Category: 2011 Offseason

Wolves interview Porter


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As the lockout continues, Kahn isn’t putting a halt to his work. According to Pro Basketball Talk, the Wolves officially interviewed their first candidate for their newly opened head coaching position.

Former Timberwolves player and former Milwaukee and Portland head coach Terry Porter today is the first candidate to formally interview for the team’s head-coaching job, according to league sources.

(Wolves GM) David Kahn has made background research calls and talked by phone to at least one other candidate — Don Nelson — but Porter is the first to come to town to interview with Kahn and likely owner Glen Taylor.

At least the first official candidate isn’t a joke. That shows that Kahn and Taylor are serious about bringing in a consummate professional for the job. As for Porter actually fitting in or not, the former T-Wolves guard would be a good fit, in my opinion. He’s been known to run at a higher tempo and he’s highly respectable in the league. Only problem is his teams in the past have never played great defense and his record as a head coach isn’t anything to drool over.

Although he may not be nearly as qualified, or even as glamorous because of his name, as Don Nelson, fans should be content with the fact that Porter is a candidate. He’s a good, good man.

Breaking News: Michael Beasley Smokes


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Beasley in trouble, again.

The sky is blue. Grass is green. Summer is hot.

And, in a related story, Michael Beasley was cited for marijuana possession. Duhhhh.

From The Star Tribune:

Officers who stopped Beasley, 22, smelled marijuana in the car and found slightly more than a half-ounce in the vehicle, Boebroom said.

Beasley, who was not under the influence, was cited and released, the captain said. Beasley lives in Orono, west of where he was stopped.

So there you have it, folks. To everyone who claimed that there would be an increase in crime while both the NFL and NBA were locked out, your evidence is here, because clearly Michael Beasley wouldn’t be in possession of marijuana if the season were in full swing.

But this could be a serious offense at Beasley’s expense, if you think about it. The Wolves just drafted Derrick Williams, who some think could be the only star from a very weak class, and all signs point to him coming off the bench in place of Beasley to start the season. But if Beasley continues his juvenile behavior, he could easily watch helplessly as the level-headed and coachable Williams takes his starting spot like that. Or, ever worse, be traded because his delinquent ways have still not changed.

Or this could be just a minor speed bump in the road and make almost no difference with bigger things at stake, you know, like a lockout.

I’d be very curious what the Vegas odds would have been for Beasley being the first NBA player to be arrested for a fairly minor incident during the lockout. (Tim Duncan would be last.) You know, now that Metta WorldPeace is a upstanding citizen, and Stephen Jackson won’t be arrested until he snaps and kills somebody. Unfortunately, Nate Robinson beat B-Easy to the punch. Ah well. Better luck next time, Beas.

Gilbert Arenas: Professor of Economics


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Take a deep breath. I need you to breathe. Those of you with heart problems should probably step slowly away from your computer and allow a trusted family member to exit and go to a different website before you continue your internet browsing.

A player in the NBA recently released a series of tweets explaining the NBA lockout to those of us not as mentally gifted as Larry Coon and Zach Lowe. He explained things succinctly, without frills and words that only an Economics major would understand, like “amortizing assets” or “batrachophagous.” (Ok, I made the last one up. It really means “someone who eats frogs.”) Besides that last sentence, none of this is strange.

The strange part is this: He was the guy who thought the picture below was a good idea.

gilbert-playing-guns-huddle.jpg (660×468)

Gilbert Arenas: The Lockout Guru.

From SB Nation:

For the people who don’t know why the’yre lockin out… I’ll explain it in real people terms.Lakers, Dallas, Miami, Knicks, Magic, Bulls, Boston, and a few others always have the best chance at the top free agents due to city and money. So the smaller cities team can’t compete. So they can never get better and they’re always losing money. So since they cant control each other spending money on players, they want us to do it for them by signing a new deal. It’s that simple.

