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Report: Significant angst within Timberwolves organization

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The Timberwolves just ended a 13-year playoff drought. They have multiple stars in Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns. Tom Thibodeau is making headway in remaking the franchise, as he was hired to do.

So, everything is rosy in Minnesota, right?

Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN:

Being at Games 3 and 4, I found it interesting, fascinating, however you want to describe it, the amount of people that sought me out, within the organization, to just spew whatever. Put it this way: To suggest it’s a cohesive bunch, that organization, to think that they’re holding hands singing Kumbaya, is laughable. There is a lot of disconnect. Now, where do you want to begin on that? Should Tom Thibodeau know the names of people on the business side, on the marketing side? There may be some people listening say, “No. Why? Win games. He won games. Who cares?” But there are people upset that he alienates himself. There’s a big wall up. He’s got his guard up constantly. He always appears to be grumpy.

You get to 47 wins. You sell out the building 16 times. The TV ratings go up 78 percent. And, again, that’s from rock bottom a year ago, but still. The TV ratings go up 78 percent. There should be a ton to celebrate, right? Just on the surface. You look at those things. But I’m telling you, there is so much angst, and I’m telling you, disconnect behind the scenes.

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and Thibodeau have different sensibilities. Thibodeau focuses on winning, no matter how many feathers must be ruffled in the process. Taylor prefers a more genteel approach.

There are real questions whether they can coexist long-term.

This is why it was so fascinating Taylor hired Thibodeau as president-coach in the first place. Thibodeau showed his coaching acumen with the Bulls. But he also did so in a hard-driving way that suggested trouble transitioning to the wider perspective necessary of a team president.

Debate how involved Thibodeau should be in the business side. If Taylor wants him to be more cordial to people on the business side, that alone makes it an issue.

Thibodeau’s on-court success will buy him time. Winning cures most ills.

But expectations are only increasing after Minnesota lost in five games to the Rockets in the first round. Thibodeau’s style – which includes a stubbornness that makes him unlikely to change that style – could give him less margin for error.

Nets GM Sean Marks gets suspended for going into ref’s locker room after Game 4

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Emotions are high as the playoffs move into the second week. Things got a little testy between the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night as Jared Dudley got in the face of Joel Embiid after the Sixers big man committed a hard foul on Jared Allen.

That caused Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler to respond to Dudley, who overreacted to a good, hard playoff foul by Embiid. The result of the fracas was an ejection for Butler and Dudley, and a flagrant 1 on embiid.

But apparently that’s not the end of the disciplinary process for the NBA.

Nets general manager Sean Marks went into the officials locker room after the game — no doubt to discuss what happened here — which is a big problem in the eyes of the league.

According to a release by the NBA, Marks has been suspended for one game without pay and has been fined $25,000.

Marks will be suspended for Game 5 between these two teams on April 23rd.

The playoffs are high-stakes, but Embiid blocking the crap out of somebody shouldn’t result in someone going crazy like Dudley did.

Philadelphia beat the Nets, 112-108.

Everyone’s hero is dad who pulls son away from Nets/76ers fracas (VIDEO)

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Fathers everywhere can relate to this one.

You set up a bonding experience with your son or daughter, one you hope will leave an impression on them and create a memory that will last a lifetime… for example, you get courtside seats, just behind the basket, for one of the first NBA playoff games in Brooklyn, ever.

Then everything hits the fan.

Joel Embiid commits a flagrant foul on Jarrett Allen, Jared Dudley rushes in and shoves Embiid to stand up for his teammate, Jimmy Butler runs in to shove Dudley on the same premise, and suddenly there is a wave of large professional athletes about to trample you and your son. So, you grab him, move onto the court, and get out of the way.

There were two fathers with the same thought, one on either side of the fracas that spills into the first row.

Well done Dads. Well done, indeed.

Andrew Bogut says he plans to return to Australian league next season

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Unable to find a new NBA contract for this season, Andrew Bogut went home. The Australia native signed to play for the Sydney Kings in Australia’s NBL, where Bogut ended up being the league MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, leading the Kings on a deep playoff run.

When that run ended, the Golden State Warriors came calling, asking him to fill a role — a role that got much larger after DeMarcus Cousins tore his quad. Bogut has played well for the Warriors in the postseason, and there is a good chance Cousins will not be back in Golden State (the Warriors can only offer him a small raise off what he made this season, that likely will not be enough, even after the injury), so the Warriors may try to retain Bogut for next season.

However, Bogut says he is returning to Australia. Speaking to Matt Logue from the Sunday Telegraph in Sydney, Bogut said he gave his word to the Kings he would return.

“The be all and end all is that I gave my word (to the Kings)… That is basically what it comes down to…

“Someone outside of the Warriors could offer me a deal that would be pretty lucrative and a decent one-year deal, but I’m sold and locked in on coming to the Sydney Kings again to try and better what we did last season.”

Saying you’ll walk away from a lot of money and actually doing it are two different things, but Bogut is a man who stands by his word. He probably returns to Sydney for next season.

When that season ends, however, don’t be shocked to see Bogut back somewhere in the NBA helping a team make a playoff run.

Joel Embiid calls Jared Dudley “a nobody” (but NBA Twitter shows Dudley love)

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Jared Dudley has been in the face of the Philadelphia 76ers all series.

He was the guy who said Ben Simmons was “average” in the halfcourt (which echoed every scouting report on Simmons ever), prompting Simmons to respond, “It’s coming from Jared Dudley. C’mon.” The feud between the Sixers and Dudley was brewing.

Then came Sunday, when Dudley was ejected after coming to the defense of teammate Jarrett Allen, who had taken a hard foul from Joel Embiid. Dudley pushed Embiid, then Jimmy Butler pushed Dudley, then everybody got in a shoving match, and when the dust settled Dudley and Butler were ejected.

In his postgame interview after the Philly win, Embiid said Dudley was “a nobody.”

“First of all, he’s a nobody. And when opponents try to do stuff like that, that’s just to get us out of the game. Especially, I’m too valuable for my team. That’s why I didn’t react.”

That may be how the Sixers feel about Dudley at this point, but Nets fans and NBA Twitter loved the way Dudley stood up to Embiid and everyone else. This is just a taste.