Author: Kurt Helin

Minnesota Timberwolves Kevin Garnett Portraits 2015

Kevin Garnett calls return to Minnesota “fairytale”

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Kevin Garnett is back where it all started.

For the first decade of his career, when KG established himself as one of the best players in the game, he was carrying the franchise as far as one man could. He eventually left and picked up his ring as a member of the Celtics; then he moved on to Brooklyn.

Now Garnett is back in Minnesota — the Nets bought out his contract, and he re-signed — and at his press conference he called it a fairytale ending. And he said he wants to mentor this young team (the question is for how long, and in what role).

Here are the highlights, courtesy Jerry Zgoda of the Star-Tribune.

PBT Extra: Kyle Korver says good health, good system reasons for his record season

Washington Wizards v Atlanta Hawks
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Kyle Korver could always shoot the rock; he’s a career 43.2 percent from beyond the arc. But this year his skills have really gotten noticed as vital part of the East leading Atlanta Hawks’ offense — he’s shooting 50 percent overall, 50.9 percent from three and 90.4 percent from the free throw line. Nobody has ever put up a 50-50-90 season before. When Korver goes off the floor, the Hawks offense drops 13.5 points per 100 possessions. That gets noticed by the coaches, who voted him an All-Star Game reserve (and he hit seven threes in that game, one shy of the All-Star Game record).

Why has Korver’s game taken off this season? Korver told me in this latest PBT Extra it’s a combination of healthy and a system that caters to what he likes to do — set screens and move off the ball.

Korver and I also talk more about that offense and how it is a counter to the now-standard defenses in the NBA, plus we talk about the increased fan support in Atlanta.

Most importantly, we also talk about the End It movement, which is working to shine a light on the slavery that still exists in the world today.

Steve Nash calls out twitter troll: “Watch your mouth or temecula”

Steve Nash
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Steve Nash is a favorite whipping boy of some frustrated Lakers fans who see him as a guy the team spent a lot of money on but has barely played for the team. It speaks to the depth of knowledge of said Lakers fans who: 1) Don’t blame management for bringing in a guy pushing 40 and saying he’s a foundational piece; 2) Do blame one of the most well condition and hard working players in the game because an injury did knock him out.

Nash got called out by one of these “brilliant” Lakers fans on Twitter — and he had the best comeback.

And if you don’t get the Temecula reference, you have some reading to do.

Nash has been out all season with a nerve issue that runs from his back down into his leg. He worked hard at both rehab and trying to train his body to move differently and not aggravate the injury, but to no success.

Nash was on Twitter live-tweeting the big Champions League soccer match between Barcelona and Manchester City.

Report: Sixers claim Thomas Robinson off waivers

Portland Trail Blazers v Phoenix Suns
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There was a time when Thomas Robinson was so highly thought of he was the No. 5 pick in the 2012 draft, taken in front of guys like Damian Lillard and Andre Drummond. And at the time some thought No. 5 was too low for a guy with this kind of athleticism.

But drafting is an inexact science. To say the least.

On the day of the trade deadline, Robinson was sent from Portland to Denver as part of the Arron Afflalo trade. However, rather than have Robinson suit up in the powder blue the Nuggets just agreed to buy him out. After that, he planned to sign with the Brooklyn Nets for the rest of the season.

But before he could sign in Brooklyn Robinson had to clear waivers — and he did not clear, the 76ers jumped in, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The Philadelphia 76ers have acquired forward Thomas Robinson through a claim in the NBA’s waiver process, league sources told Yahoo Sports….

The Sixers needed the sum of Robinson’s remaining salary to honor the obligations of the collective bargaining agreement that dictate a team needs to reach within 90 percent of the NBA’s salary floor before season’s end – or pay out that shortfall amount equally among the rest of the players on the roster. Robinson’s $3,678,360 salary pushes the Sixers over the salary floor. Denver is no longer responsible for paying Robinson’s salary.

The Sixers can waive Robinson and meet their financial obligations. However, they plan to keep him on the roster and take a look at him to see if he fits whatever the heck it is they are doing in Philly (at some point all these assets need to become players).

If the Nets still think there is potential in Robinson — he can rebound and he’s shown flashes of playing with the energy he would need to be part of an NBA rotation — they can do it this summer. On offense Robinson still gets most of his shots near the rim where he is a pedestrian finisher, plus he turns the ball over a lot. But the Blazers found a use for him as an energy guy off the bench last season, it’s just that the addition of Chris Kaman cut off his minutes this season (and Robinson struggled with turnovers, among other things).

But he’s athletic big man, he’s going to get another chance. Somewhere.

Knicks legend Anthony Mason “improving”

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Things looked bleak for Anthony Mason when news first broke he had suffered multiple heart attacks.  But if you were going to use two words to describe Mason, they would be “tough” and “fighter,” so you know he wasn’t going down easily.

And he hasn’t. While not out of the woods by any stretch Mason’s son Antoine told the New York Post things are looking better.

“I actually spoke to him today,” Antoine Mason told the website on Monday. “He can’t talk yet, but he can hear things and respond by blinking and shaking his head and things like that. When I talked to him, my mom and him, they’re telling me he’s getting better.”

Mason played 13 NBA seasons and bounced around a little, but is best remembered as a fan-favorite of the Knicks in the Patrick Ewing era. He was tough, could defend multiple positions, and on a team known for physicality and grinding the other team down Mason was arguably the most physical. Mason went to South Beach with Pat Riley and while a member of the Heat Mason won the Sixth Man of the Year in 1995. He averaged 10.8 points, and 8.3 rebounds a game over the course of his career.

His former Knicks teammate gave this recent tribute to Mason, reports the Post.

“He was a hard-nosed player. We came to the Knicks around the same time and he fought for everything he got in this league as well as growing up,” Starks said during the 16th Annual Knicks Bowl at Chelsea Piers. “He’s fighting right now for his life, and I believe he’s going to pull through.

“I think I was at a game when I heard about it. It was a shock. He’s still a young man. Unfortunately these things do occur in life. There’s no rhyme or reason why it happens, but it’s something he continues to fight. His family continues to pray. We continue to pray. It’s just tough right now. Mase is the type of guy who’s going to fight every inch of the way. He’s going to pull through this.”