May 24, 2019, 1:58 am
It was the year after the somewhat-successful season before. The 2017-18 version of the Timberwolves finally showed signs of life after 13 unlucky seasons where their highest finish in the Western Conference was a disappointing 9th place. The wait was finally over, and the playoffs were here as they took the league by storm and… squeaked into the final playoff spot in the West in a literal win-or-go-home game 82 that took a herculean overtime effort to win… and promptly got swept in a gentlemanly fashion by the Rockets. Well, at least the future was bright, right?
The big Jimmy Butler trade at the 2017 NBA Draft gave the Wolves two rock solid building blocks to move forward with into a better future. It seemed like the pairing of Butler and Tom Thibodeau would last for a long time as we had seen with the peak Bulls squads. And then we found out Jimmy Butler was a total brat. And then we also found out that Tom Thibodeau was secretly not great at his job as president of basketball operations and probably not as likable as we would want.
There were rumblings that Butler wasn’t going to stick around in Minneapolis long-term because apparently Karl-Anthony Towns didn’t care about basketball, followed by an official request for a trade. The trade request roared through the NBA landscape that summer and there was real trouble in fake paradise. The players didn’t want Butler around, but Thibs had no intention of moving on.
Butler put the team in a bad spot by prioritizing either New York team or the Clippers and that cloud hung over the team as we entered the slog of the season wondering who would take the risk on the disgruntled star.
As the 2018-19 season approached, there was a concerted effort by a new suitor for Butler’s services, as the Heat offered what seemed like a nice haul on paper for a potential one-year Butler rental. Josh Richardson was the centerpiece of the deal and Bam Adebayo was a nice complementary piece which seemed to really be a good option to shore up the defensive deficiencies shown by the locked-down face of the franchise in Karl-Anthony Towns. It seemed like a deal would get done but suddenly, Thibodeau wanted more draft picks and Pat Riley said to forget it.
And just like that, a basically completed trade was dead and just like that, we forgot it. Season tip-off came and went and Butler was still there.
Right off the bat, the Wolves were mediocre. Even with Jimmy Buckets in tow (albeit a disinterested version) the team couldn’t string together wins. There was a clear feud between the two best players in a dramatic infidelity scandal that prompted a TMZ-worthy preseason meltdown that allegedly carried through into games that mattered.
Thibs was too stubborn to clear the locker room and Butler was either rested to deal with an “injury” one night or playing 40 minutes the next, making it obvious that the injury was to the clashing egos of Thibodeau (determined to make this work) and Butler (determine to make this not work).
It was November 12th and it seemed like Christmas came early to Minneapolis. The Philadelphia 76ers gave up a strong package to the Wolves for, again, potentially just a Jimmy Butler rental. The return? Robert Covington (underrated, streaky and elite defensively), Dario Saric (maybe overrated, streaky and definitely NOT elite defensively), Jerryd Bayless (somehow finds himself in useful roles if he’s actually healthy) and a 2022 second-round pick (who cares).
Covington was the perfect Thibodeau player: a hard-nosed defender who went all out and could play heavy minutes. Saric was not the perfect Thibodeau player: a youngster who was definitely trending in the right direction offensively but was a defensive liability. It showed on the court as Saric saw his minutes take a tumble in a bench role and Covington was pacing a career-high in minutes… until a serious knee injury derailed him and took the Wolves’ season off the cliff with him.
Thibodeau was without a job shortly after even with a big win over a LeBron-less Lakers squad that same night. At 19-21, there was still a chance for the Wolves to make the dance and get swept by the Warriors, but it just wasn’t to be. Ryan Saunders (son of the late Flip Saunders) entered in an interim capacity and helped the team to an uninspiring 17-25 finish. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the buzz word for this group and this entire season: uninspiring.
Tom Thibodeau started the season in the third year of his five-year deal with a roster that just didn’t fit him from top to bottom. Taj Gibson came in during the previous offseason to add grit to the frontcourt as an extension of the Thibodeau defense-first system. His obsession to rebuild his Bulls squad continued this past summer as he brought in two corpses from his Bulls days, Derrick Rose and Luol Deng. To his credit, Rose turned back the clock and might have a chance to rejuvenate his career. To his discredit, Deng didn’t turn back the clock and is toast.
