Wolves still shopping No. 2 pick, odd rumors abound

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We know this much — Derrick Williams out of Arizona will be the No. 2 pick in this draft. (Don’t buy the lines that the Cavs might take him No. 1, it’s not happening.)

What we don’t know — who will be drafting Williams.

With the draft just four days away, Minnesota is working hard still to trade the No. 2 pick, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. That is leading to all kinds of trade rumors, none of which seem to have merit or even make sense.

Already it’s clear the Wolves will shop that second pick in search of a more experienced player or players and quite possibly a later pick in the first round.

Thursday’s rumor said the team is discussing a trade with Indiana involving Pacers forward Danny Granger. The report by an Ohio writer mentioned the names of Michael Beasley and Ricky Rubio as well as that No. 2 pick. Wolves boss David Kahn in turn texted an inquiring Indianapolis reporter and asked if the team must include Kevin Love, too.

The rumor over the weekend was Kevin Love and the No. 2 pick to the Lakers for Pau Gasol. The Lakers are too smart to make that bad a trade (Love would kill the Lakers defense, Gasol is a good pick-and-roll defender, and the Lakers are not breaking up their core). In follow up rumors, the Wolves basically said they’d do Gasol for the No. 2 pick but not Love also. As Washington is not willing to give up JaVale McGee for the No. 2 pick, the Lakers would only laugh at the Gasol offer.

The latest rumor is the Bucks sending Andrew Bogut and the No. 10 for the No. 2. But again that is a complete Wolves whitewash of a trade, there is no reason for Milwaukee to make that. Unless they think Bogut will never bounce back. That trade would kill the Bucks defense.

In some drafts offering up the No. 2 pick would land you a veteran big, but this is not that draft. Teams like Williams, but don’t love him.

Minnesota is willing to draft Williams, and they may well have to. He could work there (although now Michael Beasley can be yours for a decent offer). But they’ll keep trying to trade the pick right up to when David Stern walks to the podium.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.