All the older owners have made their money and selling to new buyers, and the new buyers are getting killed in these small cities. But no matter what deal gets done, free agents are gonna go to the same cities ANYWAY. That’s why the same teams stay good and the same teams stay bad. The owners with the most money will try to buy the best players.

So like the Lakers just signed a 175 million dollar TV deal. But they don’t want to share that with the rest, they want US to do it. I know people are like, “You make 20 [million] and are not worth it…” TRUE. But the man who paid me thought I was too him. You’re worth what someone gives you.

There’s SO much more on the SB Nation link above, and you should definitely read it. It’s full of insightful comments, examples, and explanations, all from Agent Zero. If you are one of the people making the “millionaires fighting billionaires” argument about the lockout, this should help to explain things from the millionaires’ perspective.

Larry Coon and the NBA's Economy


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What we have here is an NBA economist. Larry Coon knows the old CBA as good as anyone and certainly understands how it affects to NBA teams.

David Stern and the owners are stating that the league is losing money, even at a time like this where basketball hasn’t been this popular since the Jordan era. Although this may be true for plenty of small market teams, especially the Minnesota Timberwolves, Coon dives deep into these “losses” and questions whether they’re legitimate or not.

Take a look.

Doomsday: The NBA Lockout edition


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Well, here we are. Fans and bloggers alike are running around like they’ve been beheaded like a chicken. Not really, but this is a real mess, regardless.

So the NBA will lock out its players, a long-expected move that puts the 2011-12 season in jeopardy and comes as the NFL is trying to end its own work stoppage that began in March.

The latest lockout begins at 12:01 EDT on Friday. It will last until players and owners can agree on a new collective bargaining agreement, one owners demand must give all teams a chance to profit.

Everyone agrees that this couldn’t have come at a worse time. The NBA just came off one of its best seasons in decades that ended with the ultimate American comic book story ending of good over evil, all while the good team’s lone superhero emerged victorious, officially inscribing his legacy in stone. Honestly, what could have gone better, besides a successful Wolves’ season of course?

Now we just have to sit and wait and hope for the best. At least we have football to look forward… Oh, wait. Is it just me or did I miss some phenomenon of some demonic, lockout bug that came in, poised to suck the fun right out of our key means of entertainment and, for some, a lifestyle, and gnawed on the NBA’s and NFL’s reason to negotiate? It sure seems that way.

Anyways, the world’s not over, especially here at Howlin’ T-Wolf. We will continue to do our best, giving you all the up-to-date news on the lockout and, of course, anything and everything Minnesota Timberwolves that surfaces during the downtime. So continue to check back here for a fresh perspective on your Minnesota Timberwolves.

We’ll only be waiting in a lockout for a little while, right?

Howlin' T-Wolf's Mock Draft 3.0


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Here it is, the final version of Howlin’ T-Wolf’s Mock Draft series. This time Tom and I switched off every two picks, thus, again, achieving the widest range of opinions for each team’s needs/thoughts as possible.

Enjoy!

1Nerlens NoelKentuckyCenter7'0"206 lbs

Rubio-mania and all its glory


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Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves poses for portraits on June 21, 2011 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The madness has begun...

It all started when the Spanish Savior set foot onto a 15-hour flight to the MSP International Airport Monday afternoon. Greeted by a couple hundred fans, I’m sure the many not decked out in Wolves gear thought Paul McCartney was in town, or even the ghost of John Lennon, judging by the frenzied stir of the massed crowd. No, no, it’s just Ricky and his one-man boy-band.

The madness continued as Ricky’s day grew more hectic by the second. First it was a tour of the city, then the Target Center, then dinner with select season ticket holders. You’d think it’d be hard for the phenom to even catch his breath amongst the madness, but he did it all. He even had time for a late-night workout, which Kahn called more intense than just your average workout. “I came to play basketball,” Ricky said. And so he did.