It was fairly obvious coming into the year that the team needed to improve on the eighth place finish the year before. This needed to be a solid playoff roster for the brass to feel confident going forward with Thibs.
At 19-21 on January 6th, it was clear that ownership was not confident at all with Thibodeau as a coach and in a somewhat surprising move following a 22-point win over the team they were directly chasing for the last Western playoff spot (the Lakers), owner Glen Taylor pulled the plug almost exactly halfway through Thibodeau’s contract.
The reality is, this team just didn’t improve. Defense is the mantra for Thibs and these Wolves teams just didn’t have the personnel that his Bulls rosters had. When the best player on the roster originally struggled with how to rotate on defense and protect the paint (KAT) and the second-best player is actually definitely NOT the second-best player (Andrew Wiggins), it was just time for a new voice to try to change things up.
Initially, it seemed the haste in moving on from Thibodeau was to get a chance at the recently fired Fred Hoiberg, who is philosophically the polar opposite and a true turn of the coin for this franchise. Instead, ownership downplayed that speculation and instead settled on Ryan Saunders, making him the youngest head coach in the NBA at just 32 years old.
The rest of the season went further downhill as a rash of injuries to key pieces (Robert Covington, Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose, among others) kept the Timberwolves well on the outside looking in, but Saunders did enough to earn him a multi-year extension and a chance to overhaul the staff. We’ll be looking at a fresh slate for Saunders with a brand new staff and hopefully a healthier roster.
ADP: 6/6 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 3/3 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 6/5 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 77
2018-2019 Averages: 77 G | 33.0 MP | 24.4 PTS | 1.8 3PM | 12.4 REB | 3.4 AST | 0.9 STL | 1.6 BLK | 3.1 TOV | 0.518 FG% | 0.836 FT%
KAT is such a boring superstar. He just scores 22 and 12 and goes home. He continues to improve the obvious deficiencies in his game, mainly his inability to defend his position consistently at the NBA level. He is just a growing asset who does his job every night without complaints.
He’s so annoyingly boring that he doesn’t even get hurt correctly. KAT missed time for the first time in his NBA career after appearing in his first 303 games, a rare achievement in the era of load management and wounded egos. And what’s more, it wasn’t even an on-court injury that forced him out. Instead, it was a car accident that left KAT with a concussion in mid-February.
What really is there to say about Towns? He’s consistent, he’s reliable, he’s always there and he does the job. He’s cemented as a first-round pick for fantasy purposes and will almost certainly put up the same stat line as he has over the last couple seasons. Expect him to be the fifth- or sixth-best player for fantasy purposes in 2019, because that’s what he’s been for the last three seasons.
ADP: 133/57 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 174/155 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 24/18 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 35
2018-2019 Averages: 35 G | 34.4 MP | 13.3 PTS | 2.4 3PM | 5.5 REB | 1.3 AST | 2.1 STL | 1.3 BLK | 1.3 TOV | 0.431 FG% | 0.764 FT%
All hail Lord Covington! His Lordship provided 35 games of elite fantasy status as a premier 3-and-D player in this league. After spending the first part of the season with the Sixers, Covington was a key piece in the Jimmy Butler trade and fit right in with the defense-first mentality of head coach Tom Thibodeau.
He played heavy minutes while with the Wolves and was looking like a true top-24 option in the long term with his defensive prowess and ability to hit the outside shot. Then, a knee injury knocked him out of action on New Year’s Eve. It seemed like there was a chance Bob Cov would return late in the year for a push to the eighth seed and the right to get mulched by Golden State, but he had some setbacks along the way and didn’t quite make it back.
2019 looks bright for Covington if he returns to the court fully healthy from this bone bruise. He’s locked into a lot of long-range jumpers, defensive stats and weeks where we all wonder if he’s ever shot a basketball before. It’ll be great.
