minnesota-timberwolves
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Saturday , Jul , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Love expects Wolves to ‘have a lot of success’

But I can see, especially with Derrick Williams, Ricky Rubio, Mike Beasley, Anthony Randolph and Wes Johnson—all the way down the line to Lazar Hayward and myself, we have a slew of guys that can really have a bang in this league and make moves and have a lot of success.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kevin Love is right. His Minnesota Timberwolves are young, talented, and optimistic.

For years, the Wolves have finished at the bottom of the Western Conference, allowing them to stock the cupboard with blue-chip prospects like Love, Ricky Rubio, and Derrick Williams at the NBA draft.

Unfortunately, the Wolves are poorly run. Owner Glen Taylor is a disaster. His right-hand, David Kahn, has made more missteps than the worst of  boogying ‘celebs’ on Dancing With The Stars.

For instance, Taylor and Kahn had no issue letting former head coach Kurt Rambis dangle for months, even requesting he submit a homework assignment, before finally firing him.

No doubt about it, Rambis did not meet expectations. However, Taylor and Kahn embarrassed the former Laker reserve. Worst of all, they embarrassed themselves and, by extension, the Wolves.

Their new sideline boss will be well aware of the Rambis boondoggle. Trust between the coach and GM and owner will be an issue.

The players - like Love, Rubio, Williams, and Mike Beasley - surely see their GM and owner as dysfunctional. Sooner or later, if they want to win, they’ll leave.

--Oly Sandor.


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


 
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Saturday , Jul , 16 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Don Nelson: ‘I love Minnesota’

Don Nelson will gladly trade those breezy Hawaiian trade winds for Minnesota winters and the chance to coach again, this time with the Timberwolves. "I think it'd be a great fit," he said. "I love Minnesota."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: I have two words for Minnesota Executive David Kahn –‘do not’.

Do not let him charm you. Do not let him fill your head with thoughts and ideas. Do not overlook his past. Most importantly, do not hire Don Nelson to coach your Timberwolves.

After all, ‘Nellie’ is the NBA’s version of scorched earth. He sets fire to, burns, and destroys everything he touches.

In the 1990s, he sued Chris Cohan and the Warriors. He walked on the New York Knicks. He went back to court and sued Mark Cuban and the Mavericks. And his second go-around with the Warriors wasn’t much better.

Most troubling, Nelson has an odd relationship with his players. For instance, he clashed with Chris Webber, struggled with Monta Ellis, and flip-flopped on Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington. In no time, Nelson would alienate, aggravate, and annoy Mike Beasley, Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, and/or Derrick Williams

This must worry Kahn. After years of being an oddball outpost, the Wolves have young assets. Hiring the wrong coach, like Nelson, would compromise those young assets.   

If Kahn wants a veteran sideline boss, he should consider Rick Adelman, Lawrence Frank, or even try pulling Hubie Brown out the broadcast booth to recreate his Memphis-magic in Minnesota.

Point blank: Nelson is done. The game has passed him by. He needs to cash his coaching 501K plan and spend his days walking the beaches of Maui and not an NBA sideline.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Tuesday , Jul , 12 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kahn, Wolves less credible after Rambis boondoggle

I want to thank Kurt for his contributions to our franchise and wish him the best in his future endeavors," Kahn said in a statement announcing the firing. "His arrival signaled we were serious about building a championship-contending ballclub over the course of time. We have accumulated a solid nucleus of young talent with a bright future during the last two years. I am hopeful Kurt receives his share of the credit for helping develop that talent and his contributions are not forgotten as we become a better basketball team."    

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: They are perhaps the worst organization in the NBA –maybe in all of professional sports. And yes, that includes Donald Sterling's Los Angeles Clippers.

Take the Minnesota Timberwolves handling - or mishandling - of Coach Kurt Rambis, which is another hit against executive David Kahn and owner Glen Taylor. 

Now Rambis was by all accounts a poor coach –regardless of the extremely limited hand he was dealt by Kahn. But Rambis –despite not winning much of anything- deserved better.

