For players on the fringe of the NBA, the goal is to get noticed, then do things that make a team want to keep you on a guaranteed deal.
One way to do that: Stand out in training camp. Even if you don’t make the team where you went to camp, other teams will take notice.
Along those lines, the Hornets announced they have signed Andrew Andrews and Rasheed Sulaimon to non-guaranteed, training camp contracts, the team announced. The Hornets now have 13 guaranteed contracts heading into camp and five non-guaranteed deals of players trying to earn their way onto the squad.
Andrews was undrafted out of the University of Washington last season, where he averaged 20.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game.
Sulaimon played for three seasons at Duke then finished his collegiate career at Maryland where he averaged 11.3 points per game and shot 42.5 percent from three last season.
Officially, the status of Kevin Garnett is up in the air. He has an $8 million contract for this season, but he has considered whether it is time to hang it up and walk away.
Doc Rivers — who coached KG in Boston — thinks Garnett has one more year in him. Mostly because he loves teaching the young Timberwolves.
Here is what Rivers said recently while in Boston, as reported by Chris Forsberg of ESPN.
“I think Kevin — and I know it, because I talk to him — loves the young guys on his team,” Rivers said. “He loves how they work. He thinks they have an old-school mentality. So I think he’s really gotten into Kevin, the teacher. And I honestly never saw that coming, either. Yet he was a phenomenal teacher with [Boston]; I just didn’t think he would have the patience to do it. And I think Kevin loves teaching these young guys.”
Karl-Anthony Towns will tell anyone who cares to listen that Garnett is his mentor, and the two have formed a real bond. Garnett is the perfect teacher for the But there is other young talent on that team — Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and more — who can learn from what KG has to offer.
Garnett has had conversations with owner Glen Taylor, coach Tom Thibodeau, and others in the organization, but out of respect they are giving him space to make his call at his own pace. Although, with training camp starting in about three weeks, there is a bit of a deadline approaching.
If KG enjoys the team as much as others say, expect him back for one more run. Which is good news for a young and growing team.
Shaquille O’Neal is entering the Hall of Fame this weekend. As it should be.
One of the greatest big men ever, what this career greatest hits compilation — courtesy the folks at NBA.com — reminds us is just how agile and quick Shaq was despite his size. He is one of the most physically gifted players ever to suit up.
In a few years, Minnesota is poised to be the team challenging Golden State for the Western Conference crown — and more. This young roster has that kind of potential, and now it has a coach in Tom Thibodeau who can get them over the top.
But learning to win in the NBA is a process. Karl-Anthony Towns is insistent that the Timberwolves take their first step this season and make the playoffs. Look at what he told Jared Zwerling of the NBAPA’s official site:
“We’ve got to make the playoffs. We’ve got to do something special, and it’s up to us to continue to work and to make that happen.”
Minnesota making the playoffs could happen. The Wolves about average offense last season should improve as Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and the rest of a talented core take steps forward. However, the real test is how much Thibodeau can improve their bottom-five defense — get that to average and this team has a shot at the postseason. They would likely be in a fight with teams such as Memphis and Denver the final playoff slot or two in the conference.
Towns likes playing for Thibodeau.
He’s taught me a lot so far. He’s really smart, he’s a great guy. I look at him not even as my coach, but as a good friend of mine, and that’s how it has to be. If we want to be able to go to another spot to something greater, we have to always be on the same page and have a good rapport. That’s what we do have.
The star player and coach having a good relationship matters (although mostly for the coach, he’s the one that almost always pays a price when it goes wrong). In this case, Towns and Thibodeau could lead this team a long way in the next few years.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Jazz have signed free agent wing Quincy Ford, who played for the team in the summer league.
The 6-foot-8, 225-pound small forward played for the Jazz in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas this summer, averaging 5.1 points and 5.2 rebounds in eight games. The team announced the move Wednesday. The Jazz have 14 guaranteed contracts on the roster already, if impressed by someone in camp they can add one more to the team opening night.
Ford went undrafted after averaging 16.4 points and 7.0 rebounds as a senior at Northeastern. His 204 3-pointers rank No. 4 in school history.
The Jazz have been active this offseason, signing veteran Joe Johnson and trading for George Hill and Boris Diaw. They also signed draft picks Joel Bolomboy and Marcus Paige.
The Jazz finished 40-42 and missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. The 2014 No. 5 overall pick Dante Exum is expected to return after a knee injury.