Kurt Helin

Associated Press

Timberwolves Ricky Rubio out indefinitely with sprained elbow


Most people expected that at some point this season Kris Dunn would take the Timberwolves starting point guard job over from Ricky Rubio.

It happened fast — the third game of the season.

That’s because Rubio has a sprained elbow that will keep him out indefinitely, the team announced Tuesday night. The injury happened in the fourth quarter of the team’s loss to the Kings Saturday night.

Rubio has played more than 30 minutes a night, averaging 4.5 points (and shooting just 33.3 percent) but dishing out 6.5 assists. Dunn, in 17 minutes a game, is averaging 6 points a game on 62.5 percent shooting, and he is dishing out 2.5 assists. There was a sense that once Tom Thibodeau really came to trust the rookie he would turn the team over to him.

That time is now. The Timberwolves next game is Tuesday against Mike Conley and the Grizzlies.

Paul Pierce sat on Clippers bench dressed as Rick James


Best. NBA. Halloween. Costume. Ever.

Paul Pierce is The Truth. And a Superfreak. Superfreak. He’s superfreaky now.

Pierce sat on the Clippers bench during their game against the Suns Monday — Haloween night — dressed as Rick James. Seriously.

Pierce just cemented his Hall of Fame credentials.

Report: Hornets reach four-year, $56 million extension with Cody Zeller

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Other GMs had their eyes on the Charlotte Hornets/Cody Zeller negotiations — if he became a restricted free agent next summer, teams felt they might be able to poach him.

Those teams are going to be disappointed.

Via Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

That’s a good price for a starting center (who may someday come off the bench, but will be a part of the rotation).

Zeller can do a little bit of everything on offense but none of it exceedingly well. He has a midrange game, he sets a strong pick and rolls hard to the rim, he can rim-run in transition, and he knows how to draw contact. He’s a banger, but with a little finesse to his game. It’s not pretty, but the Hornets were 2.8 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor last season.

In today’s NBA, $14 million a season for a solid, starting big man is a fair price and Zeller locks in a nice payday. It works for both sides.

Charlott now has their core — Nicolas Batum, Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, etc. — and Steve Clifford likes that group.

Hornets Guard Jeremy Lamb out 1-2 weeks with strained hamstring

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Hornets backup guard Jeremy Lamb has a strained left hamstring and will be out for this week’s games.

The team announced Monday that the 6-foot-5 Lamb will be reevaluated in one to two weeks.

Lamb suffered the injury in the second quarter of Charlotte’s home loss Saturday night to the Boston Celtics. The fifth-year NBA player is averaging seven points and four rebounds per game in three appearances this season.

Report: Minnesota near four-year, $64 million contract extension with Gorgui Dieng

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The Minnesota Timberwolves have their front-line star of the future in Karl-Anthony Towns.

They also have a center they like next to him in Gorgui Dieng. He can hit midrange shots on offense (allowing him and Towns to space the floor and not clog the lane), block shots on defense, and is a solid fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns.

So the Timberwolves have locked Dieng up, report Marc Spears of The Undefeated at ESPN (since confirmed by other reports).

In a world where Steven Adams and Rudy Gobert break the $100 million extension, getting a solid rotation player in Dieng for $16 million a year (on average) is about right. The going rate for starters in the NBA in this new CBA is going to be around $15 million, and Dieng is a starter.

It’s going to take the right player to be next to Towns, and Dieng’s ability to finish inside or hit from the midrange makes him one of those guys. The Timberwolves have a great young core, it’s smart to lock them up.