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Timberwolves sign James Nunnally

Timberwolves sign James Nunnally

The Minnesota Timberwolves signed forward James Nunnally today.

Nunnally, 6-7, has spent the last two years playing in Turkey with Fenerbahçe, making back-to-back EuroLeague Final Four appearances, including winning a championship in 2017. Over 29 EuroLeague games in 2017-18, he averaged 9.3 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game, while shooting 54.0% overall from the field, including a 55.4% mark from beyond the arc.

Undrafted in 2012 out of UC Santa Barbara, Nunnally spent parts of the 2013-14 NBA season with Atlanta and Philadelphia, totaling averages of 3.4 points and 1.5 rebounds in 12.7 minutes per game in 13 contests. He has also played in the G League with Bakersfield and Texas, as well as overseas in Greece, Puerto Rico, Spain, Israel and Italy. Nunnally earned Italian League MVP honors in 2016 after averaging 18.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 40 games.

Timberwolves sign C.J. Williams to two-way contract

The Minnesota Timberwolves have signed guard C.J. Williams to a two-way contract.

Williams appeared in 38 games (17 starts) as a rookie with the Los Angeles Clippers last season, averaging 5.5 points, 1.5 rebounds and 0.8 steals in 18.6 minutes per game. He appeared in 16 games with the Agua Caliente Clippers of the NBA G League, averaging 16.5 points in 29.5 minutes per game. He was named the recipient of the 2017-18 NBA G League Jason Collier Sportsmanship Award on Apr. 11, which is given to the player who best represents the ideals of character and conduct on and off the court.

The Fayetteville, N.C. native played four years at North Carolina State, leading the Wolfpack to the NCAA Sweet 16 as a senior in 2012. Since turning pro, he has spent parts of three seasons in the NBA G League, averaging 14.0 points on 46.3% shooting (40.2% from three-point range) over 115 G League games.

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, “The 6-foot-5 guard can spend up to 45 days with the Timberwolves next season, and will spend the rest of his time with the Iowa Wolves. Rookie guard Jared Terrell is the Timberwolves’ other two-way signing.”

Two-way contracts allow teams to sign two players to two-way contracts in addition to the 15-man regular-season roster. Players signed to a two-way contract can accrue no more than 45 days of service with their respective NBA club during the regular season and will spend the remainder of their time with the team’s NBA G League affiliate.

Jimmy Butler undergoes procedure on hand

Jimmy Butler undergoes procedure on hand

Minnesota Timberwolves guard/forward Jimmy Butler underwent an elective right hand procedure on Tuesday, July 24.

The team says that Butler has already returned to offseason activities.

It’s unknown if those offseason activities include playing basketball at regular intensity right away, but the team is clearly suggesting that it was a minor procedure.

Timberwolves sign Anthony Tolliver

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The Timberwolves have signed forward Anthony Tolliver.

Looking at the roster as it stands now, Tolliver will likely back up Taj Gibson at power forward, and could see some backup small forward.

The 6-foot-8 forward spent the 2017-18 season on the Pistons, where he averaged 8.9 points per game, his highest single-season scoring average since the 2009-10 season. Tolliver shot an NBA career-best 43.6 percent from three-point range, hitting a career-high 2.0 threes per outing, on 4.6 attempts on average. The 43.6 percent ranked seventh in the NBA and third among players 6-8 or taller. Tolliver’s 46.4 percent from the floor also was a single-season career-best mark.

During his career, Tolliver has played in 599 regular season games, averaging 6.5 points on 42.1 percent shooting, and 36.7 percent three-point shooting.

Tolliver played for the Timberwolves during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.

He has also played with San Antonio, Portland, Golden State, Atlanta, Charlotte, Phoenix, Detroit and Sacramento.

The Timberwolves yesterday signed rookie forward Keita Bates-Diop, who the team selected with the 48th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft on June 21.

Bates-Diop was named the 2017-18 Big Ten Player of the Year after averaging 19.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks over his redshirt junior season at Ohio State. A 2017-18 consensus Second Team All-American, Bates-Diop raised his scoring average 10.1 points per game from his redshirt sophomore (9.7 ppg) to his redshirt junior year (19.8 ppg). This season, Bates-Diop paced the Big 10 in scoring, finished second in rebounds (8.7 per contest) and fifth in blocked shots (1.6 blocks per game). He shot 47.2 percent from the floor, including a 35.9 percent mark (66-for-184) from deep.

