Tag: Minnesota Timberwolves


Watch Karl-Anthony Towns highlights from Summer League


Karl-Anthony Towns impressed at Summer League.

You don’t get to be the No. 1 overall pick with physical talent, but he turned heads with the high basketball IQ he showed. He recognized the double teams being thrown at him and made clever passes out of them. He showed the ability to score a variety of ways, from back-to-the-basket to 18-foot jumpers. He and moves well off the ball.

Maybe most impressively, he handled himself like a veteran off the court.

He’s still a rookie, and he’s got a lot of work left — he picked up fouls at an alarming rate, and he needs a diversity of post moves. But Timberwolves fans should watch videos like this and smile.

Jerry Colangelo sounds more forgiving of Kevin Love than Kevin Durant for skipping World Cup

Oklahoma City Thunder v Cleveland Cavaliers

Kevin Durant and Kevin Love committed two years ago to play in the 2014 World Cup, and the news thrilled USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski.


“This is a big day and a big announcement for USA Basketball,” program Chairman Jerry Colangelo said. “Because two of our players who have been so instrumental in our success in winning gold medals, Kevin Durant and Kevin Love, have officially announced that they will be part of our future going forward, including the World Cup next summer.”

“It means a great deal to us because of how committed they are to our program,” Colangelo said. “We’re very appreciative of their early commitment; we think it’ll certainly send a message to some of our other guys who have indicated they’re interested. So we’re very excited.”

Krzyzewski, referring first to Durant:

“The thing he told us last night, he says ‘Coach, I wanted to come here and look you in the eye and tell you that I’m doing it,” Krzyzewski said. “I get chills just thinking that a guy of his stature and his accomplishment, for these two guys to come here — it shows what they think of the program and the people involved to do it face to face, and we appreciate that very much.”

Durant and Love were part of the player pool released in January 2014. Durant even showed up to training camp in July, talking big about Team USA’s ability.

But Love withdrew shortly before the camp, and Durant followed suit a couple weeks later.

Colangelo, in a Q&A with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Q: How do you reflect on Kevin Durant and Kevin Love making a big public commitment to play on the 2014 World Cup team and then reneging on it?

Colangelo: In Kevin Love’s case, he really felt bad in not being there to participate after he said he would. That was more about advice he’s getting from legal counsel and his agent. That, too, is a variable. We have no control over that. If that happens next year with one or two players and they’re out, it’s not the end of the world. We have other players. The point is with the roster we have we can take hits like that and there are other guys to step in.

“Kevin Durant, a little bit of a different story. I think he was affected some by Paul George’s injury. I also think a lot of things were going on with Kevin Durant with his career and his contract. Things were changing. He wasn’t the same Kevin Durant who was wide-eyed and bushy-tailed when he first stepped on to the court for USA Basketball. He had a lot going on in his life. So when he said he was going to pull out, I wasn’t surprised. I could kind of see it coming. I didn’t see the same vigor. He was always so active and positive. He had a different look to him.

Love pulled out, because he was in trade limbo at the time. The Timberwolves and Cavaliers had agreed to a trade, but because Andrew Wiggins couldn’t be dealt so soon after signing a rookie-scale contract, everyone had to wait.

Durant initially cited a desire for rest, but he later admitted Paul George’s devastating injury freaked him out.

Both players functionally withdrew because they feared getting injured and it harming their NBA careers – and that’s fine.

I’m not sure why Colangelo is treating the decisions so differently.

We obviously don’t know everything that happened behind the scenes. Colangelo said Love was near tears when delivering the news to him. Perhaps, Durant didn’t handle the issue as gracefully.

But Colangelo also forgave Love because his agent advised him not to risk injury at that point. Does Colangelo think Durant withdrew without any outside put, though? Every NBA player who participates in USA Basketball has someone telling him it’s not worth the injury risk. It’s up to the player to determine when that advice is actually worth heeding.

Durant and Love reached the same conclusion: Playing in the 2014 World Cup wasn’t worth the injury risk. If there are significant differences in those decisions, I don’t see them. Love shouldn’t get any more of a break from USA Basketball because he didn’t want to jeopardize his exit from Minnesota than Durant should get scrutinized by USA Basketball for wanting to remain healthy to help the Thunder win the 2015 championship.

Reading between the lines – and it doesn’t take much supposing – Colangelo seems to view it differently. Maybe he has reasons we can’t see.

Either way, this probably won’t keep Durant off the 2016 Olympic team if he wants to play. His talent gives him a lot more leeway than Love. Even if Colangelo downgrades his overall opinion of Durant based on his World Cup withdrawal, it’s hard to see Durant not ranking as one of the 12 most-deserving candidates for Rio.

Flip Saunders: Kevin Garnett will start for Timberwolves

Kevin Garnett

The Timberwolves didn’t sign Kevin Garnett just for his leadership.

They want him to play.

Minnesota coach Flip Saunders, in a Q&A with Zach Lowe of Grantland:

Is KG going to start?