ADP: 93/66 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 197/209 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 97/120 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 42
2018-2019 Averages: 42 G | 30.1 MP | 12.1 PTS | 0.8 3PM | 2.5 REB | 8.2 AST | 1.0 STL | 0.4 BLK | 2.3 TOV | 0.423 FG% | 0.804 FT%
What an odd season for Jeff Teague. It was the worst scoring season Teague has had since becoming a starting point guard in 2012. An eight-year low in points, 3-pointers and shooting percentage was matched by a career-high in assists.
To put the cherry on top of the sundae, the traditionally-healthy Teague missed 40 games across four fairly lengthy absences, missing chunks of six, nine and eight games before shutting it down for good in mid-March as he dealt with left ankle and foot injuries throughout.
Naturally, Teague picked up his 2019-20 player option so he’ll be back to give it another whirl and play for what would likely be his last big contract at age 32. We’ve seen what the good version of Jeff Teague is and it’s a borderline top-50 value. If he’s healthy, we’re there.
ADP: 59/85 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 125/146 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 147/170 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 73
2018-2019 Averages: 73 G | 34.8 MP | 18.1 PTS | 1.6 3PM | 4.8 REB | 2.5 AST | 1.0 STL | 0.7 BLK | 1.9 TOV | 0.412 FG% | 0.699 FT%
Can we just be done with this? This is a fact: Andrew Wiggins is not good for fantasy basketball. This is another fact: Andrew Wiggins is not that good at basketball. The same deficiencies we saw in his game three years ago still persist. It’s incredible how little growth we saw from a former first overall pick over the course of this rookie deal. Now with a bajillion dollars locked up on a new contract (I checked, this is basically the actual number), we’re left holding the bag wondering who Wiggins is. He can score, we’ll admit that. We’ll also admit that he’s inefficient, looks lazy at times and just hasn’t grown as a player over the last couple seasons.
Even though he’s just 24, it seems bleak in May of 2019 to expect anything more than a late-round fantasy option unless we see sweeping changes in his stat set. The big moves can be made in percentages and finding a consistent 3-point stroke and if at least two of those things happen we could see a top-100 asset that’s more than just a volume scorer.
Wiggins will always look like a good player because he can tickle the twine, but when it takes 20 shots to get 20 points, Wiggins owners can go cry in a bathroom stall for 20 minutes and remember we told them so 20 times.
ADP: 138/128 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 167/173 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 106/108 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 51
2018-2019 Averages: 51 G | 27.3 MP | 18.0 PTS | 1.1 3PM | 2.7 REB | 4.3 AST | 0.6 STL | 0.3 BLK | 1.6 TOV | 0.482 FG% | 0.856 FT%
The redemption of Derrick Rose is one of the few inspiring stories from this otherwise humdrum season in Minneapolis. It’s important to recognize special moments for special people and watching Rose come back and find flashes of vintage play was truly heartwarming.
The career-high 50-point outburst to close out October against the Jazz with injured Jeff Teague and pouty Jimmy Butler not participating was unexpected and truly a memory worth cherishing for a long time. At that point, fans of the game of basketball need to realize the perseverance and resilience required to return from his multitude of career-threatening maladies. It’s really a testament to efforts bigger than just the game for him to produce at that level again. At least, until injuries cut his season short and limited him to 51 games.
Herein lies the problem. Injuries have cut seasons short for Rose many times in the past and we’re just not sure if we’re going to get a fully healthy Rose for a full season. The return to relevance means pending UFA Rose will be an asset for a team next season and we wait with bated breath to see where he ends up mainly in hopes that they have a good medical staff to keep his joints intact.
From a statistical standpoint, if he can play 25 minutes a night, we can see shades of a top-100 fantasy play.
ADP: 121/133 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 134/122 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 146/127 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 70
2018-2019 Averages: 70 G | 24.1 MP | 10.8 PTS | 0.2 3PM | 6.6 REB | 1.2 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.5 BLK | 1.0 TOV | 0.566 FG% | 0.757 FT%
Here are some descriptors for Taj Gibson. Gritty. Tough. Defensive-minded. Veteran presence. Leadership. Lacks offensive polish. Not a great rim protector. 34 (soon). Free agent. Will not be back.
