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.

Chris Paul thanks Clipper fans in online statement

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Chris Paul is as competitive a guy as there is in the NBA — he and James Harden are not the smoothest fit next to one another, but he would rather team with another star and go hard at the Warriors juggernaut than sit back and collect a check.

That’s why CP3 wanted to go to the Rockets as part of the trade reported Wednesday.

But before he left, he wanted to say thank you to Clippers fans.

Paul is committed to his charity causes, he’s not giving those up. He’s likely keeping his home in Los Angeles, too — L.A. is the unofficial off-season home of the NBA anyway.

Rockets make series of cash trades for expiring contracts to help line up Chris Paul deal

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While everyone was rightfully raving about the move by the Houston Rockets to trade for Chris Paul — you have to love a team not cowering from the Warriors but willing to take them on Game of Thrones style — there was one little catch. The trade, as first announced, didn’t pencil out.

Because the Rockets were over the cap, this trade needs to be a salary match. The Clippers were getting back nice young players in Sam Decker and Montrezl Harrell, plus a first-round pick, but the salaries still didn’t match up. Then a string of small cash deals for expiring contracts started rolling in.

All those deals are official — and led to one of the funniest tweets of the year.

All three of those players will head to the Clippers as part of the official trade, but then be waived by the Clippers so they don’t actually pay them.

Also of note, by staying above the salary cap line (as opposed to diving below it to absorb CP3’s contract) the Rockets will keep their mid-level exception, giving them a full $8.4 million to spend in free agency to get a role player to help fill out the roster in Houston.

The Rockets are not done big game hunting, GM Daryl Morey is reportedly going after Paul George and maybe free agents such as Paul Millsap. Carmelo Anthony reportedly would like a buyout so he can get to Houston now, but with Phil Jackson gone and $55 million owed over the next few years that seems more up in the air. Regardless, expect the Rockets to keep making small moves to set up big ones.

Reports: Rockets not done, looking at Paul George, other possible third big star

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If you’re going to go toe-to-toe with the Golden State Warriors, you can’t have enough elite talent on the roster. Which is turning the Western Conference into a Game of Thrones.

Houston has James Harden and just added Chris Paul — and GM Daryl Morey is not done, he’s targeting Paul George and other stars. That according to multiple reports from ESPN, starting with Jeff Goodman.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey not done yet, source told ESPN. Harden and CP3. Will try to add a third star to compete with Warriors.

The logistics of this would be difficult, but not impossible. The Pacers want a first-round pick, which the Rockets can include if the Pacers will wait until 2020 (the Rockets 2018 pick goes to the Clippers, 1-3 protected, which means they can’t trade 2019). With Sam Decker traded to LA, the Rockets may not have a young player of interest outside of Clint Capella (the Pacers have Myles Turner at center), but the Rockets have made a series of cash deals for non-guaranteed contracts to make this work with the Clippers and pave the way for future deals.

Also possible, the Rockets look for a way to land Paul Millsap (or maybe a lesser version, like Serge Ibaka) in free agency.

The Rockets also could target guys such as Carmelo Anthony or Dwyane Wade, if they are bought out. Anthony is rumored to want a buyout to go to Houston now, but with Phil Jackson out and being owed $55 million over a couple years, that may not happen.

The point is the Rockets are going all in — they see the window as now and, unlike much of the rest of the West and the NBA, they are not going to wait and hope for the Warriors to wilt in a few years.

Knicks fans celebrating Phil Jackson’s departure on social media

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When the Knicks hired Phil Jackson, he was a beacon of hope for an organization that had seen dark days. Jackson was going to keep owner James Dolan out of basketball decisions (he did that) and provide a direction for the franchise (he failed to do that).

Now, three year’s later, Jackson is out as president of the Knicks.

That had Knicks fans celebrating on social media.

HALLELUJAH.

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That’s just a small sampling. So all is good with the Knicks now, right?