2019 Minnesota Timberwolves Off-Season Thread

BleedGopher

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Another critical off-season for the Wolves has arrived.

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BleedGopher

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It looks like Woj and Jon K have different sources:

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BleedGopher

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per Jon at the Athletic:

At the end of another disappointing season plagued by drama, trades and firings, the Timberwolves are charting a new course.

The team plans to announce on Wednesday morning that it will begin the search for a new president of basketball operations, league sources told The Athletic. That person will be brought in to reshape the front office, help owner Glen Taylor make decisions on the long-term fates of GM Scott Layden and coach Ryan Saunders and unite an organization that has been fractured for years.

The search will begin in earnest in the coming days as the Wolves leap into a crowded field full of teams looking for new executives, including Washington, Phoenix, New Orleans and, suddenly, the Los Angeles Lakers. League observers are watching the situations in several other spots as well, sources said, which would only create more competition for the top talent.

After commissioning the search firm Korn Ferry to aid in a process that landed them Tom...

https://theathletic.com/916089/2019...-in-a-new-president-of-basketball-operations/

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STrib: After losing both a star and their coach, Timberwolves look for stability going forward

Taylor has some decisions to make after the season, and he will begin by searching for a new president of basketball operations, a source told the Star Tribune (which Taylor also owns) late Tuesday night. Nothing has been decided regarding the fate of Layden and Saunders, even if players such as Towns stump for Saunders.

“His understanding of people and his understanding of the game and the little things — I’ll say it again, he’s the greatest communicator possibly in the NBA,” Towns said. “The process has been so much easier when you have a person like that. The culture is getting better every single day.”

The feeling around the Wolves organization that last few weeks was that Saunders was in good standing with Taylor to get the job, according to multiple sources. But the search for a new president could affect that. Saunders’ communication skills and his good relationship with Taylor bode well for his long-term future with the organization. Taylor previously said he did not want the president and coach to be the same person after firing Thibodeau. Of note, a potential candidate for a coaching vacancy, Fred Hoiberg, recently took the job at the University of Nebraska.

One source said Taylor and Saunders speak regularly, including after home games Taylor attends, something that didn’t happen as often with Thibodeau. Those conversations include talk of building toward the future, the source said, and Saunders has said publicly he wants the job.

Veterans Jerryd Bayless and Anthony Tolliver said Saunders’ way of relating to players is rare among NBA coaches.

“That’s not the norm. That’s just the unfortunate reality of the NBA,” Bayless said. “It’s the way it goes sometimes, but Ryan has been great. Scott has been great with me too, honestly. Can’t say anything negative about either of them.”

Added Tolliver: “Within the first week I think we had maybe three conversations, and I said in the last 10 years I think I’ve maybe had three individual conversations with coaches each year total. … It goes a long way.”

Another point in Saunders’ favor is that he likely would come cheap, considering Taylor still has to pay Thibodeau about $16 million for the last two years of his deal.

League sources said a potential contract for Saunders could be a three-year deal — with the third year being an option — worth about $1.5 to $2 million each year.

http://www.startribune.com/after-lo...s-look-for-stability-going-forward/508354802/

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It looks like Woj and Jon K have different sources:

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They really need to get rid of anyone (including Ryan) who was infected by Thibs and Layden.
 

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Britt: Wolves’ offseason to-do list: Navigating this complex maze of major decisions

The Timberwolves earned another gold star in Wednesday night’s season finale, taking a double-digit lead into the final minutes of a road game against an opponent needing a victory to secure home-court advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs. It worked out well for everyone, as the Denver Nuggets rallied to pull out a 99-95 win, and the Wolves could pack their bags for the summer knowing that the threadbare remnants of a once-formidable roster acquitted themselves with due diligence, if not acceptable expertise.

The final tally was 36 wins versus 46 losses for the 2018-19 season, the 11th most successful campaign in the 30-year history of the Timberwolves franchise, and their third-best showing since 2005. Even limbo champions would wince at such a low bar of achievement.

Moving forward, the Timberwolves are in danger of engaging with limbo of a different sort — the kind that creates an aimless, uncertain state of affairs and squanders essential...

https://theathletic.com/909026/2019...list-ryan-saunders-andrew-wiggins-tyus-jones/

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Shama: April Maybe Memorable for Saunders

Ryan Saunders turns 33 on April 28. By then he might have the interim tag removed from his title as the Minnesota Timberwolves head coach. Being named the NBA club’s bench boss might be the best present of his life, but will it happen?

