Tyus Jones

Lakers’ Lonzo Ball named NBA Summer League MVP

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Lonzo Ball electrified the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

He filled the building with Lakers fans who came out to see the guy hyped as a franchise changer. He then showed the hype about his game IQ and passing skills were spot on — he led the Summer League in assists at 9.3 a game. The numbers don’t do justice to what he did for that Lakers squad that made it all the way to the Summer League championship game (which he will sit out with a calf strain) — his passing infected the other players as they ran the court and moved off the ball with real energy. He changed the dynamic of the team, putting up 16.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.5 steals a game — he had two triple-doubles in Las Vegas.

All that earned him the Summer League MVP award, it was announced Monday. It was a good call.

Ball needs to get his shot to fall consistently, and it’s going to be hard to pull off some of the passes he made in Las Vegas against smart and long NBA defenders, but if he can have the cultural change on the Lakers team that he did in Summer League the franchise is headed in the right direction.

Being named MVP is a good sign, although like with everything Summer League be careful about reading too much into this honor. Look at its history. Damian Lillard shared the award with Josh Selby back in 2012, and since then the MVPs have been Jonas Valančiūnas, Glen Rice Jr., Kyle Anderson, and Tyus Jones.

The NBA also announced the All-NBA Summer League Teams on Monday.

MGM Resorts All-NBA Summer League First Team
Lonzo Ball (LAL)
John Collins (ATL)
Josh Jackson (PHX)
Dennis Smith Jr. (DAL)
Caleb Swanigan (POR)

MGM Resorts All-NBA Summer League Second Team
Cheick Diallo (NOP)
Bryn Forbes (SAS)
Kyle Kuzma (LAL)
Wayne Selden Jr. (MEM)
Jayson Tatum (BOS)

Report: Jamal Crawford to sign two-year, $8.9 million deal with Minnesota

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Minnesota continues to be one of the off-season’s big winners.

Not only did they add Jimmy Butler to their front line of young stars, but they have also strengthened their bench with the addition of Taj Gibson and, soon, Jamal Crawford.

The Clippers shipped Crawford to Atlanta as part of the deal that brought Los Angeles Danilo Gallinari, and once there Crawford and the Hawks arranged a buyout. Once he clears waivers, he will sign with the Timberwolves, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Crawford, at age 37, can still get buckets. The former Sixth Man of the Year averaged 12.3 points per game last season and shot 36 percent from three, plus his crossover is still one of the game’s great weapons.

Minnesota likely will now start Jeff Teague, Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins, Gorgui Dieng, and Karl-Anthony Towns, then bring Crawford, Gibson, and Tyus Jones off the bench. That team is going to win a lot of games.

Reports: Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Suns all linked to Jimmy Butler trade talks

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The smart money is still on Jimmy Butler starting next season as a Chicago Bull, mostly because Chicago is asking the world for him in a trade.

That doesn’t mean teams will not try.

Tom Thibodeau, who coached and helped develop Butler back in Chicago, has been one knocking on the door, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Interesting note followed from K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

Cleveland has been linked to Butler as well, although that may be as a tool to get these other teams to up their offers because both Minnesota and Phoenix have a lot more young players and picks to offer than the Cavaliers. For Cleveland to pull this off, other teams will have to jump in as part of it.

The Celtics are not mentioned here, but you can be sure that call has been made.

The Bulls are doing what they said they would do: listen to offers, but ask for a lot in return. Which gets back to the overall question in Chicago of “what exactly is the long-term plan?” Maybe it’s flexible.

Minnesota has young players such as Zach LeVine, Gorgui Dieng, Tyus Jones and others to put in the mix (only Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins will be completely off limits). They also have picks. The Suns have young players they can throw in such as Marquese Chriss or Tyler Ulis, then they also have veterans who can help the Bulls win more now such as Eric Bledsoe (especially if they draft De'Aaron Fox with the No. 4 pick). The Cavaliers may have to deal Kevin Love, and either way would need to be very creative to pull this off. Something David Griffin has been in the past (whether he has a job in Cleveland after July 1 remains to be seen), but a lot of things need to come together for this to work.

