Archive for the ‘ Minnesota T-Wolves Blog ’ Category

Yes, the headline sounds like an attack on Jimmy Butler. It isn’t. It’s just a factual look at how the Timberwolves have been playing lately. Here’s the St Paul Pioneer Press reporting:

Since Nov. 10, the day the Timberwolves agreed to trade Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia, Minnesota has been the NBA’s best defensive team.

“We’re paying more attention to the detail, understanding what we have to do, watching film,” Timberwolves forward Taj Gibson said. “You’re seeing more guys watching film, pulling in the coaches (and asking), ‘What hand does he want to use? What hand doesn’t he want to use? What do you want me to do more?’ ”

Over their past nine games, including Wednesday’s 128-89 victory over perpetual nemesis San Antonio, the Wolves have ranked No. 1 in defensive rating (99.8 points allowed per 100 possessions), opposing field-goal percentage (41.8 percent), fast break points allowed (7.9 a game) and points allowed in the paint (40.9).

They’re also second in steals per game (10.1) and, most important, 7-2, since trading their best player.

Full article

Philadelphia Inquirer: The 76ers got their third star. The team will acquire All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler and Justin Patton from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, and a 2022 second-round pick.

More from the Inquirer: Butler can opt out of the final year — 2019-20 — of his contract next summer to become a free agent. He and the Sixers expect to reach a deal on a long-term contract then, according to ESPN. That makes sense, because the Sixers will have his Bird rights once the trade goes through. The Sixers can offer him a five-year, $190 million max contract next summer. Teams that don’t have his rights would be able to offer Butler only a four-year, $141 million max contract in free agency. If you were to design the ideal player to star alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, there are a lot of ways in which he would differ from Jimmy Butler. From his volume-dependent point production to his mediocre three-point shot to his habit of clashing with younger players, the 29-year-old star is hardly the perfect fit for a Sixers team that has less than a year to put the finishing touches on the core it will rely upon for the next half decade. But the one overriding takeaway from the organization’s decision to acquire the disgruntled veteran from the Timberwolves, while parting ways with two beloved starters is this: Not only does Butler makes the Sixers better right now, in the midst of a sputtering 8-5 start, but he has the potential to make them a whole lot better come April, by which time the Sixers will need to have experienced a radical transformation to compete in an Eastern Conference playoff field that includes powerhouses in Boston and Toronto and an upstart Bucks squad in Milwaukee.

Timberwolves opening roster is set

The Minnesota Timberwolves have set the team’s 2018-19 Opening Night Roster.

On Saturday the Wolves announced the team had waived Canyon Barry, Darius Johnson-Odom, William Lee and Jonathan Stark. Minnesota’s 2018 Opening Night Roster stands at 16 players.

Minnesota will open its 2018-19 regular season Wednesday night in San Antonio vs. the Spurs. The Wolves will play host to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, October 19 in the team’s Home Opener.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have signed guard Canyon Barry and forward William Lee.

Barry, 24, spent three seasons at the College of Charleston before transferring to the University of Florida for his senior year. The son of former NBA great Rick Barry, Barry averaged 12.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per contest over his four-year collegiate career. After going undrafted in 2017, the 6-6 guard played overseas in Finland and the Czech Republic last season.

Lee, 23, went undrafted after playing four seasons at the University of Alabama-Birmingham where he averaged 10.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks while shooting 36.5% from the three-point line over his career. Lee was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 and 2017 and earned Conference USA All-Defensive Team honors his senior year.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have waived Darius Johnson-Odom, Canyon Barry, Jonathan Stark and William Lee.

Johnson-Odom, 28, appeared in two preseason games for Minnesota after signing on September 24, 2018. He totaled four points, three rebounds and three assists over his two appearances.

Stark, 23, made one preseason appearance for Minnesota, registering three points and one block. Stark was signed by the Wolves on September 24, 2018 after playing with the Wolves’ entry in the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League.

With today’s moves the team’s training camp roster stands at 16 players.

Jimmy Butler wants the Timberwolves to trade him. This has been reported for a while now. Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting the words of a few Wolves players and what they had to say, on the record, about the concept of welcoming Butler back should a trade not happen. Of course, what a player says on the record about a situation like this vs what the player privately thinks may not exactly be the same thing, but it’s still interesting to see what they have to say:

“Jimmy’s my guy,’’ guard Jeff Teague said. “So, he’s a professional. I know he’s going to come in, work hard. You all know that. He’s a team guy. He gives it all. I think he’d be accepted, but I guess we’ll see.’’

That’s all the players can do, wait and see how the situation is resolved. But, should it drag out, would it become harder?

“It’d be nice,’’ Teague said. “Just being honest. It’d be nice to have him back. But it’s not up to me.’’

Andrew Wiggins said any team with Butler on it is going to be better. “Jimmy, he’s always a plus, you know?’’ he said.

Taj Gibson, though, said he’s not taking much time to ponder a possible return to the fold by Butler.

I would love to see what Karl-Anthony Towns has to say, but he’s probably delivering a “no comment” on it until the situation resolves.

