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Report: Thibodeau, Timberwolves to pursue Joakim Noah in free agency

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Because one aging, defensive-focused forward in the form of Kevin Garnett is not enough.

Tom Thibodeau is looking to bring one of his favorites from Chicago — Joakim Noah — to Minnesota, reports Mitch Lawrence of The Sporting News.

League sources tell Sporting News that Thibodeau has targeted Joakim Noah, who is an unrestricted free agent and has interest in leaving Chicago and re-joining Thibodeau. When they were together in Chicago, Noah developed and thrived under Thibodeau, finishing fourth in the MVP voting in 2013-14.

Besides offering tenacious defense and his gung-ho, team-first attitude, Noah fills the role of veteran leader. “I think when you see what happened in Chicago, the Bulls really missed Jo’s leadership this season, first and foremost,” Thibodeau said, referring to the Bulls’ failure to make the playoffs, as Noah had his season end in mid-January due to a shoulder injury.

This is about as surprising as an 8-year-old girl liking unicorns.

Thibodeau is a big Noah fan, and understandably he would like to have another hard-working, good influence around Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and the rest of the young Timberwolves.

Noah has battled a variety of injuries for years and needs to have his minutes kept in check now (maybe he should come off the bench), but he still can provide defense and rebounds. His offensive game has fallen dramatically, but he can get a few points for a team.

There are two big questions for Noah. First, does he want to play for Thibodeau again? A lot of Bulls were burned out on Thibodeau’s grinding, hard-driven style by the end — at this stage of his career is that what Noah wants to subject himself to? Second, who pays him the most money? A number of teams will come calling, and there are some interesting potential fits — Dallas and Portland spring to mind — and Noah will have options.

More than playing faster, Tyronn Lue says Cavaliers need to adjust to physicality of Finals

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OAKLAND — There were a number of areas in Game 1 of the NBA Finals that the Eastern Conference did not prepare Cleveland to handle: The speed of the Warriors, the need to be focused on defense for the full 24 seconds, how to attack a team that is good at switching on defense.

And the physicality.

This is the NBA Finals, not a January Tuesday in Milwaukee, and the referees are letting the players play, something the Cavs didn’t handle as well as coach Tyronn Lue would have liked in Game 1.

“(The officials) allowed a lot of physicality, and we’ve got to be physical. They’re being physical,” Lue said. “All their switches with Steph on LeBron, he’s trying to be physical, bumping LeBron, and we have to take the same approach. I think they’re letting the game be played, and we’ve got to pick up our physicality as well.”

The referee crew for Game 2 is Scott Foster, Tony Brothers, and James Capers — not a trio the Warriors is especially fond of. Foster, in particular, has a quick trigger for handing out technical fouls, something Draymond Green — and all the players on both teams — need to be aware of Sunday night.

For the Warriors, Steve Kerr said he expects a bounce back game from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson after they combined to shoot 8-of-27 in Game 1. Kerr was not worried about their shot selection.

“Those guys are allowed to take any shots they want,” Kerr said. “That’s the rule. Steph and Klay are, nobody else is. I trust their judgment. But the minute I start complaining about bad shots, all I have to do is: Oh, yeah, in Oklahoma City, Game 6, Klay took five bad shots that helped us win.”

Lue emphasized the same things he did since the end of Game 1 — his team needs to play faster and move the ball better in the half court. In that game, the Warriors’ switched everything and the Cavs didn’t handle it well.

“They switch out on all pin-downs, they switch the pick-and-rolls, so they make you play a lot of one-on-one,” Lue said. “So the best thing you can do is try to expose the mismatch with Kevin Love posting up on smaller guys or LeBron, but then they send the double team. So with that being said, we have to play faster and get out in transition to get early, easy baskets. It also opens things up for J.R. Smith and Channing Frye to get shots.”

We’ll find out soon if the Cavaliers actually can play fast with the Warriors.

Report: Knicks’ Kyle O’Quinn being sued over alleged assualt

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A New York woman is suing Knicks’ center Kyle O’Quinnand his girlfriend over an alleged assault outside a party on May 22.