Owner Glen Taylor told Sports Headliners last month he hadn’t interviewed anyone else to be the head coach. Taylor was definitely pro-Saunders several weeks ago.

“…I am hopeful that it all works out for Ryan because I like him as a person particularly, and I want all our people (in the organization) to be successful,” Taylor said in a March 10 Sports Headliners column.

In a recent interview Saunders couldn’t have been more emphatic about wanting to continue as coach. “Absolutely, absolutely,” he told Sports Headliners. “…Hopefully be here for a long time.”

http://shamasportsheadliners.com/

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BleedGopher

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I have no idea why Glen Taylor waited for the season to end to begin his search to run the organization. The position has been open for months. This makes no sense, and now we're competing against other openings, the person could have started and begun to evaluate Saunders, etc.

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Sid: Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor says draft staff will stay while search for basketball boss begins

The Timber*wolves announced this week that they will begin a search for a new president of basketball operations, after Tom Thibodeau was fired Jan. 6.

Whoever is hired will most likely have the final say on whether to keep or replace interim coach Ryan Saunders and General Manager Scott Layden after a difficult 2018-2019 season, which unraveled because of Jimmy Butler's trade demand at the start of the season and later injuries to key players such as forward Robert Covington and guards Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose.

In a recent conversation, Wolves owner Glen Taylor said the team will keep most of their basketball staff in place as they prepare for the NBA draft on June 20.

If the Wolves don't get lucky in the draft lottery on May 14 and move up, they most likely will have the No. 10 pick in the first round and the No. 43 pick in the second.

"Working with the draft is something we started a number of months ago, so these guys have been out there working on that," Taylor said. "We have a team of people working on that. We'll continue to use them since they have done all the work and [are] providing me with information that they have gathered so far."

Taylor said it has been hard to judge Saunders' performance because of injuries and roster issues, but said he has been pleased overall with the performance of the 32-year-old interim coach.

"He has been working under a handicap, mostly because of so many guys being injured," said Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune. "We had three guys we had planned being out there playing considerable time, just being injured and all going through operations. It has been difficult for him, but on the other hand, he has learned to use all the players on the bench and has put a different group out there depending on the situation. I am really proud of what he has done."

How does Taylor analyze Saunders' performance?

"I think one of the things that you can look at is we started out a couple of these [final] games really poorly at the very beginning and then he pulls them back in and adjusts," Taylor said. "You want a coach that looks at the environment he has been placed in and be able to change things on the fly, and I think Ryan has been able to do that. I think that is one of the things that is very important.

"I think No. 2 is you want to look at the faces and listen to your players and see if they are respectful of the coach and listen to him and respond to him. The players all seem to be very positive and liking the leadership he is providing. These are some of the things you have to look at under the conditions we have him coaching."

http://www.startribune.com/timberwo...-search-for-basketball-boss-begins/508465952/

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STrib: Will the new president seek a high-degree-of-difficulty trade of Wiggins and his max contract? What will happen with prospective unrestricted free agents Anthony Tolliver, Luol Deng, Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson and restricted free agent Jones? The Wolves are expecting Jeff Teague to pick up his $19 million player option for next season, but is he long for Minnesota even if he does exercise that option to return?

These questions need answers, but that was on few minds inside that locker room at Pepsi Center. For Gorgui Dieng, the end of the season came with some sadness.

“This is our livelihood,” Dieng said. “If you take basketball out of our lives, there’s nothing left. That’s what we do 24/7. That’s what made us who we are. It’s not fun to watch all the people play at home. We take this as motivation in trying to get better this summer so this time around next year we’ll be getting ready, thinking about where we need to play.”

But Dieng wasn’t pessimistic about the future of this team.

“We can only go up from here,” Dieng said. We’re getting better, staying more together and I think this summer is a big summer for all of us.”

Wiggins said the end of the season was “hard to believe.”

“It was just like, ‘Wow it’s really over,’ ” Wiggins said. “Every year the season seems to go quicker and quicker.”

The 2018-19 season for the Wolves had camaraderie off the court once the dust settled after Butler’s trade but disappointment on the court. The Wolves never were together and fully healthy for a prolonged stretch of the season. Perhaps that changes next season.

But one thing about this season for the Wolves — it was never boring.

http://www.startribune.com/a-grueling-timberwolves-season-is-over-at-last/508466312/

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per Shooter:

It’ll be interesting whether the Sacramento Kings’ firing last week of coach Dave Joerger from Staples, Minn., will affect the Timberwolves’ retention of interim head coach Ryan Saunders. Joerger was a strong Wolves head coach candidate six years ago before deciding to remain in Memphis to coach the Grizzlies.

