The Timberwolves have finally inked Russian combo guard Alexey Shved to a deal worth $10 million over 3 years. The 23-year-old Shved stands at 6-foot-6 and 190 pounds, and has been proclaimed the “Russian Rubio” by people and scouts that have been following him since he turned professional 6 years ago. Danny Chau, a writer for the website Hardwood Paroxysm, wrote an absolutely phenomenal article last September detailing everything concerning our new Pup, so make sure to give it a solid read in order to get to know Alexey Shved.
In a move that came to the surprise of very few in the NBA realm, the Minnesota Timberwolves have signed former Boston Celtics backup center Greg Stiemsma to an offer sheet that will most likely not be matched due to Boston’s lack of appropriate cap space. The Wisconsin graduate enjoyed an efficient rookie season this year for the Celtics after originally going undrafted in the 2008 NBA draft and subsequently playing stints in South Korea, Turkey, and the NBA D-League. Ironically, Stiemsma found himself signing with the Timberwolves following the 2009-10 season, but was ultimately waived before appearing in a game for the Pups.
This season for the Celtics, Stiemsma averaged 2.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, and an impressive 1.5 blocks in 13.9 minutes per game. He appeared in 55 games and won over the Boston fans due to his high energy and tireless work ethic. Stiemsma’s offensive game is undoubtedly in need of some work, but there is no question that he is an impact defensively on the low post and he brings a shot-blocking ability that the Timberwolves are in desperate need of. The 6’11″, 260 pounder loves taking charges and does any thing he can to help his team win. There is also not a question that his attitude and work ethic will be an enormous upgrade over that of Darko Milicic and Anthony Randolph.
After several failed attempts at a sign-and-trade deal for Portland SG-SF Nicolas Batum, the Wolves officially signed Batum to an offer sheet worth $46.4 million over 4 years. The deal includes incentives that could potentially push the total dollar amount to over $50 million, and the general consensus of sports minds believe that Portland will not allow Batum to walk for nothing. As a restricted free agent, the Trail Blazers now have until Wednesday night to match the offer sheet.
Minnesota’s amnesty of Darko Milicic, waive of Martell Webster, and trade of Brad Miller have given the Wolves plenty of cap space to fit Batum and his large contract into their payroll, and even gives them additional room to potentially sign a few free agents that most likely include Brandon Roy, Alexey Shved, Greg Stiemsma, Jordan Hill, Courtney Lee, OJ Mayo, and Ronnie Brewer, among others. Many free agents have held off signing with teams until the Batum situation plays out, and Roy and Shved have already verbally agreed with the Wolves until they can officially sign with the team as they await Portland’s decision on Batum. If Portland matches, the Wolves will shift their focus on signing Stiemsma and targeting free agent shooting guards Lee and Mayo. Lee previously played under Timberwolves Head Coach Rick Adelman in Houston, and would be a great fit on both ends of the floor.
The Timberwolves began NBA free agency in frenzy as the clock struck midnight on July 1, commencing their quest for veteran additions to their current nucleus by scheduling meetings with SG-SF Nicolas Batum, C Greg Stiemsma, former Portland SG Brandon Roy, and PF-C Jordan Hill. The Timberpups also reached out to the likes of SG Jamal Crawford, SG OJ Mayo, while remaining extremely active in trade discussions with the Los Angeles Lakers in hopes of landing PF Pau Gasol.
It appears that the Pups are as dedicated as any team in the NBA to land multiple high-profile players NOW, greatly reflecting their urgency to “win now,” as Minnesota head coach Rick Adelman is 66 and is likely in the middle of his final contract of his life, while Pups owner Glen Taylor is 71 and wants to see how far his current core group of players can take him before he sells the team in a few years. Whatever the sole cause, it is very uncharacteristic of the Wolves to be so very active in free agency while placing such great importance on attracting marquee names to the land of 10,000 lakes, and the Minnesota front office and coaching staff deserves much credit for their persistent efforts thus far. [Read more...]