• Two sources have now surfaced expressing the Wolves’ interest in free agent forward Luol Deng.

    Marc Stein of the New York Times was first to report on the team’s interest in Deng, stating that they’ve “launched their planned pursuit” earlier today.

    Shams Charania of the Athletic later added that the two sides will meet “within the next week” and discuss a potential deal.

    President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau hasn’t been coy about his desire for veteran leadership and he’s typically gone back to his Chicago days for answers.

    Deng was waived and eventually bought-out by the Lakers two years into a four-year $72 million contract. He played in 57 games during his stint in Los Angeles, including just one lone game last season. A double-figure scorer for 12 consecutive seasons to begin his career, he averaged just 7.5 the last two years.

    Deng was at his peak when playing under Thibs, which included his two All-Star appearances, but that was four years ago. Now at age 33 it’s fair to wonder just how much is left in the tank after a number of grinding seasons in Chicago. Before Jimmy Butler became Thibodeau’s horse, it was Deng that held the honor.

    The two sides showing interest in one another isn’t shocking. Among all of Deng’s possible options on the market, his rapport with Thibs and path to playing time may be easier to see in Minnesota. He still has a strong desire to play too, as seen by the $7.5 million he agreed to gave back to the Lakers when he could have just rode out the final two years of his contract on the bench (Ramona Shelburne of ESPN outlines his buyout here). It’s likely just a matter of filing paperwork at this point.


    UPDATE:

    After first showing mutual interest last week, the two sides have now come to a contract agreement according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

    Shams Charania reports that the deal will be worth $2.4 million over one year. With his buyout from the Lakers, Deng sacrificed more than $5 million to have a chance to play this season, and he gets to do so with his former coach in what should feel like a familiar environment.

    His fit at this time remains unclear. He’s spent the majority of the last two seasons parked on the bench in Los Angeles after some misguided management issues, so perhaps he’s as fresh as he’s ever been, but it remains to be seen what he can still provide on the court. Deng could provide minutes at the three and the four, depending on matchups, allowing the Wolves to have some versatility if they want to play big or a bit smaller. He could also provide good leadership off the bench and ideally work closely with the young players.

    The player who takes the biggest hit is probably rookie Keita Bates-Diop, although realistically Thibs wasn’t going to give him major minutes anyway. This also could be bad new for sharpshooting wing James Nunnally, who signed a non-guaranteed deal with the Wolves last month. His spot on the roster could be in jeopardy if the Wolves creep over the tax by adding any additional players (Joakim Noah might be out there soon). They are currently $1.36 million under the tax line.

    Make no mistake, Thibs didn’t sign Deng to only act as a second coach and leader. He will get minutes at the expense of the younger players on the roster, at least to open the season, and he’d be first in line should Andrew Wiggins or Jimmy Butler have to miss any time. As of now he’s probably slotted in next to Derrick Rose and Anthony Tolliver (and hopefully Tyus Jones) as the main contributors off the bench.

    The signing is unsurprising, though the fit is still a question mark.


    Update:

    The Timberwolves have confirmed the signing.

Fantasy News

  • Anthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans

    Appearing on the Stadium Sports Network last night, Shams Charania said that Anthony Davis doesn’t view the Celtics as a long-term destination.

    Does it really matter at this point? AD, during the All-Star weekend, mentioned that all 29 NBA teams other than the Pelicans are on his list to land when he becomes trade eligible again this summer. Shams meanwhile insists that his preferred destinations are only the Lakers, the Clippers, the Knicks, and the Bucks. The trade talk can wait until the offseason but for now, it remains to be seen whether AD plays another game for the Pelicans, something that will drastically impact the value of players like Jahlil Okafor, Julius Randle, Kenrich Williams and Cheick Diallo for the rest of the season.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Jordan Sibert - G - Atlanta Hawks

    Chris Kirschner of The Athletic is reporting that the Hawks are signing guard Jordan Sibert to a 10-day contract.

