Posts Tagged ‘Brad Miller’

Shaqtin’ A Fool: Top Five Hard Fouls


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Shaq unveils a special edition of “Shaqtin’ A Foul” as he counts down the hardest fouls in NBA history.

#shaqtin

Batum Eager To Play For Wolves



He was about 3,800 miles away, but Nicolas Batum’s voice was loud and clear. He wants to play with the Minnesota Timberwolves next season.

Batum, the Blazers’ restricted free agent, made his preference clear Tuesday afternoon in a telephone interview from Madrid, where he was with the French National team as it prepared for a friendly match later Tuesday against Spain, one of the top challengers to the defending U.S. men’s Olympic gold medal team at the upcoming Summer Games in London. While Portland has said it will match any offer sheet for Batum, he hopes they will let him go to play for the Wolves, who have a commitment for a four-year deal worth $45 million on the table when the July Moratorium ends Wednesday.

“I’m a restricted free agent,” Batum said. “I know the situation. Anywhere I sign, the Blazers are going to match. But my first choice was, and is, Minnesota. That’s where I want to play and that’s where I want to put my family. I’ve got nothing against the fans (in Portland) and nothing against the city. But this is a basketball decision and basketball wise, I want to be there. Last year, they impressed everybody, and that’s what I respect. To have a great young point guard like (Ricky) Rubio, and a great coach like (Rick) Adelman, I really liked that project. And I think they think I’m the missing piece at small forward. That’s what they told me.”

Batum met last week with Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, team president David Kahn and Adelman, and was impressed by the direction in which the franchise is going. But the 23-year-old Batum has been a priority to retain by the Blazers through several different basketball administrations, intrigued by his ability to score either as a driver or shooter. Portland acquired Batum in a Draft night deal in 2008 from the Rockets. Last season he averaged 13.9 points and 4.6 rebounds for the Blazers, and his Player Efficiency Rating of 17.32 ranked eighth among small forwards in the league, behind only LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Paul Pierce, Danny Granger, Rudy Gay and Andre Iguodala.

A source said that Batum did not want to sign an offer sheet because he was worried the Blazers would match. And, indeed, according to the Oregonian newspaper, that’s exactly what the team’s new general manager, Neil Olshey, told Batum and his representatives in a meeting last week. However, the Timberwolves have enough space to sign him outright to a sheet. They can clear $10.8 million of additional room buying out center Brad Miller (who has already announced his retirement) and guard Martell Webster, and also could create additional room by using the amnesty clause on center Darko Milicic, who is under contract next season at $5.22 million and has two years and $10.8 million left on his contract.

Batum grew frustrated by the slower pace that former Blazers coach Nate McMillan favored, and thinks he has a chance to play at a more up-tempo style in Minnesota.

“When I talked with Adelman last week, I felt like he wants me, will play me the way I ask to play,” Batum said. “Last year was tough for all of us and I think I need a new start. I think I need something else. Again, it’s nothing against the city or the fans (in Portland).”

Batum said that he thinks Portland and Minnesota will ultimately work something out.

“I know that they’re working on a sign and trade, and I’m very hopeful that both of them understand my situation, do the best both for me and for them,” he said.

Olshey, Batum said, told him last week that he could be a big part of Portland’s team going forward.

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No More Joking About The Timberwolves

– For the latest updates check out: NBA.com’s Free Agent Tracker

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – One of our most cherished traditions here at the hideout is coming to an end and we didn’t even realize it until just now.

All those days spent joking at the expense of the Minnesota Timberwolves could soon be a thing of the past. That laughing at Timberwolves GM David Kahn for something he either said or did might be over.

And it has everything to do with the fact that the Timberwolves had arguably the best pound-for-pound offseason of any team in the league. Rick Adelman comes aboard as coach. Heralded rookies Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams join the rotation along with solid veteran pick up and Adelman fave Brad Miller. And All-Star Kevin Love (the bearded, slender gentleman in the video above) shed a few pounds and looks like he’s in All-Star form heading into the start of training camp.

After a couple of years of trying to fit the right players into the wrong system, Adelman will bring a talent-friendly scheme to a deep and promising roster that needed just the right fit in a head coach.