Look, Gibson is a fine NBA player and definitely has fantasy appeal as an efficient scorer who can rebound and not make a lot of mistakes. But also look, Gibson is a fine NBA player in the era where teams don’t run at a breakneck pace and leave him panting behind them in his advanced age. He should find a new organization where he can be an important asset in the grand scheme in certain matchups against bigger (and slower) teams.
We saw a season which was a step up from his 2016-17 season with Oklahoma City with better efficiency, but we’re likely done with the peak Gibson of 2017 where he played 33 minutes a game because Tom Thibodeau is flat out in love with him. The new staff will likely move on from Gibson because it’s time for a Dario party.
ADP: 90/87 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 127/128 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 176/175 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 81
2018-2019 Averages: 81 G | 25.0 MP | 10.6 PTS | 1.5 3PM | 5.6 REB | 1.6 AST | 0.6 STL | 0.1 BLK | 1.2 TOV | 0.437 FG% | 0.880 FT%
Speaking of Dario Party (a potential sponsorship situation? Work on it Nintendo.), the upcoming 2019 season really is a make-or-break year for Saric. Covington and Saric were the main pieces in return for Jimmy Butler and Saric really has to show up to bring the Wolves back to relevance.
The 2018 campaign was… okay. It didn’t help that The Homie went from being a starter on a good and growing Sixers team to a backup in Minnesota behind Taj Gibson. He toiled with inconsistent playing time and a career-low minute count, which in turn led to the worst popcorn numbers of his fledgling career.
With Gibson gone, it needs to be Saric going into 2019 as the starting power forward next to KAT. Volume is going to be king and we can see a potential return to top-100 fantasy status.
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 168/151 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 193/168 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 68
2018-2019 Averages: 68 G | 22.9 MP | 6.9 PTS | 0.6 3PM | 2.0 REB | 4.8 AST | 1.2 STL | 0.1 BLK | 0.7 TOV | 0.415 FG% | 0.841 FT%
Talk about benefiting from the injury bug. Jones finally got a serious look running the show for the Wolves with Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose and Jerryd Bayless all on the sideline. An ankle injury slowed him going into the All-Star break, forcing him to miss 13 straight contests, but he came out of the break guns blazing as a top-100 player. The ability is clearly there for Jones to be a serviceable reserve option who can fill in starting duties in a pinch. He’s a good passer and a steady hand running the offense.
What he is not? Signed long-term.
As a restricted free agent, there could definitely be offers coming in for Jones and we’ll need to see how high the Wolves will go to keep him with the uncertain nature of the backcourt outside of Jeff Teague and sophomore wing Josh Okogie. If Jones does stick around for 2019, consider a late-round value play a successful season.
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 187/178 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 237/216 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 76
2018-2019 Averages: 76 G | 13.6 MP | 6.4 PTS | 0.3 3PM | 4.1 REB | 0.9 AST | 0.6 STL | 0.5 BLK | 0.8 TOV | 0.501 FG% | 0.830 FT%
The Wolves paid Gorgui Dieng $15 million this season to play 13.6 minutes per game. That’s not a typo. Let that sink in for a second. It just doesn’t make much sense with Dieng’s defensive capabilities to not pair him with KAT more often at least to even out the minute share in the frontcourt.
The reality is that Taj Gibson is old and Dieng fell out of favor because of Thibodeau’s love affair with anyone who has ever played for him before.
It’s a real shame because this was Dieng’s best per-36 season by a significant margin (We’re talking a 16 and 10 pace with three defensive counters a game. That’s a lock for a top-40 option.). Obviously, we can’t just triple Dieng’s minutes, but he could at least be usable if he can replace some of Gibson’s minutes going forward.
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 189/183 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 233/227 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 74
2018-2019 Averages: 74 G | 23.7 MP | 7.7 PTS | 0.8 3PM | 2.9 REB | 1.2 AST | 1.2 STL | 0.4 BLK | 0.9 TOV | 0.386 FG% | 0.728 FT%
Things Okogie can do well: run and defend. Things Okogie can’t do well: anything at all on offense. Fortunately for him, there’s always a place in the NBA for a player who plays hard and defends his position.
