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Report: Timberwolves looking to trade for frontcourt help

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Minnesota picked up its biggest win of the season Tuesday night,  going with its coach to his old stomping grounds in Chicago, where the Timberwolves showed the tenacity and grit they have lacked much of the season. They also played strong defense for three quarters, another nice change of pace.

That’s a nice step, but there are still roster issues with the Timberwolves, some of that along the front line. The Timberwolves have a foundational piece in Karl-Anthony Towns, and they recently re-signed Gorgui Dieng, and Tom Thibodeau seems to trust them — but when those bigs are paired on the court this season the Timberwolves have been outscored by two points per 100 possessions because they allow 110.4 points per 100 on defense.

Which has Thibodeau and the Timberwolves looking for front-court help via trade, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on The Truehoop Podcast with Rachel Nichols Tuesday.

The questions here are twofold. First, what is Minnesota offering? Let’s assume they are not going to surrender either Andrew Wiggins or Zach LaVine, then what they have left are Ricky Rubio, Shabazz Muhammad, and Cole Aldrich. The Timberwolves also don’t have a first-round pick they can move before 2019, and by then that should be late first rounder with this team on the rise. That’s not much to entice other teams.

Second, who can they get? Expect them to call Sacramento — no, not for DeMarcus Cousins (he wouldn’t fit next to Towns, plus Cousins’ isn’t available anyway), but for maybe Kosta Koufos or Willie Cauley-Stein. The Kings will be looking to deal, and those guys will be available. Of course, Milwaukee’s Greg Monroe and Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic are available, but neither of them helps on the defensive end (and the Timberwolves can score plenty). One interesting name that becomes available Wednesday: The Lakers’ Luol Deng. It’s a healthy contract to take on, but he had success in the Thibodeau system before, and the Lakers will listen.

Deals are tough to make, but know that the Timberwolves are frustrated and looking to do something to shake up a roster that has been slower to come around than expected.

Dirk Nowitzki admits injuries could force him to retire after this season

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Dirk Nowitzki has played in just five games this season due to a sore Achilles, and in the ones where he’s stepped on the court the future Hall of Famer hasn’t looked at all like himself. Currently, he remains sidelined with no timetable for his return.

At age 38, this has Nowitzki thinking about retirement. He admitted as much to the German magazine Sport Bildvia the Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Yahoo.

“If things don’t go so well and it hurts everywhere, it could be that 2017 will be the end,” the forward told German magazine Sport Bild.

“Actually, my plan is to complete the 20 years and play for Dallas until 2018.

“But just because I have signed a two-year contract doesn’t automatically mean that I will play for two years. It could happen next year.”

Dallas has already started to take a step to a post-Nowitzki world with the signing of Harrison Barnes last summer. Barnes told us in today’s PBT Podcast that Nowitzki is working with him on how to adjust to the plays run for him, and just adjusting to being a No. 1 scoring option.

This summer might be the one where Dallas stops trying to bring in veteran centers (the currently injured Andrew Bogut this year) and building its roster thinking they want to hang on to being a playoff team with Nowitzki longer. Dallas needs a bit of a rebuild, not a Philly style tanking but a down year and a couple of quality drafts. They may get that this year whether they are tanking or not, as they are tied for the worst record in the league.

But the league will not be quite the same without the efficient scoring German. There have been a lot of greats stepping away from the game recently, and he would add to that list.

PBT Podcast: Dallas’ Harrison Barnes talks adjustments to being No. 1 option (then crew talks NBA news)

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Going into last summer, Harrison Barnes was in limbo.

He was a restricted free agent with Golden State, but they had him on the back burner while courting Kevin Durant. When KD decided to come West, Barnes had to be cut loose to make salary cap room, and it didn’t take long for him to land in Dallas on a max contract.

For the first 10 minutes of this podcast, Barnes joins us to talk about ending up in Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki, and the challenges of adapting to being a No. 1 offensive option. Then Dane Carbaugh joins Kurt to talk Mavericks and other NBA news.

After that, NBC Sports’ Dane Carbaugh joins Kurt to talk Mavericks and other NBA news.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes (check there to see all the NBC Sports podcasts), subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out our new PBT podcast homepage and archive at Audioboom.com.

Kevin Durant block, then Draymond Green steal on Anthony Davis seal Warriors win (VIDEO)

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The Warriors can outscore anyone in the league.

But if they are going to win a ring they are going to do it at the other end of the court, and after a slow start to the season the Warriors are back to being a top-10 NBA defense. We saw it in crunch time of the Warriors 113-109 win over the Pelicans Tuesday — when they needed to the Warriors got stops on the NBA’s second-leading scorer this season, Anthony Davis.

First, Kevin Durant was making this block (his rim protection this season has been impressive).

Then the next time down, Draymond Green got the steal on AD.

Dwyane Wade got ejected in crunch time of Bulls’ loss to Timberwolves (VIDEO)

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Chicago had a chance. Down four with 25 seconds left, they got the ball off a Minnesota miss, got it to Dwyane Wade, and he brought the ball up the floor then attacked the paint early in the clock looking for a bucket or a foul.

What he ran into was a wall of Karl-Anthony Towns plus the long arms of Zach LaVine, and Wade got nothing but blocked. No bucket, no call.

Wade did not like the fact he didn’t get the superstar call in crunch time on his own court and let the referee hear about it — and was quickly given a double-technical and was thrown out. Minnesota would go on to win the game (having come from 21 down to do so).

We don’t know what Wade said to the referee. Maybe he crossed the line. But I hate to see players ejected at critical moments of the game for emotional words — the referees need to allow players to be frustrated and vent. It’s human. Maybe Wade took that a step too far, but could the referee just have let it go? Tough time to toss a guy.