Greg Stiemsma Timberwolves Press Conference Notes

On Thursday, the Timberwolves introduced yet another free agent signing as they introduced new backup center Greg Stiemsma. The contract is for two years and approximately $2.6 million, with the first year being guaranteed. To view the entire press conference you can watch it here, otherwise here are some notes and thoughts about Thursday’s proceedings.

  • Stiemsma will be wearing jersey number 34. He had previously been with the Timberwolves D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, during the 2009-10 season, and played professional stints in Turkey, South Korea, and most recently for the Boston Celtics last season. This season he became a significant rotation player for the Celtics while gaining valuable playoff experience.
  • The “Stiemer” brings a shot-blocking ability that the Wolves so notably lacked last season. Stiemsma was second in the league in blocks per minute this past season, second only to Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka.
  • Stiemsma explained that he is very excited to be back in Minneapolis, and mentioned how much the organization has grown since last time he was here. A Randolph, Wisconsin native, Stiemsma played four years for the University of Wisconsin and is only a three and a half hour drive away from Minneapolis. He said that it feels good to be close to home and close to where he played college basketball, and he looks to play a similar role of consistency on defense that he did for Boston and to be a “presence inside” for the Wolves.
  • David Kahn explained how Stiemsma was the only free agent who was meeting with the Timberwolves who drove, not flew, to Minneapolis for free agent visits.
  • Stiemsma was very thankful and complimentary of the Celtics organization, players, and coaching staff. He learned a lot through the playoff run with the Celtics, and explained how tough you have to be mentally to play in a seven game series, and how you “have to bring it every possession.”
  • When asked about how it feels to be pursued by NBA teams in free agency after previously failing to make NBA rosters, he stated, “it feels good to be wanted” and “it feels good to have your hard work pay off.”
  • Although he was invited to play for the US Select Team this summer, he chose not to play as he had been recovering from Plantar Fasciitis in his left foot, and he deferred playing with the team with long-term NBA goals in mind. He stated that he has been cranking it up in the weight room the last few weeks, and has not felt limited in workouts at all.
  • A very interesting thing that Stiemsma talked about was the importance of Kevin Garnett in his development as a player during his sole season for the Celtics. He said that “KG was great for me” and “more or less took me under his wing.” Stiemsma explained that KG was “always willing to teach” and “always willing to explain things.”
  • “Minneapolis was not a hard sell for me.”

Photo Credits: NBAE/Getty Images

Greg Stiemsma Signs Offer Sheet with Timberwolves

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.
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T-Wolves Sign Nicolas Batum to Offer Sheet

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.
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Darko Gets the Amnesty Clause

The Timberwolves, in an effort to free up enough cap space to sign Nicolas Batum to an offer sheet worth $46.5 million, have agreed to waive C Darko Milicic via the amnesty provision. The clause, as a part of the most recent CBA, allows a team to waive one player while eating the remaining salary on the respective player’s contract. However, the amnesty provision removes the waived players salary from the team’s official salary cap number, giving that squad more flexibility in free agency and in trades.

Darko’s release comes as no surprise as he was not able to earn the respect of Coach Rick Adelman and hardly saw the court during the last half of the season. Possibilities to replace Darko as backup center are Jordan Hill and Greg Stiemsma, both of whom have met with the Timberwolves and have expressed interest in signing with the up-and-coming Timberpups team. The Wolves, who were unable to complete a sign-and-trade deal with Portland for Batum, now must wait three days for Portland to either match the restricted free agent or watch him walk. The chances are slim that Portland will allow Batum to leave for nothing, and the Pups may need to look to other Plan B options to fill their need on the perimeter. Viable options at SF are Courtney Lee and OJ Mayo, and both players would likely receive significantly less money than Batum.

Photo Credits: Getty Images

Timberwolves: Implications of a Batum Signing

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…]

NBA Free Agency: Timberwolves Offseason Plans

A look into the Timberwolves offseason plans

Well here we are, it is July 1 and NBA free agency has just begun. The Timberpups decided to not extend qualifying offers to both Anthony Randolph and Michael Beasley, making the pair unrestricted free agents and meaning that they will most likely not be returning in Timberwolves uniforms next season. The club has also pushed back the team option deadlines on both Martell Webster and Brad Miller, as they look to include them in trades over the next few weeks. With potentially $20 million in cap space, Minnesota looks to be a major player in a strong free agent crop this summer.
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