Okogie got a boost in playing time when the entire Wolves’ backcourt took turns dying until the season faded into nothingness and this rookie rose like a phoenix from the ashes to be a top-100 player over the last two months of the year. It’s hard to imagine him being more than a steals specialist on a future (theoretically better) iteration of this roster with a healthy Bob Cov but if he can develop some semblance of an offensive game, we have a chance. Otherwise, we’ll be looking for moments like this on the TV while he sits on the waiver wire.
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 293/284 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 352/332 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 65
2018-2019 Averages: 65 G | 16.6 MP | 5.0 PTS | 1.2 3PM | 2.7 REB | 0.7 AST | 0.3 STL | 0.3 BLK | 0.6 TOV | .382 FG% | 0.783 FT%
It’s hard to root against Anthony Tolliver. He’s just one of those “punch-in and do stuff he’s good at” guys. Unfortunately, he just didn’t get a lot of chances to do that stuff, even with Robert Covington shelved for a lot of the year. With Saric still getting some required attention and Gibson still getting some less-required attention, there just wasn’t enough playing time for Tolliver to be a 3-point specialist.
He figures to land on another team in the offseason and he could find himself in that desired role if he can find 20 minutes.
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 366/375 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 379/397 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 34
2018-2019 Averages: 34 G | 19.3 MP | 6.1 PTS | 0.9 3PM | 1.9 REB | 3.5 AST | 0.5 STL | 0.1 BLK | 0.9 TOV | .357 FG% | 0.571 FT%
If not for major injuries to two important guards, we wouldn’t be having a conversation about a forgettable season from Jerryd Bayless. The shooting was gross, the pink headband choice was grosser, the nine million dollar cap hit was grossest. Outside of a three-week span late in January leading into the All-Star break where Bayless was a streaming option with every guard on the roster dead, we hardly even knew he was playing.
Sometimes it seems like he might be a good idea because he’s a veteran presence who can pass the ball and not look horrendous sometimes, but then we remember he hasn’t been healthy since 2015. He’s not interesting moving forward on a new team as a “break glass in case of emergency” backup who probably hurts himself trying to break the glass anyway.
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 371/363 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 349/332 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 30
2018-2019 Averages: 30 G | 16.8 MP | 5.0 PTS | 0.4 3PM | 2.8 REB | 0.6 AST | 0.6 STL | 0.5 BLK | 0.5 TOV | .423 FG% | 0.643 FT%
Keita Bates-Diop, the Timberwolves’ second round pick in the 2018 draft, didn’t find regular rotation minutes until early March when the injuries were really starting to pile up for the team. However, when the minutes came, he took them and casually jogged with them.
It wasn’t always exciting or special, but KDB showed some promise and an ability to at least be a serviceable back-end bench piece. The fantasy appeal isn’t really there assuming the health of Covington, but minutes could be available behind Covington and Saric if the Wolves fail to address the gap left behind by pending free agents Gibson and Tolliver.
The culture needs to change in Minnesota. This has been a losing culture and a futile organization for more than a decade and it’s time for something new. The coaching staff is going to be revamped going into 2019 and that’ll be the main change for a roster that will look very similar to the 2018 version. The small market syndrome is real, and the reality is that it’ll be very difficult to find a superstar player who wants to come play in Minneapolis. It’s cold and snows in May. This team needs to build internally and via trades to have a contending product on a nightly basis.
Going into summer 2019, the main assets in limbo are essentially the entire backcourt rotation (Tyus Jones, Derrick Rose and Jerryd Bayless) and both backup power forwards (Taj Gibson and Anthony Tolliver). Pending RFA Tyus Jones will be an interesting case because the Wolves don’t actually have any money to spend because Andrew Wiggins is eating up 24.82% of the cap with a base salary that’s about twice as high as it should be. The other fluid asset is the number 11 pick in the 2019 NBA draft, which could be used to target a combo forward who can fill the void left by Taj Gibson.