Wolves owner Glen Taylor will pay Tom Thibodeau $16 million over the next two seasons after firing him this season. Hiring Saunders permanently probably would cost Taylor $6 million over three years. Joerger was making $4 million a year with the Kings, who still owe him that amount for next season.

A Joerger-Saunders coach-associate head coach Wolves scenario wouldn’t seem impossible.

https://www.twincities.com/2019/04/...ngs-new-deal-with-adam-thielen-works-for-all/

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per Sid:

• Timberwolves (and Star Tribune) owner Glen Taylor on the team’s plans for restricted free agent Tyus Jones: “It’s a little bit out of our hands [what kind offer he will get from other teams], but it’s a player we know very well. I think just listening to him that he likes working with [Ryan Saunders] and being in Minnesota.”

http://www.startribune.com/p-j-fleck-says-gophers-need-to-carry-over-momentum/508552032/

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Shama: Spurs Exec Should Be on Wolves Radar

A Sunday notes column tipping off with the in flux Timberwolves organization where owner Glen Taylor is searching for a new president of basketball operations.

Two names who keep coming up as candidates have ties to the organization but there’s someone else who was recommended to Sports Headliners that should be on Taylor’s mind. Calvin Booth, the Denver Nuggets assistant general manager, worked in the Wolves’ organization before going to Denver where the franchise has progressed from missing the playoffs a year ago to now being the No. 2 seed in the NBA’s Western Conference playoffs. Chauncey Billups, the former Timberwolves guard and now an NBA TV commentator, is rumored to be interested in leading Taylor’s front office.

A pro basketball insider, speaking anonymously, believes Billups, because of his outstanding playing career (former NBA Finals MVP) and TV exposure, has an image that would attract quality free agents to Minneapolis and improve the team’s roster. “In the NBA there are a lot of places they (free agents) can land,” he said.

The Holy Grail to success for Taylor, though, might go through San Antonio. Last September the Spurs hired former NBA player and TV commentator Brent Barry as vice president of basketball operations. The Spurs are the gold standard of pro sports organizations with their 22 consecutive runs of qualifying for the NBA playoffs dating back to 1998, including five league championships.

The hiring of Barry by the Spurs was an endorsement that should get Taylor’s attention. “If you hire anybody from San Antonio, you’ve got a winner,” the Sports Headliners source said yesterday. “They (the Wolves) would hit a home run with Barry, a grand slam with Barry.”

http://shamasportsheadliners.com/

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CBS Mock Draft:

10
TIMBERWOLVES
Cam Reddish | Duke | Fr | SF | 6-8

Reddish projected as a top-five pick in the preseason, which suggested Duke was likely to become the first team in history to have three players selected in the top five of the same NBA Draft. But that now seems like an unlikely scenario considering the lackluster and wildly inconsistent freshmen year Reddish just played. The 6-8 forward only shot 35.6 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from 3-point range — and the fact that he missed an NCAA Tournament game for questionable reasons did nothing to eliminate the concern in some circles that Reddish's passion for the sport maybe isn't where it ought to be.

https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/...o-shape-ja-morant-jumps-up-to-no-2-selection/

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CBS Mock Draft:

10
TIMBERWOLVES
Cam Reddish | Duke | Fr | SF | 6-8

Reddish projected as a top-five pick in the preseason, which suggested Duke was likely to become the first team in history to have three players selected in the top five of the same NBA Draft. But that now seems like an unlikely scenario considering the lackluster and wildly inconsistent freshmen year Reddish just played. The 6-8 forward only shot 35.6 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from 3-point range — and the fact that he missed an NCAA Tournament game for questionable reasons did nothing to eliminate the concern in some circles that Reddish's passion for the sport maybe isn't where it ought to be.

https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/...o-shape-ja-morant-jumps-up-to-no-2-selection/

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Hell no!
 

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STrib: Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins remains an enigma heading into the offseason

The Wolves are in the process of searching for a new president of basketball operations, someone who will have a major influence over the roster and Wiggins’ future. His contract would be hard to move now with four years remaining and Wiggins set to make $27.5 million next season, but in the coming years it’s tough to tell what the market might look like and where Wiggins’ value will be.

Along those lines, league sources told the Star Tribune that Calvin Booth, Nuggets assistant general manager, could be a candidate for the opening. Before joining the Nuggets, Booth spent four seasons (2013-17) in the Wolves front office and was director of pro personnel. Booth was in Minnesota for Wiggins’ first three seasons.