The Bloomington, Ill. native was a top-five finalist for the 2017-18 Julius Erving Award, honoring the top small forward in the nation. He was also a finalist for the Wooden Award and a semifinalist for the Naismith Player of the Year.

The Minnesota Timberwolves yesterday signed guard Jared Terrell to a two-way contract.

The 23-year-old Terrell averaged 16.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.5 steals per game this past college season at Rhode Island. He hit 42.7% FG from the floor, including 41.4% three-pointers and 82.1% free throws. He was rewarded with Atlantic 10 First Team All-Conference Team honors, an was named the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association District I Player of the Year.

Over the course of his four-year college career, Terrell finished seventh on Rhode Island’s all-time scoring list with 1,754 career points, fourth in three-pointers (192) and fifth in steals (170). He helped lead Rhode Island to the NCAA Tournament in both of last two seasons.

Two-way contracts allow NBA teams to sign two players to two-way contracts. This is in addition to the up-to-15-man regular-season roster that each team can have. Players signed to a two-way contract can accrue no more than 45 days of service with their respective NBA club during the regular season and will spend the remainder of their time with the team’s NBA G League affiliate.

Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune with an update on the Timberwolves, who recently made a key decision on Nemanja Bjelica:

Nemanja Bjelica, the intriguing forward with three-point range and a habit of missing 15-20 games per season, is done in Minnesota after three seasons.

That was pretty much settled when the Wolves withdrew their qualifying offer and let him become an unrestricted free agent, then signed Anthony Tolliver to essentially take his role. But it’s confirmed as of this morning, with Woj tweeting that Bjelica is signing a one-year deal with the 76ers.

Bjelica might have had more upside than Tolliver, having been in the league just three seasons, but he’s already 30 and probably is what he is to a certain degree. Tolliver, 33, definitely is what he is, but in terms of short-term production — two guys on one-year deals — I’m going to go ahead and say Tolliver is a slight upgrade.

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Timberwolves sign rookie Josh Okogie

The Minnesota Timberwolves signed rookie guard Josh Okogie today.

The Wolves selected Okogie with the 20th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

All players selected in the first round are guaranteed to receive a contract, assuming they wish to begin their NBA careers right away. So, this signing is standard and was expected.

Okogie averaged 18.2 points and 6.3 rebounds in 36.4 minutes per game as a sophomore last season, ranking fourth in the ACC in scoring, the highest by any Georgia Tech player since 1997-98. The 19-year-old shot 38.2 percent from three (66-of-173) in his two years as a Yellow Jacket, including a 38.0 percent clip last season. He averaged 6.7 rebounds in ACC play, third-best for an ACC guard, and only one player ahead of him was shorter than his 6-4 height (Ky Bowman of Boston College). He grabbed a career-best 16 rebounds at Florida State on Jan. 24, the most ever by a Tech guard in an ACC game. Okogie led the ACC in free throw attempts as a sophomore, getting to the line 6.8 times per contest.

Over two seasons with the Yellow Jackets, Okogie amassed 1,033 career points, one of six Tech players to ever accomplish the feat by the end of their sophomore season and the most since Matt Harpring’s 1,021 points (1995-96). As a sophomore this past season, he was named to the 2017-18 All-ACC Third Team by the coaches and an Honorable Mention by the media.

Timberwolves waive Cole Aldrich

Timberwolves waive Cole Aldrich

The Minnesota Timberwolves waived little-used center Cole Aldrich today.

Aldrich played in 21 games for the Timberwolves in the 2017-18 season, and averaged 0.6 points and 0.7 rebounds in 2.3 minutes per outing.

In 2016-17, Aldrich appeared in 62 games for the Wolves, averaging 1.7 points and 2.5 rebounds in 8.6 minutes per outing.

He joined the team as a free agent on July 13, 2016.

Timberwolves rookies ready to work

Tons of attention goes towards big-name rookies, but each year plenty of less heralded players emerge, and tracking them, from draft through summer league through the season, is always lots of fun. Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting on some new Timberwolves:

New Timberwolves Josh Okogie and Keita Bates-Diop met the Twin Cities media on Tuesday outside the team offices and were set to start their new jobs quickly.

“We’ll begin tonight — their first workout is tonight,” said Wolves coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau.