After all, Kahn kept Rambis twisting in the wind for months, not letting the former Los Angeles Laker know if he'd return to the Midwest for 2011-12 or join the unemployment line.

Kahn even gave Rambis homework, making him write a report on how he'd improve the team if brought back. Of course, Kahn knew his assignment was meaningless –the decision to fire Rambis was made long ago.

So what's the big deal about the Wolves mistreating Rambis? They simply hire another coach, right?

Well, wrong. Professional organizations treat employees with respect and decency -or, for lack of a better word, like professionals.

Kahn, Taylor, and their lackeys in the front office should model this for their players. Such an approach is necessary to win a championship or even qualify for the playoffs –and it starts at the top.

Consider Michael Beasley's recent marijuana citation. Sure, the troubled forward broke the law, but the Wolves, specifically Kahn, will surely be upset with Beasley's lack of respect for the organization.

This would be fair -except Kahn showed an utter lack of respect for Rambis.

The acts and circumstances may be different. But Kahn has no credibility to criticize Beasley for hurting the reputation of the Wolves. He has done this time-and-time again.

Rambis is the latest black eye for the Wolves. It won't, however, be the last on Kahn and Taylor's watch.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Wednesday , Jul , 06 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

What will Wolves do with Mike Beasley after marijuana citation?

Minnetonka Police say Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley was cited for marijuana possession and speeding in Minnetonka last week. Beasley was pulled over on June 26 for speeding around 3 a.m. on Interstate 394 and Carlson Parkway. He was clocked at 84 mph in a 65 mph zone.  Police also found 16.2 grams of marijuana in Beasley's vehicle.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: We were wrong.

We were wrong to think Michael Beasley was passed this. We wrong to think he left his troubles at the clubs in South Beach. And were wrong to applaud his fine season with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

He fooled us. All of us.

Reports indicate police pulled Beasley over for speeding last week and found 16 grams of marijuana in his vehicle.

This is not a good look for anyone, especially a pro athlete who has battled addiction and mental health issues.

Clearly, Miami's nightlife wasn’t the issue. The issue is Beasley, who found trouble in quiet Minnesota. Once again, he has slipped. Once again, he needs help.

Then there’s the basketball side of this. The Timberwolves seemed interested in giving Beasley a multi-year extension when the lockout ended.

They’ll reconsider. In fact, they'll probably pass.

Expect the Wolves to commit more resources, time, and money to developing second overall pick Derrick Williams, a talented and athletic forward with none of Beasley’s baggage.

Problem is, there won't be much of a market for Beasley. Few, if any, teams will take a chance on him via trade or by floating an offer in free agency.

He still has time; time to change. Just ask Lamar Odom, Chris Webber, and Jason Williams. The clock is ticking, though.

Hopefully, Beasley gets it right. And fast.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Thursday , Jun , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Breakdown of 2011 NBA Draft, Picks 1-10

Finally, the NBA Draft is here. The gossip, speculation, and home videos of mysterious Euro prospects is no more.

Below is how things officially unfolded in real time, with live analysis at the HoopsVibe News headquarters. So get at us with thoughts, ideas, and opinions in the comment box below.

1) Kyrie Irving to Cleveland Cavaliers.

Details: PG, 6-2, 181, Duke Blue Devils, Fr.

Pros: Irving is a good athlete, who uses his quickness and feel for the game to attack the basket. He’s smart, tough, and had little issue leading more experienced teammates during the NCAA tournament.

Cons:
While Irving is a good athlete, he isn’t explosive or big. And he missed much of his freshmen year with a toe injury. So the New Jersey native is a risk.

Fit: He'll be fine as long as he doesn't follow Baron Davis' training routine or try to replace that LeBron guy.

2) Derrick Williams to Minnesota Timberwolves.

Details: PF, 6-9, 248, Arizona Wildcats, So.

Pros:
He’s a pick-your-poison scorer. In his second season, Williams improved his ability to attack the basket, while also being able to knock down jump shots. This combination of skill and athleticism should make Williams a difficult match-up for opposing defenses.    

