Tag: Kevin Martin

2014 NBA Finals - Practice Day And Media Availability

Friday And-1 links: Wizards reach out to Ray Allen again. Why not?


Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• The Washington Wizards checked in again to see if Ray Allen maybe changed his mind and would want to come play for then next to Paul Pierce, reports friend-of-this-blog J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. Honestly, this isn’t going to happen. Either Allen is going to hang them up or he’s going to play for Cleveland and go for a ring. It doesn’t hurt to ask if you’re the Wizards — and it really doesn’t hurt to leak it and say to the fan base “look how hard we’re trying” — but Allen is not going to a cold weather city where the team is not a strong title contender. Sorry.

• There have been rumors of a Minnesota/Chicago trade coming out of Minnesota, Kevin Martin for Mike Dunleavy Jr./Tony Snell. There’s not enough beer at Octoberfest to make the Bulls agree to that deal.

• Good on Kevin Love for being involved in the “It’s On Us” campaign to stop sexual assault, particularly on college campuses.

• Deron Williams says the Nets are flying under the radar this season. He knows they play in Brooklyn, right?

A man has been arrested in connection with the burglary of Paul George’s home while he was playing in a playoff game last season.

• A little off topic, but a great read from a former NFL wife on what their life is like and what the teams tell them. NBA wives tell similar “just don’t disrupt or distract the team” stories.

• A Q&A with Magic rookie Elfrid Payton.

• After watching Andrew Drummond on Team USA this summer Pistons teammate Jodie Meeks said he has the goal of making the national team for the 2016 Rio Olympics. We should all dream big.

• Jonas Jerebko wants to be the stretch for the Pistons need this upcoming season. We should all dream big. (To be fair he did shoot 41.9 percent from three when he got on the court last season and if he can evolve into that role Stan Van Gundy will play him.)

• The Spurs gave a make good (training camp) contract to power forward Josh Davis, who went undrafted out of San Diego State.

• Mehmet Okur will be a special consultant for the Utah Jazz this season.

UPDATED Report: Timberwolves make push for Eric Bledsoe, Suns not interested in sign-and-trade talks

New York Knicks v Phoenix Suns

UPDATE 5:52 pm: As I got into in the original post below, the only way the Minnesota Timberwolves end up with Eric Bledsoe is through a sign-and-trade with the Suns (they don’t have the cap space to make an outright offer). I toyed around with the potential of someone like Kevin Martin or Thaddeus young going into a deal that the Suns…

They’re not interested. At all. That according to adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The Phoenix Suns have no interest in sign-and-trade discussions with the Minnesota Timberwolves involving restricted free-agent guard Eric Bledsoe, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Suns would want an All-Star – or potential All-Star – in return for Bledsoe and had only considered Kevin Love in a possible sign-and-trade scenario with the Timberwolves, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Love obviously forced his way to Cleveland.

Bledsoe, you’re coming down to two options: Sign the qualifying offer of $3.7 million and play one more season with the Suns before becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer (as Greg Monroe did with the Pistons) or take the four-year, $48 million offer already on the table. Hard to see another good option popping up for Bledsoe.

5:11 pm: After a summer of waiting and hinting he might just sign the qualifying offer if he didn’t get a max offer, the Suns’ have a serious suitor for guard Eric Bledsoe — but one without a lot of leverage, one they can get a lot back from if they go that way.

Minnesota is making a push to get Bledsoe via a max offer, something first reported by Jude LaCava of Fox10 in Minneapolis and confirmed by Brian Windhorst at ESPN.

The Wolves are offering Bledsoe the four-year, $63 million maximum-level contract that he has been seeking, sources said. Bledsoe and the Suns have been in a stalemate all summer after the team offered him a four-year, $48 million deal in July.

This is a renewal of talks that have stretched over the past several months. The teams had discussions involving a Kevin Love trade that would involve Bledsoe but never made serious traction on a deal.

This has to be a sign-and-trade because the Timberwolves don’t have the cap space to make the offer outright. Minnesota beat writer Jerry Zgoda said earlier in the day he had not heard a deal was close.

The first reaction might to be to send Ricky Rubio south in the deal, but that makes no sense for the Suns. They want to keep Goran Dragic as the point guard when he opts out and becomes a free agent next summer and they will open up the pocket-book for him or lose him. The Suns can’t re-sign Dragic and Rubio (a restricted free agent next summer if no extension is reached) plus on the court the two can’t play together well, both are pretty pure points. Why take the ball out of Dragic’s hands? That said, any deal for Bledsoe is a sign Flip Saunders is moving on past Rubio (who he doesn’t want to pay what the market may demand next summer).

When healthy Bledsoe is an All-Star caliber guard — he averaged 17.7 points a game for the Suns last season with a very good .578 true shooting percentage — but the risk is he hasn’t been healthy for a couple of seasons (he played 43 games again last season coming off knee surgery).

Any deal is likely focused around other vets on the Minnesota roster such as Kevin Martin, Thaddeus Young and Chase Budinger (obviously Andrew Wiggins is untouchable). Without Bledsoe the Suns are light at the two, so Martin and his one year deal make some sense but he is owed $22.3 million over the next three years, that’s a lot for what he provides. The Timberwolves have wanted to move Martin (there were rumors of talks with the Bulls centered around Tony Snell, but Chicago is too smart to go for that). Also the Suns already have the Timberwolves 2015 pick but it is top 12 protected, those protections can be loosened.

