Timberwolves GM says they are going slow, not had any Kevin Love trade talks yet

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Minnesota is going to take its time.

With the NBA draft a month away, the Timberwolves are not rushing to find their new coach for next season.

More importantly, while Kevin Love’s people have pushed for the team to trade him before July 1 according to reports, the team has not fielded any offers for him and are in no rush to do so.

That according to Minnesota general manager Milt Newton, who spoke to the Associated Press on Thursday.

The team is letting the search for a replacement for the retired Rick Adelman play out and has yet to see any potential trade talks involving Love, who can opt out after next season, or any of its other players heat up, general manager Milt Newton said on Thursday.

“We’ll do what’s best for the organization,” Newton said. “He’s a hell of a player, a hell of a talent. Our first inclination is to keep him on board. If that’s not the case, you best believe we’ll be a better team based on what happens….

“We’re not rushed for time to select a coach, the process will take care of itself,” Newton said, before smiling to deliver a quick jab. “I guarantee we will have one before the season starts next year.”

Love has the ability to opt out of his contract in the summer of 2015 and his people have reportedly told the Timberwolves he will do just that, which puts pressure on the franchise to trade him and get something back in return. Love has some control over where he lands in that he can refuse to either opt into the last year of his current contract or sign a new deal with a team he does not wish to play for. That has not stopped teams, for example Sacramento has said it wants in on the talks whether he agrees to stay or not.

In the ongoing coaching search, reports have surfaced that Vinny Del Negro has become a serious candidate. Former Raptors coach Sam Mitchell had been considered the frontrunner.

Maybe there’s no rush there, but most teams prefer to have a coach on board before the draft (set for June 26).

With Love, they really have no reason to rush. If they are going to trade him — and they may not be set on that course of action yet, starting with owner GlenTaylor — the trade deadline is next February. The Timberwolves can listen to offers at the draft, they can listen to offers this summer once free agency starts (July 1), and if they don’t like what they see they can bring Love back and wait until the season gets going and see what offers come in as the deadline approaches. They have the luxury of time.

Newton’s comment that the team will be better no matter what they choose is a dream, they are not going to get equal value for Love, one of the best power forwards in the game. But they can get a package to help them rebuild quickly (see Denver in the Carmelo Anthony deal with the Knicks). They don’t have to take the first offer they see, they can let teams bid against each other until Minnesota gets something it can live with.

It sounds like that’s where they are at. No rush on their part. They are going to go at a relaxed summer pace.

Carmelo Anthony on shrinking role with Knicks: ‘I see the writing on the wall… I’m at peace with that’

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Carmelo Anthony scored just nine points on 12 shots in the Knicks loss to the Heat last night — well below his season averages of 22 points on 19 shots per game.

Anthony, via Ian Begley of ESPN:

“I see the writing on the wall. I see what it is,” Anthony said late Wednesday night. “I see what they’re trying to do, and it’s just me accepting that. That’s what puts me at peace. Just knowing and understanding how things work. I’m at peace with that.”

Is Anthony talking about just the Knicks’ final dozen games of this season, when they’re clearly interesting in testing less-proven players? Or is he referring to his entire tenure in New York?

Anthony has said he’d consider waiving his no-trade clause if the Knicks want to rebuild, and they’ll reportedly try again to trade him this offseason. Perhaps, this is Anthony indicating he’s warming up to the idea of allowing a trade.

Anthony’s and Kristaps Porzingis‘ timelines are barely compatible, if at all. It’d make sense for the Knicks to go in a different direction.

Could Anthony be at peace with that?

Dwight Howard’s offensive rebounding defies convention

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Hawks president/coach Mike Budenholzer has the authority to set the Hawks’ priorities.

“Organizationally, fundamentally,” Budenholzer said, “transition D is more important than anything.”

Dwight Howard challenges that daily.

Howard has already built a Hall of Fame résumé:

  • Eight-time All-NBA center, including five-time first teamer
  • Three-time Defensive Player of the Year
  • Five-time rebounding champ

But the big man is doing something he’s never done before: Grab 15.2% of available offensive rebounds.

