Shootaround (Oct. 9) -- Andrew Wiggins wants to stay put, but isn't rushing to ink extension
NBA.com staff reports
This morning’s headlines:
- Wiggins in ‘no rush’ to ink extension
- Stotts, Blazers still parsing roster rotations
- Lue played big role in Green choosing Cavs
- Crabbe paying off for Nets
Wiggins in ‘no rush’ to sign extension — Let’s get one thing clear, Andrew Wiggins doesn’t want to go anywhere. That said, Wiggins explained to Sam Amick of USA Today Sports that he is in absolutely no rush to sign that extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves that would keep him around for years to come. Strange, huh? Well, not to Wiggins:
Nobody seems to know why Andrew Wiggins hasn’t secured his long-term future with the Minnesota Timberwolves just yet – other than the 22-year-old himself.
It has been approximately two months since Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor made it clear that a five-year, $148 million extension was Wiggins’ for the signing, and more than six weeks since the fourth-year shooting guard parted ways with his agent, Bill Duffy of BDA Sports, after the deal appeared to be all but done. Yet Wiggins, the former No. 1 pick who averaged a career-high 23.6 points per game in his third season, has yet to pick up the pen as the Oct. 16 extension deadline nears.
“I’m just taking it day by day, you know?” Wiggins told USA TODAY Sports on Saturday. “There’s no rush to do it, yet. I’ve still got some time before the day before that first game.”
If not for Wiggins’ glowing review on all things T-Wolves, the alarm bells would be ringing loudly here. But when asked if he had any doubts about Minnesota being the place for him, he said, “This is definitely where I want to be; definitely where I want to be.” And when asked if he would eventually sign the deal, he said, “Ah, eventually. I’m just going to take it day by day. There’s no rush to do it. We’re going through preseason and I’m all the way here in China.”
Still, the (non)decision is somewhat curious – especially considering the toll that this trip is taking on some players.
Just hours after Wiggins spoke, Warriors forward Draymond Green expressed concern about how the rigors of this globetrotting trek might increase the risk of injury. And Wiggins, who is owed $7.5 million next season on what is the final year of his rookie-scale contract, could compromise the contract so long as he leaves it unsigned.
Alas, he’s clearly focused on growing with his new teammates and trying to meet the lofty expectations that this group has inspired. With three-time All-Star Jimmy Butler coming their way via trade from Chicago in June, center Karl-Anthony Towns well on his way to being an MVP-caliber talent, and veterans like Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford signing via free agency during the summer, the Timber-puppies – as their young group had been nicknamed – are no more.
“We’re growing,” said Wiggins, whose Timberwolves went 31-51 last season and missed the playoffs for an NBA-worst 13th time. “We’re all growing together, man. And when we do win, we’ll look back and see that it was worth it.”
Portland’s Stotts still tinkering with his rotations — Portland coach Terry Stotts has been around the NBA long enough to know that there is no tried-and-true formula for reaching your goals. So there is no real method to his madness as he tries to figure out his playing rotation during the preseason, which continues for the Trail Blazers tonight in Sacramento (10 p.m. ET, NBA TV), writes Jason Quick of CSNNW.com:
Stotts has named three of his five starters: Damian Lillard at point guard, CJ McCollum at shooting guard and Jusuf Nurkic at center.
In the first two preseason games, Stotts has paired the starting forward positions with Evan Turner and Ed Davis and then Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu. Also, in the second half of the second preseason game, he started rookie Caleb Swanigan at power forward.
Stotts did not want to reveal his starting lineup for Sunday’s 12:30 p.m. game against the Clippers because he had yet to tell the team.
“There are a lot of different combinations and after two games, it has been productive, but I haven’t made a decision yet,’’ Stotts said. “I think it’s still in the formative process.’’
As Stotts mixes and matches his combinations, two early storylines have emerged: Caleb Swanigan, the rookie big man from Purdue, has played himself into consideration for a starting role; and the combination of Harkless and Aminu has once again proven to be an effective combination.
“I know everybody is curious about the forward position,’’ Stotts said. “But it’s not going to get resolved (immediately) … But I’m not opposed to starting rookies. I don’t know why I’ve gotten this reputation for not wanting to play young guys.’’
If it all seems confusing and jumbled, it is what preseason games are designed for: letting things play themselves out. But as Stotts reminds, it goes beyond identifying the best five players.
