The Timberwolves shot 30.5 percent on 3-pointers last season, dead last in the league. The difference between Minnesota and the 29th-place Magic was great than the difference between the third-best 3-point shooting team and the 21st-best 3-point shooting team.
Not only did the Timberwolves need someone capable of making shots from beyond the arc, they needed a shooting guard so point guard Luke Ridnour could stop masquerading as an off guard.
Enter Kevin Martin.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
I’m a little surprised Martin didn’t shop around for a better offer, but at least this deal will make him a starter after spending a season as Oklahoma City’s sixth man. Plus, if he waited to take the offer, it might not have remained available.
The Timberwolves will almost certainly have to renounce Andrei Kirilenko (who might make sense to the Spurs for the mid-level exception) to sign Martin. There’s no guarantee Minnesota would have done that if it had to wait for Martin.
Martin is 30, which would make him considerably less desirable to non-contending teams. Contenders might also worry about his underwhelming postseason. With this deal, Martin is locked in and longer has to worry about those issues. (He can’t sign until July 10, but these deals are all but official).
Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio and now Chase Budinger and Martin give the Timberwolves have a promising lineup capable of making the playoffs next season – as long as they lock up restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic. Other players like Derrick Williams, Luke Ridnour and Jose Barea could be quality backups or useful trade chips.
The Thunder, who lose Martin, are starting from a much higher point than Minnesota, but the loss of Martin stings. They’ll need another bench scorer, and perhaps they turn to Dorell Wright. He’d likely be a downgrade, but it’s a continuation of the process Oklahoma City began when trading James Harden for Martin – sacrificing production in the name of saving money.
J.R. Smith (slightly out of context): “We don’t start paying attention until after All-Star break.”
Raptors guard Delon Wright dislocated his shoulder, but at least he won’t need surgery.
Raptors media relations:
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The Raptors (11-5), off to a surprisingly strong start, are second in the Eastern Conference. They’ve bought themselves margin for error. All in all, a month-long absence for Wright isn’t so bad.
Wright had been a key part of an excellent all-bench unit that included Fred VanVleet, O.G. Anunoby, C.J. Miles and Jakob Poeltl. Two-way player Lorenzo Brown has assumed Wright’s role, and Norman Powell – returning from his own injury – will provide a boost. Toronto can also stagger Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan more.
The chemistry of the bench mob was something to behold, but the Raptors should withstand this.
Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley underwent knee surgery – never a great sign.
The prognosis is about as bad as could be expected.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
This injury isn’t just a setback for this season. It could derail the Clippers’ long-term plan.
They’ve already lost nine straight, and Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic are injured. If they fall further out of playoff position, they could become sellers before the trade deadline, especially with DeAndre Jordan ($24,119,025 player option for next season) and Lou Williams ($7 million salary on expiring contract).
Health was always the major question with this team, and it won’t soften as Blake Griffin and Danilo Gallinari age through lucrative contracts.
The final year of Beverley’s contract is guaranteed for just $5,027,028 next season, and the 29-year-old will spend most of the summer recovering from this injury. That salary is probably low enough that the Clippers will keep him without hesitation.
Until then, down a couple point guards, the Clippers have no choice but to continue leaning more on Austin Rivers. That also means greater roles for second-round rookies Jawun Evans and Sindarius Thornwell. That’s just too many players facing outsized responsibility.
The Pelicans, Grizzlies, Jazz and any other team competing for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference ought to feel better about their chances. They’re still competing with each other, and it’s doubtful all three make it. But Beverley’s injury helps clear the way.
The Clippers, who didn’t want to take a major step back after Chris Paul‘s departure, must confront an even more uneasy reality.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – one of the NBA’s best players – won’t help new Bucks teammate Eric Bledsoe in a revenge game against the Suns tonight.
Not only is Milwaukee missing Mirza Teletovic and John Henson (and Matthew Dellavedova and Jabari Parker), Antetokounmpo is out.
Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Antetokounmpo will miss Wednesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns due to right knee soreness.
Antetokounmpo says his knee soreness is the same injury he dealt with in the off-season, which caused him to withdraw from the Greek national team.
“It feels good,” Antetokounmpo said after sitting out shootaround. “I’m just trying to be careful with it and not make any damage. That’s it, because it’s a long season and I’m trying to be careful.”
The Bucks have been outscored by 18.6 points per 100 possessions without Antetokounmpo this season (and are +2.3 without him). Phoenix isn’t good, but neither is Milwaukee without Antetokounmpo.
I don’t think Bledsoe will mind a chance to get more aggressive tonight, though.