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Western Conference Battles, Soccer Fun, and More!

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It’s the depths of NBA summer. What shall we talk about?

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The next couple of months are going to be pretty slow on the NBA front, but we’ll find some things to talk about as we always do.

Jon Krawczynski published a Wolves Q and A in the Athletic yesterday, mostly addressing the rumored discord around the franchise. As usual, he’s a bit more optimistic than me, but does acknowledge that there is a lack of communication among the various parties.

Still, like everyone, he expects Karl-Anthony Towns to sign his maximum extension at some point this summer, which is the key remaining bit of business for the Wolves.

Beyond that, nothing new in Wolves-town. They still have to fill at least two roster spots, though they seem in no hurry to do so. They are apparently waiting to see who or what shakes loose as the summer continues. There are still some interesting players without jobs, but the Wolves are in wait-and-see mode.

So here’s something for the comments: Put the seven Western Conference teams that missed the playoffs last season in order of their likelihood to make the post-season this year. I’ll go:

Nuggets
Lakers
Grizzlies
Clippers
Mavericks
Suns
Kings

Any or all of the top three on that list making it would not surprise me at all. The Nuggets were one basket away last season, should have Paul Millsap available more this year, and are highly motivated to get there. The Lakers...it’s hard to imagine a LeBron James team not making the playoffs. If the Grizzlies can stay healthier, I suspect they surprise a bit and return for a playoff push.

Meanwhile, don’t look now, but the Loons have won three straight in MLS, led by designated player acquisition Darwin Quintero. He’s been nothing short of spectacular since joining the club in March, looking like the best player on the pitch most games.

The Loons have found a successful and entertaining counter-attacking approach while relying on goalkeeper Bobby Shuttlesworth at the back, since they really don’t employ many defenders.

On Sunday, they routed LAFC 5-1 at TCF Bank Stadium. Check out our friends at e pluribus loonum to see highlights of all the goals.

The Lynx are back in action tonight, hosting the New York Liberty. The Lynx at 14-10 cannot afford any more bad losses, and losing to the 7-17 Liberty at home would not be good. They need to take care of business heading into this weekend’s all-star break.

I really got nothin. What you got?