Rumors: Timberwolves Interested in Corey Brewer?

Corey BrewerBeing as it is July 9, the heart of the offseason for sporadic NBA rumors is among us with the latest rumor involving a potential return of a former Timberwolves lottery pick. The former 7th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft out of Florida is Corey Brewer, the 6-foot-9 SG/SF who Minnesota fans remember best for his smile and big heart.

Brewer failed to live up to the hype after being a top-10 selection for the Wolves but proved to be a serviceable swingman in the NBA after  contributing in a reserve role for the 2010 NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks and following the title victory with two productive seasons for the Denver Nuggets. [Read more...]

Does Alan Anderson Make Sense for the Timberwolves?



Who is Alan Anderson?

As some Minnesotans may recall, Anderson was Minnesota’s 2001 Metro Player of the Year playing for DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis. After accepting a full ride scholarship to play for Tom Izzo at Michigan State, Anderson became an immediate contributor as he appeared in every game during his freshman year averaging 24.5 minutes per game. A four-year starter in East Lansing, he appeared in the 2005 Final Four and was voted co-team MVP during his senior season by his teammates.

After not hearing his name called in the 2005 NBA Draft, Anderson lingered between Charlotte and Tulsa playing for the Bobcats and their D-League affiliate 66′ers for two seasons before eventually signing with VidiVici Bologna in Italy. He became somewhat of a journeyman playing with four European teams in the next three years, but made his return to the states in 2010 after being selected 2nd overall by the New Mexico Thunderbirds in the NBA Developmental Draft. In only ten games, Anderson averaged 21.1 points – the third best scoring average in the league – while also contributing 5.8 rebounds and 5 assists per game. He shot 53.1% from the field, 38% from beyond-the-arc and 81.8% from the charity stripe during his time with the Thunderbirds. [Read more...]

Timberwolves Waive Stiemsma and Gelabale

To close out the holiday weekend, the Timberwolves officially announced that they have waived Center Greg Stiemsma and Forward Mickael Gelabale.  Neither of these moves should really be too surprising for Timberwolves fans, but here was the official news from the Timberwolves PR Twitter account:

First, in regard to Greg Stiemsma, there simply isn’t enough room on the roster for him.  Given the presumed return of Nikola Pekovic, the drafting of Gorgui Dieng, and the guaranteed (and cheaper) contract of Chris Johnson, there really wasn’t an easier solution for the front office.  You have to assume at this point that the club has done their homework and will be comfortable matching any offer that comes to Pekovic.  Which of course is a good thing. [Read more...]

Timberwolves Ink Chase Budinger, Kevin Martin to Deals

Both Chase Budinger and Kevin Martin agreed with Minnesota on Tuesday, adding two much needed perimeter shooters to a group that ranked dead last in three-point shooting last season.

Both Chase Budinger and Kevin Martin agreed with Minnesota on Tuesday, adding two much needed perimeter shooters to a group that ranked dead last in three-point shooting last season.

Things just got very interesting for the Timberwolves only a few days into free agency. On Tuesday, Minnesota got things started by coming to terms with RFA SG/SF Chase Budinger on a three year, $16 million pact and made some noise later that day by agreeing to a four year, $28 million agreement with UFA SG Kevin Martin.

Budinger, 25, was originally acquired by the Timberwolves in a draft day trade last summer that sent Minnesota’s 18th overall pick to the Houston Rockets. The Arizona product had trouble staying on the court during his first season for the Pups, as he missed all but 23 games after tearing his meniscus just 6 games into the 2012-13 season. When healthy, he brings strong perimeter shooting and a very high competence of Rick Adelman‘s corner offense, of whom he played for in Houston for two seasons before ultimately landing in the land of 10,000 lakes. He will likely be the starter at small forward with F Derrick Williams and SF Shabazz Muhammad also seeing time at the 3. [Read more...]

Timberwolves Free Agency Plans

Will OJ Mayo "rejoin" the Timberwolves?

Will OJ Mayo “rejoin” the Timberwolves?

At midnight, July 1st, the circus known as NBA free agency begins.  The Timberwolves are looking to be very active this offseason and clearly have a few priorities to take care of over the next few days.  Here is one perspective on what the Timberwolves free agency plans should or could be.