Cons:
Some feel Williams is a ‘tweener’, stuck between the 3 and 4 spots. And they’re unsure if his athleticism can compensate for his 6-9 height,   

Fit: Is there room for Kevin Love, Mike Beasley, and Williams in the frontcourt?

3) Enis Kanter to Utah Jazz.

Details: C, 6-10, 260, Turkey, 19 years of age.

Pros: Strong, skilled, and tough is how most describe Kanter. His polished game and physical tools should make a pretty good NBA player.

Cons: Kanter is undersized and not especially explosive for a five-man. And can his knee hold up to the grind of an NBA season?

Fit: His strong IQ and blue-collar approach makes him perfect for the Jazz.

4) Tristan Thompson to Cleveland Cavaliers.

Details: PF, 6-9, 225, University of Texas, Fr.

Pros: Thompson should have a nice NBA career because of his wingspan, improving body, and lefty skill-set. His energy and work on the glass is also a plus.

Cons: Despite shedding baby fat, Thompson is still a little undersized to handle NBA power forwards. 

Fit: The Canadian can play, but going fourth overall was a surprise. He'll need time to develop his offensive game for the Cavs.

5) Jonas Valanciunas to Toronto Raptors

Details: PF, 6-10, 230, Lithuania, 18 years old.

Pros: Valanciunas is an energetic player, who is active on the offensive glass and gets his share of put-back points. At 18, some believe he has the most upside of any player in the draft.

Cons: He’s extremely raw and could take several years before making an impact.

Fit: Of course, GM Bryan Colangelo had to take a Euro. But the young Lithuanian has a chance to be real good.

6) Jan Vesely to Washington Wizards.

Details: PF, 6-11, 240, Czech Republic, 21 years old.

Pros: He’s not your typical Euro. Long, athletic, and explosive, Vesely loves to get up the floor and throw down monster jams. His length and versatility makes him a force on both ends of the floor.

Cons: Vesely needs to extend his offensive range beyond put-backs and highlight reel jams.

Fit: Strap up Washington. This kid is a walking highlight reel.

7) Bismack Biyombo to Sacramento Kings (picking for Charlotte Bobcats).

Details: PF, 6-9, 243, Congo, 19 years old.

Pros: He’s an athlete. Biyombo has scouts drooling with his frame, wingspan, leaping ability, and quickness.

Cons: But he’s raw. Many of those same scouts are worried about his lack of skill and age.

Fit: Some say he couldn't score if locked in a gym by himself. He also needs to negotiate a buyout with his FIBA club. But he’s an incredible athlete.

8) Brandon Knight to Detroit Pistons.

Details: PG/SG, 6-3, 177, Kentucky University, So.

Pros: Knight was always a terrific scorer, but showed he could involve others towards the end of his season at Kentucky. His athleticism and outside range makes him a strong prospect. 

Cons: Some feel he’s more of a shooting guard than a natural point guard.

Fit: Hopefully, he survives a Piston team that was highly dysfunctional in 2011.

9) Kemba Walker to Charlotte Bobcats.

Details: PG, 6-1, 172, University of Connecticut, Jr.

Pros: Walker has the ‘quicks’ to get to the basket and can also punish sagging defenders with his much-improved jumper. This made him unstoppable during his terrific 2011 season at UCONN.  
 
Cons: Well, size. Walker plays like a shooting guard, but has the body of a point guard.

Fit: Walker will bring leadership and confidence to Michael Jordan's Bobcats.

10) Jimmer Fredette to Sacramento Kings.

Details: PG, 6-2, 190, Bringham Young Unviersity, Sr.

Pros: He's a magical shooter with a cult-like following at Bringham Young University. 

Cons: Can he defend NBA point guards? Is he a point guard? 

Fit: Fredette`s range will mesh nicely with Tyreke Evans and the offensive-minded Kings.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Sunday , Jun , 19 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Pau Gasol for Kevin Love?