Expect Butler rumors to ramp up around the draft and again as free agency starts, but the ratio of Bulls’ trade rumors to actual Bulls’ trades suggests being patient here. They often talk to everyone, stuff gets leaked, then they choose not to act.

Report: Timberwolves, Knicks discuss Derrick Rose trade

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The Timberwolves — 3.5 games and five teams out of playoff position — have made reaching the postseason this year a priority.

So, within that nonsensical goal apparently comes a nonsensical idea: Trading for Derrick Rose.

Ian Begley of ESPN:

The Minnesota Timberwolves have reached out to the Knicks recently to discuss potential trades for New York point guard Derrick Rose, sources told ESPN.

The Timberwolves, sources say, are among several teams to reach out to the Knicks asking about potential trades for Rose.

Rose, of course, played for Timberwolves president/coach Tom Thibodeau with the Bulls. That makes this report both plausible and something the Knicks would leak to drum up interest.

I can’t imagine a market especially eager to acquire Rose, who will become a free agent next summer. His $21,323,252 salary is difficult to match in trades without sending out too valuable of players. Rose has become a good downhill driver, but the rest of his game is lacking after years of injuries.

The Timberwolves have nearly $13 million of cap space, which could be useful in facilitating a deal. But they also have three intriguing point guards: Ricky Rubio, Kris Dunn and Tyus Jones.

If Minnesota really wants Rose, it could just sign him this summer. His Bird Rights shouldn’t matter much. Who would give the 28-year-old a five-year contract?

Rubio for Rose straight up works financially, for what it’s worth. The Timberwolves shouldn’t do that, but we don’t know enough about Tom Thibodeau running a front office to assume they won’t.

Karl-Anthony Towns, Ricky Rubio lead Timberwolves over Mavericks, 101-92

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Karl-Anthony Towns had 34 points and 11 rebounds, Ricky Rubio added 13 points and a season-high 15 assists, and the Minnesota Timberwolves snapped a four-game losing streak with a 101-92 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.

Harrison Barnes scored 30 points for the Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki had 26, including five 3-pointers.

Towns hit 15 of 19 shots from the floor as the Timberwolves shot 56.3 percent.

Rubio scored nine points in the fourth quarter, including consecutive baskets during an 8-0 run that gave the Timberwolves some breathing room after Dallas had whittled a 21-point lead to 81-77.

He hit three free throws with 2:08 to play to give Minnesota a 97-83 advantage.

Towns got the Wolves off to a fast start, scoring Minnesota’s first seven points and 16 total in the first seven minutes. He finished with 20 in the period as the Timberwolves took a 33-14 lead after one quarter. The Wolves shot 65 percent from the field in the quarter.

They stretched the lead to 44-23 before the Mavericks responded with a 15-2 run to get back in the game. Nowitzki hit 3-pointers on three straight possessions to close the first half as Dallas pulled to 54-46 at the break.

TIP-INS

Mavericks: Dallas had won seven straight against the Timberwolves, including four in a row at Target Center. This was the first meeting of the season between the Midwest Division foes. . Nowitzki topped his previous season high of four 3-pointers. The last time he had six in a game was April 1, 2014. . Andrew Bogut missed the fourth quarter with an injured hamstring.

Timberwolves: Towns scored 20 points in a quarter for the second time in his career. He had 22 in the first quarter against New York on Nov. 30. . Zach LaVine left early in the fourth with a bruised left hip and did not return. Lavine grabbed Devon Harris to get called for a foul, then limped off the court and into the Minnesota locker room. He was replaced by Tyus Jones. . Shabazz Muhammad scored in double figures off the bench for the sixth time in his last eight games, finishing with 11 points in 20-plus minutes.

UP NEXT

Mavericks: Dallas plays the Phoenix Suns on Thursday in Mexico City.

Timberwolves: Minnesota hosts the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.