Report: Timberwolves trying to trade for Andre Miller, want to involve J.J. Barea

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If Andre Miller isn’t returning to the Nuggets, they might as well trade him.

Miller, sent away from the team after feuding with Denver coach Brian Shaw, definitely wants a trade and a chance to play somewhere. The Nuggets should resist any inclination to be petty, and they should accommodate him.

There are a number of teams seeking backup point guards, so there is a market for Miller. At this point, Denver should take whatever it can get before the trade deadline and move on.

One of the interested teams: The Minnesota Timberwolves, according to Marc Stein of ESPN:

Word is Minnesota wants to know it can shed the contract of guard J.J. Barea — who has one season left on his contract after this one at $4.5 million — before consenting to trade for Miller.

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A simple Miller-for-Barea trade might work for both teams.

Barea would give the Nuggets point guard they desperately need while Lawson is out, and he could back up Lawson later. Though Barea has a fully guaranteed salary of $4,519,500 next season – more than Miller’s $2 million guaranteed ($4,625,000 if not waived) – the Nuggets aren’t slated to have cap room anyway.

The Timberwolves could use an upgrade at backup point guard. They have a +5.7 net rating with Ricky Rubio and –4.6 net rating with Barea. Some of the disparity is due to Rubio playing more with the team’s better players, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Even when each play with Minnesota’s other starters – Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic – the difference is stark.

Rubio with other four starters:

  • Offensive rating: 110.7
  • Defensive rating: 102.9
  • Net rating: +7.7

Barea with other four starters:

  • Offensive rating: 101.4
  • Defensive rating: 105.4
  • Net rating: –4.0

Miller, even at 37, is probably a little better than Barea – though there’s risk, given Miller has sat out so long. At least Minnesota would have insurance in Alexey Shved, who can play point guard.

Have the Timberwolves add their second-round pick, and call this trade good.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.

Watch Lakers fan drain half-court shot to win $75,000

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers
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It might have been the loudest the crypto.com Arena was all night.

Between the third and fourth quarters, Lakers fan Jamie Murry of Downey won $75,000 draining a half-court shot — and he got to celebrate with Anthony Davis.

Murry’s celebration is the best part — with Anthony Davis coming out to celebrate with him (and seeming a little shocked by the hug).

One other big shot fell at this game, but Lakers’ fans didn’t like it as much — Pacers’ rookie Andrew Nembhard drained a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.