First, some quick housecleaning.  There were two moves announced over the past couple of days that play a pivotal role in what Flip Saunders and company do in free agency.  This past Friday, the team announced that they have picked up the option on Dante Cunningham’s contract for this coming season.  This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, as Dante played a key role for the team this past season and is a welcomed face and presence on and off the court for the team. [Read more...]

Timberwolves 2012-13 Player Grades: Forwards

"Don't worry, we'll pick up the slack in your absence" Photo credit: AP

“Don’t worry, we’ll pick up the slack in your absence”
Photo credit: AP

Here are our first round of reviews from this past season’s body of work.  Ladies and gentlemen, the Timberwolves 2012-13 player grades for your offseason enjoyment!  We’ll be concentrating on the forwards that graced us with their presence this past season.  Let’s get right into the season review …

Player: Kevin Love

Season Summary

To put it mildly, it wasn’t a great year for Kevin Love.  He broke a bone in his right hand before the season even started doing knuckle push-ups.  He returned earlier than doctors and the team had predicted and had a monster game against Denver on 11/21 at the Target Center – 34 points and 14 rebounds.  While putting up big numbers in the box score, it was clear that Love wasn’t himself after the first week.  He was not in game shape at all and his shooting percentages started to spiral downward – his final shooting percentages for the season were 35% from the field, 22% from three point range and 70% from the free throw line, all well below his career averages.

In December, Love missed a game here and there and averaged 17.5ppg and 13.3rpg.  By no means are those numbers to yawn at, but not what we were expecting to see from our all-star forward.  Then, shortly after the turn of the calendar year, the season came to a screeching halt for Love.  Ironically, it came against the Denver Nuggets, the team that he opened up his season against.  During a fluke incident around the paint, Love ran into a Nugget and re-fractured his hand.

That wound up being the end of Kevin Love’s season.  Despite rumors that he might return towards the end of the regular season, he never saw the floor again.

Season Highlight

While Love had several very impressive games, I am going to go with the night previously mentioned above – his return to the floor for the first time of the season and putting up the 34 and 14, leading the team to a victory.  It felt like it was time to get the season really going when he got back on the floor and my own conventional wisdom had hopes that his return was the start of a playoff run and a string of returning players to the lineup.  Yeah, that never happened.

Love had a few other monster games, including a 23 point, 24 rebound night in Sacramento on 11/27 and a season-high 36 points on 10-19 shooting at home against Cleveland on 12/7.  However, his return helped energize the fan base; if only for a short amount of time.

Season Lowlight

This one is pretty easy.  The Timberwolves season unofficially ended on Thursday, 1/3/13 when Love re-fractured the bone in his hand.  He was having a monster performance on the boards that night – 17 rebounds in 24 minutes, and everything went kaput on a fluke play.

Final Grade: Incomplete

If it ever comes out that Love didn’t break his hand doing knuckle push-ups and was originally injured doing something even dumber, this grade will be changed to an F minus-minus.  Let the conspiracy theorists have some fun with this one.

[Read more...]

Chase Budinger Out Three Months with Torn Meniscus

Associated Press – Nam Y. Huh

Three weeks into the NBA season and the Pups are having a rough go at it.  Not from a record standpoint, as the team remains near the top of Northwest Division, but on the injury front.  Here’s what the last week has presented to the Wolves and their fans.

Last Wednesday, JJ Barea mildly sprained his ankle while diving for a loose ball in the 4th quarter of a blow-out win vs. Orlando.  Why?  Even JJ doesn’t know why he did this, but he did and the injury forced him to miss the next three games.  JJ is currently listed as day to day this week.

In the next game against Indiana, Brandon Roy never came out of the locker room for the 2nd half.  It was later reported that Roy had soreness in his degenerative right knee.  Brandon has since missed the last two games because of the injury and is also listed as day to day.  It sounds like there is a very good chance of Roy being ready for Wednesday’s game vs. Charlotte.

The very next night in Chicago, Chase Budinger tore his meniscus in his knee and a timetable for his return will be announced after the surgery.  Woj is reporting this morning that the surgery was completed earlier today (by Dr. James Andrews …) and Budinger will likely miss up to three months.

