TrueHoop: Mark Madsen
Posted by Kevin Arnovitz
The Los Angeles Clippers introduced Rasual Butler this afternoon to the local media at their training facility in Playa Vista. For those keeping a tally of what's become of Zach Randolph, Clippers general manager and head coach Mike Dunleavy has now spun him off for the following:
- Rasual Butler (1 year, $3.95M)
- Craig Smith (1 year, $2.5M)
- Sebastian Telfair (2 years, $5.2M, the second year a $2.7M player option)
- Mark Madsen (1 year, $2.84M)
- A remaining trade exception for $3.36M
- $14.63M in salary savings for 2010-11, assuming Telfair picks up his option
- A spot in the starting lineup at the power forward for Blake Griffin
There are no marquee names on that list, and nobody who can match Randolph's raw numbers, but judging from Dunleavy's mood on Monday afternoon, he's over the moon that he's been able to parlay arguably his worst blunder as general manager -- the acquisition of Randolph -- into a collection of cheap, complementary assets and tremendous financial flexibility.
The Clippers are almost certain to improve upon their 19 wins of last season. To what extent they'll be in factor in the Western Conference playoff race is anyone's guess. But if Dunleavy the GM has accomplished nothing else, he's starting to cobble together a roster that looks a lot more workable to Dunleavy the coach.
Dunleavy likes to post his guards, and has been imploring the small -- but brawny -- Eric Gordon to develop a post game, something he showed off in Las Vegas. With Butler, Dunleavy gets a lanky swingmen whom he can use in that capacity.
"If you're a 2-guard and you're 6-7, we can throw you down in the post some," Dunleavy said.
Less discussed, but more relevant is whether Dunleavy will act on his impulse as a tactician: Start Butler ahead of Al Thornton.
"We'll figure out what makes the best sense for us," Dunleavy said. "Coming into training camp, it'll be pretty wide open."
Dunleavy has coveted a Bowen-model small forward ever since arriving in Los Angeles. He took on defensive stopper Quinton Ross as a project, but Ross was never able to develop a perimeter shot that could stretch defenses. Instead, Dunleavy has had to cope with Corey Maggette and now Thornton. Both are capable creators for themselves, but ball-stoppers, defensive liabilities -- and endless sources of frustration for Dunleavy. Butler is no Bruce Bowen, but he's the corner sniper (45% from there), and long perimeter defender Dunleavy's been after.
Few teams will come into the season with more elastic expectations than the Clippers. So much is uncertain: Blake Griffin's ceiling in his rookie season; Baron Davis' health and resolve; Chris Kaman's ability to bounce back from injury; Eric Gordon's progress.
Toward the end of his media session, Dunleavy spoke about the physical regimen he requires of his players -- their body fat targets and conditioning programs. He also described a torturous, 60-second, three-man weave drill he had to perform himself as a rookie more than 30 years ago.
"If you can do that," Dunleavy said, "then you're in shape."
Dunleavy paused, then added wistfully, "Last year, I don't think we ever got to it. Period."
Posted by Kevin Arnovitz
Mark Madsen logged only 116 minutes for Minnesota last season, but was the longest-tenured T-Wolf, a presence on the bench for six seasons. He's also one of the league's most expressive players.
In his blog today, he said goodbye to his fans in the Twin Cities:
I wanted to take a minute to tell the fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves a heart felt thank you for all of the support and enthusiasm for the team over the past few years. Even though the past couple of years had been tough from a wins and losses perspective, when I will think of my time in Minneapolis, I will always think about that 2004 team that almost made it to the NBA Finals. At that time, Kevin Garnett was the MVP of the entire league, Sam Cassell was an All-Star and Latrell Sprewell was one of our emotional leaders. I remember during the playoff run that year how driving to and from games was absolutely crazy with part of downtown shut down so that cars could get through. This was all possible because of you, the fans and your amazing support.
From a different standpoint, Minneapolis has come to feel like an absolute second home for me personally. Having grown up in Northern California, I never really knew much about Minnesota until Kevin McHale and Glen Taylor signed me to play for the Timberwolves. Needless to say, the past several years have been some of the best years of my life and I am grateful for the opportunity, the support from the community and the fact that you truly made me feel at home in new place. Thank you for your friendship and for the giving me the chance to play for the team. When friends from out of town came to visit Minnesota I would always take them to the stone arch bridge downtown, the state Capital, or the Mill City Museum. Exploring new parts of the Twin Cities became one of my passions while I was there.
