Anthony Bennett

Flip Saunders says he thinks Anthony Bennett can be part of Minnesota’s rotation


We wrote about Anthony Bennett out of summer League — he showed having lost weight, ready to crash the boards and do the dirty work. He looked like an NBA player. Not one who was going to live up to the No. 1 pick millstone around his neck, but a guy you could give 15 minutes a night to.

Flip Saunders sees it that way, too.

For good reason it’s been billed as the Andrew Wiggins/Kevin Love trade, but Minnesota coach and team president spoke to Sid Hartman at the Star Tribune about the other guy coming in from Cleveland in Bennett.

“You look at him and he was drafted, had shoulder surgery, did not practice at all during the summertime, missed training camp, came in during the year and was diagnosed with sleep apnea and other things,” Saunders said. “He has lost 25 pounds, he’s working hard to get in shape. He’s an NBA player. He’s a guy that’s going to be a rotation-type player.”

As for the addition of Thaddeus Young, not only can he play but they want Young to be Crash Davis to Wiggins’ Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh.

“The other thing is, going back I saw how [Kevin] Garnett developed, how [Stephon] Marbury developed, how [Wally] Szczerbiak developed, we always had mentors with those players. We had an older player that was playing, whether it was Sam Mitchell with Garnett, Terry Porter with Stephon — we always had somebody like that who that could show those guys what it is to be professional. Thaddeus Young is going to bring that for us, [point guard] Mo Williams is going to bring that for us. So I didn’t want to have all these young guys out there by themselves.”

Young is also an asset that can be flipped if contending or on the cusp of contending teams come calling.

Saunders did about as well out of this trade as could have been expected. He got a potential cornerstone piece in Wiggins. He got a quality veteran forward in Young. And if Bennett does become a rotation player, those are not all that easy to come by at his size.

Gilbert Arenas: Caron Butler’s version of gun incident ‘false’

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Caron Butler recently detailed the Gilbert Arenas-Javaris Crittenton gun incident.

In a since-deleted – but screenshot-captured – Instagram post, Arenas gives his description:

The biggest differences between Butler’s and Arenas’ versions:

1. Arenas claims he wasn’t the one who owed Crittenton money, that the feud escalated over Arenas prematurely showing his hand during a card game.

2. Arenas says he told Crittenton to pick a gun to shoot Arenas with – not to pick a gun he’d get shot by Arenas with.

Players’ union, NBA to set up cardiac screening for retired players

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First it was Darryl Dawkins. Then it was Moses Malone.

Two all-time great players who recently died — and at t0o young an age, 58 and 60 respectively — from undiagnosed heart conditions. Even before that, recognizing the issue the NBA players union and the league itself were setting up supplemental health coverage to provide cardiac screening for retired players, something ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan recently broke.

The joint effort between union executive director Michele Roberts and NBA commissioner Adam Silver — at a time when there still may be potentially acrimonious labor negotiations looming for their sides — is intended to ease the health concerns of its retired players.

Roberts said action from the players’ association on providing screening for its retired players is “imminent.”

“I wish I could give you an exact timetable, but we have to make sure all the components are in place,” Roberts told ESPN recently. “I will tell you we hope to have something sooner than later.”

The Cardiologists are affiliated with the NBA already, and some of the money will come from the league, while the union is both pitching in a chunk of cash and is the one organizing this, according to the report.

It’s good to Roberts and Silver working together on this. While you’d like to think this would be the kind of no-brainer move that the league and union would work together on, in the past the relationship didn’t always facilitate this sort of cooperation even on the obvious.

I’d like to think this bodes well for future labor talks, but I’m not willing to completely draw that parallel.