Tuesday came the major press conference that seemed to catch the whole world’s attention in all of it’s overhyped ways. I was in attendance and didn’t believe it was as large of a spectacle, but I digress. After that was a more in-depth media session and a photo shoot and a meet-and-greet with the Taylor family.

It’s all beginning to make my head twirl. I may even be seasick from it all. Rubio-mania is in full-effect and it’s rejuvenated the Twin Cities’ interest in basketball since the K.G. era. After all, that is what Rubio was supposed to do, right? The Wolves have failed to obtain that face of the franchise since Garnett’s departure, and with it went all interest in Timberwolves’ basketball. Ticket sales slipped, interest in seeing the team fell too. There was a time where many had trouble even naming 2-3 players on the team! It was horrible.

But that’s all over now, right? The Savior is here. We can sit back and rest as Rubio takes the heavy weight of this franchise’s losing ways on his shoulders and turns it all around for the better.

Not so fast.

Ricky is a mighty fine player, and one to certainly get excited to see (Wolves have sold over 500 season ticket packages since Rubio’s arrival, most since 2004.) He’s done great things in Europe since becoming a pro at the tender age of 14 (I think I was coming off the bench for my 8th grade B-team at that age.) But stats don’t lie. Ricky had a miserable season in Barcelona, riddled by injuries and a benching come postseason time. It wasn’t all bad, seeing they did win the title and all, but it wasn’t that uplifting, glorifying moment many had hoped for (Rubio leads Barcelona to a Championship with a 15-15-5 performance in the final game! Wow, look at him go!) Now he’s just looking for that fresh start and to live out his “dream” by being in the NBA.

But one really has to call to question how good this kid will be. And will he really be able to turn this franchise around? I have my doubts, as should you. Ricky will be a rookie in the NBA next season at 20 years old. He’ll be playing alongside some young, albeit talented, but very young and inexperienced players like Michael Beasley, Kevin Love and Anthony Randolph. He also seems to be missing a coach, a true leader and mentor. The team, despite looking a tad better than last year’s already with a much brighter hope for the future, is still in shambles and in need of a major tune-up. It’s safe to say that Minnesota is no Barcelona. Not. Even. Close.

The atmosphere and aura of the Minnesota Timberwolves has never been great. There’s always been that piece that’s missing, even back in ’03-’04. This ’11-’12 team still has major holes they need to fill before turning it around, and it’s certainly not fair to put all the expectations along with that added pressure onto a mere rookie such as Ricky. Rubio-mania, though, with all of its excitement and glam has transformed the Twin Cities back into basketball lovers. But what we all need to do now is sit back and, instead of relaxing and letting Ricky go to work, re-evaluate the situation altogether: Ricky is here, he should be good, but don’t expect him to turn it all around singlehandedly. Just don’t do it.

Rubio-mania has been a blast. It’s time to snap back into reality and put some faith in this team and its front office and not overdo it with the high expectations on such a young talent. You’ll never know if they’ll ever be met, so don’t put yourself up higher because the drop will only hurt worse, if it were to come.

Waning through the rumors


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UPDATE: As time has progressed, the rumors are whizzing by faster then ever before. The draft is just around the corner and there’s no denying the Wolves are listening to offers around the league. Here are just a few more rumors sliding down through the grapevine. Let’s review:

Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol:

The Lakers seem irritable. They failed to accomplish their goals this past season and Kobe Bryant isn’t getting any younger. But if the rumor that they’re actually dangling their second-best player is true, then it seems they’ve gotten desperate. Very desperate indeed.

Gasol is not the best player on the Lakers, but he’s certainly been a major piece to their success. He started all 82 games last season with no real injuries and posted nearly 19 points a night along with 10 boards, even at 31 years old. He’s as efficient as it comes and is what I think keeps Kobe from running off the track and turning L.A. into a train-wrecked, one-dimensional offense on a nightly basis. But, with Phil Jackson out as head coach, Gasol’s role in the offense may soon be limited as they’re triangle sets could be inched out of the equation by Mike Brown. The Lakers may now pair they’re desperate needs with the aging Gasol’s potentially limited offensive role and turn it into youth, draft picks and a new future in L.A. After all, dynasties must rebuild after some time; they don’t last forever.

