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Friday , Jan , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

David Kahn ‘absolutely’ certain Rubio will join Wolves next year

Minnesota GM David Kahn called a New York Times report this week on Ricky Rubio "much ado about nothing" and "not worthy of a response." An unnamed source close to Rubio indicated that the point guard wants to play for Boston, New York or Miami when he comes to the NBA. Kahn said he remains "absolutely" certain Rubio will join the Wolves next season after a buyout with his Regal Barcelona team becomes affordable.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Will Ricky Rubio sign with Minnesota? Or, will he force a trade to a larger market?

Simply put, nobody knows. And nobody should be certain. Rubio, himself, is unsure what he’ll do when he can finally afford the buyout on his contract with Regal Barcelona this summer and cross the Atlantic to the NBA.

There’s some reason to believe the Spanish teenager will start his career with the Wolves. After all, Kevin Love has blossomed into a superstar, while Michael Beasley can certainly score.

David Kahn, the club’s lead executive, seems to have built a relationship with Rubio and his representatives.

This, however, is the Timberwolves. They’re one of the league’s worst teams. They play in one of the league’s worst markets. And they have an uncommitted owner who mistreated former franchise face Kevin Garnett.

Rubio knows this. So do his people. And where begins his career will be an unknown until he signs on the dotted line.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
 

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Thursday , Jan , 06 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Love on staying in Minnesota: ‘I just want to win now’

"We'll see what happens with what David Kahn and the front office want to do," Love said. "If it's right, it's right. If it's not, it's not. I could end up somewhere else. I just want to play for a team that wants to win at this point. At this point, I just want to win now."
 
 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kevin Love wants to win. And now.

So Love, the double-double machine, will have no choice but to leave the Minnesota Timberwolves as a free agent to achieve his goal.

After all, the Wolves are perennial cellar-dwellers. And Love, who becomes a restricted free agent in one year, has basically given his employer 365 days to right the ship and post ‘dubyas’.

To be fair, the cupboard isn’t bare. The Wolves have the improving Michael Beasley and seem convinced Ricky Rubio will cross the Atlantic and sign an entry level contract next summer.

This doesn’t make the cupboard full, though. A promising but troubled forward, Beasley, and a Spanish point guard, Rubio, won’t be enough to convince Love to re-up long-term in The Frozen Tundra of ‘Sota.

If Love wants to play meaningful basketball in the late spring/early summer, if Love wants prime-time coverage, and if Love wants the Larry O’Brien championship trophy, he leaves.

Love needs a big three or big four, with an owner willing to invest resources in a bench and supporting pieces.

Wolves’ fans would be wise to enjoy Love while they can. He isn’t staying in Minnesota.

--Oly Sandor.


Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below. 
Definition of a Franchise Player
Tuesday , Jan , 04 , 2011 J.N.

Definition of a Franchise Player

Lately, I’ve been hearing that the “Franchise Player” concept is dead in the NBA. There is no such thing as a franchise player. There are super teams instead. I’m here to tell all of you that you’re wrong – dead wrong. The way teams are built in this league calls for a franchise player. The player is usually extremely talented and skilled with an ability to get numbers.There are only 12 or so players on team. One player can make a huge difference. I’ll explain why this concept will not die.

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Thursday , Dec , 30 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Timberwolves considered trading Kevin Love?

Kevin Love is making a name for himself in the NBA with his breakout season for the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

It turns out he's been on the Denver Nuggets' radar for quite some time. Nuggets coach George Karl said Wednesday night that the team asked Minnesota about trading for Love this summer. "I know there were inquiries," Karl said before the Nuggets played the Timberwolves. "In some of the meetings we talked and his name was out there. It never got close, I know that."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The best trades are sometimes the ones you don’t make.

Case in point: the Minnesota Timberwolves and Kevin Love. This summer, the Wolves made Love available and, according to the Denver Nuggets, took offers for him.

Thankfully, they didn’t move Love because he has improved from promising post to legit' superstar. Best of all, he’s become the face of this downtrodden franchise.

To be fair: perhaps the Wolves were justified in shopping Love, the current league leader in rebounding. Before this year, Love was often injured, out of shape, and shooting off his mouth via twitter.

Of course, the Timberwolves also had to decide between Love and Al Jefferson. Both were talented power forwards, and it became obvious a platoon system at the four-spot wouldn’t fly.

So Executive David Kahn listened to offers for both, kept Love, and dealt Jefferson to the Utah Jazz. It could have been the other way, though. Love changing area codes; Jefferson staying in The Frozen Tundra of Sota.

