Minnesota Timberwolves Season Review Part 1: What Went Wrong?

The 2010-11 Minnesota Timberwolves season was a struggle. But what went wrong?

In a word, everything, but that would be too easy.

Kevin Love’s 53 game double-double streak overshadowed what was a season full of over blown expectations and vast under achievement.

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NBA Suspends Dwight Howard, Quentin Richardson of Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard Magic

The Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard has received a one-game suspension without pay for receiving his 18th technical foul of the 2010-11 season, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

Under NBA rules, a player or coach is automatically suspended without pay for one game once he receives his 16th technical foul during a regular season. For every two additional technical fouls received during that regular season, the player or coach will be automatically suspended for an additional game.

Howard received his most recent technical foul with 3:38 remaining in the second quarter of Orlando’s 111-102 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday, April 6, at Time Warner Cable Arena. Howard will serve his suspension Sunday, April 10 when the Magic host the Chicago Bulls at Amway Center.

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Yes We Kahn: Timberwolves Continue Dealing

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By Andy Weise

Recently appointed Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn continued his summer of making headlines as he packaged Mark Madsen, Sebastian Telfair and Craig Smith to the Los Angeles Clippers for Quentin Richardson. Richardson has now had four homes this off-season after he was dealt from New York to Memphis and then from Memphis to the Clippers. He addresses the Wolves’ shooting guard need after Mike Miller and Randy Foye were dealt to Washington the day before the draft, which landed the Wolves the No. 5 overall pick (which became Ricky Rubio.)
Kahn has now made two multi-players trades and decided against bringing back Kevin McHale as the head coach. 86343355JP007_DRAFTPORTRAITSHe is also traveling to Spain to try and negotiate with Ricky Rubio’s buyout, which the Wolves can only pay $500,000 towards.

Clearly Kahn and McHale saw some things differently and that is why McHale isn’t coaching again next year. Kahn has also traded five of McHale’s guys this offseason. Madsen was more a cheerleader than a rotation player the last couple of years but he was the last remaining guy from the Wolves 2003-2004 run to the Western Conference Finals. Madsen was somewhat of a fan favorite in Minnesota but he never deserved the five year contract McHale handed to him the summer of 2005.

Smith and Telfair were two of the young guns McHale was trying to build with and after Telfair had failed to live up to expectations in Portland and Boston, he seemed to have found a home in Minnesota as a capable backup point guard. Smith seemed to be lost in the shuffle after the Washington deal brought in three front court players with more size than the undersized power forward from Boston College.

What was going through the mind of the Clippers?

Well, first off they get a much needed backup point guard for the sometimes injured Baron Davis.  Telfair should be a good insurance policy for a team with plenty of weapons in the event that Davis goes down. Smith and Madsen will help with the departure of Zach Randolph who was dealt for Richardson originally. With Blake Griffin, Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman in the front court, Smith should be able to find some time and Madsen likely will continue his cheerleading ways. The Clippers have basically sent away Randolph and added Griffin and three decent role players. If the Clippers do actually add Allen Iverson, there is actually some reason for interest in L.A.’s second team.
Richardson’s shooting will definitely help the Wolves, a team that wants to play more up-tempo but still possesses a significant weapon in the half court game: Al Jefferson. It’s hard to say at this point if Richardson will stay on the team because he is another expiring contract but for now let’s just say he will remain a T’Wolf for the year.  He is in the final year of his contract so he should be motivated to prove to people he still deserves another payday in the NBA. The Wolves are now stacked with expiring contracts belonging to Richardson (9.35 mil), Etan Thomas (7.35 mil) and Brian Cardinal (6.75 mil). On top of that, they could again have three first round picks and plenty of cap room. Stay tuned to see what Kahn does next. For now, Wolves fans will continue to echo those three words, “Yes We Kahn.”

Grizzlies acquire Zach Randolph from Clippers

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By David Kay

“He has one of the worst contracts in the NBA, is a head-case, and is coming off a serious knee injury. So who in the world would want to mess up their salary cap situation and trade for such a volatile player like Zach Randolph? I bet Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace would.”

That must have been Clippers general manager/head coach Mike Dunleavy’s mindset when he was trying to unload Randolph’s remaining 2-year, $33.3 million contract. On the other hand, that’s giving Dunleavy an awful lot of credit. Maybe Wallace called him and had to convince Dunleavy to pull the trigger on the trade. However it went down, the Clips made a great deal by sending Randolph to Memphis for Quentin Richardson.


Why this makes sense for the Clippers:

It’s quite simple actually. L.A.’s “other” team unloads one of the plethora of post players it has since drafting Blake Griffin, and clears up some more playing time for the top pick. In the process, the Clips rid themselves of a toad on their team and maybe more importantly, save about $7 million this year and another $16-plus for next offseason.clippers

The red-headed stepchild of L.A. basketball will now be at least $16 million under the cap next summer and should be able to make a run at one of the marquee names hitting the market in 2010. For the year ahead, Q-Rich adds some perimeter depth to a team short on talent off the bench.

P.S. Bill Simmons may need to issue a formal apology to Dunleavy after this move.


Why this makes sense for Memphis:

Ummm… I mean… Well, if you think about… It just doesn’t. Why in the world would the Grizzlies, who entered the free agency period some $20 million under the cap, trade the expiring contract of Richardson to take on the massively overpaid Randolph, who has two years remaining on his deal?

If your answer is “because Chris Wallace is their GM,” award yourself a point. This trade might be more idiotic than giving Pau Gasol to the Lakers for a ball rack. Maybe Wallace was ordered to make another ridiculous trade to ensure the franchise wouldn’t be in Memphis past 2011. I could seriously go on in hyperbolic talk for another 13 pages if I had the time.

Yes, the Grizzlies needed an answer at power forward. But why bring in a player with Randolph’s issues instead of pursuing a younger, saner free agent like Paul Millsap, David Lee, or even Glen Davis who would cost less than Randolph and not risk the chemistry of your team? Is Randolph really going to be happy playing for a squad that might win 25 games this year? How long until he sucker punches Hasheem Thabeet or Marc Gasol? Seriously, did any of this go through Wallace’s head before he decided to go through with this trade? In the words of Will Hunting, “F***ing people baffle me.”