Tayshaun Prince

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Bucks trade Michael Carter-Williams to Bulls for Tony Snell

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The Bucks and Bulls were expected to complete a Michael Carter-Williams-for-Tony Snell trade today.

Indeed, the teams swapped the third-year players likely headed toward restricted free agency next summer.

Bulls release:

The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has acquired guard Michael Carter-Williams from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for guard Tony Snell.

The Bucks were desperate for another wing with Khris Middleton injured, and Snell fits the bill. Snell is a 3-and-D player, but he’s only passably reliable at either skill and brings nothing else to the table. Only Tayshaun Prince played more with a lower PER than Snell’s 6.4 last season. In fact, the only other player who neared Snell’s minutes with a lower PER was Milwaukee’s own Rashad Vaughn, whose 4.2 PER shows why the Bucks were so desperate.

The Bulls took advantage.

Carter-Williams has his own flaws as an erratic playmaker and choppy outside shooter. But the 6-foot-6 point guard offers rare size for the position, and his talent is evidenced by his Rookie of the Year award. Chicago is also upgrading at a position of need. Carter-Williams will back up Rajon Rondo at point guard rather than leaving the Bulls stuck with the best of Jerian Grant, Isaiah Canaan and Spencer Dinwiddie.

The Bulls could afford to deal a wing. Denzel Valentine and Doug McDermott should adequately back up Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler on the wing – at least as adequately as Snell would’ve.

Likewise, Milwaukee should be fine at point guard with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Matthew Dellavedova and Jason Terry.

It’s possible both teams improved with this  deal, but that mostly speaks to the Bucks’ awful wing depth. Chicago definitely walks away with the more valuable player – and one who also fills a need.

T-Wolves win 132-129 in 2OTs to hurt Wiz playoff hopes

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WASHINGTON (AP) Karl-Anthony Towns scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and the Minnesota Timberwolves dealt a blow to the Washington Wizards’ playoff hopes with a 132-129 double-overtime victory Friday night.

Zach LaVine added 25 points, and Gorgui Dieng scored 18 while helping the Timberwolves to comebacks at the end of regulation and the second overtime.

Bradley Beal scored 26 points as the 10th-place Wizards fell 3 1/2 games behind Detroit for the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot.

John Wall had 22 points and a season-high tying 16 assists, and Marcin Gortat had 19 points and 14 rebounds for Washington. But Gortat missed a pair of free throws with a chance to take the lead late in the second overtime.

Minnesota hit all 22 of its foul shots for its first back-to-back wins since Feb. 3 and 6.

Data curated by PointAfter

Down five in the second overtime, Andrew Wiggins hit a putback and Dieng made a pair of jumpers, the second off LaVine’s pass to put Minnesota up 130-129.

After Jared Dudley missed a 3-pointer for Washington, Dieng fouled Gortat on the rebound. But Gortat, who entered the game shooting 72.4 percent from the line, missed both foul shots.

After a timeout, Towns made a layup off Tayshaun Prince‘s inbounds feed to push the lead to three with 11.6 seconds left. Dudley missed another 3 from the top of the arc at the buzzer as Minnesota held on.

Minnesota had already rallied twice to force extra basketball.

Down four in the first overtime, LaVine hit two 3-pointers in a stretch of just over 12 seconds, the second an off-balance shot from the left wing that tied it at 121 with 11.8 seconds left

To end regulation Dieng keyed an 8-1 run to help Minnesota pull even. After converting a three-point play, Gorgui’s baseline 3-pointer off Wiggins’ feed tied it at 109 with 19.9 seconds left.

TIP-INS

Timberwolves: Towns set a Minnesota rookie rebounding record, pushing his season total to 741. Kevin Love is second in franchise history with 734. … LaVine scored 12 of his points in the second quarter. … The Timberwolves have won three of their last five road games after winning three of their previous 24 away from home.

Wizards: Beal’s fourth straight start (right leg stress reaction) is his longest such stretch since early December. … F Markief Morris left following the first quarter with a left calf cramp. … With Morris out, Washington began the third quarter with Gortat at center and Nene at forward. … Reserve G Marcus Thornton had a 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter waved off after a replay review showed it came moments after the buzzer. … Wall’s double-double was his eighth straight.

UP NEXT

Timberwolves: Host Utah on Saturday.

Wizards: At the Lakers on Sunday.

Timberwolves open to buying out Kevin Martin — if he asks

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The Timberwolves are reportedly finalizing a buyout with Andre Miller.

He might not be the only Minnesota veteran headed out.

Kevin Martin could get a buyout if he requests one, according to Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor.

Jerry Zgoda of the StarTribune:

Taylor said GM Milt Newton hasn’t called Martin’s agent, Dan Fegan, to negotiate a buyout.

But Taylor said he’d be “open” if Martin’s side calls and makes a proposal.

“I’m not pursuing that,” Taylor said. “You always need some guys with experience who can shoot threes.”

