was never the same.

In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.

Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.