    The former Dayton guard has been playing in the G League for the Erie BayHawks where in 34 games he averaged 15.0 points, 1.9 assists and 1.4 steals. The departure of Jeremy Lin and the trade of Tyler Dorsey has opened up some minutes in Atlanta’s backcourt so Sibert might deserve a look in very deep leagues.

    Source: Chris Kirschner on Twitter

  • Spencer Dinwiddie - G - Brooklyn Nets

    Kenny Atkinson was noncommittal about whether Spencer Dinwiddie would be back by the time the Nets embark on a 7-city, 17-day road trip that starts on March 13th.

    Dinwiddie is still recovering from thumb surgery he had on January 28th but he’s been working out on the court, dribbling with his off hand. Just to be clear, there hasn’t been an official medical update from the Nets yet so this is more of speculation on Atkinson’s part. With fantasy playoffs rapidly approaching, managers will have to make a tough decision on whether to hold on to Dinwiddie, but we should have a more concrete update on his status at some point in the next few days.

    Source: Brian Lewis on Twitter

  • Dwight Howard - C - Washington Wizards

    Dwight Howard will return to Washington D.C. and start on-court work on Wednesday.

    Dwight has been recovering from November spine surgery, and it's good to see him progressing. He's still a few steps away from playing, and with the injuries he's been dealing with this season, it's hard to see him being useful outside of deep free throw punt teams. More likely, the greatest impact he'll have is eventually taking a few minutes from Thomas Bryant and Bobby Portis.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Henry Ellenson - F - New York Knicks

    Henry Ellenson plans to sign a 10-day contract with the Knicks.

    Ellenson has shown promise at times, but he has never really put together any fantasy-relevant stretches. Leave him on the wire for now, but it's not impossible to imagine a scenario where the tanking Knicks are missing or sitting a couple bigs, giving Ellenson some decent run.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Clint Capela - C - Houston Rockets

    Clint Capela (thumb) returned to practice on Tuesday with no limitations, which could determine his playing status for Thursday's game against the Lakers.

    Capela underwent surgery on January 17 and was initially given a 4-to-6 week timetable, so this would be at the early end of a return. The fact that he is returning to practice without any limitations is a great sign for owners, meaning a return is imminent. Watch out for the Rockets injury report on Wednesday.

    Source: Jonathan Feigen on Twitter

  • Jodie Meeks - G - Toronto Raptors

    Jodie Meeks is signing a 10-day contract with the Raptors, per Adrian Wojnarowski.

    Meeks was waived by the Bucks following the conclusion of his 25-game suspension for violating the league's anti-drug program. He hasn't played since last season with Washington and is unlikely to see much action with Toronto. He'll give the team some extra shooting when he does see the floor.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Jared Dudley - F - Brooklyn Nets

    Jared Dudley (left hamstring strain) was scheduled to be re-evaluated on Tuesday.

    Dudley has already made it known that he's planning to return right out of the All-Star break, so unless today's checkup revealed some kind of further issue we're expecting him to be ready for Brooklyn's two games this week. His biggest fantasy impact will be taking minutes from more intriguing players.

    Source: Greg Logan on Twitter

  • Caris LeVert - G - Brooklyn Nets

    Caris LeVert will undergo an evaluation from the Nets medical staff on Tuesday.

    There's no sign of any setbacks from LeVert but the team will obviously keep a close eye on him after he's returned from a dislocated foot. This shouldn't be anything more than routine maintenance, so fantasy owners don't need to worry about it.

    Source: Greg Logan on Twitter

  • Ray Spalding - F - Phoenix Suns

    The Suns are expected to sign Ray Spalding to a 10-day contract.

    Spalding was the 56th pick in last summer's draft but only appeared in one NBA game this season with the Mavs. He was waived at the trade deadline with Dallas taking on one more player than they sent away, and will look to make an impression in a crowded Phoenix rotation. His college numbers (12.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.7 blocks in 27.7 minutes per game) make him a name to file away in deep dynasty leagues.

    Source: Gina Mizell on Twitter