The Timberwolves were struggling through a significantly difficult 2019-20 season even before the coronavirus pandemic caused the entire league to postpone play indefinitely, according to the Minnesota Star Tribune’s Sid Hartman.
The Wolves’ average home attendance count of 15,066 ranked them last in the NBA. Their 19-47 record places them at No. 14 in the Western Conference. After the team made a series of deadline trades, including the transaction that moved swing man Andrew Wiggins‘ contract to the Warriors in exchange for point guard D’Angelo Russell, President of Basketball Operations Gerson Rosas stressed the importance of game play for building chemistry for the new-look Wolves.
“Those [remaining] games are critically important to us,” Rosas said. “I’ve said it from the beginning, this year is about building identity. It’s building chemistry, building habits, and it is painful. These first 50 games, it was painful to go through the growing pains.” The truncation of the team’s final 18 games impeded that.
There’s more out of the Northwest Division:
- Jazz wing Joe Ingles, who tested negative for COVID-19, notes that he would walk away from the NBA if he needed to protect his three-year-old son Jacob, who is more at-risk due to his autism, per The Athletic’s Sam Amick. “If you had to tell me that you could never play again to protect Jacob from this,” Ingles said, “I would walk away, fly to Australia and never play another game in my life and be very content with it.”
- Second-year Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons has shown flashes of promise, but had been frustrated by his own lack of progress during the 2019-20 season, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic. The Blazers are still excited about the athletic forward’s potential.
- The Thunder face an uncertain future in light of the coronavirus pandemic potentially docking the 2020/21 NBA season’s salary cap by an estimated $8M, the Oklahoman’s Joe Mussatto reports. Though Oklahoma City only has $105.5M committed in salaries next year, the team’s notable free agents are key contributors Danilo Gallinari and Nerlens Noel. Defensive stalwart Andre Roberson, who has been absent since midway through the 2017-18 season with a serious injury, is also on an expiring deal this summer. Roberson last suited up for an NBA game on January 27, 2018.