Do you, though? The Timberwolves still have plenty of experience with Kevin Garnett and Tayshaun Prince, and Minnesota interim coach Sam Mitchell loathes 3-pointers relative to his coaching peers. Plus, Martin’s playing time stands in the way of developing younger players, and his productivity hurts the Timberwolves’ lottery position.

There’s a reason his name came up so frequently in trade rumors. Martin, 33, just doesn’t fit this rebuilding team.

But Martin’s case is much more complicated than Miller’s, because Martin earns more money and has a player option for next season. He’s still due $9,419,647 — $2,042,147 for the rest of this season and $7,377,500 next season if he exercises a player option.

If he’s bought out, the buyout amount would be paid one of two ways:

  • 22% this season, 78% next season
  • 22% this season, 26% each of the following three seasons

Minnesota’s would determine whether or not to use the stretch provision, but that’d likely be negotiated in buyout discussions.

If he hit the open market, Martin would draw plenty of suitors. He’s a quality outside shooter and good scorer overall. Plenty of teams can use wing depth. Just look at the interest in Joe Johnson.

But it’s hard to see a buyout number that makes sense for both sides.

Unless Martin is willing to leave a lot of money on the table, the Timberwolves probably don’t want to clog their cap in coming seasons. Martin might just opt out and leave without them owing him anything next year. Or, if he opts in, they might even be able to trade him for value — or at least dump his contract without attaching a sweetener — once the dust settles on a wild free agent market. With the salary cap set to spike, some teams will be left in the cold on free agents and might not see Martin’s $7,377,500 2016-17 salary as so bad.

This will come down to how badly Martin wants to leave Minnesota by Tuesday’s deadline for being waived to join another team’s playoff roster. The answer will probably have to be very badly for the Timberwolves to consent to a buyout.

 

Timberwolves come back from 18 down to stun Raptors, 117-112

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns had 35 points and 11 rebounds, and the Minnesota Timberwolves came back from 18 points down to stun the Toronto Raptors 117-112 on Wednesday night.

Canadian star Andrew Wiggins scored 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, including a jumper with under 2 minutes to go that gave Minnesota a 112-109 lead. Ricky Rubio had 19 points, eight assists and eight rebounds to outplay All-Star Kyle Lowry, and the Wolves used a huge advantage at the free throw line to close out a team that had won 14 of its last 15 games.

DeMar DeRozan scored 35 points for the Raptors, who head home to host All-Star Weekend beginning on Friday night. But Lowry was held to 14 points and seven assists while battling foul trouble, and the combination of Wiggins and Towns was too much down the stretch.

Minnesota set season highs with 43 free throws made on 53 attempts on the way to its largest comeback win of the season. The Raptors were whistled for 34 fouls compared to 21 for the Wolves.

The Raptors looked to be cruising toward a highly anticipated weekend in Canada when they raced out to an 18-point lead in the second quarter. Then Lowry picked up his fourth foul, Jonas Valanciunas couldn’t handle Towns in the paint and the Timberwolves came all the way back to grab the lead early in the fourth quarter.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey emphasized before the game the need for a veteran group to hold it together for one more night before the party starts in Toronto. The Raptors were facing a Timberwolves team with the third-worst record in the West that was just blown out by lowly New Orleans in this building two nights prior.

When the Raptors got up big early, they may have relaxed a little bit and they found themselves in a fight for the final 9 minutes.

Rubio’s third 3-pointer gave the Timberwolves a 104-98 lead with 5:24 to play.

The Raptors fought back to tie the game with under 3 minutes to play, but Wiggins hit big shot after big shot a day before heading back to his hometown to play in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night.

Gorgui Dieng had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and all five Timberwolves starters finished in double figures.

TIP-INS

Raptors: Their 68 points were their most in a first half this season. … Bismack Biyombo left in the second quarter after a nasty spill under the basket but was able to return in the second half. … The Raptors made 10 of 31 3-pointers to just 4 of 14 for Minnesota.

Timberwolves: F Tayshaun Prince missed the game to attend former teammate Chauncey Billups’ jersey retirement ceremony in Detroit. … Zach LaVine started in Prince’s place and finished with 13 points. … The Wolves again played without Kevin Garnett (leg), Nikola Pekovic (ankle) and Kevin Martin (wrist).

UP NEXT

Raptors: Visit Chicago on Feb. 19.

Timberwolves: Visit Memphis on Feb. 19.

Kyrie Irving shows off Globetrotter dribbling, hits step-back three (VIDEO)

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Tayshaun Prince isn’t what he once was, but he’s still a long and reasonable defender.

Kyrie Irving turned him into a highlight package.

Irving goes behind his back away from the screen, and then throws in a crossover before he stepped back and drains the three. That is a thing of beauty.

What you see here seemed to be the Cavaliers’ offense a lot of the night — using their athleticism and skills, but doing it earlier in the clock. It wasn’t about system. It wasn’t always pretty either, particularly on defense, but it worked, Cleveland got the 114-107 win (the first for Tyronn Lue as coach). Irving had 17 points on the night but needed 18 shots to get there.