We’re nine days away from the preseason, and less than a month from the regular season. We dive into all the latest drama — but first, a sitdown with Brooklyn’s all-purpose weapon.

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We’re nine days away from the preseason, and less than a month from the regular season. We dive into all the latest drama — but first, a sitdown with Brooklyn’s all-purpose weapon.

Bruce Brown Can Play Anywhere

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Brown is listed as a “guard/forward” anywhere you look. The NBA’s measuring stick would tell you he’s a guard, and most likely a point guard at that. But in the era of positionless basketball, that can be virtually meaningless — especially for Brown.

He stopped by for a conversation about the possibilities that come with playing multiple positions.

You played a lot of small-ball (at the 4 or 5) last season, and the Nets signed a bunch of bigs this year. How do you adjust to playing different roles?

Adjusting roles will be easy for me because I wasn’t a 4 my whole life. It’s all about adjusting to each team and what they need. That’s what I’m best at.

Speaking of the team’s propensity for positionless ball in 2021, who or what prompted you to play 4/5 so much last season?  

I think that’s what the team needed at the time, and it was working. It was throwing other teams off and putting them at disadvantages. And most importantly, I can finish at the rim.

What ultimately led you back to Brooklyn? Several analysts suggested you could earn up to $12 million a year.

To compete for a championship and play on a great team. We had unfinished business. I wasn’t gonna miss that opportunity.

What are your thoughts on Sekou Doumbouya? Did you or anyone speak to him before the trade? 

We didn’t speak before the trade. We’re friends, so we talk from time to time. Ya know, that’s my dawg. I’m excited for him to be here. He’s still finding his way, so the Nets are the perfect place to learn. He’ll have a chance to learn multiple roles and learn from the best.

We’ll end with a simple one: Which part of your game have you been focusing on the most this offseason? 

Shooting.

You can read our full feature from this interview here.

More Dysfunction In Minnesota

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Dysfunctional organizations do… dysfunctional things. The latest gaffe comes from Minnesota, as the Timberwolves abruptly fired president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas after two seasons with the team.

“Wtf…” Wolves star Karl-Anthony Towns tweeted after the news dropped.

Now, details are emerging: New owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez evaluated Rosas’ performance throughout the summer, and per ESPN, Rosas was having a relationship with a team employee, prompting an internal investigation.

Why it matters: Karl-Anthony Towns appeared shocked by the news, and it certainly isn’t the first time Minnesota’s brass didn’t consult their superstar before making a significant move. When head coach Ryan Saunders was fired in February, KAT told reporters he learned the same time as “the rest of y’all.” 

That’s obviously a problem on its own. But it goes deeper for a franchise with the worst winning percentage of all teams in the four major North American sports — and with one postseason appearance in the past 17 years. Continuity is crucial when building a winning culture. The Timberwolves haven’t had that. 

On the bright side: Sachin Gupta — formerly VP of basketball operations — will assume Rosas’ role. He’s the first Indian American to run a basketball organization. Gupta was initially hired under Rosas after stints with the Pistons and Rockets, but the analytical mastermind is best known for creating the NBA Trade Machine when he worked at ESPN in 2006.

Otherwise, training camp begins in a week, and the Wolves are reportedly pursuing disgruntled Sixers star Ben Simmons. What happens now?

The ‘Simmons Saga’ Worsens

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Clearly, it isn’t always sunny in Philadelphia.

Ben Simmons is reportedly “done” with the Sixers, indicating that he won’t play another game until he’s traded. He’s also threatened to skip training camp if the team doesn’t move him.

Simmons has four years left on his contract, and the Sixers aren’t moving him until they get fair value in return — and his value is decreasing by the day.

Then there are the financial repercussions that come with a holdout. Simmons will be fined $227,613 for every preseason and regular-season game he misses, along with additional fines if he doesn’t report to media day and/or practices.

The Process Is Trending Down: During the 2018-19 season, Philadelphia’s starting five consisted of Simmons, JJ Redick, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, and Joel Embiid. Redick left the following season (and announced his retirement on Tuesday), and Butler bailed for Miami. 

Something Else To Think About: Would there be as much turmoil in Philly if Kawhi Leonard’s shot didn’t fall in Game 7 of the 2018-19 Eastern Conference Finals? The Raptors defeated the depleted Warriors in the Finals. Put the Sixers in their shoes, and they likely win it all. 

Instead, they lost two integral championship pieces.

Now, their first-overall pick in 2016 is demanding a trade. Only three players would remain from that ‘18-19 team: Embiid, Harris, and Furkan Korkmaz.

This story is far from over.

Around The Association: Roberts, LeBron, JJ

Wesleyan University

  • Tamika Tremaglio will replace Michele Roberts as executive director of the NBPA. Roberts, 65, held the position for the past seven years and became the first woman to run a major professional sports league union. Tremaglio has an extensive background as an attorney in Washington D.C., and has been a longtime consultant for the NBPA.
  • LeBron James has organized a team minicamp in Las Vegas with training camp just a few days away. He did the same thing with the Lakers in the summer of 2019 prior to winning the 2020 title. Los Angeles has nine new players on the roster.
  • NBA sharpshooter JJ Redick announced his retirement earlier this week, capping off a 15-year career with six different teams. Redick hit the 15th-most threes in NBA history (1,950) and has the 17th-best three-point percentage (41.5%).

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