Finally, in last night’s game against Dallas, Nikola Pekovic rolled his ankle and didn’t return to the game.  I don’t expect Pek to be out very long though.  Why?  Let’s let him answer those questions, “I didn’t hurt nothing, just a lot of pain” and “I don’t use crutches”.  Those were his quotes on the injury after the game.  If anyone in the NBA deserves a “beast mode” tag, it should go to Pek.

So, this brings up a few questions and thoughts.  What in the world did the franchise do to deserve this?  Haven’t the Wolves paid enough for all of the bad decisions made over the past twenty-something years?  What does this mean for the team in the short and long term?

In the short term, this of course adds up to awful news for the team, who are already missing their two cornerstones until mid-December (in a best case scenario).  The team must make do without five guys in what would be Adelman’s regular rotation and adds pressure to the few remaining willing and able wings on the roster.  Everyone will need to step up, but allow me to be a bit pessimistic for the next few paragraphs.

Andrei Kirilenko has been an absolute blessing thus far this season.  He has done a little bit of everything.  However, he will now need to carry a larger burden of the scoring.  Will he be able to do this?  How will his body hold up given the presumed extra minutes he’s going to receive?  Only time will tell.

Derrick Williams has been wildly inconsistent to start the season, which isn’t too much of a surprise.  However, DWill has to step up.  He cannot produce one night and lay an egg the next.  Quite frankly, I don’t have high hopes here and it doesn’t feel or look like Adelman does either right now.

Alexey Shved has provided solid minutes from his backup, rotational spot.  How, or can he match up with starting two guards in the league?  Will his flaws become more visible and problematic for the team with increased minutes and playing more against starters?

Can the team get net-positive results from Malcolm Lee and/or Will Conroy?  Is it even fair to set these expectations?  In Monday’s game in Dallas, Lee got the starting nod and didn’t look great, but made enough plays to warrant more time there if/when needed, which would also allow Shved to come off the bench in a 6th man role.

Longer term, this puts another caveat into this season’s goal of making the playoffs.  There will likely be added pressure on the team come January/February to start winning at a greater percentage in order to make it to the playoffs as the team’s cornerstones return.  Roy and Budinger’s injuries are big question marks that may (more likely, will) have an impact throughout the year, but the others should be back sooner rather than later.  At this point, I believe the team will need to tread water for the rest of November.  The team plays every other day this week through Friday (including last night’s win in Dallas), and are then off until next Wednesday, which may be a small blessing in an otherwise crazy start to the season.

Let’s focus on Chase Budinger’s injury for a second, as JJ Barea should return soon and Brandon Roy’s knee injuries are well documented and should now be expected to be an on again, off again item for much of this season.  In a limited amount of games, Budinger had already proven to be a valuable commodity for the Wolves.

At the time of the injury, Chase was the second leading scorer on the team at 11.8ppg.  He was also throwing in 3.5rpg and 1spg.  Most importantly, Chase was clearly option 1A or 1B on shooting from three point range, depending on how you feel about Luke Ridnour.  At the same time, it looked like he was getting more and more acclimated to his teammates and building confidence in his own game.  So naturally, the injury had to occur now.

While very cliché, the healthy Pups that remain on the floor are going to have to collectively make up for these missing points and the outside shooting that Chase was providing.  A few guys – particularly Roy upon his return and Shved – will need to quickly find their outside jumpers that have been missing so far this season.  The team’s PG’s are also going to have to become more effective jump shooters as well and do a better job at spacing the floor.

Naturally, another option would be for the team to go out and sign another player.  However, the Wolves have virtually no flexibility with the cap and only have the veteran’s minimum to offer.  Who could this go to?  Here’s a very short list of player’s available that I would consider: Mickael Pietrus, Josh Howard, and/or Ryan Gomes.  If you really want to drive yourself crazy, we can talk about expediting Troy Hudson’s comeback to the NBA.  (Let’s not)

Net/net, the injuries have continued to mount for the Wolves, but I have to say that in watching the past handful of games, this year’s roster is light years ahead of last year’s squad.  Their ability to overcome deficits and the injuries to Love and Rubio have been highly commendable.  However, we are certainly teetering on the edge of the cliff of not being able to make up for all of the injuries this team is enduring.

Here’s to a speedy recovery to all of the Wolves and to a healthy 2013!  (Please?!)