Sources say that the league’s increasingly determined pursuit of an Upper Spending Limit as we revealed in October — its version of a broad Hard Cap without calling it a Hard Cap — remains the No. 1 stumbling block in recent negotiations. There are certainly other issues, such as the ongoing wrangle about the league’s desire to lower the draft-eligible age limit back to 18 and (among numerous related concerns) how that would impact subsequent rookie scale contract lengths, but the USL is clearly Obstacle No. 1.
February 5, 2023 | 2:23 pm EST Update
Q: With D’Angelo Russell, he’s had a big year offensively. Helped you win a lot of games. Do you think you’ve seen enough that he can fit in long-term if you want him to be the point guard down the road? Tim Connelly: What I’ve seen is the guy put in a huge summer. He was in the gym all the time. I don’t think it’s coincidental he’s having such a good shooting year. Every time I looked up, he’s down there working out. He knew the expectations were risen this year. He challenged himself to have a better year. He’s such a basketball-obsessed guy. Nobody watches more college or NBA. He’s had a great year, a tremendous summer where he worked his tail off and certainly there’s plenty of scenarios where he’s our point guard not just now but for the future as well.
Q: Did you think Naz would play such a big role? How valuable has he been? Tim Connelly: Yeah, Naz is a guy that, from the outside, I liked and from being around him every day I love. Not just the player. He’s a really cool person. A great guy. Has overcome a lot and made it the hard way. We thought his positional flexibility and unique offensive skill set was going to be huge for us this year. His role has varied night to night … but his consistent approach and personality are so important to our team’s success.
Q: How do you, in general, approach making decisions at the deadline? Tim Connelly: It’s not a time of the year we enjoy. The whole idea of trading guys is kind of gross. They’re human beings, not assets. If a guy really wants to be here, that impacts how we view them. If guys are fully committed to being Timberwolves, it gives us pause. So it’s not just making trades on a spreadsheet.
Q: When does it really start to pick up? Some people don’t show their cards until the deadline is actually near. Tim Connelly: I think our approach is slightly different. If you’re trying to make a trade to improve your team, the earlier you get that guy, the better. That’s how we view things. I don’t know if that’s shared [by others]. You put self-imposed pressure by waiting. Sometimes you get something more up against the clock, but I think more often than not, the more clear-headed and less emotional you are, the better deals you make. We’re an organization that would not be reluctant to make a move earlier.
Monte Poole: League source: Tho there is no solid timeline yet, the Warriors are ‘hoping’ Stephen Curry (L knee) can return shortly after NBA All-Star break ends on Feb. 23. In line with Curry missing ‘multiple weeks’ reported by @Shams Charania
Stephen Curry is expected to be out through the All-Star break in mid-February with a left leg injury, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Warriors are expected to have a better understanding on the timeline for a return in the coming days, sources said.
Andrew Lopez: Good news for the Pelicans: Jonas Valanciunas is listed as doubtful for tonight’s game. His right knee injury is now right quadriceps soreness. Looks like JV avoided and major injuries on Saturday. Doesn’t look like he’ll miss much time.