While it’s far too early to set foot on thin ice and predict this team will rise into the ranks of Western Conference playoff contenders, it is fair to say that they’ve got our full attention right now.

And they also have a huge decision to make regarding Love and his immediate future. With the “Derrick Rose Rule” that is included in the new collective bargaining agreement, Love’s next contract is a front-burner issue for Kahn. And Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune says the young star is thinking big:

Much like the Wolves were faced with a franchise-defining decision whether to break the bank to sign a youngster named Kevin Garnett 14 years ago, the Wolves soon will have to decide whether the face of the franchise right now will become THE centerpiece worthy of such a deal.

If the Wolves don’t sign Love to a contract extension in the coming weeks, he could become a restricted free agent next summer.

If someone offers him a max contract then, the Wolves simply could choose to match the offer then and keep him.

If Love decides not to sign an offer sheet with another team then, he could play the 2012-13 on a $6.1 million qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2013.

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Are The Wolves Finally Moving Forward?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – At this point, we’ve come to expect the worst from David Kahn and the Timberwolves. So how does that affect our evaluation of how the Wolves did on draft night?

One thing that we know is that they did a lot…

  • Selected Derrick Williams with the No. 2 pick.
  • Traded Jonny Flynn and the No. 20 pick to Houston for Brad Miller, the No. 23 pick, and the Grizzlies’ 2013 first-round pick (lottery protected).
  • Traded the No. 23 pick to Chicago for the No. 28 pick and the No. 43 pick.
  • Traded the No. 28 pick to Miami for the No. 31 pick and a future second-round pick.
  • Traded the No. 31 pick to New Jersey for a future second-round pick and cash (not yet official).
  • Selected Malcolm Lee with the No. 43 pick.
  • Acquired the No. 57 pick from Dallas and used it to select Targuy Ngombo, who may or may not have been draft-eligible (not yet official).

Miller is recovering from microfracture surgery and probably won’t be available until at least January. So essentially, with all that movement, the Wolves are just adding Williams and Lee to their depth chart, with Ricky Rubio replacing Flynn…

PG: Rubio, Luke Ridnour, Lee
SG: Wesley Johnson, Wayne Ellington
SF: Michael Beasley, Martell Webster, Lazar Hayward
PF: Kevin Love, Williams, Anthony Randolph
C: Darko Milicic, Anthony Tolliver, Nikola Pekovic, Miller

With the additions of Rubio and Williams (and the removal of Flynn), the Wolves have five players on their roster who have been selected with a top-five pick in the last five years. Add Milicic and Webster and they have seven who have been selected in the top six in the last nine years.

So it’s probably time for the Wolves to move forward, but just how much they might improve next season is anyone’s guess. It will partially depend on who their coach will be and what they might get in exchange for Beasley if they think that Williams can play big minutes at the three.

Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune finds it all fascinating

We don’t know whether Rubio can play effectively in the NBA. We don’t know whether Love is an accumulator of numbers, or a franchise cornerstone. We don’t know whether Johnson will prove the Wolves were right to choose him over DeMarcus Cousins, or whether that choice will hang over the franchise like all of their other draft-day black clouds.

A good coach might solve many of these problems, or at least provide sound advice as the franchise claws upward. Kahn needs to prove he can hire such a coach.

A good coach, with the implicit backing of a solid front office, could push this group of athletes to play defense and share the ball, could make the Wolves worth watching for the first time in a handful of years.

Stay tuned. This team might actually start moving in the right direction one of these days…

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John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

Rip City Karma

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We will understand if Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan spends the rest of his days looking over his shoulder, avoiding cracks in the sidewalk wherever he walks and ducking for cover at the sign of a cat any shade other than albino.

We’re just as confused here at the hideout as McMillan must be in regards to what he and the Trail Blazers have done to incur the wrath of the basketball gods the way they have the past two seasons.

Now comes word that Brandon Roy, who was already out indefinitely, will have an arthroscopic procedure on both knees next week. McMillan should have requested Ashton Kutcher deliver the news, as opposed to whatever member of the beleaguered Trail Blazers’ athletic training staff had to deliver the crushing news.

