Shootaround (Feb. 21) -- Derrick Rose reportedly on Minnesota Timberwolves' radar
Plus, an update on Jimmy Butler's trade status and how the DeMarcus Cousins deal helps the 76ers
No. 1: Report: Wolves among teams in pursuit of Rose — Of the five names who comprise the current Minnesota Timberwolves’ coaching staff, four of them have ties to Chicago Bulls — the foremost, of course, being coach Tom Thibodeau. That crew was instrumental in Derrick Rose’s rise to MVP status in the 2010-11 season, but since then, injuries have taken Rose’s game down a few pegs. As the trade deadline nears, Rose (and his expiring contract) are appealing to some teams and as Ian Begley of ESPN.com reports, the Timberwolves are one such club interested in him:
The Minnesota Timberwolves have reached out to the Knicks recently to discuss potential trades for New York point guard Derrick Rose, sources told ESPN.
Rose, a free agent this summer, played for seven seasons under current Timberwolves and ex-Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.
It is unclear what Minnesota would offer in a potential trade for Rose. Sources say the Timberwolves are motivated to trade veteran point guard Ricky Rubio, as team president and coach Thibodeau sees rookie Kris Dunn as the point guard of the future for Minnesota.
The Timberwolves, sources say, are among several teams to reach out to the Knicks asking about potential trades for Rose.
Rose, in his first season in New York, is averaging 17.7 points per game on 46 percent shooting in 48 games. He has missed time due to back spasms and an ankle injury, but Rose’s knees, which caused him to miss major portions of recent seasons, have been healthy.
Knicks president Phil Jackson traded for Rose last summer, the first move made to compile a roster that the organization hoped would compete for a playoff spot.
* * *
No. 2: Report: Butler’s camp under impression he won’t be dealt — All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins was officially dealt to the New Orleans Pelicans yesterday … is another All-Star about to be moved days later? Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler has had his name floated in trade rumors for a while — particularly in deals involving the Boston Celtics — but according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, a Butler trade may not happen:
The Celtics own attractive assets for a team seeking a full rebuild. The Bulls have a superstar with experience guarding LeBron James in the postseason. And the teams engaged in serious talks in June that centered on Jimmy Butler.
The issue, at least as of Monday, is that the speculation is based more on assumed fit than reality.
Plenty can happen before Thursday’s 2 p.m. trade deadline, but according to multiple sources, the Bulls and Celtics haven’t held substantive talks about Butler since June, and Butler’s camp is under the impression that the Bulls won’t move the three-time All-Star this week.
The more pertinent takeaway from the Kings’ decision to cut bait with Cousins is the wariness to pay such a volatile star the $200 million-plus extension he likely would have earned from the designated player exception in the new bargaining agreement.
Butler also could command such a price tag on his extension, a wrinkle that didn’t exist in June. And even then, at least one of the Bulls’ four principal decision-makers advocated for a full rebuild.
Of course, even if the Bulls were to reach an organizational consensus on trading Butler before Thursday, it takes two to tango. And league sources indicated the Celtics have been underwhelmed by all preliminary offers for their main future assets — the Nets’ 2017 and 2018 first-round picks. The former could be the top pick in a strong draft.
Butler consistently has said he wants to remain a Bull. Management never has publicly committed to Butler, although Kings general manager Vlade Divac did so to Cousins and then promptly traded him for less than market value.
What Bulls GM Gar Forman has stated publicly is his desire to remain competitive as he attempts to make the roster younger and more athletic. Trading Butler would fly in the face of both goals.
* * *
No. 3: Kings fans unhappy with what team got for Cousins — For better or for worse, DeMarcus Cousins had become the face of the Sacramento Kings for the last 6 1/2 seasons. Then came yesterday, when he was officially dealt to the New Orleans Pelicans for Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway and first- and second-round draft picks this summer. Kings fans had their say about the move, writes Victor Contreras and Joe Davidson of The Sacramento Bee, and they weren’t exactly thrilled:
After learning Monday morning the Kings traded their three-time All-Star to New Orleans for an unproven, high draft pick in rookie Buddy Hield, two players who won’t be here next season and two 2017 draft picks, Kings fans wondered if this was the deal they had dreamed about or a nightmare.
“It looks to me like the Kings got 49 cents on the dollar on that trade,” said longtime Kings fan Bob Hawkins, a Cameron Park resident. “Something must have happened to precipitate the trade. What did we get in return? A rookie shooting guard? And two picks? Doesn’t make sense on the surface.”
On Monday, Divac said he wanted a new direction for his team, with a new “culture” and “character,” to begin building a winning franchise Kings fans would be proud of.
For Kings fan Gloria Merk, the trade gave her renewed hope.
