Report: Timberwolves trying to trade for Andre Miller, want to involve J.J. Barea

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If Andre Miller isn’t returning to the Nuggets, they might as well trade him.

Miller, sent away from the team after feuding with Denver coach Brian Shaw, definitely wants a trade and a chance to play somewhere. The Nuggets should resist any inclination to be petty, and they should accommodate him.

There are a number of teams seeking backup point guards, so there is a market for Miller. At this point, Denver should take whatever it can get before the trade deadline and move on.

One of the interested teams: The Minnesota Timberwolves, according to Marc Stein of ESPN:

Word is Minnesota wants to know it can shed the contract of guard J.J. Barea — who has one season left on his contract after this one at $4.5 million — before consenting to trade for Miller.

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A simple Miller-for-Barea trade might work for both teams.

Barea would give the Nuggets point guard they desperately need while Lawson is out, and he could back up Lawson later. Though Barea has a fully guaranteed salary of $4,519,500 next season – more than Miller’s $2 million guaranteed ($4,625,000 if not waived) – the Nuggets aren’t slated to have cap room anyway.

The Timberwolves could use an upgrade at backup point guard. They have a +5.7 net rating with Ricky Rubio and –4.6 net rating with Barea. Some of the disparity is due to Rubio playing more with the team’s better players, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Even when each play with Minnesota’s other starters – Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic – the difference is stark.

Rubio with other four starters:

  • Offensive rating: 110.7
  • Defensive rating: 102.9
  • Net rating: +7.7

Barea with other four starters:

  • Offensive rating: 101.4
  • Defensive rating: 105.4
  • Net rating: –4.0

Miller, even at 37, is probably a little better than Barea – though there’s risk, given Miller has sat out so long. At least Minnesota would have insurance in Alexey Shved, who can play point guard.

Have the Timberwolves add their second-round pick, and call this trade good.

Joel Embiid upgrades himself from 69% to 81%: ‘Shoutout to Jalen Rose’

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A story in three parts:

1. After posting 46-15-7-7 in a win over the Lakers, frequently injured 76ers center Joe Embiid declared himself to be 69%:

2. ESPN analyst Jalen Rose called that joke “unprofessional:”

3. Embiid upgraded his status to 81% with a “shoutout to Jalen Rose:”

In case you didn’t get the joke.

Celtics’ Kyrie Irving: “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

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The Celtics established themselves as one of the NBA’s elite teams, a contender for the Eastern Conference title, during their 16-game win streak.

However, that hot streak to start the season will matter as much as Thanksgiving leftovers in the back of the refrigerator in April by the time the playoffs roll around. This is a team that still has work to do.

Which is what Kyrie Irving was getting at in this post-loss quote from Friday night, via Israel Gutierrez of ESPN.

“There’s still a lot to accomplish going forward,” Irving said. “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

This team still needs to get better and more consistent. The Celtics had to come from behind in the fourth quarter in eight of the 16 wins, and while the team defense was impressive the offense still can be hit and miss. Al Horford and Kyrie Irving play well off each other, but this is still the 20th ranked offense in the NBA. They are taking more long midrange jumpers than most coaches want, but the bigger challenge is they have not been finishing around the basket.

Titles are not won in November. Irving gets that. Jayson Tatum will hit the rookie wall at some point (they all do) and he needs to prove he can break through. Al Horford is playing maybe the best ball of his career and needs to keep it up. The Celtics need to keep their defensive focus (the fundamentals are there to have a top five defense). I could go on but you get the point, and so does Irving — there is a lot of work for this team to do.

Boston is off to a fantastic start, but it’s just that.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: I’ve never seen injury like Kawhi Leonard’s

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Gregg Popovich is a basketball lifer.

He’s the NBA’s most experienced active head coach. Before that, he was the Spurs’ general manager. Before that, he was an NBA assistant. Before that, he was a college head coach and assistant. Before that, he was a college player. Before that, he was a youth player.

The San Antonio coach has seen everything.

Except the right quadriceps tendinopathy suffered by Kawhi Leonard, whom Popovich said more than a week would return “sooner rather than later.” Yet, Leonard still hasn’t played this season.

Popovich, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

“Never, never,” Popovich said when asked whether he has seen such a condition hampering one of his players. “What’s really strange is that [point guard] Tony [Parker] has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that’s pretty incredible. I had never seen it before those guys.”

“I keep saying sooner rather than later,” Popovich said jokingly. “It’s kind of like being a politician. It’s all baloney, doesn’t mean anything.”

The 26-year-old Leonard is one of the NBA’s biggest on-court stars. He might be the league’s best defender, and he has built himself into an offensive force. The Spurs (11-7) have fared fine without him so far, but they’ll need him to accomplish their main goals – this year and beyond.

Hopefully, Leonard’s health is better than it sounds here, because Popovich’s answer sure isn’t encouraging.

Tim Hardaway Jr. calls fallen ref safe rather than defend shot (video)

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The Knicks went on a 28-0 run.

They earned the right to showboat late in their win over the Raptors last night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. called a ref, who slipped on the baseline, safe rather than contest Serge Ibaka‘s 3-pointer. Perfection!