Roy’s knees give the Trail Blazers a total of seven knees that have cost players their seasons, or at least large chunks of the season. Greg Oden is out for the season after having microfracture knee surgery. Second-yard forward Jeff Pendergraph injured his knee and required season-ending surgery. And rookie guard Elliot Williams has undergone surgery this season on both knees. Veteran center Joel Pryzbilla is working his way into normal shape after missing 26 games recovering from offseason knee surgery.

Dan Gilbert and LeBron James toss the word “karma” around without knowing the true dark side of the word. Folks in Portland know all too well what the wrong side of that coin can do to a team’s hopes and dreams.

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Time To Show And Prove

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – You waited all summer for this.

And now it’s here.

We get a monster three-game appetizer tonight to kick off the NBA season, Wednesday’s 13-game slate is the outlandish first course and we’ll have eight months worth of goods to work through before a champion is crowned.

Thankfully, the powers that be in the scheduling department decided to give us an opening-night preview, with three NBA Finals favorites on display.

Miami at Boston, 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Phoenix at Portland, 10 p.m. ET

Houston at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT

It’s show and prove time for all of them, too, not just those cats in Miami (who obviously enter this season with unprecedented hype for a team that’s been together for mere months).

All six teams taking the floor tonight have questions that need answering, things that we need to know right now, before they dive in and pledge allegiance to a team they think is the real deal:

HEAT

Who cracks first, the Heat or the competition? Erik Spoelstra‘s team (we can call them that, at least for now, right?) has already adopted the “us-against-the-world” mantra needed to chase a title. In fact, I can’t remember a team preparing itself better for a theoretical championship run than the Heat has done since July, which started with the LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade mega-merger. But now the theory must be applied in an ultra-competitive environment where the Heat will be the hunted team every single night.

That said, you have to give them credit for making all the right moves. Mike Miller goes down with a hand injury that will sideline for months, so the Heat quickly snag veteran swingman Jerry Stackhouse to fill the void (same way he did for the Bucks last year). There have been no major missteps up to this point … but now it’s time to play the games. And we’re going to see if the Heat can hold up to the pressure, internal and beyond.

CELTICS

With five players 32 or older, everybody is wondering the same thing: can the Celtics will hold up to the rigors of the 82-game regular season and a second straight extended playoff run? Their championship window is clearly much smaller than the one those young whippersnappers in Miami are working with, which will no doubt fuel the Celtics’ fire all season. Can the old men hold up?

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Don’t Believe The Yao Hype!

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Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – As far as international stirs go, nothing riles up the masses from Houston to Beijing  like these “Yao says he may quit if foot doesn’t heal” headlines you’ve probably already seen.

Here’s a little advice, don’t believe the hype.

The folks in the know, mainly Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, aren’t giving the buzz coming from China, where Yao Ming was quoted about what he’d do if he suffered another foot injury, any credence. Morey issued a statement that should calm any fears Rockets fans have of their All-Star center hanging it up anytime soon:

“Yao Ming is working diligently on his return and has consistently received positive feedback at each of his scheduled medical checkups. He is currently participating in on-court basketball workouts and we continue to expect him to be ready for the start of training camp which begins on September 25th.”

That works for us here at the hideout.

Yao’s comments to the assembled media in his native land (“If the foot injury does not heal next season, I might choose to call it quits”) sent people over the edge. And we’ll admit, Yao’s injury history — he has seen each of his last five seasons interrupted or ended by bone injuries — raises some red flags.  But big men his size always have to deal with injury issues.

That said, we’re not expecting Yao to go anywhere anytime soon. He’s 30 and should still have plenty of All-Star caliber basketball in him. In addition, Morey has assembled some quality frontcourt pieces around their big man — Luis Scola, Brad Miller, David Andersen, Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries and the always-reliable Chuck Hayes will all help take the pressure off of Yao.

We’re just not buying into any of this retirement hype surrounding Yao.

And with him healthy, the Rockets could certainly make some serious noise in the Western Conference playoff chase this season.

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