Whether by luck or design, the Timberwolves kept Love. And this is one decision they got right.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Friday , Dec , 24 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

LeBron James on contraction: ‘It would be great for the league’

James had a couple of ideas in which teams could go and some players that would make other teams better right now.

"[Contraction] is not my job; I'm a player but that is why it the league was so great," James said.

"Imagine if you could take Kevin Love off Minnesota and add him to another team and you shrink the [league]. Looking at some of the teams that aren't that great, you take Brook Lopez or you take Devin Harris off these teams that aren't that good right now and you add him to a team that could be really good. Not saying let's take New Jersey and let's take Minnesota out of the league. But hey, you guys are not stupid, I'm not stupid, it would be great for the league."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Actually LeBron James, you’re right and you’re stupid.

You’re right to suggest the NBA has too many teams. You’re also right to suggest the league’s talent base is spread too thin amongst these many teams.

However, you’re stupid for saying this out loud.

LeBron, a work stoppage is coming July 1st, in part, because of your little free agent stunt known as The Decision.

You remember wearing the table-cloth you stole from The Olive Garden as a shirt, chatting needlessly with Jim Gray (the ‘reporter’ you hired), and then announcing you were taking your ‘talent to South Beach’ on live television, right?  

Well, with ‘Labour Armageddon’ on the horizon, the players and owners won’t appreciate your candour.

Fewer teams mean fewer jobs for the players, also known as your labour brethren. Billy Hunter, Derek Fisher, and the powers that be with the Players’ Union won’t go for that.

Their mandate is to make sure the Chucky Atkins, Brian Cardinals, and Matt Carrolls of this world stay gainfully employed earning millions of dollars sitting on benches.

Conversely, Glen Taylor, the owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves, won’t just toss Commissioner Stern the keys to the franchise and say ‘I’m out’.

Taylor and other owners would want compensation. They’ve invested hundreds of million of dollars in their teams, and would demand a payout from league head office.

Problem is, Stern and his lackeys in New York wouldn’t see a return on buying a team and folding it just so the remaining teams have a greater talent base.

Of course, LeBron would you put your money where your mouth is?

Contracting teams would mean less ticket sales, jersey money, and local television and radio revenue for owners and players to divvy up in what the current Collective Bargaining Agreement calls Basketball Related Income.

Less money in the BRI reduces the salary cap. Every player would then have their salary reduced. So LeBron: would you take a pay cut for contraction?

Bottom Line: LeBron you`re right about contraction. Being right and having the right to say something out loud are two separate things. Not knowing the difference makes you stupid.

--Oly Sandor.


--Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Sunday , Dec , 19 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Michael Beasley on Minnesota: ‘I would love to stay here long-term’

Michael Beasley, dealt from Miami to Minnesota last summer, loves his new surroundings. So much that the forward would like to sign a long-term contract extension with the Timberwolves. "I would love to stay here long-term,'' Beasley said in an interview with FanHouse before Saturday's game at Denver. "Maybe we'll talk about it when the season's over.''
 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: This is breaking news. A pretty decent NBA player has announced publicly his desire to re-sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Michael Beasley, a talented scorer and former second overall pick, wants to make The Frozen Tundra of ‘Sota home.

Good for Beasley; good for the Wolves.
 
Both player and team have had issues. In Miami, Beasley struggled with marijuana, the distractions of South Beach, and depression.
 
Since trading Kevin Garnett, Minnesota has regressed into an oddball, outpost for NBA players. Think Siberia, with friendly people.

Things could be changing.

While 6-22, Minnesota has a pair of young forwards in Beasley and Kevin Love. There are also point guards Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio.

For the first time in a long time, the Wolves have a foundation. And the future isn't so bleak.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

2010-2011 Top 10 Fantasy Ballers Power Forwards (5-1)
Thursday , Dec , 02 , 2010 J.N.

2010-2011 Top 10 Fantasy Ballers Power Forwards (5-1)

The top 5 are only reserved for the heavy hitters. This section is made up of fresh faces. Everyone is so wrapped up into the point guards and dying centers that not many are noticing the power forwards. What’s up with that? The position is filled with plenty of young talent making it almost as deep as the point guards. The only thing I noticed is the lack of good defensive power forwards. Stats are up to date as of December 2, 2010.

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Saturday , Nov , 13 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Is Team USA responsible for Kevin Love’s 31 point, 31 rebound night?