After I learned of my trade to the LA Clippers, David Kahn left me a voicemail and it was great. To you, the fans, David Kahn is going to do a great job as the General Manager. He is going to tirelessly do everything in his power to return the team to the same form of that special 2004 season. And to Glen Taylor, I express my thanks for allowing me to contribute to a great team. I'm sure that you will get the team back to the high expectations that you and the community have for the team. It has been an honor to play for the team over the past number of years and to be part of your organization.
But above all, I want to thank you the fans. I wish all of you the best and I hope that I will see you down the road and perhaps at a Timberwolves vs. LA Clippers game in the future!
The Timberwolves have a four-game winning streak going. It's so hot, Mark Madsen has emerged from blog hibernation. Some of his newest post:
... it was Al Jefferson's birthday party on Sunday night a few days ago! He had the entire team over to his house and an amazing catered dinner along with some relaxation time where players and teammates shot the breeze, played pool and ate appetizers. Al had kevin Love get up and sing him happy birthday in front of all 40 people. Kevin Love ate it up and had a great time with going back and forth with his post player friend and mentor, the Big Al.
McHale's coaching style reminds me a little bit of my first coach and NBA mentor, Phil Jackson. The one thing they both really have in common is that during practice they're both all over people and once the game starts they don't say a whole lot. It allows you as a player to relax, play loose, and just try to make a play without looking over your shoulder. They both cared a lot about effort an energy. Phil Jackson used to always talk about playing with energy.
McHale has a new tradition that no coach I've ever played for has used. At the end of practice or a game or before a game when everybody on the team puts their hand in for the break, ("one, two, three, TEAM, or WIN, chant), McHale takes a different approach. Everybody puts their hand in and then McHale will single out one guy and ask for example, "Craig Smith, what do you have for us today?" Craig might say "Family" (as he did once) and then on "three" everyone chants "FAMILY!" I like this as it keeps everyone on their toes and everyone thinking about what they want the chant to be if McHale picks them.
The best chant so far in my opinion has come from Sebastian Telfair, which he told us later he borrowed from the old Portland Trailblazers team chaplain. "Too annointed to be dissapointed!" It was a little bit long to chant, but guys LOVED the creativity!
The Timberwolves' Mark Madsen blogs about his first interaction with his new teammate, at a scrimmage:
Yes, this was the first time that I got to meet Kevin Love. The man who used to terrorize my Stanford Cardinal basketball team in his one year at UCLA. Well, on the last play of the day, Kevin Love went up for a dunk. I tried to block it and the next thing I knew I was making two unexpected trips after practice.
1) To team physician Sheldon Burns (he is also the USA Basketball head physician) to get 12 stitches in my chin,
2) To visit Matthew Alm of Brookside Dental (Minneapolis), to get my front tooth popped back into place.
Thanks Kev. :)
Madsen goes on to say that he thinks Love will prove to be one of the best-passing big men of the modern era, and a rookie of the year candidate.
Mike Trudell of Timberwolves.com interviews Al Jefferson. One topic they cover is Jefferson's teammate Mark "Mad Dog" Madsen. Madsen is famous as a bench player on title-winning Laker teams (and, I guess, for this dance).
Well, I was going to ask you who's funnier: Your favorite actor Eddie Murphy, or Mad Dog?
I have to go with Eddie Murphy, but Mad Dog is crazy. He'll surprise you. He'll say something and you're like 'Wow, that's Mad Dog!' Every time someone makes a joke on him, he can reverse it. Every time.
How many times has Dog mentioned his two championship rings to close an argument?
Oh man. (Thinking). I've heard it probably, 25 to 40 ... thousand times.
Basically, any time you start with him on something, and he doesn't have a comeback, it's ring time.
Yes. But he's got something a lot of people don't have.
No doubt about that. But be honest with us ... You can't take Mad Dog 1-on-1.
I am really scared of Mad Dog 1-on-1. I wouldn't want to play Mad Dog if I had to. Now, we've played, but ... I'm very scared of Mad Dog 1-on-1.