The topic of Pau Gasol and the Minnesota Timberwolves was discussed last week based on the word of ESPN's Chad Ford that the Wolves had interest in the Los Angeles Laker All-Star forward/center. Further research revealed that the Wolves do indeed have interest in Gasol, notably because of his relationship with guard Ricky Rubio.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: From the toast of Hollywood to potentially plying his trade in Minnesota.

Oh, how the mighty Pau Gasol has fallen. Last year, the Spanish post was integral to the Los Angeles Lakers winning consecutive championships.

This year, it went south: his play faltered; he got the Bobby Knight treatment from former coach Phil Jackson: Laker-nation turned on him; he broke up with his girl; teammate Shannon Brown had to deny reports about getting between Gasol and his girl.

Not surprisingly, the Lakers lost in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. And Gasol seems primed for a change of scenery.

But Minnesota?

Sure, they'd have young pieces in Mike Beasley and Ricky Rubio. And sure, Gasol would mentor Rubio, who he knows from the Spanish national team.

The Timberwolves are a mess. It starts from the top. Owner Glen Taylor has no class. Lead executive David Kahn routinely shoots his mouth off.

For example, these two have left coach Kurt Rambis hanging for months. They haven’t fired him. They haven't endorsed him, either.

They instead made him hand in ‘homework’. Yes, Rambis, who won several championships as a player and assistant coach, must submit a report on improving the team, and then Taylor and Kahn will decide his future.

Good organizations don't do this. They don't degrade. They treat people, all people, with respect -even a below average head coach like Rambis.

Last year was bad for Gasol. Things would be worse in Minnesota, though.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Friday , Jun , 17 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Report: Rubio still joining Wolves

Ricky Rubio has already signed a contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves and the holdup keeping him from leaving Barcelona is related to his buyout agreement, multiple sources told ESPN.com. "This is just a bump in the road for (the Timberwolves)," said one source. Rubio's Spanish club won the ACB championship Tuesday, after which Rubio said: "We are talking with Barcelona and we will soon see."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Don’t assume the worst. The Prodigal Son is still coming. He’s just taking care of business first.

Ricky Rubio will join the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team that drafted him two years ago. The Spaniard is negotiating the terms of his buyout with FC Barcelona, who currently hold his rights.

Of course, it would be understandable if the worst was being assumed. Rubio crossing the Atlantic Ocean and joining Minnesota has had more delays than a Dr. Dre album.

When he arrives, there will be changes. Jonny Flynn, the Wolves other young point guard, will most certainly be moved -either to Toronto or perhaps Charlotte.

Then the hard work begins in Minnesota. Rubio, Mike Beasley, and Kevin Love will have the monumental task of righting the Wolves ship.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Saturday , Jun , 04 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook?

Demps laughed at Internet speculation there has been trade talks between the Hornets and Oklahoma City Thunder regarding point guards Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.

“(Thunder GM) Sam Presti and I, our offices used to be right next to each other, so we still text each other all the time, and I can assure you that has not been a conversation we’ve had,” Demps said, cracking a smile as he spoke to reporters.

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: Losing players in free agency leads to speculation. Losing games also leads to speculation.

It`s no surprise there was speculation that the New Orleans Hornets and Oklahoma City Thunder were considering swapping Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook.

Paul can opt-out of his contract next summer. He can leave New Orleans as a free agent. The Hornets will get nothing back. 

Meanwhile, Westbrook, fair or not, became the scapegoat for the Thunder losing the Western Conference Finals to the Mavericks.

Critics felt he was trying to get his offense at the expense of teammates. And critics felt his score-first mentality will make it difficult for the Thunder to take the next step.

A trade makes sense for both parties, right?  Well, wrong.

Hornets GM Dell Demps denied ever having a conversation about swapping point guards with Thunder GM Sam Presti.

It`s a no to the inquiring public. The real, unofficial story could be different.

Demps and Presti came up together with the San Antonio Spurs. They were tight. And still are. Demps admitted they text each other all the time.

