We told you this was coming a couple weeks back (and it has been a rumored possibility since May), but on Friday it became official.
The Timberwolves have hired executive Milt Newton away from the Washington Wizards to become Minnesota’s new GM. The team made the announcement.
“I have followed Milt closely during his career and have always been impressed with his basketball knowledge, work ethic and professionalism,” Timberwolves president Flip Saunders said in a released statement. “His front office experience in the NBA, as well as his ability to combine analytics evaluation with his basketball playing and scouting background will greatly benefit our organization.”
Make no mistake, Saunders remains the ultimate decision maker with this team, but Newton now will oversee a lot of the scouting, talent evaluation and more. It will be a collaboration.
Saunders and Newton go back a while — Newton was a front office guy in Washington when Saunders coached the Wizards. Previously Newton had been a D-League executive, a director with USA Basketball and scout for the Philadelphia 76ers. As a player, Newton was a member of the Danny Manning/Larry Brown Kansas team that won a national championship in 1988 (he was 6-of-6 in the title game).
This is all part of the culture change Saunders is trying to bring in to Minnesota, a radical departure from the David Kahn era.
Rick Carlisle coached 13 seasons, including seven in Dallas, when the Mavericks stated he could coach them as long as he wanted.
Steve Kerr needed just three seasons with the Warriors.
Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area:
Kerr has done an amazing job in Golden State, implementing a pace-setting offense predicated on movement and fine-tuning a quality defense.
It helps to have great players like Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and eventually Kevin Durant. But Kerr has maximized them. He has also played a prominent role in establishing a productive culture throughout the entire organization.
Of course, health is the big catch. Kerr has missed significant time the last two years due to complications from back surgery. He’s looking forward to a long career, but those headaches and pains aren’t far in the rearview mirror.
Kerr clearly knows how to win with this super team, not necessarily as easy of a task as it appears. He has more than earned the right to stay on the bench for the Warriors’ next iteration, whenever that comes.
Hotshot coaches can fade quickly, but Kerr has established an unprecedented amount of goodwill so quickly. Hopefully, he stays healthy enough to take up Myers on his pledge.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league would continue look at 1-16 playoff seeding.
Ken Berger of Bleacher Report:
Silver is well-intentioned on this issue, and open-minded, too—as he is on most agenda items that could, in theory, make the league better. But despite his willingness to discuss postseason reformatting, multiple people familiar with league discussions say it’s not anywhere near the top of the agenda.
After its analysis of the issue in ’15, the league concluded that, for a variety of reasons, it wasn’t sensible to change the playoff format. The two key factors, according to league sources, were 1) travel; and 2) a belief among league officials that conference imbalance was a temporary trend that would correct itself, as it typically has in the past.
For playoff qualification to truly be fair, teams would have to play a balanced schedule. As is, teams play teams in their own conference 52 times and teams from the other conference 30 times.
More 10 p.m. starts on the East Coast and 4 p.m. starts on the West Coast would hurt TV ratings.
Plus, as relative conference strength exists now and has existed for several years, 1-16 playoff seeding would make it harder for bigger Eastern Conference markets and easier for smaller Western Conference markets to qualify for the postseason.
Quality of competition matters, and there would be value in the NBA building a playoff field of its 16 best teams. But follow the money. There isn’t nearly enough urgency with this issue to overcome the direct financial setbacks reform would cause.
The Warriors can exhale. Their status as overwhelming championship favorites remains intact.
Draymond Green injured his knee in Golden State’s season-opening loss to the Rockets, but it appears he didn’t suffer major damage.
Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area:
Even if Green misses a little time, the Warriors should be fine. They can cruise until playoffs – maybe even a round or two into the playoffs.
Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry are Golden State’s best players, but Green’s defense is so important, especially in small-ball lineups with him at center. The Warriors led Houston by 13 when Green left the game and then couldn’t get enough fourth-quarter stops in a one-point loss.
Golden State values rest and built a supporting cast around its stars to follow through. If Green misses tomorrow’s game against the Pelicans or any beyond, Jordan Bell, David West, Kevon Looney and Omri Casspi could all see bigger roles.
The Grizzlies are undefeated, having topped another playoff hopeful (Pelicans) in their season-opener.
But things seem tenuous in Memphis.
Not only is Chandler Parsons feuding with Grizzlies fans, JaMychal Green is hurt.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
The supporting cast looks rickety around Mike Conley and Marc Gasol unless second-rounder Dillon Brooks (19 points on 7-of-13 shooting +17 against New Orleans) keeps humming. And maybe even still then.
Green’s injury opens the door for bigger roles for Jarell Martin and maybe Parsons (gulp).
At least Green locked in his guaranteed money. This shows why he couldn’t afford to risk taking the qualifying offer.