The players, taken in the NBA Draft on Thursday night, said they were ready to make the big step.

“I think the biggest piece of advice I’ve received is that I’m in charge of my day-to-day, my decisions,” said Okogie, a 6-4 shooting guard who was the team’s first round pick (20th overall) out of Georgia Tech. “I have to be well-suited on and off the court.”

Bates-Diop was taken in the second round (48th) after winning Big Ten player of the year honors as a guard/forward at Ohio State. He was pegged as a first rounder in many mock drafts, but if his fall to the second round hurt him, he didn’t show it.

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These days, every good NBA player is up for a huge payday once they’re past their rookie contract and have proven themselves as a force to be reckoned with. As for the specific case of young Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, here’s the St Paul Pioneer Press reporting:

Karl-Anthony Towns’ potential pay day just got a little bigger.

Towns, who’s eligible to sign an extension this summer, can now earn up to $188 million on a five-year extension after earning All-NBA honors on Thursday, per ESPN’s front office insider Bobby Marks.

The extension would come into effect at the start of the 2019-20 season. Minnesota signed Andrew Wiggins to a five-year, $146 million max extension last offseason. The All-NBA honors mean Towns can make up to 30 percent of the Wolves’ salary cap, which is higher than the extension for which Wiggins was eligible.

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Timberwolves announce staff changes

Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau and General Manager Scott Layden announced today the following people have been released from their duties: Player Development Coach Vince Legarza, Shooting Coach Peter Patton and Assistant Video Coordinator Wes Bohn.

The Timberwolves in their statement said they “would like to thank all of these individuals for their contributions to our organization and wish them well in their future endeavors.”

It’s smart for most pro athletes to avoid social media during the playoffs. But some have little use for it altogether. Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting on Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins:

Criticized much of the season on Twitter and elsewhere for his inner flame burning too low, Wolves young star Andrew Wiggins’ cool now maybe is serving him well with the heat turned up in the playoffs.

Wiggins has been the Wolves’ most consistent player in this best-of-seven series with Houston so far and he said at Monday’s shoot before Game 4 that he hasn’t — and won’t — pay attention to the words of those who want more from a guy who last fall signed a max contracts that begins next season.

“I don’t really go on social media too much,” Wiggins said. “I just watch movies, play video games and play with my dog. That’s it. Everything else I don’t see.”

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The assist to turnover radio tells a lot about what a team is doing with the ball. If it’s high — if a team has way more assists than turnovers — the night probably belongs to them. As for the Timberwolves, who lost games 1 and 2 to the Rockets but secured a Game 3 victory, here’s the St Paul Pioneer Press reporting:

Against a Rockets team that has been creative in the way it switches on defense and brings extra defensive help, the Wolves struggled a bit while losing the first two games. In a Game 2 blowout loss in Houston on Wednesday night, the Wolves had only 15 assists and 16 turnovers while being held to 82 points.

What a difference a game makes.

In Saturday night’s 121-105 victory over the Rockets at Target Center, the Wolves had 29 assists and seven turnovers. Those 29 assists are tied for the second-most in the playoffs by a Wolves team. Four starters had three or more assists seven players had multiple assists. It is no coincidence the Wolves set all kinds of franchise playoff scoring records; their 35 points in the third and 34 in the fourth are their top two quarters. Their 121 points was a franchise record, too.

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The Nuggets and Timberwolves play in Minnesota tonight. The winner makes the NBA playoffs. The loser has to go home and stare at a wall. Or they can watch TV. Maybe eat something. Or hop on a plane and fly to an exotic overseas beach destination. Which sounds cool. But making the playoffs is better. Beaches can wait.

The Western conference playoff seeding situation is complicated. Regarding these two teams, here are the possibilities:

If the Nuggets win tonight, they will either be the 6 or 7 West seed.

If the Timberwolves win, they’ll be the 6, 7 or 8 West seed.

Why? Because a big stack of West playoff teams have almost identical records, and therefore tiebreaker rules come into effect.

Here’s what’s set in the West through Tuesday:
Rockets are the 1-seed.
Warriors are the 2-seed.
Blazers or Jazz are the 3-seed.
The rest will be determined tonight.

InsideHoops.com will turn things things up for the 2018 playoffs. Roll with us daily.

