Rumor: Fred Hoiberg could be courted to take over Timberwolves next season

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To this point, Fred Hoiberg has done nothing but be loyal to Iowa State and build up that university’s basketball program (they are on to the Sweet 16 this year). He has shot down every query from other institutions or teams that have come his come his way.

However, because he has NBA experience — as a player and in the Minnesota Timberwolves front office — there is considerable interest in him around the NBA, should he ever want to return to the league. Which means rumors. Always rumors.

The latest is from Mark Stein at ESPN — Rick Adelman may well be stepping down in Minnesota at season’s end and Hoiberg’s name looks like it could be in the mix to replace him.

Widely regarded as the most NBA-ready college coach in the game, Hoiberg was a Wolves executive for four years before leaving the pros to coach the Cyclones. It should be noted that Saunders is close with Michigan State’s Tom Izzo as well, but the rumbles out of ‘Sota are getting louder that the Wolves are going to court Hoiberg hard should they, as expected, have an opening.

It is no lock that Hoiberg takes this job. First off, it may not get offered because the most logical person to take over is current Minnesota team president Flip Saunders.

However, if Saunders doesn’t want to patrol the sidelines anymore they may well reach out to Hoiberg.

Then Hoiberg has to assess the situation — Kevin Love is under contract but likely will bolt in 2015, which will trigger a rebuild (whether or not they trade him, once Love is gone it will be an overhaul in Minnesota). Does he want to leave Iowa State, where he is happy, for that turmoil? Does he think he can change Love’s mind?

My guess is that next fall Hoiberg will still be coaching in Ames, Iowa. Someday he may make the jump to the NBA, but he has to pick a situation he likes, where there is a good chance at long-term success. Not sure that is in Minnesota right now.

Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge nails three from one knee during warmups (VIDEO)

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Take that Stephen Curry.

Gregg Popovich would pull him so fast he’d look like a fidget spinner if he tried this in a game, but during warmups before Game 4 Monday night LaMarcus Aldridge knocked down a deep three from one knee.

If Aldridge is taking a lot of threes that’s not a good sign for the Spurs, but we’ll see if he can have a big night and keep the Spurs alive in this series.

Stephen Curry drains shots from near half court during warmups like they’re layups

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Stephen Curry‘s pregame warmups draw people into the arena early, it’s a show in and of itself.

Before Game 4 Monday night, Curry was taking a couple shots from the center-court logo. And draining them. Like layups. Because he can.

We’ll see if he can put on that kind of show when the game tips off.

Gregg Popovich makes it official: No Kawhi Leonard for Game 4

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This was expected. It still sucks to hear.

Kawhi Leonard is out for Game 4 vs. the Warriors Monday night.

Leonard has sprained his left ankle in Game 5 against the Rockets and sat out Game 6 of that series (a San Antonio win), then returned for Game 1 against the Warriors. He re-injured his ankle twice in that game — once stepping on David Lee‘s foot, once when Zaza Pachulia slid under him on a jumper and took away his landing space. Leonard left that game with his team up 23 points, but the Warriors rallied back to win Game 1 and have controlled the series ever since. Leonard has not returned to the series.

San Antonio will play with pride on Monday night, but it may not be enough. You can bet the Warriors were reminded all day about taking their foot off the gas after what happened with Cleveland Sunday.

Report: Orlando hires Toronto GM Jeff Weltman to be president of basketball operations

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In Toronto, Masai Ujiri is the head of basketball operations and the guy with the hammer on deals. Jeff Weltman was his right-hand man and team GM.

Make that was his right-hand man, Weltman has been hired by the Orlando Magic to run its basketball operations, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

The Orlando Magic have hired Toronto Raptors general manager Jeff Weltman as the franchise’s president of basketball operations, league sources told The Vertical.

Weltman met with Orlando CEO Alex Martins and ownership on Monday, finalizing a five-year deal, league sources said.

Orlando officials had been intrigued with Cleveland GM David Griffin, but moved steadily toward Weltman as they became further engaged with his candidacy in recent weeks, league sources said. Weltman has been deeply involved in every aspect of the Raptors’ front office under president Masai Ujiri as Toronto became a perennial Eastern Conference contender.

Making a move now is smart in this sense: The Magic have the No. 5 pick in this draft and would want the guy making the big picture decisions about this roster on board to make this selection.

That roster already has some quality pieces — Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, maybe Elfrid Payton — but has underachieved. There were questions about the culture and a lack of accountability, and that blame ultimately fell on GM Rob Hennigan and he was let go. Frank Vogel is locked in as

Frank Vogel is locked in as coach, so how well Weltman and Vogel work together — and share a vision — will be key.

Weltman is well-respected around the league. He spent five seasons as an assistant GM in Milwaukee, and has been with the Raptors since 2013 as that team has risen up the Eastern Conference standings and had its best run in franchise history. He also has worked with the Clippers and in Denver. He’s been one of those guys expected to get a chance in the big chair for a few years now.

He’s got it, and it’s an interesting challenge in Orlando.