The New York Daily News has the story, which is based on the lawsuit and a conversation with the attorney representing the plaintiff. The New York Police Department is reportedly still investigating the incident.

Here are the details from the Daily News:

Shakaira Elaine Elie, 22, was enjoying a day party with her friends at Trinity Place Bar and Restaurant on May 22 when they noticed a very tall man staring at her, according to a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

That man was O’Quinn, who was at the party with his girlfriend. Elie was outside the restaurant waiting for her ride when O’Quinn left and his group left as well, which is when the Knicks’ center tried to talk to Elie but she told him she was not interested, according to the report.

Nonetheless, his companion allegedly attacked her, the lawsuit says. O’Quinn allegedly jumped in and grabbed Elie by the neck, according to the court documents….

Meanwhile, Elie went to the hospital and was treated for bruises to her face, head, neck, ribs and elbow.

Representatives of O’Quinn and the restaurant did not comment for the story.

O’Quinn, a 6’10” reserve center for the Knicks, is about to enter the second year of a four-year, $16 million deal with the team.

 

 

He deleted tweet, but Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas says he plans to recruit Kevin Durant

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Not long after the Oklahoma City Thunder had been eliminated from the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors, Boston’s Isaiah Thomas put up a simple tweet: Kevin Durant‘s number 35 next to a green shamrock. A couple minutes later, he thought better of the timing and took it down.

But he’s not backing away from the sentiment: Thomas wants to recruit Durant to the Celtics.

Speaking with Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe, Thomas said he’s going after the biggest free agent this summer and trying to bring him to Boston.

“I definitely want to give him some time,” Thomas said. “I know that was a tough series and a long season for him. I wouldn’t want anyone calling me up about the biggest decision of my life right after the season’s over. So I’ll probably give him some time and casually talk to him, and then go all-in….

“I mean, do everything I can to get him to sign, somehow, someway, hopefully,” Thomas said.

If Durant does entertain offers from other teams — no sure thing — his phone is going to never stop buzzing for a month. There are 29 other teams that want to talk to Durant if he opens that door (the conventional wisdom is he will remain in OKC, at least for a year, but that is no sure thing).

Durant on the Celtics would change the dynamics in the East. It is a franchise with a well-respected coach who has the team buying into his system. They have a lot of quality role players (and upcoming picks), but they lack a true star. Durant alone on that roster likely is not enough to beat Cleveland in a series, but get Durant and you can turn some of those assets GM Danny Ainge has been hoarding into other key pieces. The Celtics would quickly contend.

If you’re a Boston fan, you have to love that Thomas is committed and trying. But until KD starts seriously listening to those calls, it’s all moot.

Stephen Curry still undecided about playing for Team USA in Olympics this summer

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OAKLAND — Part of Stephen Curry wants to ride this winning streak he is on all the way to Rio and pick up a gold medal in the Olympics this summer.

“Every time I’ve played for Team USA in the past, starting way back when I was 19 to the last two World Championships and whatnot, it always is a huge honor to represent your country and to team up with other guys and play against some of the best competition in the world and have that sense of pride for wearing USA across your chest,” Curry said. “I’ve never played in the Olympics, and that’s what it’s all kind of geared up to. I think that’s definitely a special accomplishment to be able to be on that team.”

But coming off a knee injury this postseason, and with the Finals still going on, Curry isn’t committing to Team USA this summer, yet.

“I haven’t thought much about it right now because I’m obviously fighting for the Larry O’Brien Trophy,” Curry said.

Curry went into more detail for Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com.

“I have no idea,” Curry said. “I’m still in the pool and still the goal is to be on the Olympic team if that’s the right decision for me. I am leaving myself a little bit of room just because I don’t know what it’s going to be like. But in a couple weeks I’ll know for sure.”

Barring an injury, expect Curry to be in Rio. He wants to do it, he wants the gold for his resume, and you can be sure Under Armour wants him to be wearing and promoting his shoes on that international stage.

Plus, I think Mike Krzyzewski might be able to find a way to utilize Curry’s shooting. Just a guess. I also think a Curry/Russell Westbrook backcourt pairing could do a little damage.