And he’s doing it at age 31 in a league that has increasingly deemphasized offensive rebounding. The NBA will set a record this season for lowest offensive-rebounding percentage for the fourth straight year.

Teams have just figured getting back on defense trumps crashing the offensive glass, the strategy emanating most prominently from the Spurs. Budenholzer, a former San Antonio assistant coach, brought the plan straight to Atlanta. The Hawks ranked 28th, last and last in offensive-rebounding in his first three seasons — in part for philosophical reasons, in part because they’ve lacked the personnel to do better. They’ve also been a below-average defensive-rebounding team each season under Budenholzer.

Then Howard signed and forced Budenholzer to adjust.

Atlanta has become an above-average offensive-rebounding team and far better with Howard on the court – a helpful crutch with ace 3-point shooters Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague traded. The Hawks are ceding more transition opportunities, though they remain very good at defending those.

It’s an obvious tradeoff, says Stan Van Gundy. The Pistons coach who coached Howard with the Magic sees the center in the rare class of players who deserve full autonomy to chase offensive rebounds.

“You don’t limit those guys,” Van Gundy said.

Howard has made the most of his freedom to chase rebounds. His 15.2 offensive-rebounding percentage ranks second to only Kenneth Faried among qualified players.

And, again, Howard is 31. Offensive rebounding tends to be a young man’s game.

Here’s top 10 in offensive rebounding this season, plotted by age:

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Player Team Age Offensive-rebounding percentage
Kenneth Faried DEN 27 16.1
Dwight Howard ATL 31 15.4
Andre Drummond DET 23 15.2
JaVale McGee GSW 29 15
Tarik Black LAL 25 14.8
Tristan Thompson CLE 25 14
Rudy Gobert UTA 24 13.9
Enes Kanter OKC 24 13.9
Kyle O'Quinn NYK 26 13.9
Willy Hernangomez NYK 22 13.8

Howard’s previous career-high offensive-rebounding percentage was 13.8.

The only other players to set career-high offensive-rebounding rates north of 15% after their age-30 season: Dennis Rodman (20.8% at age 33 with the 1994-95 Spurs) and Alan Henderson (15.6% at age 32 with the 2004-05 Mavericks). Both Rodman (Cooke County Junior College and Southeastern Oklahoma State) and Henderson (Indiana) played four years of college basketball, giving them less wear and tear on their bodies and fewer opportunities to post career highs at a young age.

Howard jumped to the NBA straight from high school.

Yet, he’s having a resurgent year in his 13th season. How is he doing it?

“One, I’m not super old,” Howard said earlier this season. “Two, my body feels great. I’ve been doing a lot of stuff to take care of my body.”

Known for eating legendary amounts of candy earlier in his career, perhaps Howard has made a breakthrough. His defensive-rebounding percentage (31.8) is the second-best of his career and ranks fourth in the NBA. That has helped him anchor the league’s fourth-best defense.

Howard has been subject to widespread criticism, and last season with the Rockets was a low point. This year, Howard has recommitted to the basics: Rebounding, defending, scoring inside.

“He’s got a big personality, but I think we all knew that,” Budenholzer said. “But it’s all in the right place. He wants good things, and I’ve really enjoyed coaching him.”

So much so that Budenholzer has compromised a core basketball tenet for Howard.

And it has proved a worthwhile decision.

JaVale McGee misses open dunk (video)

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Shaquille O’Neal said he’d stop talking about JaVale McGee, who has featured prominently on Shaqtin A Fool.

This missed dunk, a low point in the Warriors’ otherwise-impressive win over the Spurs, will test Shaq’s sincerity.

Grizzlies’ James Ennis fouls out then hits half-court shot (video)

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Against the Pacers last night, James Ennis missed all three of his 3-point attempts… that counted. And he makes this one after fouling out?

Mike Conley more than picked up the slack to lead the Grizzlies to victory.