Jace Frederick / St. Paul Pioneer Press
SAN DIEGO — Timberwolves forward Gorgui Dieng said his college coach, Rick Pitino, "probably wasn't aware" of the misconduct that cost the Louisville coach his job. Pitino was placed on unpaid leave by the university Wednesday. In a statement to ESPN, Pitino's attorneys said the coach had "in effect, been fired." Louisville was one of the schools linked to allegations made by the FBI on Tuesday that an Adidas employee funneled payments to three basketball players to get them to commit to certain programs that had apparel deals with the sportswear company.
SAN DIEGO — Taj Gibson made a point to single out one player after the Timberwolves' first practice of training camp Saturday, Sept. 23 — Shabazz Muhammad. "He kind of set the tone in my eyes of how hard he was playing and moving his feet, and that's where we're going to need," Gibson said. "Every day you're probably not going to have it, but then it's going to be up to your teammates to set the tone and get you going. And today I felt like he got everybody really going, and the coaching staff saw it, too."
MINNEAPOLIS—A win in this year's WNBA Finals would give the Lynx four titles in seven years. It would tie them for most championships of all time with the Houston Comets, the WNBA's first dynasty that won the first four titles in league history, and only add to maybe the most dominant run in league history. The Lynx take on the Los Angeles Sparks starting Tuesday, Sept. 26, at Williams Arena. It's a rematch of last season's Finals, which the Sparks won in five games.
SAN DIEGO — The Timberwolves were set to take off for San Diego on Friday afternoon, Sept. 22, and they aren't coming back for a while. Minnesota opens training camp Saturday, Sept. 23, in San Diego, where it will practice until Friday before heading to Anaheim, Calif., to play its preseason opener against the Lakers. After that, it's wheels up for a week-long trip to China, where the Wolves will play two exhibitions against Golden State before finally returning home. That's 18 days straight on the road.
MINNEAPOLIS — The WNBA's decision makers have made their fair share of questionable calls in marketing and scheduling, such as scheduling two WNBA Finals games for Sundays and competing directly against the beast that is the NFL. Not ideal. But there is one recent decision the league got right: redoing its playoff format to allow the two best teams to play for the title. For the second consecutive year, that's what fans are getting with another Lynx-Sparks showdown.
MINNEAPOLIS — There were a lot of reasons for the Minnesota Lynx to be concerned about the Mystics' offense heading into WNBA semifinal series. Washington averaged the most three-point attempts in the WNBA this season, and the Mystics start three players who stand 6-foot-4 or taller, including all-world forward Elena Delle Donne. Washington averaged 84 points over its first two playoff games. In its quarterfinal win over New York, sharpshooter Kristi Toliver drained a playoff-record nine three-pointers. Yes, the Mystics are dynamic and explosive.
MINNEAPOLIS — Lindsay Whalen was present in every way possible during her monthlong absence from the court as she recovered from a broken left hand. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said Whalen did an "unbelievable job keeping herself connected" while she was out, essentially serving as a coach on the sideline, from talking with players to suggesting to Reeve when certain players should come out of the game for breathers.
MINNEAPOLIS — Tom Thibodeau said the Timberwolves organization has been in "constant communication" with Andrew Wiggins regarding a possible contract extension. In a radio appearance Monday, Aug. 28, with Chad Hartman on WCCO-AM, the Timberwolves coach and president of basketball operations said team owner Glen Taylor "made a very strong statement" in offering Wiggins a max five-year deal worth roughly $148 million, "and hopefully we'll get that done before the start of the season."
MINNEAPOLIS — The Lynx are taking, and making, more three-point shots this season, sporting the WNBA's fourth-best three-point percentage (35.2 percent).
MINNEAPOLIS — Basketball fans all over the country will have ample opportunities to see the new-look Timberwolves this season. Minnesota's 2017-18 regular-season schedule, unveiled Monday, Aug. 14, features 25 nationally-televised games. That's believed to be a new team record. The Wolves will play on ESPN nine times, including their season opener at San Antonio on Oct. 18, seven times on TNT, including their Christmas Day match-up with the Lakers in Los Angeles and eight times on NBA TV.