Minnesota doesn’t have leverage here, so they are going to have to give up a lot to get him. Which has the markings of a deal that doesn’t get done.

But the idea of Bledsoe at the point and Wiggins on the wing is certainly interesting.

Report: Shabazz Muhammad trying to drop 15 pounds this summer

Shabazz Muhammad

For weeks Shabazz Muhammad has been doing a daily boot camp run by a guy who used to train Navy SEALS. Which sounds like it would get you in shape.

Muhammad needs it. Conditioning was one of the issues that limited his minutes on the Timberwolves last season, but with an influx of young talent — starting with Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine — Muhammad is going to get another long look from the Wolves. One he needs to take advantage of.

Speaking with the media in the wake of trading Kevin Love and bringing back Wiggins, Thaddeus Young and Anthony Bennett, Minnesota coach and decision maker Flip Saunders said this to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.

Muhammad was on a short leash by coach Rick Adelman at the start of last season (especially after an incident at the NBA’s rookie training program). First, they already had Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, and Chase Budinger to play the wings, and when the season started Minnesota was thinking playoffs. Muhammad got sent down to the D-League for a few games.

As the season wore on we learned a couple things — Muhammad can slash and get inside, and he’s a good post up player. We also learned that he has no jump shot anyone will fear (27.3 percent from three, 28.6 percent on catch-and-shoot chances) and he’s adjusting to not playing AAU-style ball (his court awareness on both ends of the floor, especially when he doesn’t have the ball, needs work). Also, his defense needs a lot of work.

Muhammad is out to show a lot of improvement this season, and that had to start with conditioning (he looked a little doughy). Part of his attraction is hustle and effort, there dropping a few pounds helps.

With this roster Muhammad will get his shot, and he could play some four in a small lineup Saunders said. However there are other guys looking to do the same and Muhammad will have to show improvement and beat them out or his minutes will dwindle.

Report: Timberwolves trying to trade J.J. Barea, Luc Mbah a Moute, Alexey Shved

Milwaukee Bucks v Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves will get a great package if the Kevin Love trade goes through as reported.

I would have dealt Love for just Andrew Wiggins if it were allowed and all I could get, but Anthony Bennett and a future first rounder are nice assets, too. Minnesota did really well for itself, no question.

But the Timberwolves won’t unload any of their bad contracts – someone like Kevin Martin (three years and $21,255,000 remaining) – in the deal with the Cavaliers.

Flip Saunders hasn’t given up, though.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Minnesota still has a goal of freeing itself of J.J. Barea, Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved, league sources said.

Barea ($4,519,500), Mbah a Moute ($4,382,576) and Shved ($3,282,056) all have expiring contracts. So, “freeing itself” is strange wording considering Minnesota can just let all three walk next offseason.

Assuming that’s an accurate portrayal of the situation, though, I see a couple possibilities:

1. The Timberwolves know they won’t contend for a playoff berth this season, and they believe Barea, Mbah a Moute and Shved can help teams now. So, Minnesota wants to flip those three for future assets like draft picks(and maybe the expiring contract of a worse player to satisfy trade rules) while still possible.

2. The Timberwolves are so desperate to trim salary – even beyond the $4,644,503 they drop in the Love trade – they want to deal those three players now.

Quite possibly, a combination of both factors is in play. If Minnesota doesn’t believe its roster is playoff-worthy, drawing fans won’t be easy.

None of the three players has much value, though.

Shved, 25, regressed from his rookie year – a troubling sign for a low-efficiency gunner. It seemed he’d settle into NBA play, but he’s just getting further from the target.

Barea has trended downward since helping the Mavericks win the 2011 NBA Finals. The undersized point guard just doesn’t finish at the rim like he used to. That might be due to a lack of burst as he’s passed the wrong side of 30, but there’s at least a little hope he could thrive again in the right system.

Mbah a Moute seems to have slipped from his defensive peak, though he’s still pretty good in isolation. He still can’t shoot or serve as a playmaker, bigger issues when his defense isn’t as stout.

Minnesota has a chance to move any of the three if it finds a team with very specific needs, but none of the three will generate much buzz league-wide.

If they’re are really desperate to unload the trio, the Timberwolves could always offer draft picks as sweeteners. Or maybe they can attach one to Bennett in a Thaddeus Young trade. The 76ers have the cap room to absorb a bad contract (or three) if it nets a positive asset.

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor calls Kevin Love trade ‘likely’

Kevin Love

Last we heard from Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, he said he expected Kevin Love in training camp.

Of course, Minnesota has hardly acted on that assumption.

The Timberwolves asked Love to sit out the World Cup and have spoken with the 76ers about getting Thaddeus Young to replace Love. Taylor – and everyone else in the organization – realizes Love is getting traded.

Now Taylor is finally saying it.

Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

The Timberwolves say now that they expect to trade disgruntled all-star Kevin Love and that a deal is expected Aug. 23 or Aug. 24.

“I’m saying it’s most likely because Kevin has made it pretty clear that that’s what he wants to do,” Wolves owner Glen Taylor told the Pioneer Press.

Aug. 23 is when the Cavaliers can trade Andrew Wiggins, lending more credence to the belief Love will join LeBron James in Cleveland.

That doesn’t mean a deal is set. Likely, details remain. Will a third team be involved? Will Minnesota include Kevin Martin and/or J.J. Barea? Which players acquired from the Jazz will be necessary to make salaries match?

But the inevitability of Love becoming a Cavalier becomes increasingly clear.