Know this: NBA executives are no different than you or I. They do business with executives they trust and like.

For instance, Kevin McHale, when he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves, wrapped Kevin Garnett in a bow and gave him to former teammate and friend Danny Ainge, who was and still is boss of the Boston Celtics.

For instance, Jerry West played a part in Pau Gasol leaving Memphis for Los Angeles. West was once the front office Tsar for both the Grizzlies and Lakers.

If Paul for Westbrook happens, it will be because of the relationship between Demps and Presti.

After all, what's a swap of All-Star table-setters between friends?

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Jun , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Surprise, Surprise: Ricky Rubio finally signs with T-Wolves

Yes, he will. A winding, often secretive 23-month saga over whether Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio ever will play for the Timberwolves is over. Rubio on Tuesday signed an NBA contract to play with the team next season, a league source confirmed Wednesday night to the Star Tribune.

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: After more delays than a Dre album, Ricky Rubio has finally crossed the Atlantic Ocean and signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Wolves drafted Rubio two years ago. But he stayed in Spain. For 23 months.

Rather than pay a multi-million dollar buyout to join the NBA`s Siberia, Rubio stayed in Spain. And the rumors flew.

Most assumed this was a ploy by the Spaniard to force a trade. And most, myself included, thought he`d never actually play for Minnesota.

Executive David Kahn was willing to wait. Rather than succumb to outside pressure, he held firm and sold Rubio on playing with budding stars like Mike Beasley and Kevin Love, the NBA`s Most Improved Player.

The hype and chatter is over. Rubio has landed state-side. And he must produce.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Saturday , May , 14 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Ricky Rubio to sign with Minnesota, Jonny Flynn to Toronto?

If Rubio does indeed sign as expected, point guard Jonny Flynn's days in Minnesota are numbered. Sources also indicated to HOOPSWORLD that Flynn is almost sure to be traded in that case with the Toronto Raptors being one of the most probable destinations.
 

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Whenever Ricky Rubio crosses the Atlantic and joins the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jonny Flynn becomes very available.
 
Sources say Rubio’s migration will happen this summer –and sooner rather than later.
 
Unfortunately, Flynn’s stock is at an all-time low, so the Timberwolves won’t get much for the sixth pick in 2009. Hopefully, executive David Kahn reflects on how he wasted this asset.
 
For instance, Kahn could have traded the lottery pick two years ago for an established pro, young asset(s), draft picks, or cap relief.

He could have drafted a player at another position like Stephen Curry (and used him at off-guard), DeMar DeRozan, Tyler Hansborough, James Johnson, or even Taj Gibson.
 
If Kahn was absolutely determined to have another table-setter, he could have drafted Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague, or Darren Collison.
 
Just not Flynn, who has underperformed. Now Kahn has the unpleasant task of trying to get something for his underperforming asset.
 
The above report cites Toronto as a likely home for Flynn. The former Syracuse star had expressed interest in suiting up for the Raptors.
 
Perhaps this happens. However, MLSE, the wealthy and dysfunctional holding company that owns the Raptors, has bigger fish to fry, specifically executive Bryan Colangelo.
 
Colangelo’s contract expires next month, and there has been no indication on whether he’ll be extended or let go. Instead, he twists in the wind.
 
Under such circumstances, it’s hard to imagine Colangelo acquiring Flynn. He’d have to trade veteran Jose Calderon and make a call on youngster Jerryd Bayless.
 
And he probably doesn’t have authorization to do anything except focus on the draft.
 
So the Rubio saga will continue when he lands in ‘The Frozen Tundra of Sota’. Only his presence will create a stir with Flynn.

Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Thursday , Apr , 14 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: David Kahn in, Kurt Rambis out with Wolves?

David Kahn is returning as president of the Minnesota Timberwolves next season. The prospects for Kurt Rambis returning as coach aren't nearly as promising.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Only in Minnesota.

Only in Minnesota can executive David Kahn stay at the expense of Coach Kurt Rambis. Rumors suggest Kahn will keep his job as president of the Timberwolves, while Rambis will likely be pink-slipped at season’s end.