Timberwolves announce promotions and additions to basketball staff

The Minnesota Timberwolves have made some additions and promotions in their basketball staff, promoting Todd Checovich to Scout/General Manager of the Iowa Wolves, Nick Restifo to Senior Basketball Operations Analyst and Troy Sutton to Head Strength and Conditioning Coach.

The team has also named Cole Fisher as Basketball Operations Analyst, Kurt Joseph as Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach and Danny Wilson as Assistant Equipment Manager.

Checovich enters his sixth season with the Timberwolves after spending the last two years as Manager of Basketball Operations where he helped coordinate the team’s college scouting efforts in preparation for the NBA Draft. Prior to joining Minnesota, he spent one season as Basketball Operations Intern with the Maine Red Claws. Originally from New Hampshire, Checovich played four years of collegiate basketball at Colgate University before earning his law degree from Villanova University School of Law.

Restifo originally joined the Timberwolves in January 2017 as a Basketball Operations Analyst. Prior to joining the Wolves, he was an Associate Data Scientist, Advanced Analytics at Darden Restaurants while also spending time as a writer for and as a Basketball Analytics Coordinator at the University of New Haven.

Sutton is entering his third season with the Timberwolves, first in his position as Head Strength and Conditioning Coach after serving as the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach the previous two seasons. His 14+ year career has included stops with Northwestern and Ohio State, most recently serving as the Assistant Director of Sports Performance at Northwestern under Head Strength Coach Jay Hooten.

Fisher joins Minnesota’s analytics staff after internships with the Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors over the last year. In addition, Fisher has also created a web application to help accurately predict future NBA success for current G League players, as well as other web applications.

Joseph joins the Timberwolves after spending last season as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Iowa Wolves, Minnesota’s G League affiliate. Prior to joining the Wolves, Joseph was a weight room assistant with the New York Knicks, where his duties consisted of aiding in team practice, implementing the strength and conditioning program, implementing all prehab and corrective exercise protocols as directed.

Wilson spent the last two seasons as the Head Equipment/Clubhouse Manager for the Saint Paul Saints. Wilson has also served as a Locker Room Assistant during Timberwolves home games since 2000, assisting both the home and visiting teams and referees with their needs before, during and after games.

Jimmy Butler wants out of Minnesota. The Timberwolves are looking into making it happen. Here’s the Miami Herald with the latest:

Heat, Timberwolves discussing a Jimmy Butler trade

The Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves continued discussing a trade involving disgruntled guard Jimmy Butler on Wednesday amid a New York Times report that Butler has informed the Timberwolves that he would prefer to be traded Miami.

The Heat, Wolves and other teams have discussed various permutations in the Heat’s aggressive pursuit of a trade for the four-time All-Star, who has asked for a trade and informed the Timberwolves that he would not re-sign with them as a free agent next summer.

An executive with another Eastern Conference team said he believes Miami is the leading contender for Butler but that wasn’t based on anything the Wolves have told him.

Full article

Timberwolves sign Darius Johnson-Odom and Jonathan Stark

The Minnesota Timberwolves have signed guards Darius Johnson-Odom and Jonathan Stark.

The signings are likely non-guaranteed deals that merely bring the two players to training camp.

Johnson-Odom, 28, spent the 2017-18 season with Italy’s Vanoli Cremona, averaging 18.7 points 3.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 29 games. He spent parts of two seasons in the NBA, playing in three games for Philadelphia in 2013-14 and four games for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012-13. Johnson-Odom has also played professionally overseas in Italy, Greece, Turkey, China and Russia as well as two seasons in the NBA G League.

Stark, 23, played with the Timberwolves’ entry in the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League, averaging 8.2 points, 2.0 rebounds,1.8 assists and 17.0 minutes in five games. He played his college basketball at Tulane (2013-15) and Murray State (2016-18). As a senior with the Racers, Stark was named Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Player of the Year after averaging 21.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.3 steals in 32 games. He was the 2018 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament MVP and was named First Team All-Ohio Valley Conference in 2017 and 2018.

With today’s signings, the Wolves have finalized the team’s training camp roster at 18 players.

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced additions to the team’s coaching staff for the upcoming season, naming Malik Allen and Larry Greer as Assistant Coaches, Pat Zipfel as Advance Scout, and Brian Randle as Assistant Video Coordinator.

The team also announced it has promoted Daisuke Yoshimoto to Special Assistant to the President of Basketball Operations/Player Development Coach, Steve Molina to Video Coordinator and Kwadzo Ahelegbe to Assistant Video Coordinator.

Allen joins the Timberwolves after spending the last four seasons as an Assistant Coach with the Detroit Pistons. He finished a 10-year playing career in 2011, having played in 478 career games with Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Miami, Milwaukee, New Jersey and Orlando. He averaged 4.9 points and 2.8 rebounds in 15.2 minutes per game during his playing career. A native of Willingboro, N.J., Allen played four years at Villanova University.

Greer moves to the Timberwolves bench after spending last season as the team’s Advance Scout. His NBA career has included stops in Houston (2005-07), Portland (2007-12) and Oklahoma City (2015-17). Greer’s background also includes 17 seasons as an Assistant Coach in the college ranks with stops at Arizona State University (2012-15), Boston University (1994-2003), Brandeis University (1989-92) and Wright State University (2003-05). His brother, Andy, is also an assistant on Coach Thibodeau’s staff.