“I know fans are upset, but it had to be done,” Merk wrote in an email to The Bee. “Drain the swamp. Clearly the trade and waivers show the owner wants a new culture. Matt (Barnes), legal problems. DeMarcus, you know the story; Darren (Collison), legal problems. Young Run and Shoot team on the horizon. Coach (Dave Joerger) will have a team he can mold by next training camp. Can’t wait.”
Some reacting to the Cousins trade were neither a fan of the player nor the team for building a new downtown arena with the city’s help. Wrote fan Gene Ulm on Facebook: “Good riddance to bad rubbish. Take the owner, tear down your stadium and give us back our tax money.”
KHTK 1140 radio host Grant Napear, the team’s longtime television play-by-play man on CSN California, fielded many calls from Kings fans.
“It’s why I love living here, because even when the team is not very good, the fans have something to say; they’re in love with the franchise,” Napear said. “I completely understand and sympathize with the fans and hear them. One thing I’m having trouble digesting from some of the fans is, what did the Kings really do here?
“They traded their most talented player, who has not helped them win enough. It has not worked. The Kings are going in a different direction. I don’t know why that’s so difficult to understand.”
Napear pointed out it was nearly impossible for the Kings to get equal value for Cousins. His boorish acts were well chronicled through his Sacramento career, and the rest of the league took notice.
Trade for Cousins, and you also trade for his potential for trouble.
“The reality is, few teams wanted him,” Napear said. “I’ve heard that personally from front office people. Teams were not clamoring to get him. What does that say about one of the most talented players in the league, a three-time All-Star? That tells me teams don’t want the headache and baggage.
“This is a small league, a fraternity. When something is bad, everyone knows about it. The reality is, a lot of assistant coaches and former players who had bad experiences with Cousins don’t want to play with him. The word is out. A franchise cannot give a max deal unless it’s a sure thing, and Cousins is not a sure thing.”
* * *
No. 4: How Cousins trade impacts Sixers — According to a report, the Philadelphia 76ers tried to acquire DeMarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings in a trade that would have centered around Jahlil Okafor. That deal didn’t happen, Cousins is in New Orleans now and the Sixers may still be in a good place even if they don’t move Okafor at all, writes Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Inquirer:
First, it negates any chance the team had of unloading Okafor to the Pelicans, who reportedly were close to giving up a protected first-rounder, a player with an expiring contract (a source says it was not Chester native Evans) and a second-rounder to the Sixers before the megadeal between with Sacramento went down.
Second, and even more important for the Sixers, it means the Kings are in full-out, blow-up-the-ship mode, and this trade really got them little in return. The Sixers own the right to swap picks with the Kings in the coming draft, provided the Kings’ pick is in the top 10 and is better than the Sixers’. Sacramento stands at 24-33, only a game-and-a-half out of a playoff spot in the West.
However, now that they have dealt Cousins, the Kings might not manage too many more wins. They have the 11th-worst record in the league and certainly could fall below the Trail Blazers (23-33), Pelicans and Knicks (both 23-34), Mavericks (22-34), Timberwolves (22-35), Sixers (21-35) and Magic (21-37).
The Sixers, of course, have played pretty well of late, as they’ve won 14 of their past 25 games, even though Joel Embiid has missed 14 of the past 15 and 11 straight. The three keys for the team in the remaining 26 games is continued improvement, the health of Embiid and trying to get rookie Ben Simmons on the floor. They now appear to have the luxury of not having to worry about winning too much, as the Kings have taken over tanking mode. That makes the draft lottery on May 16 even more intriguing.
Then there is the matter of the Sixers’ owning the Kings’ 2019 first-round pick, which is unprotected and unrelated to the pick-swapping of this year. If Sacramento is in rebuild mode, which entirely seems so, imagine how good that pick would be in two years.
Thanks to this Sacramento-New Orleans trade, the Sixers seem even better off than if they had dealt Okafor to the Pelicans.
Thinking of the possibility of two picks this June in the top 10, Embiid and Simmons starting next season in full health, the growth of Dario Saric, the possibility of having one of the stronger benches in the league and then another high pick in 2019, Colangelo doesn’t need to make a trade right now to elicit excitement. In fact, standing pat for now might have just been the better move.
* * *
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Should the Denver Nuggets think about trading Emmanuel Mudiay? … Five things to keep in mind if you’re an Oklahoma City Thunder fan as the trade deadline nears … The Atlanta Hawks are thinking both short term and long term with any potential trades they consider … If the Cleveland Cavaliers want to, they can now legally sign Anderson Varejao under salary-cap rules … Speaking of the Cavs, star guard Kyrie Irving wants to see more defense in the All-Star Game … One man’s view on why the Detroit Pistons shouldn’t look to trade Reggie Jackson … Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson wants to see some progress from his squad in the second half of the season …