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Earlier this week, Kevin Love had 20 points and 20 rebounds against the Los Angeles Lakers. Last night, he became the first player in 28 years to tally over 30 points and 30 rebounds.

There are many explanations for Love’s fine play of late: he has always had talent; he’s finally healthy; he’s no longer sharing the frontcourt with Al Jefferson; he’s taken another step in year three.

Of course, conspiracy theorists believe Love has stepped up his play so other teams will call the Minnesota Timberwolves and inquire about his availability.

Perhaps there’s truth in all of these.

However, there’s no disputing winning a gold medal with Team USA at the FIBA World Championship in Turkey had a positive influence on Love.

Love is fitter, more confident, and understands his place in the game. The same can be said for Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, who also benefited from representing stars-and-stripes.

Hopefully, other players take note of Love and Westbrook’s improved play and are more open to suiting up for their country.

Click the videos below to watch highlights of Love’s historic game and hear his comments on notching 30 and 30.
 


--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Thursday , Nov , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Houston and Portland interested in Kevin Love?

One team that would be an ideal fit for Love, Houston, has explored the possibility to the point of presenting trade scenarios to the Wolves. Those overtures, sources say, have been met with an icy response. Another team to keep an eye on with regard to Love is the Trail Blazers.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: For NBA stars, the Minnesota Timberwolves are Siberia.

Minnesota is cold. The Timberwolves have annual reservations at the league’s draft lottery in New Jersey. And the franchise has never recovered from wasting Kevin Garnett’s golden years.

Make no mistake about it, Kevin Love wants out of Minnesota. He knows their rebuilding efforts are failing. And he knows lottery-pick Ricky Rubio will stay in Europe until he gets a trade.

The Rockets would be an interesting fit. Love could platoon with center Yao Ming and international four-man Luis Scola.

The Blazers would also be interesting. Love is from Lake Oswego, an affluent Portland suburb. However, LaMarcus Aldridge is firmly entrenched at the four-spot. He could clash with Love –like former Timberwolf Al Jefferson.

Bottom line: look for Love to continue lobbying for a trade. Minnesota, also known as Siberia, is no place for an up-and-coming star.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Monday , Oct , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Timberwolves to make ‘serious run’ at Carmelo Anthony?

If Carmelo Anthony is still with the Denver Nuggets at trade time in February, look for the Timberwolves to make a serious run at him.
 
 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Not happening.

Under no circumstances will Carmelo Anthony suit up, play for or sign an extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

So the T-Wolves can try all they like to facilitate a trade, but ‘Melo will never, ever call the Frozen Tundra of Sota home.    

Here’s why:

1) Anthony wants to win. Like now. Minnesota –even if Ricky Rubio crosses the Atlantic and Kevin Love continues developing –are years away from contending for a playoff spot.

2) While Minnesota is a nice place with good people, players see it as a foreign outpost with cold weather. Anthony and wife LaLa Vasquez want a sexy, major market, not the league’s Siberia.

3) Call it The Kevin Garnett Effect. For years, Garnett toiled admirably and the Wolves lost, only once making the Western Conference Finals. Anthony doesn’t want to waste his prime seasons –like The Big Ticket.

Minnesota reporters need to stop dreaming and deal with reality -Anthony will never play for the lowly Wolves.
 
-Oly Sandor.
 
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
 
Minnesota Timberwolves remain as a Toyota.
Saturday , Sep , 04 , 2010 J.N.

Minnesota Timberwolves remain as a Toyota.

The Wolves didn’t do much in the 2009-2010 season. They kept losing and lost Al Jefferson, too. Point guard Jonny Flynn had the chance to solidify the position for years to come, but made the fan base look forward to Ricky Rubio’s arrival. He had a solid rookie season with 13.5 points and 4.4 assists. That’s fine and dandy although the Wolves are looking for a star. They are not looking for fine and dandy.

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Tuesday , Aug , 24 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Love on Minnesota T-Wolves: ‘I hope we have a plan’

I hope we have a plan. I don't know what it is at this point. We obviously made a lot of moves, but I'm out there playing and thinking between the lines, not making decisions. I'm just trying to hope for the best and that we keep getting better as a team.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He hasn't earned the right. Not yet anyway.

As a third-year post known for more for twittering than on-court play, Kevin Love doesn't have the superstar pedigree to bash Minnesota GM David Kahn.