Zipfel rejoins the Timberwolves after spending the last three seasons as the Head Coach at Mansfield University. Zipfel’s career has included stints as Advance Scout under Coach Thibodeau with the Chicago Bulls from 2013-15. Prior to joining Thibodeau’s staff with the Bulls, Zipfel was an Advance Scout on Rick Adelman’s staff with the Timberwolves. His NBA career has also included stops with the Houston Rockets (2007-11), Portland Trail Blazers (2004-07) and L.A. Clippers (2000-03).

Randle joins the Timberwolves’ video department after spending the last 10 seasons overseas playing professionally in Germany, Israel and Italy, including reaching the Eurocup Final Four with Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem in Israel last season. Randle was a student-athlete at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, being named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team in 2006.

Yoshimoto has spent the last two seasons as Special Assistant to the President of Basketball Operations. He joined the Timberwolves in 2016 after working in the video departments in Chicago, Denver and New Jersey.

Molina started with the Timberwolves prior to last season after working as an intern with the Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76ers. A graduate from Marquette University, Molina was a student manager during his four years in Milwaukee.

Ahelegbe joined the Timberwolves prior to last season after playing professionally overseas after college. A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Ahelegbe was named the Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2011.

Timberwolves center Justin Patton out after foot injury

Minnesota Timberwolves center Justin Patton will be sidelined indefinitely after suffering an injury to his right foot during a recent workout. Surgery will be scheduled for the near future. Further updates to his progress will be issued when appropriate.

Patton, 6-11, played in one game for Minnesota in 2017-18, totaling two points and one steal in just under four minutes of action on April 1, 2018 vs. Utah. Patton appeared in 38 games for the Iowa Wolves, Minnesota’s G League affiliate, starting 28 of those and averaging 12.7 points on 47.5% shooting from the field. He also averaged 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 23.1 minutes a game.

The Wolves acquired the draft rights to Patton (selected 16th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft), along with Jimmy Butler, on June 22, 2017 from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the draft rights to Lauri Markkanen, the 7th overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft.

The Timberwolves are a fascinating team right now. They won a solid but unspectacular 47 games last season, squeezing into the playoffs for a quick stint in the postseason. On paper, they should certainly keep improving. They boast a quality starting lineup, and several of their best players are young and presumably still improving. But Jimmy Butler’s future with the team will be a looming story throughout the next year — or until something happens to put an end to the speculation. Here’s the St Paul Pioneer Press reporting:

Timberwolves all-star guard Jimmy Butler and coach Tom Thibodeau will meet early this week to discuss the upcoming season and thoughts on the team, a source confirmed Saturday.

The Athletic was the first to report the meeting.

But there’s no reason to believe this is some type of make-or-break moment that will determine Butler’s future in Minnesota. While nothing can ever be ruled out, this meeting isn’t expected to deliver anything of major consequence.

There’s been a lot of drama surrounding the Timberwolves this offseason — some of which should subside once training camp starts in nine days. Much of it has involved Butler.

Full article

Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune with a Timberwolves injury report that will presumably be confirmed by the team soon:

After two surgeries on his left foot cost him two summer-league and one training camp experiences, Timberwolves center Justin Patton now has broken his right foot in pre-camp workouts.

Patton will undergo surgery to repair that right foot in the coming days, a source with knowledge of the injury said.

Training camp begins Sept. 25, and Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau had been hopeful that Patton would be cleared for contact practice by then.

Full article

Timberwolves sign Luol Deng

The Minnesota Timberwolves yesterday signed forward Luol Deng.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Deng “will get a one-year, $2.4 million deal — the veteran’s minimum — from the Wolves. Deng recently reached a contract settlement with the Los Angeles Lakers on the final two remaining years of a massive $72 million contract he signed in summer 2016. That made him an unrestricted free agent and he chose to reunite with his former coach from Chicago. The Wolves tried to sign him in 2016, but offered a two-year deal compared to the Lakers’ four.”

A 14-year NBA veteran, Deng has appeared in 880 career games (826 starts) over 14 seasons with Chicago, Miami, Cleveland and L.A. Lakers. Over his career he owns averages of 15.0 points on 45.5% shooting, 6.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals per game. Deng played under Head Coach Tom Thibodeau for three-plus seasons (234 games) in Chicago from 2010-14, averaging 16.8 points and 6.2 rebounds during the stretch. Under Thibodeau’s tutelage, Deng was named to the NBA All-Star Game in 2012 and 2013, as well as earning a spot on the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2012.

More from the Star Tribune: “He joins former Bulls teammates Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose and gives the Wolves another two-way player who can guard multiple positions, including both forward spots. ”

Deng has appeared in seven different postseasons between Chicago and Miami, including reaching the Eastern Conference Finals with Thibodeau and the Bulls in 2010-11. Deng has averaged 14.6 points on 45.5% shooting in 62 postseason contests (56 starts) over those seven seasons.

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.

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