I think they will do it.
Derrick Williams is entering his third NBA season this fall and Minnesota now has to decide if they want him back for a fourth season. Usually teams keep a player on a rookie deal around unless he was a swing and a miss, or he’s just not in the team’s plans. Williams has not been brilliant but he scored 12 points a game and started 56 games in Minnesota last season.
However the Timberwolves are still thinking about it, mostly for financial reasons. Darren Wolfson of ESPN1500 has the quote.
In a phone conversation earlier this week spanning a few topics, Wolves owner Glen Taylor acknowledged the team isn’t quite sure what to do.
“We’ll evaluate his summer program, and how he looks coming into camp (which starts Oct. 1),” Taylor said. “I heard he is looking good.”
A month before camp everybody is “looking good” or “is in the best shape they have been in five years” or “is finally healthy.” All of that should be taken with a grain of salt.
The issue is really money and value.
Williams would make $6.3 million in his fourth season then become a restricted free agent where the market will set his value (don’t expect Minnesota to extend him). The problem is that $6.3 could push the Timberwolves into the luxury tax, a place the team doesn’t want to go (both because they don’t want to pay it and because it would tie their hands with a smaller mid-level exception).
The question with Williams is fit with the roster — and this is the year we learn how that works. Williams was drafted with the idea that he could be a big, athletic three who played next to Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic on the front line. Williams entered the league in the lockout season, so he never got and off-season and camp to work with those two (and Ricky Rubio) to develop chemistry, it was more a “fly by the seat of your pants” thing. Then last season with Love out Williams was forced to play 40 percent of the team’s total minutes at the four (according to 82games.com). (Zach Lowe broke all this down well at Grantland.)
We don’t know how Williams at the three works with these Timberwolves, but we should have a much better idea by February. Problem is, Minnesota has to decide on the 2014-15 option year on Williams by Oct. 31. They basically get training camp and then have to make the call.
I expect they pick it up, if only to consider trading him down the line should he not fit. But as of right now Minnesota does not have a decision.
Well played Stephen Curry, well played.
He was joking around with Justin Timberlake at the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe this weekend (you can watch it on NBC, check your local listings) when Curry poked a little fun at himself by throwing his mouthguard.
Last time he did that he got a $25,000 fine. This time he got some laughs.
LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and a number of Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets players wore “I can’t breathe” T-shirts in warmups after the death of Eric Garner in New York. LeBron and his then Heat teammates wore hoodies for a photo shoot after the Travon Martin shooting. NBA players have made other protest fashion statements, with no repercussions from the league.
But when WNBA players wore black warmup shirts in support of Black Lives Matter and other anti-violence protests, the WNBA came down with fines for the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury ($5,000) and players involved ($500) for uniform violations. That led to a lot of backlash — including among WNBA players. Some refused to answer basketball questions with the media after recent games.
Saturday, the WNBA rescinded the fines. As they should have.
The women’s players’ union supported the move, via a statement from the director of operations Terri Jackson.
“We are pleased that the WNBA has made the decision to rescind the fines the league handed down to the players on the Fever, Liberty, and Mercury. We look forward to engaging in constructive dialogue with the league to ensure that the players’ desire to express themselves will continue to be supported.”
I want a league — for men or women — where player’s individuality and statements can be made — I don’t want the NBA to be the button-down, cookie cutter NFL. Let the players be themselves. And if players want to weigh in on the biggest social issue of our time, they should. Without fear of repercussion.
Good on the WNBA for coming around to that.
Meyers Leonard could be poised for a big season in Portland. His minutes jumped last season because he provided spacing. With Portland adding Evan Turner on the wing to go with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, any big who can stretch the floor is going to get run, and Leonard has turned himself into a stretch four.
Leonard just hopes he can show what he can do at the start of the season — he’s still recovering from shoulder surgery. Here is what he told the Associated Press.
“My hope is to be ready right around the start of the season,” he said. “It’s a progression, first introducing rebounding, grabbing stuff overhead, then one-on-one, three-on-three, extending to the full court. We’ll see. You just never know.”
Leonard had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in April (they could have used him in the playoffs), and the timeline then was to have him back around the start of the season. Before he was shut down, he proved enough to get a four-year, $41 million contract extension with the Trail Blazers this summer.
The Trail Blazers will start Al-Farouq Aminu at the four, and Moe Harkless can certainly play there too (I’m far less sold on the future of Noah Vonleh). Leonard wants to get back before someone starts to steal any of his minutes.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) The New Orleans Pelicans say they have signed free-agent forward Terrence Jones and re-signed guard Tim Frazier.
A person familiar with the negotiations says Jones, a four-year veteran, signed a one-year deal Friday for the NBA minimum of about $1.14 million, while Frazier has signed a two-year deal worth about $4.1 million. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Pelicans have not released contract terms.
The 6-foot-9 Jones, who was Anthony Davis‘ teammates on Kentucky’s 2012 national championship team, has spent his first four NBA seasons with Houston, posting career averages of 10.4 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Frazier played in 16 games for New Orleans late last season, averaging 13.1 points, 7.5 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 29.3 minutes per game.