Daily Gossip, Saturday 31/1/15

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Spanish international Ricky Rubio could be one game away from returning to the Minnesota line-up. He has been cleared to play on Monday. Probably a bit late now though as the T’Wolves are 8-38 are a little away from the playoff picture.

RUBIO TO RETURN MONDAY?

When Ricky Rubio tore his ACL in his rookie season, the Timberwolves went from a Playoff team to bottom in a hurry. After going 2-2 in the first four games, Rubio injured his ankle and since then, Minnesota have struggled.

Rubio will make his return though, according to AP, on Monday, when the Wolves face Dallas.

Via AP:

Rubio has been cleared to play on Monday against the Dallas Mavericks, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Saturday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because an announcement has not been made.

Rubio has been out since severely injuring his left ankle Nov. 7. He will have missed 43 games because of the injury, and the Wolves sunk to the bottom of the league without him.

They are 8-38 entering Saturday night’s game against Cleveland. When he returns, the team plans to restrict his minutes until after the All-Star break while he sees how his ankle responds.

Rubio signed a four-year, $54 million contract extension before the season and helped the Wolves get off to a promising start before going down with the first ankle injury of his career.

The slick-passing point guard’s return is the latest in a series of important developments on the injury front for the Timberwolves, following Nikola Pekovic’s return from a 31-game absence due to foot and ankle issues on Jan. 21 and Kevin Martin’s return on Wednesday from 34 games away with a fractured right wrist.

DUNCAN SEEKING $1MILLION

San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan has filed a lawsuit contending that a series of investments enriched his financial adviser but were losing propositions for the NBA star, which included $7.5 million in an entertainment company run by the adviser.

Via AP:

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in San Antonio, seeks more than $1 million in damages against Charles Banks of Atlanta. It claims Banks secretly withheld 20 percent of the return on Duncan’s loan to Gameday Entertainment, for which Banks serves as chairman.

The suit also alleges that Duncan’s signature was forged on at least two investment documents.

KENS-TV in San Antonio reports that Duncan discovered the discrepancies last year while accounting for his assets as part of financial filings. Attempts to reach Banks for comment Friday were unsuccessful.

MAGIC CLOSE TO FIRING VAUGHN

The Orlando Magic are close to making a coaching change. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Orlando’s management is ready to replace head coach Jacque Vaughn, who, despite being in his third season with the Magic, has yet to turn his team into a competitive one.

Via Yahoo! Sports:

The Orlando Magic are close to firing coach Jacque Vaughn and a change could come soon, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

As embarrassing losses accumulate, Vaughn is rapidly running out of time to show the progress needed to make it through the next several days – never mind the fourth and final year of his contract in 2015-’16, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

“It isn’t a matter of ‘if,’ anymore, but ‘when,’” a source close to the decision-making process told Yahoo Sports about Vaughn’s fading job security.

After a 115-100 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks at Amway Arena on Thursday night – the 13th loss in the past 15 games – the Orlando Sentinel reported that the Magic “haven’t ruled out making an in-season coaching change.”

The Magic are 15-34 and have free-fallen into 13th place in the East, and while there was no mandate to make the postseason this year, there was an expectation that Vaughn needed to compete into April for a spot in the playoffs.

This is Vaughn’s third year as the Magic’s coach. Orlando exercised the fourth-year option on Vaughn’s contract over the summer, guaranteeing his salary for the 2015-’16 season.

In fact, the lack of a natural candidate to promote to interim head coach from a young, inexperienced staff of assistants has played a part in Orlando management’s hesitancy to have already made a change, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Management has been evaluating Vaughn closely in recent weeks, and played a part in pushing him to play a faster tempo based on the youth and athleticism of the roster, league sources said.

Vaughn is 58-154 in his career. The Magic are far from a juggernaut, but with players like Elfrid Payton, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo, should be playing at a higher level than they are. One has to wonder, though, if Rob Hennigan, the team’s general manager, is on alert now, too.