Timberwolves introduce Rick Adelman, everyone plays nice

Leave a comment

Eventually, there is going to be some tension in Minnesota. There is GM David Kahn in the last year of his deal. New coach Rick Adelman brings with him real gravitas and will have say on player/personnel issues. You can see the friction coming.

But at Adelman’s introductory press conference on Wednesday it was “smiles everyone, smiles, smiles.”

Adelman said what you would expect, how he looks forward to building something with the young core of players assembled in Minnesota, led by All-Star Kevin Love. Because of the lockout Adelman and Kahn could not talk about specific players. But Adelman talked about style and this being a team that will be up-tempo.

“We want to push the ball, we want to be on the attack all the time,” he said.

Kahn said the pace of the coach hiring process was deliberately slow, and part of the reason for that was for Adelman to make up his mind and maybe think about coming to the T-Wolves. Adelman admitted he talked to Lakers but they were moving quickly and he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. He said talks never got serious.

Meanwhile, Kahn was patient.

“I thought it would be a mistake for us to hurry up and make a decision until we saw the full array of candidates,” Kahn said.

You can bet everyone in attendance wanted to ask Adelman how he planned to bring Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio along, but he couldn’t discuss specific players. So Adelman instead talked about bringing young European players in general along.

“The players there are very good players, they are renowned over there, they have agents and family, but when you come to the NBA it’s a different game and they have to learn the game….” Adelman said. “You have to figure out what they can do in the NBA game, play to their strengths, be there for them but and let them know it is a process.”

He was already trying to tamper expectations, saying it usually takes a year or two for European players to adjust to the NBA. Which fits in with the young, learning to win in the NBA team Minnesota has. It’s just that taking your time and learning to win can create friction in the front office. Something to watch if and when we ever get a season.

Danny Green: Kawhi Leonard report ‘couldn’t be anymore incorrect’

AP Photo/Eric Gay
Leave a comment

A pattern is emerging.

A report said there’s a disconnect between Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs. Leonard’s uncle denied it.

A report said San Antonio held a players-only meeting to implore Leonard to play. Danny Green denied it.


Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN wrote the latest article. Michael C. Wright and Ramona Shelburne contributed. These are credible reporters.

At minimum, someone wants the information out there. That alone makes this an issue. The Spurs, so unaccustomed to dealing with this noise, are facing it now.

Is every detail in the report accurate? Is it accurate overall? I don’t know.

But Green is loyal to San Antonio. Him shooting down a report of disarray means something, but it doesn’t mean everything.

Report: Spurs held players-only meeting imploring Kawhi Leonard to play

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Gregg Popovich’s thinly veiled attempt to pressure Kawhi Leonard into playing apparently had an effect – on Leonard’s Spurs teammates.

They, apparently led by Tony Parker, confronted Leonard.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The San Antonio Spurs held a players-only meeting to implore All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard to return to the lineup and help the team in its push for the playoffs, league sources told ESPN.

Spurs guard Tony Parker, a four-time NBA champion, quarterbacked the meeting with his teammates and Leonard after Saturday night’s victory over Minnesota, league sources said.

The conversation was described as tense and emotional at times, league sources said.

Several teammates spoke up, expressing frustration and confusion over a growing divide with Leonard that has created significant tension between the franchise star and the Spurs, league sources said.

Leonard, 26, was resolute in response, insisting that he had good reason for sitting out all but nine games with a right quad injury this season, league sources said.

That optimism around Leonard? It just went up in flames like Nick Young‘s Forever 21 clothing.

The Spurs have cleared Leonard to play, but he and his medical team don’t feel he’s ready. That’s an uneasy disagreement, but not necessarily illegitimate. Players know their own bodies and can sometimes sense problems doctors can’t identify. As of a few weeks ago, Popovich said Leonard was doing what he’s supposed to do.

So, a locker room full of players telling Leonard to play anyway sounds pretty unhealthy. It’s a shocking development in San Antonio, where the Spurs’ culture is recognized as arguably the NBA’s best and where the team is known for erring on the side of caution with injuries.

Fairly or not, Leonard probably invited this showdown with his handling of the injury. He told teammates he’d return to play then repeated the message publicly while adding soon. He reportedly targeted last Thursday, but a week later, he remains out. The disconnect between him and the franchise certainly didn’t help his teammates understand his point of view.

That disconnect was largely pinned on Leonard’s quiet nature, which makes it so rattling to imagine him facing a room of frustrated and confused teammates. Good for Leonard for standing up for himself if he truly isn’t ready to play.

But his teammates’ questioning will only increase the belief he’s just malingering. After all, if anybody could relate to him, it’s other professional athletes – especially Parker, who had a similar injury and recovered much more quickly (which doesn’t prove anything about Leonard, but certainly could influence opinion).

After the meeting, Manu Ginobili said, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

“He is not coming back,” veteran guard Manu Ginobili said. “For me, he’s not coming back because it’s not helping [to think Leonard is returning]. We fell for it a week ago again. I guess you guys made us fall for it. But we have to think that he’s not coming back, that we are who we are, and that we got to fight without him. That shouldn’t be changing, at least until he is ready for the jump ball.”

That sounded as if Ginobili were just trying to talk him into that mindset, so he’d stay sharp while Leonard remained out and wouldn’t be disappointed by a continued absence. But after knowing Ginobili got information straight from the source, that comment looks much more telling.

Kelly Olynyk nutmegs Kyle O’Quinn to set up Josh Richardson dunk (video)

1 Comment

In the Heat’s rout of the Knicks last night, Kelly Olynyk scored 22 points and dished a career-high 10 assists.

This was the prettiest, a pass between Kyle O'Quinn‘s legs to Josh Richardson, who dunked.

Malik Beasley stumbles, bumbles, fumbles during turnover (video)

1 Comment

Malik Beasley isn’t a point guard, but he was playing the position for the Nuggets in garbage time of their win over the Bulls last night. And Torrey Craig‘s pass was low and behind Beasley, which is why Craig was assigned the turnover.

With those caveats acknowledged, Beasley’s contortions as he tries to corral the ball are something to behold.