This morning's headlines:
- Lue not declaring Love starting center just yet
- Report: Wiggins expected to sign extension this week
- Pachulia thinks Warriors will be 'even better'
Lue: Love not taking Thompson's spot, yet -- Big things will be expected from Cavs All-Star forward Kevin Love this season, perhaps moreso than ever. The departure of Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas' hip injury means Love will have to help LeBron James with the scoring and rebounding load. But will Love supplant Tristan Thompson as the Cavs' starting center? Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com caught up with Cavs coach Tyronn Lue and got more insight on that:
In an interview with cleveland.com ahead of LeBron James' minicamp this week in Santa Barbara, Calif., Lue said he planned to feature Love more in the offense this season with Kyrie Irving gone to the Celtics.
But he stopped short of declaring he would slide Love to center in the starting lineup -- an idea hinted in an ESPN.com piece last week that was based on an interview with Lue -- so he could play Jae Crowder alongside James.
"Right now we're just trying to get all of our pieces together and right now Tristan's our starter," Lue told cleveland.com. "I'm just thinking we're going to run a lot more stuff through Kevin, more at the elbows, like we've done the last year and a half. Just trying to figure out with our new pieces and our new players and just see what works best for us."
Looking to Love as the Cavs' No. 2 scoring option behind James is obvious, of course, because Irving (who averaged 25.2 points last year) is gone to the Celtics and his replacement, Isaiah Thomas (28.9 ppg, third-highest in the NBA a year ago) is out with a hip injury.
Last season, the Cavs outscored opponents by 14.5 points per 100 possessions with James and Love on the court and Irving out.
In another scenario, Lue could play Jae Crowder, Love, and Thompson in the front court with J.R. Smith off the ball and James running point. Lue did not discuss that particular lineup with cleveland.com Monday but it's a distinct possibility with Thomas potentially out for months and the Cavs preferring Derrick Rose as a backup point guard.
Lue has suggested that Rose would start in Thomas' absence.
"Got a lot of different combinations we can throw out on the floor," Lue said. "So with Bron and Crowder playing the three and the four, that doesn't necessarily mean that Kevin will be at the five. It can be Tristan, it can be Channing (Frye)."
Lue told ESPN that Love "is going to have the best year that he's had here." Reminded of that quote by cleveland.com Monday, Lue said: "I don't remember saying that, but I hope it's true.
"Every year I've been here Kevin's name comes up in trade talks, which isn't fair to him," Lue said. "It always comes up, which is what people want to throw out there every single time. But I think Kevin just being mature and being elite for so long he understands the business. He's definitely progressing and has gotten better and better and better each year here. That's what we love to see."
Report: Wiggins expected to sign extension this week -- A big offseason for the Minnesota Timberwolves marked by a roster remodeling may soon be getting bigger. According to Darren Wolfson of KSTP-TV in Minneapolis, Wolves youngster Andrew Wiggins is expected to sign a $148 million contract extension this week. If that comes to pass, it will be another boon in a summer for Minnesota that saw it add Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler and Jamal Crawford via a variety of trades and free-agent signings:
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor tells our Darren 'Doogie' Wolfson that the 5-years, $148 million extension for forward Andrew Wiggins should be done this week.
"He's indicated he wants to get it done," Taylor said on the 'Scoop' podcast. "I wouldn't be surprised that you'll hear something worked out this week."
Taylor has had multiple talks with Wiggins, and the sides want the deal to get done before Saturday's first training camp practice.
Wiggins recently fired his agent, Bill Duffy, and has yet to officially hire new representation.
Pachulia thinks Warriors to be 'even better' in 2017-18 -- How do you top a near-perfect run through the playoffs and a second title in three seasons if you're the Golden State Warriors? Veteran center Zaza Pachulia can see even more great things on the horizon for his Warriors and said as much to Mark Medina of the Bay Area News group recently:
Pachulia is only three months removed from winning his first NBA championship, two months removed from resigning with the Warriors to a one-year, $3.5 million deal and a month removed from visiting his native Georgia.
Plenty of work awaits upon Pachulia’s return as the Warriors are less than a week away from when training camp opens on Friday. But while Pachulia’s offseason left him relaxed, the Warriors’ ability to keep their core roster this summer left him encouraged that the good times will continue.
“I think we’re going to be even better this year with the confidence, the trust factor and knowing for ourselves we won a championship with that team, with that personalities on the team and the chemistry we have,” Pachulia said. “We can be even better with the focus we have with better details in how to improve.”
To stop that from happening, plenty of other NBA teams have loaded up their respective rosters. The Rockets acquired Chris Paul to pair with James Harden in the backcourt. The Thunder landed Paul George in hopes a one-year experiment with Russell Westbrook will become something more permanent. The Boston Celtics became shrewd in both free agency (Gordon Hayward) and trades (Kyrie Irving).
“We got Nick Young. We got Omri Casspi. We got Jordan Bell,” Pachulia answered.
“Obviously those are big time players,” Pachulia said of Paul, George and Irving. “But we believe in our team and we believe in our system. We believe in each other.”
Pachulia also believes in himself as the Warriors’ starting center after averaging 6.1 points on a career-high 53.5 percent clip and 5.9 rebounds last season. Those numbers proved good enough for Golden State to resign him to a one-year, $3.5 million deal, a year after he accepted a one-year, $2.9 million deal instead of accepting more lucrative offers from other unspecified teams.
“Last year was kind of a gamble. It was a risk,” Pachulia said of his free-agency. “But this year, I was more confident with my decision to stay here. Hopefully we can make two [championships] in a row. I like the chances. I like the team. I like what we have and the talent.”
“Last year was more stressful because we had so many new players,” Pachulia said. “But this year, we all have good players and newcomers. They are much improved with that team and with that squad. We could win the championship.”
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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Stephen Curry nails a penalty kick at Chelsea's stadium ... Heat forward Justise Winslow is working hard to improve his shooting stroke for 2017-18 ... The Larry O'Brien Trophy traveled an estimated 33,000-plus miles this offseason ... Renovations to Vivint Arena are nearing completion ... Ex-NBAers Perry Jones and Martell Webster have training-camp deals with the Pelicans ... The Magic have hired former NBA coach Randy Wittman as a coaching consultant ... Rashad Vaughn spent some time this offseason taking in Wisconsin's sights ... Cool moment -- 10-year-old girl wins Kent Bazemore's charity Uno tournament ... Draymond Green has taken rookie Jordan Bell under his wing this summer ...