He’s gonna start. That’s who he is. KG is a starter. He’s the best power forward on our team, actually. No one rebounds better. He’s the best help defender. No one communicates better. He knows the offense, and he can pass it.

That leaves Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Pekovic and Gorgui Dieng battling to start at the other big-man spot.

Towns was just the No. 1 pick, a productive two-way player who seems relatively NBA-ready for a rookie. Saunders said Pekovic is still hurt, but the center has been a steady starter the last four years when healthy. Dieng broke out late in his rookie season, and he maintained that level while starting a majority of Minnesota’s games last season.

Towns has the brightest future among that group, and maybe he should start for that reason. It will be pretty tough for the Timberwolves to make the playoffs next season, so maybe they should think long-term.

It’s also possible Towns is already better than Pekovic and Dieng, though I wouldn’t be surprised if the veterans are ahead when the season begins.

Simply based on productivity, Garnett belongs in the mix in a four-man race. But he’s clearly getting the nod based on stature. The 39-year-old also might be better off physically starting rather than sitting on the bench and getting cold to begin games.

I don’t expect Garnett to play typical minutes for a starter, which should leave playing time for those younger players. Enough to maximize their development? That’s a different question – especially with Anthony Bennett, Adreian Payne and Nemanja Bjelica also on the roster.

Perhaps, though, that issues takes care of itself. Garnett played just five games after Minnesota acquired him before the trade deadline, missing the final 21 games of the season. Injury is always an increased concern for players his age.

I’d hardly be surprised if, for one reason or another, Garnett is no longer starting by the end of the season.

Flip Saunders still maintains he planned to keep Kevin Love until Andrew Wiggins offer

2013 NBA Draft Lottery

In May 2014, a report emerged Kevin Love would leave the Timberwolves as a free agent in 2015 if they didn’t trade him.

A couple weeks later, Timberwolves president Flip Saunders said he planned to keep Love.

Of course, Minnesota eventually traded Love to the Cavaliers for a package highlighted by Andrew Wiggins.

Did that prove Saunders was bluffing? He still says no.

Saunders in a Q&A with Zach Lowe of Grantland:

I didn’t have a problem keeping Kevin into the final year of his deal and coaching him. Guys just don’t turn down the extra year and $30 million. Even though he maybe wanted to leave, I thought we still had an opportunity to re-sign him. When you are patient, you can say, “This is what we need to get something done, and if we don’t get it, we’re keeping him.”

Then things kind of fell into place, with LeBron going to Cleveland and [Andrew] Wiggins becoming available. That’s when you can say “lucky.”

Yeah, you’ve told me before you were really willing to keep Kevin into that final year. That doesn’t seem like bluster.

No, it wasn’t. People thought it was. Thoughts might have changed when I announced I would coach. Because what coach wouldn’t want to coach a guy who was All-NBA? Coaches want to win that night. I’m in a unique situation, because as the coach, I live in the present, but as the GM, I look into the future. I try to steer both courses. But people believed I would coach the guy.

Saunders handled a difficult situation well.

Wiggins looks like a budding star, and he’s already proven to be a great return for Love. Most stars who force their way out don’t fetch nearly as valuable a player as Love.

We’ll never know whether Love would have re-signed with Minnesota, but a case can be made he would have. He took the security of a five-year contract from the Cavaliers this summer, even though he probably would’ve made more by taking a two-year deal, opting out and then locking in long-term. Of course, re-signing with contending Cleveland was an easier call than staying with Minnesota would have been, but that shows Love values stability. The Timberwolves could have provided more stability through a fifth season and higher raises than any other team had they kept him.

So, I don’t think Minnesota had to trade Love last summer. Saunders could have tried forcing the power forward’s hand. Maybe that would have backfired and Love would have signed with the Lakers, but it was worth the risk at a certain point.

But when you can get Wiggins, a trade beat taking a chance on Love re-signing.

That doesn’t mean you weren’t willing to take the risk of keeping Love, though.

Report: Veteran point guard Andre Miller reaches one-year deal with Timberwolves

Shabazz Napier, Andre Miller

Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns are about to be finishing alley-oops from the best lob passer in the game — this is going to be fun to watch.

They already had Kevin Garnett, now the Timberwolves are about to add another veteran to their locker room, a guy who can help guide a talented but young core.

Minnesota has reached a deal with veteran point guard Andre Miller, something first reported by Shams Charania of Real GM and confirmed by Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

Former Brooklyn Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks notes this is not much of a cap hit for the Timberwolves, as the NBA pitches in on all veteran minimum deals.

This is a smart pickup for the Timberwolves. Miller split time between the Wizards and Kings last season (the fact that the Kings didn’t retain him should be a sign George Karl doesn’t have sway over personnel decisions). Even at age 39 Miller provides some good play on the court (with the Kings under Karl he averaged 5.7 points and 4.7 assists per game). His game is the definition of crafty.

Ricky Rubio will be the starter opening night at the point for Minnesota, but behind him are two talented but young players — Zach LaVine and Tyus Jones (the latter of which looked pretty good at Summer League). Miller can both provide some stability in that rotation and be a mentor to the younger players.