Timberwolves lose 3rd straight game

The Timberwolves, playing without Jimmy Butler, are struggling lately. Here’s the St Paul Pioneer Press reporting on what went down Thursday:

With five off days to prepare for a pivotal March contest played in front of their home crowd at Target Center and in front of the country on national television, the Timberwolves managed to come out flat.

The Wolves fell 117-109 to Boston on Thursday, marking their first three-game losing streak of the season — which unsurprisingly has come without Jimmy Butler. That streak is in serious danger of running to four with the Warriors coming to town Sunday.

Something needs to change between now and then. And that change is going to have to revolve around the Wolves’ effort. They were outclassed in that department on Thursday by Boston. Boston had 18 second chance points to Minnesota’s nine. The Celtics (46-20) had 14 fast break points to Minnesota’s two.

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Timberwolves sign Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose isn’t done with basketball just yet.

The Minnesota Timberwolves signed Rose, a former league MVP, on Thursday.

Rose, a 6-3 guard, appeared in 16 games (seven starts) with Cleveland this season, averaging 9.8 points, 1.8 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game. He was traded to Utah in a three-team deal on Feb. 8 before being waived by the Jazz on Feb. 10. A three-time All-Star, Rose has averaged 19.2 points on 45.1% shooting and 5.8 assists in 486 games over nine seasons. His best season came in 2010-11, when under Tom Thibodeau he became the youngest player to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award after averaging 25.0 points and 7.7 assists, while leading the Chicago Bulls to the best record in the NBA and the Eastern Conference Finals.

Timberwolves waive Shabazz Muhammad (contract buyout)

The Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday waived forward Shabazz Muhammad.

Muhammad appeared in 32 games this season for the Wolves, averaging 3.8 points and 1.4 rebounds in 9.4 minutes per game.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “by agreeing to the buyout, Muhammad forgoes a veteran’s minimum player option for next season. He re-signed with the Wolves to $1.6 million veteran’s minimum last fall after he turned down $40 million in October 2016, the same time teammate Gorgui Dieng signed a four-year, $64 million contract. The 14th player taken in the 2013 draft, Muhammad was one of the Wolves’ most active players during training camp in San Diego, but didn’t play well early in the regular season and played less and less as the Wolves played better and better.”

After the Muhammad move, Minnesota’s roster stands at 15 players.

Jimmy Butler suffers knee injury

According to the Minnesota Timberwolves, an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) taken this afternoon on Wolves forward Jimmy Butler’s right knee revealed a meniscal injury. The evaluation and MRI was conducted by Team Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Diane Dahm at Mayo Clinic. Further updates as to Butler’s progress will be issued when more information becomes available.

The injury occurred during last night’s 120-102 loss to the Houston Rockets.

In 56 games this season, Butler averaged 22.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “the team has not yet announced what this prognosis means, in terms of whether Butler will require surgery or if his season is over. Still, it is a more optimistic prognosis than a torn anterior cruciate ligament would have been. What remains clear is that Butler, at the very least, will be out for an extended period. And that means the Wolves will have to survive – indeed thrive – without him in order to stay a factor in the NBA’s Western Conference playoff race.”

Timberwolves to host Flip Saunders Night on Feb. 15, 2018

The Minnesota Timberwolves will host “Flip Saunders Night” at home in Target Center on Thursday, February 15. The visiting team for that game is the Lakers.

That night, the Timberwolves will unveil a permanent banner in Target Center to honor the memory of Flip.

“Flip meant so much to our organization as a coach, but he meant so much more to all of us as a friend,” said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. “His impact on our organization and what he meant to the Minnesota basketball community is something that will always be with us. It is appropriate that we honor the man who meant so much to us with of a banner in our home arena that will forever fortify his memory.”

All fans in attendance will receive a Flip Saunders commemorative coin. The back story behind giving a coin is this: One of Flip’s trademarks during his tenure with the Wolves was to create a new team coin each season for players and front office staff, then randomly give them to people he would encounter as a way to include fans on that season’s journey.

“Minnesota has always been our family’s home”, said Debbie Saunders, widow of Flip Saunders. “Flip not only had a passion for the Timberwolves but for basketball in the State of Minnesota. We are incredibly grateful to the Timberwolves for memorializing Flip in such a moving way and having his memory live on inside Target Center forever.”

Saunders compiled an overall record of 427-392 (.521) in 12 seasons covering two different stints with the organization.

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