Wiggins said the search doesn’t affect his outlook for next season.

“I’m a basketball player. No matter what they do, my job is just to go out there, and that’s what I’m going to do,” Wiggins said. “I can’t control what happens.”

On the court, he can. Perhaps Wiggins can continue his upward trajectory from late in the season, or perhaps he will revert to how he played the rest of the season. His track record makes the latter more likely, but Wiggins was feeling good vibes late in the season.

“The season didn’t end how we wanted it to end,” Wiggins said. “But next year I think will be a great year for us.”

http://www.startribune.com/timberwo...-enigma-heading-into-the-offseason/508623122/

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STrib: Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins remains an enigma heading into the offseason

The Wolves are in the process of searching for a new president of basketball operations, someone who will have a major influence over the roster and Wiggins’ future. His contract would be hard to move now with four years remaining and Wiggins set to make $27.5 million next season, but in the coming years it’s tough to tell what the market might look like and where Wiggins’ value will be.

Along those lines, league sources told the Star Tribune that Calvin Booth, Nuggets assistant general manager, could be a candidate for the opening. Before joining the Nuggets, Booth spent four seasons (2013-17) in the Wolves front office and was director of pro personnel. Booth was in Minnesota for Wiggins’ first three seasons.

Wiggins said the search doesn’t affect his outlook for next season.

“I’m a basketball player. No matter what they do, my job is just to go out there, and that’s what I’m going to do,” Wiggins said. “I can’t control what happens.”

On the court, he can. Perhaps Wiggins can continue his upward trajectory from late in the season, or perhaps he will revert to how he played the rest of the season. His track record makes the latter more likely, but Wiggins was feeling good vibes late in the season.

“The season didn’t end how we wanted it to end,” Wiggins said. “But next year I think will be a great year for us.”

http://www.startribune.com/timberwo...-enigma-heading-into-the-offseason/508623122/

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Another example why Wiggins will never "get it". Such a dud.
 

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STrib: Future of Timberwolves still centers on Karl-Anthony Towns

Late in the Timberwolves season, Karl-Anthony Towns professed optimism about where the Wolves were as a team, even though they had missed the playoffs for the third time in his four pro seasons.

“I think we’re heading up,” Towns said. “You’ve seen the team heading down, not in the best of spots and then you’re seeing it in a good spot. I think we’re going the right direction, from all aspects.”

Towns didn’t say it, but one of the reasons for optimism amid a tempestuous season was Towns’ play, specifically the second half of the season. After signing his maximum, five-year contract extension in September amid the Jimmy Butler trade drama, Towns quieted any lingering doubt over his long-term commitment to the Wolves.

He had a rocky start to the season, and while Towns always downplayed his early struggles having anything to do with Butler, the numbers suggest otherwise. While Butler was still with the team, Towns averaged 19.9 points per game on 46% shooting. Compare that to the rest of the season: 25.3 points per game on 53% shooting.

After Towns returned from a car accident that cost him two games after the All-Star break, his year really took off — even as the Wolves’ playoff hopes crumpled. He averaged 28.1 points and 13.4 rebounds on 53% shooting. It was that stretch that may have earned Towns millions of dollars more on his next contract.

If Towns makes an All-NBA team, it will be his second All-NBA team while he was playing on his rookie contract. That would trigger the so-called “Rose Rule,” named after Wolves free agent Derrick Rose, which says that a player with Towns’ amount of service time could make up to 30% of the salary cap for a single season as opposed to 25% if, among other caveats, he was named MVP once, an All-Star starter or All-NBA twice.

Achieving All-NBA status again would mean making around $190 million as opposed to $156 million, adding a little more stress for the Wolves as it pertains to the salary cap. Towns said contract implications didn’t motivate his second-half surge, which also coincided with interim coach Ryan Saunders getting his promotion in early January. After taking over, Saunders said he wanted the Wolves to play with a faster tempo and shoot more three-pointers.

http://www.startribune.com/future-of-timberwolves-still-centers-around-karl-anthony-towns/508674692/

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per STrib:

Wolves taking look at Winger, Rosas

Two names emerged as potential candidates in the Wolves’ search for a president of basketball operations. ESPN reported the Wolves were set to meet with Clippers General Manager Michael Winger while the Houston Chronicle reported the team also received permission to speak with Rockets Vice President Gersson Rosas.

http://www.startribune.com/timberwolves-front-office-search-update/508674682/

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