The rotation for next season doesn’t actually look that bad. Karl-Anthony Towns is there, boringly great. Jeff Teague is there, generally fine. Robert Covington is there, unheralded and royal. Dario Saric is there, a friend to all. Andrew Wiggins is… there. Assuming Tyus Jones is back, Jones, Josh Okogie, Gorgui Dieng, Keita Bates-Diop and whichever kid finds his way on the roster out of the draft rounds out a squad that is not a bad talent group.
Going forward, the Wolves need to make stepwise progression towards being a perennial playoff contender. Championship aspirations are not in the picture right now, but the playoffs are a must.
The unfortunate part is that the Western Conference should once again be a bloodbath. All eight playoff teams from 2018 will be in the fray again, as well as an improving Kings squad, an improving Mavericks squad, a present Suns squad and the dawn of the Zion Williamson era in the Big Easy. There’s also this one guy named LeBron James.
The point is, the path is tough, but this Wolves roster needs to play meaningful basketball in April or we’ll be having this exact same conversation in one calendar year about the uninspiring Minnesota Timberwolves of (insert year here).
June 4, 2020, 2:00 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
The Board of Governors has approved the NBA's 22-team format to restart the 2019-20 season.
The vote was 29-1. It was widely expected that the format would get the go-ahead, even though more than one team didn't fully support the proposed plan, and the NBA has at least settled on what the season will look like once it's able to resume. They have also set the draft lottery for August 25 and the draft for October 15. The biggest hurdles remain anything that has to do with COVID-19, and to this point the league has yet to say anything about those challenges, but there is plenty of forward momentum these days.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
June 3, 2020, 9:23 pmEnes KanterC, Boston Celtics
Sean Deveney reported that "multiple agents say not all players are on board with an NBA return".
One agent said, "Most of the guys are excited, fired up, they want to get back out there. Those are 95 percent of the conversations I have had". There are players that feel the money is not worth putting themselves and their families at risk. Enes Kanter weighed in on the topic, saying "there are some other team's players out there, that they don't want to play. They're like, 'It's just a game. I'm not going to risk my life". It is likely that the high-profile players will still play, but it looks like some role players may not be willing to take the risk to join their team when the NBA season resumes.
June 3, 2020, 4:39 pmDerrick RosePG, Detroit Pistons
The Pistons announced that they plan to reopen team facilities on Thursday, allowing voluntary individual workouts while following all the social-distancing guidelines.
Although the Pistons' season is likely over as they are not one of the 22 teams that will continue to play if the Board of Governors vote to ratify the plan on Thursday, this will allow players to stay in shape for the 2020-21 season which is expected to start in December.
Source: James Edwards III
June 3, 2020, 11:41 amZion WilliamsonPF, New Orleans Pelicans
Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Pelicans, Blazers, Suns, Kings, Spurs and Wizards will be the six non-playoff teams resuming action when the NBA restarts.
This makes complete sense, as they're the only non-playoff teams that can sniff the postseason. Woj backs up an earlier Shams Charania report about a potential play-in tournament for the final playoff spot in each Conference as well. If the ninth seed trails the eighth seed by more than four games when the league's truncated regular season wraps up, the eighth seed makes the playoffs. If the deficit is under four games, however, the two teams will compete in a play-in tournament that is double-elimination for the eighth seed and single-elimination for the ninth.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
June 3, 2020, 11:36 amLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the NBA will have an eight-game regular season for the purposes of playoff seeding upon its return while Shams Charania reports that there will be a play-in tournament for the eighth seed.
This applies to the NBA coming back with 22 teams, as the league's bottom eight are well out of playoff contention and bringing them to Orlando would only negatively affect the league's pursuit for player safety. As for the play-in tournament, Charania describes it as such: "If the ninth seed is more than four games behind the eighth seed, the eighth seed earns the playoff spot; if the ninth seed is four or fewer games behind, then the eighth and ninth seed will enter a play-in tournament that is double-elimination for the eighth seed and single-elimination for ninth." Expect another announcement about the league's format in the coming days.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
June 2, 2020, 10:02 pmCorey BrewerSF, Sacramento Kings
Corey Brewer, a veteran of eight different NBA teams, is still hoping to sign another contract before he calls it a career.