Rambis didn’t assemble the Wolves’ young, cheap, and inexperienced roster. Rambis didn’t waste a lottery selection on Jonny Flynn.

And Rambis wasn’t the one who failed to convince Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio to cross the Atlantic Ocean and play in The Frozen Tundra of ‘Sota.

It was all Kahn.

Yet Rambis will likely take the blame. Changing the coach is the easiest option –even if it isn’t right.

--Oly Sandor.


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

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Wednesday , Apr , 13 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Michael Beasley embarasses Jared Dudley with ankle breaker

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Two non-playoff teams provided a classic ankle breaker.

Last night, Michael Beasley crossed up Jared Dudley with time running out in a meaningless but entertaining game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns.

Watch the clip and get at us with thoughts on Beas’ embarassing Dudley in the comment box below.   

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Mar , 21 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant on Andrew Bynum’s flagrant foul: ‘I’m proud of him’

Not all the Lakers were upset with the league's decision. "I'm proud of him," Kobe Bryant said of Bynum. "He earned his stripes."  Bynum will need to be careful the rest of the regular season if he wants to avoid further discipline. He will be automatically suspended for one game if he commits another flagrant foul, type 2, before the end of the regular season. The Lakers were hoping for leniency from the league. Bynum isn't known as a rough player with an angry demeanor.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: If Andrew Bynum was worried about his flagrant foul on the Minnesota Timberwolves' Michael Beasley, he can stop.

Kobe Bryant has Bynum’s back. Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar and one of the game’s premier players, beamed like a proud parent when asked by reporters about Bynum’s foul and suspension.

Now Bryant obviously doesn’t want Beasley to get hurt. Other than that, he’s clearly thrilled with Bynum’s flagrant foul.

Consider the following: opposing teams will be hesitant to drive the lane against the Lakers; Bryant’s squad are finally playing their best with the playoffs fast approaching; Bynum is absolutely dominant in the paint.

It’s interesting to reflect on how far Bryant and Bynum have come. These two weren’t always tight.

In fact, Bynum often found himself on the wrong side of Bryant’s rage. Not long ago, the Black Mamba complained to two strangers outside a strip mall that the club didn't trade the seven-footer to the New Jersey Nets for Jason Kidd.

Two championships have a way of changing things. With Bynum plugging the middle, the Lakers have to be favoured to win a third.

Now wonder Bryant has Bynum’s back.  

--Oly Sandor.


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

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Monday , Mar , 21 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Andrew Bynum suspended two games for hard foul on Mike Beasley

The league handed down its verdict this morning, suspending center Andrew Bynum for two games without pay for thumping Michael Beasley to the court during the fourth quarter of the Lakers' victory Friday night over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Bynum will sit out tonight's game against the Portland Trail Blazers and Tuesday's contest against the Phoenix Suns. Beasley suffered a bruised left hip when he hit the floor.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Los Angeles Lakers are better when Andrew Bynum is involved physically -even if that comes at the expense of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Michael Beasley.

Yes, Bynun’s foul on Beasley was a bit much. Yes, it deserved a suspension. And yes, the Lakers have to love Bynum’s recent physical play.

The massive seven-footer has been a changed man since having his name bandied about in trade rumours. Like the Lakers, Bynum has stepped up his play following the All-Star break.

With Bynum dominating the middle, the purple-and-gold is unstoppable. After all, they’re too big and too massive for every team in the NBA.

The bad news is the Lakers will make do without Bynum for two games. The good news is he’s playing better than ever, which greatly improves their chances at three-peating.

Watch Bynum’s foul on Beasley and tell HoopsVibe News if his increased physical play is good for the Lakers?


--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Mar , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Rambis and coaching staff convenient scapegoat for Wolves?

