The Timberwolves are unlikely to make a major deal before the NBA trade deadline at 2 p.m. on Thursday, but SKOR North Scoopmaster Darren (Doogie) Wolfson said there is interest in Washington Wizards backup center Montrezl Harrell.
Sachin Gupta, the Wolves’ executive vice president of basketball operations, is looking for a rebounding presence and a player that would enable Karl-Anthony Towns more freedom on the floor. The Wolves also are reportedly interested in bringing back forward Thaddeus Young, who is with the Spurs. The Suns have inquired about the 33-year-old as well.
HoopsHype reported that exploratory talks between the Wolves and Spurs focused on Taurean Prince and a second-round pick going to San Antonio. Prince sprained his left ankle in the Wolves’ victory over Detroit on Sunday at Target Center.
The 6-foot-7 Harrell, who is averaging 14.1 points and 6.7 rebounds in 46 games, reached a breaking point with his current team after Washington’s 15-point blowout loss on Saturday to the Suns. It was the Wizards’ seventh loss in their past eight games. “It sucks, bro,” the 28-year-old told reporters. “That’s the mood of the team. It (expletive) sucks.”
Wolfson mentioned last week that the Wolves also were interested in Boston guard Marcus Smart but it didn’t look as if there would be a fit between the teams. One player certain to be included in such a trade would be Malik Beasley, who had 20 points off the bench Sunday as he made 5-of-9 three-pointers.
Beasley has struggled with his shooting coming off the bench at times this season, and it has been reported that if a team was willing to part with a first-round pick that Gupta might be open to moving the veteran. Beasley is averaging 12.3 points this season in 53 games and only 10 starts. He is shooting 35.2 percent from three-point range, his lowest percentage since his second NBA season when he was with Denver (34.1).
- A question about Patrick Beverley’s return to the Wolves after Sunday’s win gave D’Angelo Russell a chance to express his views on the lack of enthusiasm provided by fans at Target Center. “It forces guys to want to turn their level of competition up, compete,” Russell said. “It gets our quiet-ass fans involved, too. So I think it’s good for us to have somebody like him. Kind of wakes people up.” Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic wrote an excellent column about why fans might be reluctant to jump on the bandwagon. Wolves TV analyst Jim Petersen lauded the column and suggested everyone, including Wolves’ players, read it. That got this response from Russell on Twitter: “Hey Jim I’m just challenging our fans to adjust to this special team. If it’s not to much to ask from here on standing until we score to start the game, That would be cool. Love all yaw #Peace.”
- Russell and his teammates are likely to be pleasantly surprised by how loud Target Center can get, if the team makes the playoffs. That will either involve jumping to the sixth seed, something that is possible, or winning in the play-in round(s). Krawczynski’s column brings up numerous good points about the damage the Wolves have done to their fan base. But Minnesota can be a fantastic basketball town, if they are given a good product to watch. Final thought: Beverley’s presence on this roster results in an intensity from him and, thus, his teammates that hasn’t been seen since Kevin Garnett. It’s a breath of fresh air.
- While Russell would like the fans in Target Center to make more noise, eventual owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez likely look around the 32-year-old building and see an outdated arena that doesn’t come close to providing the type of experience many NBA teams can in 2022. So what would get more people to show up and be enthusiastic? A better team, yes, but also a better building.
- One of the most interesting hires the Vikings will make, now that Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell is set to be introduced as head coach, will be the defensive coordinator. Anthony Weaver, who has served as Baltimore’s defensive line coach and run game coordinator, already has had an interview as has former Bears DC Sean Desai, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. An interview has been requested with Aubrey Pleasant, the Lions’ defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator. Pleasant worked with O’Connell on the Rams’ coaching staff last season. The 41-year-old Weaver and O’Connell worked together in 2015 in Cleveland. Desai, 38, had been with the Bears since 2013 but was coordinator for only one season. All three candidates come from teams that run a 3-4 defense, something the Vikings haven’t done since the mid-1980s.
- The Vikings had interest in recently dismissed Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale but the Giants are reportedly close to hiring him after Patrick Graham, who interviewed for the Vikings head coaching job, left as the Giants’ DC to take the same position in Las Vegas.
- Fowler tweeted that former Vikings coach Mike Zimmer wants to coach in the NFL in 2022, even though many thought he would take a year off. Whether Zimmer would get a job as a defensive coordinator, or a defensive consultant, he figures to draw interest from some teams.
- The Wild have the third best prospect group in the NHL, according to Scott Wheeler of The Athletic. That’s up from eighth last season. The Wild’s top five prospects are winger Matt Boldy (who is with the NHL team); center Marco Rossi; goalie Jesper Wallstedt; defenseman Carson Lambos; and defenseman Calen Addison.