As for Minnesota, I think they’d be reluctant to make this deal happen… That’s if they pay the right price for it. Kevin Love is deemed nearly untouchable right now and newest reports say the Wolves are falling more in love with the #2 pick than ever before and plan to keep it. But if the right offer presents itself, they’ll deal it, and fast. Gasol would fit nicely along next to fellow Spaniard, Ricky Rubio, as he eases himself into transitioning to the NBA. Gasol would be that mentor for Ricky, which would be great, and be a great locker room presence for the rest of the team.

So, even though I highly don’t see this deal getting done, the Wolves could really use it. It’d bring some star-power and leadership back to the Twin Cities and fulfill that ultimate need of a veteran big man. APPROVED.

Andrew Bogut:

Andrew Bogut

This rumor just started a few days ago and could perhaps be the one to trump ‘em all. Maybe. Although he’s had health issues in the past, Bogut played very well for the Bucks last season. He averaged a double-double with nearly 13 points a game and 11 rebounds and also led the league in blocks (2.6 bpg). He’s one of the few pure, prototypical defensive-minded centers in the league, which must be highly desirable.

Bogut coming to the Wolves would mean two things: 1) They’d have a legit defensive stopper in the paint to help Love inside; and 2) They’d finally have that franchise center to build around. Bogut, since coming into the league in ’05, has really improved his game from year-to-year. He’s never really changed who he is but has adapted his game to establish himself as a dominant, not over-powering though, center in the league.

This deal also comes with a bonus on the side and that’s that #10 pick. Any deal that acquires a veteran big man and allows the Wolves to stay in the lottery is a win-win. Also, projected to go around this pick are sure-fire needs like Alec Burks and Klay Thompson. Both players are pure shooting guards and would plug a gaping whole at the 2 for the Wolves. Burks would be a better fit given his scoring ability, especially off-the-dribble and at the rim, but Thompson’s shooting efficiency would be just as welcome and embraced warmly. Either way, it seems like this trade couldn’t go wrong for the Wolves, especially if Bogut stayed healthy. APPROVED.

Marcin Gortat

Marcin Gortat:

Seemingly enough, according to the newest rumors, the Wolves are getting their wish granted for a veteran big man. The latest rumors have Chris Kaman, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bogut on the docket. Next on the list: Marcin Gortat.

Although it’s my least favorite named deal out there, it wouldn’t be a bad one. Gortat is a talented center with his best years still ahead of him. After being traded to Phoenix from Orlando at this year’s deadline, Gortat thrived being the main attraction at center after being stuck behind Dwight Howard. He’s showed the league he can be a monster in the paint and will likely continue to do so.

Now let me explain why this trade isn’t my favorite. Gortat is only known for his big body and offensive lethality. He’s not the defensive menace the Wolves are craving in the paint. Honestly, I’d say he’s no better than Darko on the defensive end. Sure his offense would be a tremendous plus, but do we really need yet another liability on the defensive end? Let me answer: No.

There are ways to sweeten this deal on the Wolves end. The supposed trade is #13 + Gortat for the #2 pick, but if the Wolves could somehow throw fillers in (Flynn/Ridnour, Pek/Darko, Webster) and pry Nash out of the desert, it would be well worth the lack of defense coming our way. It would satisfy the fan base’s desire for a star and give Rubio that much-needed mentor while filling that need for a starting center. Nash/Rubio, Wes, Beas, Love and Gortat along with whom we get at #13 would be great. But that’s certainly far’ fetched. For now, I’ll simply call it DENIED.

Click here to review a few other rumors that have been floating around for weeks now.