What were the odds of Kevin Love's double- double streak ending at 53 Sunday with a reeking, 100-77, thud -- six points, a dozen rebounds in 33 minutes -- against an escort service like the pedal-to-the-metal Warriors? Can Kurt Rambis and the Timberwolves' ball handling play-callers rationally explain how Love merely managed to get six shots -- making one and 4-of-6 free throws? you would presume Rambis possesses the presence of mind and the coaching aptitude to get Love a few more field goal attempts, if not a couple more baskets.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the debacle that is the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Instead of focusing on improving, instead of focusing on becoming more competitive, the Timberwolves are focusing on Kevin Love’s double-double streak.

With all respect, who cares?

Sure, Love’s double-double streak is nice. It gives the Timberwolves, who are the league’s version of Siberia, some much-needed publicity.

But good teams focus on the one stat that matters: winning. Individual honours are either irrelevant or taken through the context of team success.

For instance, take Ray Allen becoming the NBA’s all-time three-point king. The Boston Celtics celebrated this achievement; however, it didn’t take away from their desire to win the Eastern Conference and home-court advantage.

Love’s double-double record was all the Timberwolves had, which is a problem. They need to focus on righting the ship and changing the club’s culture of losing.

This doesn’t necessarily mean firing Kurt Rambis and his staff of assistant coaches, and hiring another cheap selection of bench bosses to plug-up the problem.

Of course, blaming Rambis seems like the plan. After another horrendous season, the Timberwolves are looking for a scapegoat. And Rambis is perfect.

So why not point the finger at the Lakers’ former utility man for ruining the club’s one positive and everything else?

It doesn’t matter that he has a mediocre roster. It doesn’t matter that he has mostly young, inexperienced players. It doesn’t matter that the front office has failed to sign Spanish golden boy Ricky Rubio. And it doesn’t matter that just two years ago, Rambis was the first choice of the same front office that has now turned on him.

All signs are pointing to Rambis taking the fall. This is a cover for management, who have clearly committed their share of flaws, errors, and blunders.

If the Timberwolves don’t make legitimate changes, the one thing they do have, budding superstar Love, will surely leave as a free agent.

--Oly Sandor.
 
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
 
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Saturday , Mar , 12 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Wolves considering firing Rambis?

As the Timberwolves limp to the 50-loss mark and beyond, it becomes a question of which number will be greater at the end of the season: Minnesota's loss total or Kevin Love's double-double streak, which reached a record 52 Wednesday night. Of far greater certainty is the status of coach Kurt Rambis, who appears to be on his way out after only two seasons.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The current state of the Minnesota Timberwolves is not Kurt Rambis’ fault.

It’s not Rambis’ fault the Wolves are the one of the NBA’s youngest teams.

It’s not Rambis’ fault the Wolves have one of the league’s lowest payrolls.

It’s not Rambis’ fault Executive David Kahn has given him a wing-heavy roster with one superstar in Kevin Love.

And it’s certainly not Rambis’ fault the Wolves have hedged their bets to Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio, who may or may not join the club two years after being drafted by Kahn in the lottery.

None of that matters, though. The rumor is that the organization is pushing to change the coach. This push is coming because Kahn knows he can’t change the players he accumulated, so he’ll change who sits on his bench.

The Wolves should consider firing Rambis –but only if they are serious about replacing him with a star sideline boss like, say, Mike Brown. Reports indicate they’re looking at an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks, Kelvin Sampson.

Sampson may eventually turn out to be a good head coach. However, the Wolves need a guy with legitimate experience as an NBA head coach. Not a guy who needs time to learn on the job.

Gambling on a rookie head coach will likely produce the same results of fifty loss seasons and annual reservations at the draft lottery in New Jersey.

And that won’t do.

-Oly Sandor.


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Wednesday , Mar , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Mavericks bullish on Ricky Rubio?

"I think (Minnesota) has a star in the making in Ricky Rubio," Cuban said. "We tried to trade up to get Rubio," Cuban said. "But we weren't close. We would have loved to draft him."

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Never, ever count out Mark Cuban.

Perhaps, the renegade owner finds a way to acquire Ricky Rubio’s rights from the Minnesota Timberwolves, and then convinces the Spanish point guard to cross the Atlantic and join his Dallas Mavericks.