“I think people get caught up in the starting lineup,’’ Stotts said. “But it’s also about rotating players. There’s a lot that goes into it: starting familiarity, spacing, offense, defense, not only what happens with starting lineup but rotating players going in. I don’t think that gets enough consideration.’’
Green’s choice of Cleveland was made easy thanks to Lue — Jeff Green’s free-agent decision over the summer came down to several factors, one of the most important ones being Tyronn Lue. Green’s relationship with Lue and the opportunity to play on one of the league’s most talented teams made it a much more manageable process than most free agent decisions. Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com has the details:
Jeff Green’s response when asked why he picked the Cavaliers as his new team and accepting a veteran’s minimum salary to do it was to look around the locker room.
“Look at the opportunity we have, I have to learn, to win a championship, to learn from LeBron and D-Wade now,” Green said Sunday, after leading Cleveland with 19 points in a 102-94 preseason loss to the Wizards. “The championship pedigree is something you want to play for every year. I had that opportunity when they called and now I have it. It was a no-brainer to pick Cleveland to win the championship this year.”
Out of all those names Green says attracted him to Cleveland — James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Love (maybe), Isaiah Thomas (perhaps), Jae Crowder (sure, why not), and Derrick Rose (of course) — only James and Love were Cavs when Green made his choice.
Green agreed to a $2.3 million deal to come to the Cavs on July 8. Yes, James, Love, and Kyrie Irving had take the team to three straight Finals and won one, but the huge trade that shipped Irving to Boston for Thomas and Crowder, as well as the minimum contracts for Wade (a 12-time All-Star) and Rose (former NBA MVP) were all after Green joined the team.
The more obvious reason Green came here is his relationship with Tyronn Lue, which grew when Lue was an assistant coach in Boston and personally worked to rebuild Green as a player after he missed the entire 2011-12 season because of a heart condition that required surgery.
And Green’s surgery, of course, was done at the Cleveland Clinic.
“When you think about it, it’s a place (Cleveland) that gave me new life and hopefully this year it can give me a refresher on my career,” Green said. “So I guess Cleveland is a city for me that brings a lot of newness to my life. We’ll see at the end of this year — in June — what that turns out to be.”
Crabbe worth the wait for Brooklyn — The Brooklyn Nets had to wait patiently to see exactly what kind of impact Allen Crabbe was going to make on his new team. And after his debut against the New York Knicks Sunday, it’s clear that he was well worth the wait. Brian Lewis of the New York Post has more:
Over 15 months after the Nets inked Allen Crabbe to a huge offer sheet, they finally got to see the small forward suit up for them.
He couldn’t have made a better first impression.
In his first action of the preseason after recovering from a sprained ankle, Crabbe had 14 points in just 10 minutes 46 seconds in the Nets’ 117-83 win over the Knicks on Sunday at Barclays Center. He shot 5-of-7 from the floor, 3-of-4 from behind the arc and was even active on defense, finishing a plus-16.
“Just watching the first two preseason games and all the shots and how the offense flows, it’s the perfect system for me. I just came in with confidence,” Crabbe said. “It’s a different feel here, when coach [Kenny Atkinson] is telling you to do more, to shoot more. It’s like the ultimate green light, so I’m out there just playing basketball freely, not thinking about anything, just letting the game come to me.”
Crabbe had 11 points in the first quarter on 4-of-5 shooting in just 6:28.
If he could do that every game, please Allen do that every game. That was amazing,” Jeremy Lin said. “No rhythm, he didn’t have any games to work into — he just came out and started ripping shots. That was impressive.”
“We can talk about the points, but I just like how he just makes a simpler play. If it’s not there, he’ll make the next pass to the open guy. There is no extra waste of movement,” Atkinson said. “Yeah, of course it’s great if the shots go in, but he is a really good all-around basketball player.”
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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES:The New York Knicks are on Porzingis injury watch again … Mike D’Antoni has a little something to say about Kevin McHale’s leadership comments about James Harden … Marcus Smart is making more fans with his play in the preseason … Jeremy Lin and Kenyon Martin have cleared the air, thankfully … Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers did their beast to ease some of the pain for Las Vegas … The Suns’ “small” lineup is taking a pounding on the boards … Speaking of rebounding, can the revamped Thunder lead the NBA in rebounding? … It should surprise no one that the masterplan in Minnesota has a decidedly Chicago bent to it, courtesy of Tom Thibodeau