In July, Kahn dealt Al Jefferson to the Utah Jazz, so Love could play the four-spot, his natural position. And Love repays the organization's loyalty with criticism that appears on CNNSI's website.

Of course, Love is also missing the point: he is The Plan. He's the leader by default. And this is his team.

His comments will set a negative tone for current and potential teammates. After all, what will the mood be at training camp? And Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio will be even more opposed to crossing the Atlantic and joining the Wolves.

Ironically, Love wants to ink an extension with Minnesota and be part of a contending team. Perhaps he should choose his words more carefully.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.   

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Thursday , Jul , 01 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Light the Victory Cigar: Darko Milicic re-signs for $20 million with Minnesota Timberwolves

Darko Milicic has agreed to a four-year, $20M deal with Minnesota.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: No surprise here.
 
Reports had the Minnesota Timberwolves trying to re-sign Darko Milicic because he impressed during his 24 game audition with the club last year.
 
And those same reports had the left-handed Serbian staying in 'Sota because he felt he'd finally get regular minutes.
 
The real story is what happens next.
 
With Milicic returning, the Wolves can try to move Al Jefferson and his $40 million long-term contract. There's no rush, though. Milicic's salary is reasonable, so the club could platoon him with Jefferson and youngster Kevin Love.
 
Hopefully, Milicic - a well traveled and infamous second overall selection in the 2003 NBA Draft ahead of superstars Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh - finally gets his opportunity.
 
-- O.Sandor     
     
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below!
 
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Saturday , Jun , 26 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Minnesota keeping Darko Milicic, trading Al Jefferson?

David Kahn admitted on Friday that he is exploring a trade of Al Jefferson and the likelihood of a trade increases if the Wolves re-sign Darko Milicic.

"It's the right time finally for us to explore this," Kahn said of a possible Jefferson trade. "I've met with Al and discussed this. If Darko comes back, there could be a need to create some playing time. We really need to get our front line settled."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Minnesota wants to trade Al Jefferson, the power-forward who was supposed to be their lead wolf.
 
Remember, Jefferson was acquired from the Boston Celtics, as the key to the blockbuster trade involving Kevin Garnett. He initially responded to his new surroundings by posting 20-10 numbers in his first season with the Timberwolves.
 
Their relationship has suddenly soured, though.
 
Minnesota's new head suit, David Kahn, sees Jefferson as a guy who posts good statistics on bad teams. For instance, talented players should always be able to play together, but Jefferson struggles next to youngster Kevin Love.
 
And Jefferson seems to have lost faith in Minnesota. He probably sees the franchise as incapable of ever becoming more than the NBA's Siberia. For instance, lottery pick Ricky Rubio has stayed in Europe rather than joining the Timberwolves.
 
Of course, Jefferson's DUI charge in late February didn't help.
 
Unfortunately, club and player should invest in therapy or counselling because they're likely stuck together. Jefferson's contract - three years and $42 million - will be tough to move in this economy.
 
Re-signing Milicic, also known as The Human Victory Cigar, is an interesting development. Most thought the left-handed Serbian would catch the first flight back to Europe and sign in the ABC League when the NBA season ended.
 
Clearly, the Wolves believe Milicic's career can be salvaged. And he has a most intoxicating skill-set for a seven-footer. Hopefully, the former second overall pick gets a legitimate opportunity if he stays in the NBA.
 
However, Milicic might not stick in Minnesota because of Jefferson's big ticket contract can't be dealt.
 
Got thoughts?
 
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Tuesday , Jun , 22 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Draft Rumor: Memphis and Minnesota swapping first round picks?

The Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves are close to swapping first-round draft picks, a source with direct knowledge of the situation tells ESPN.com's Andy Katz. The Grizzlies would send their 25th and 28th overall picks to Minnesota for the Timberwolves' 16th pick.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: On the surface, this rumor seems insignificant.

However, it does show that Memphis and Minnesota are looking to improve and will be active during Thursday`s draft and free agency.

For instance, the Grizzlies recently called the Hornets about Chris Paul, while the Timberwolves turned down the Pacers' lottery pick for point guard Jonny Flynn.

Both squads also have larger issues to contend with.

Memphis wants to re-sign restricted free agent Rudy Gay -but only for reasonable money. A sign-and-trade involving Gay is an option.

And Minnesota must decide if forwards Al Jefferson and Kevin Love can play together. They`ve also got to convince 2009 lottery pick Ricky Rubio to cross the Atlantic and run the offense in 2012.

These teams will be linked to more rumors and will be stay all summer.

Got thoughts?