Of course, Dallas, not Minnesota,  would be best for Rubio.

Dallas has Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd, who could ease the pressure on Rubio and teach him the tricks of trade. Eventually, Kidd retires and Rubio takes over him. Call it a master-student relationship.

Dallas is deep. The Mavericks have heaps of talent, so Rubio wouldn’t be expected to turn the franchise around. The Wolves, on the other hand, are expecting him to be their saviour.

Dallas is a big market. Minnesota is not. Playing for Team Cuban would increase Rubio’s profile and give him a greater chance at endorsement opportunities.

So Dallas wants Rubio. And Rubio may want Dallas. It’s unlikely to materialize, but stranger things have happened, especially when Cuban is involved.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Mar , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Channing Frye on Kevin Garnett: ‘People just aren’t afraid of him’

 

Frye later added, "People just aren’t afraid of him. It's just not as concealed. I think an elbow here, maybe tripping somebody or grabbing hold of them, that happens and it’s just people playing hard. But other stuff is a little different, being a little disrespectful. It is what it is. He plays like that and that’s what he does. Everybody knows it, but it’s not like I’m out here thinking what am I supposed to do against KG."

Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kevin Garnett is always in the middle of ‘it’.

The ‘it’ refers to the delicate grey area of the game; the Boston Celtics’ post specializes in giving elbows, shoves, and/or pokes that draw the ire of opponents.

This, of course, is the point.

Garnett is no longer a top five player, capable of dominating purely with skill. As an older, complementary player, the veteran has more and more turned to, well, ‘interesting’ tactics.

And folks are taking note. Like Andrew Bogut and Charlie Villanueva.  Even famed movie director Spike Lee has weighed in on the KG debate.

To be fair, Garnett was a similar player in Minnesota. But he never won much or made regular appearances on TNT and ESPN, so the elbows and knees were less of an issue.

However, the green-and-white has the second best record in the NBA. Last season, they were a game away from winning their second championship in three years.

So Garnett is getting attention. He won’t change, though. Not a thing. No matter what Channing Frye and others think or say.

--Oly Sandor.

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

Kevin Love = The Great White Hope or Empty Stat Padder?
Saturday , Mar , 05 , 2011 J.N.

Kevin Love = The Great White Hope or Empty Stat Padder?

Kevin Love is putting together an incredible season for the ages. 62 games played resulting in 57 double doubles and I’m not talking about burgers. He is on pace to break Moses Malone’s consecutive double -double streak. He had 10 games where he had 20+ rebounds and 28 games where he registered 15-19 rebounds. His numbers do not get more wins even at this unbelievable pace. People wondered if there will ever be another great white player like Larry Bird. Enter Kevin Love.

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Tuesday , Feb , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Wolves want Nash?

The Timberwolves are one of the teams that have called the Suns to check on the availability of Steve Nash, reports Marc Stein.

Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:
Should Minnesota Timberwolves fans laugh or cry after hearing Executive David Kahn tried to trade for the Phoenix Suns’ Steve Nash?

After all, Nash isn’t a fit for the Wolves. And the Wolves aren’t a fit for Nash. These two would be the worst match since Anna Nicole Smith married that old billionaire.

Nash is 37 years old. The two-time MVP has a limited time horizon, and will only leave the warmth of Phoenix for a contender. Not a good playoff team, but a class organization with legitimate championship aspirations.

Class and championships are words one doesn’t associate with Glen Taylor’s Wolves. And Nash may retire rather than suit up for the rebuilding Wolves.

This would actually be a positive for the Wolves, who must develop Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio -whenever the Euro sensation crosses the Atlantic for America.

Kahn doesn’t see it that way, though. Perhaps he’s inquiring about Nash and Anthony to prove to pending free agent Kevin Love he’s serious about upgrading the team’s talent.

However, Kahn has no chance at either superstar. And his failures only reinforce the Wolves’ inadequacies.

--Oly Sandor.

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