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.
• Timberwolves GM David Kahn rejected the idea that he is involved in Pau Gasol trade talks saying he hasn’t spoken with the Lakers since July. The Lakers are not trading Gasol in the short-term anyway, they want to see him paired with Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard all at once. They want to se what they have before making a rash decision. But if that doesn’t work out and the Lakers do shop Gasol, Minnesota might well be near the front of the line if they are willing to offer Nikola Pekovic and Derrick Williams (plus likely Luke Ridnour). But we’re a long way from there right now.
The NBA’s race for the MVP award seems wide open this season. LeBron James is the favorite of the Las Vegas books (thank Lakers’ fans for that) and James Harden has been first or second three of the past four years, so he cannot be counted out. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have each won it before, although they tend to cancel each other out on the same team.
2018 Warriors championship rings — 74 sapphires & 74 diamonds (1 per win in RS & playoffs) — 2 trophies: 2017 in 17k gold w/ .17 carat white diamond; 2018 in 18k gold w/ .18 carat white diamond – Other details: Twist-off top, "Strength in Numbers," Bay Bridge & "The Town" logo pic.twitter.com/SSdoYTydJh
Championship rings are objectively ugly, gaudy things. But if someone offered you one, you certainly wouldn’t turn it down. Everyone wants to have a championship under their belt, and having a ridiculous ring with 74 diamonds in it and a twist-off top is just wild.
Glen Taylor says Tom Thibodeau’s job isn’t in danger
Jimmy Butler is a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, at least until the team finds a suitable trade partner. It seems the talks between the Wolves and the Miami Heat have gone dormant, and there isn’t an openly-interested party in sight.
Meanwhile, Butler is attending practices and is expected to play in the first game of the year for Minnesota against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. As the team looks for trade partners, the question remains what will happen with head coach Tom Thibodeau. Things have quickly gone south under his watch, and many are calling for his firing from the outside.
In a conversation with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which Taylor owns, Taylor said that Thibodeau’s job is safe.
Thibodeau has three years left on a five-year contract worth about $40 million. Is he coaching for his job?
“No, no, the only thing now is that we are starting to play games and I am asking him to concentrate on coaching,” Taylor said. “GM Scott Layden will help to see if any trades are available.”
Is Taylor still happy he hired Thibodeau in April 2016?
“Yes, yes, he is a good coach and I have faith in him,” he said.
Meanwhile Taylor says that he’s not thinking about selling the team, and that they will try to grit themselves through from here on out.
It’s a tougher Western Conference this year, and it was already up in the air whether the Timberwolves were going to be a playoff team. Now, it seems as though they are destined to miss the postseason yet again after making it last year.