Brewer, 34, seems to think he has enough in the tank for one final stint in the NBA. “We had some talks with a few teams, but nothing really happened. My agent is still working on it, so we’ll see,” Brewer said. “I feel like I can still help a team and I feel like I have a few good years left. But you never know, man." Brewer has not suited up for an NBA team this season and, with a waning jump shot and increased age, his chances of securing another pact in the NBA are pretty unlikely.
June 2, 2020, 9:47 pmDeMarcus CousinsC, Los Angeles Lakers
Kings broadcaster Grant Napear stepped down from his position with the Kings on Tuesday after he said 'All Lives Matter..Every Single One!' when asked about his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement during a Twitter interaction with former Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.
This is the first domino to fall in American professional sports in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement, even if it's a relatively insignificant one. Napear said of himself and the interaction, "I’m not as educated on BLM as I thought I was. I had no idea that when I said 'All Lives Matter' that it was counter to what BLM was trying to get across," he said. "I’m in pain. I’m 60 years old and I still have a lot to learn." The Kings will evidently have to find a new play-by-play man for their radio broadcasts to accompany Doug Christie when games resume.
June 2, 2020, 8:45 pmJohn WallPG, Washington Wizards
John Wall, who has long been rumored to have absolutely zero chance of returning to the court even if the current season is resumed, said in a conference call last week that he feels "110 percent."
Wall and the Wizards both maintain that he will not return to action this season, regardless of the outcome of the vote on Thursday by the NBA Board of Governors. This is good news, obviously, for the team as they set their sights on next season. As of late, trade rumors have been swirling around the franchise's two top assets: Wall and All Star guard Bradley Beal. Moving forward, there is a high possibility that the Wizards will decide between the two, as Beal's contract will expire after next season. Which player will the Wizards keep? Who will they trade, or will they trade them both? They are hoping to have some time to evaluate how the pair plays in tandem early next season, as Wall has missed significant time with a torn left Achilles he suffered during the 2018-19 season. But it may be too late to negotiate an extension with Beal at that point, so they will have to play their cards with extreme care.
Source: The Athletic
June 2, 2020, 8:27 pmBradley BealSG, Washington Wizards
Wes Unseld, a Hall of Famer and Washington Bullets legend, passed away on Tuesday due to complications with pneumonia and other illnesses. He was 74 years old.
An outstanding rebounder, Unseld is also one of only two players to ever be awarded Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in the same season in 1968-69. He guided the Bullets to the NBA Finals four times, winning once in 1978, a series where Unseld took home MVP honors. Hornets' GM and former teammate Mitch Kupchak said of Unseld, “As a teammate, he was tough, dependable and competitive to no end.” Unseld was a fearless competitor and highly respected across the league during his 13 seasons with the Bullets franchise. Former Knicks center and fellow Hall of Famer Willis Reed recently recalled their battles against one another, "He was most consciously a rebounder — he could shoot, but he didn’t emphasize that part of his game — and felt that if he did his job right, by getting the defensive rebound and making the quick outlet pass, they would score quickly.” Unseld was undoubtedly a pioneer for the game of basketball and means a great deal to the city of Washington D.C.
Source: Rick Bonnell on Twitter
June 2, 2020, 7:58 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
ESPN's Adrian Wojanrowski is reporting that Adam Silver and the NBA Board of Governors, who are planning to vote Thursday on how to continue the season, would like the NBA Finals to conclude no later than October 12.
With July 31 being the widely-reported restart date and the league tentatively planning to start 𝘯𝘦𝘹𝘵 season by Christmas Day of this year, it would make sense to crown a league champion as early as possible. The meeting with the NBA Board of Governors on Thursday will (finally) bring some clarity to the rest of the NBA season, as they will hold a vote to decide how to proceed. NBA fans have been waiting since the middle of March for some resolutions. This week will provide them.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter