Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
Ricky Rubio will remain in Minnesota for the foreseeable future after signing a four-year deal with the Timberwolves.
The deal will pay him $55million over the next four years, which equates to an average of roughly $13.75million a year. That annual salary equates to the contract that Eric Bledsoe received from the Phoenix Suns this summer (5yrs/$70million). The deal could increase to $56million with incentives.
The Timberwolves are banking on continued improvement from Ricky Rubio. They're also hoping that with Kevin Love gone, he becomes the cornerstone of these new-look Wolves--coupled with Andrew Wiggins (of course).
Ricky Rubio is one of the NBA's premier playmakers and perimeter defenders. That being said, his offense still has a long ways to go. When you look at the kind of deals other premier NBA point guards that signed contracts recently, Rubio's figures seem a bit high....
Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns (5yrs/$70million)
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors (4yrs/$48million)
Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets (4yrs/$48million)
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (4yrs/$44million)
Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies (5yrs/$40million)
The Minnesota Timberwolves have a nice young core headlined by Rubio, Wiggins, LaVine, Bennett, Dieng, Muhammad, etc. Here's hoping that Rubio continues to round out his game and becomes an even more complete player.
J.J. Barea has officially been waived to get the roster down to the maximum of 15 players.
The official roster...
Anthony Bennett, F
Corey Brewer, F-G
Chase Budinger, F-G
Gorgui Dieng, C-F
Robbie Hummel, F
Zach LaVine, G
Kevin Martin, G-F
Shabazz Muhammad, F-G
Nikola Pekovic, C
Glenn Robinson III, F
Ricky Rubio, G
Ronny Turiaf, C-F
Andrew Wiggins, F-G
Mo Williams, G
Thaddeus Young, F
Andrew Wiggins (bruised backside) and Shabazz Muhammad (sore heel) were back at practice on Monday and are officially listed as active and healthy.
The Wolves begin the season on Wednesday night. Everyone is healthy--which is great! You can have just 13 players 'dress' on any given night. That means the Wolves will begin the season with Glenn Robinson III & Ronny Turiaf as the inactives.
According to multiple reports, the Timberwolves are finalizing a buyout with guard Jose Juan Barea. This comes a day after waiving guard Brady Heslip. With these two cuts, the Wolves roster is now set at 15.
That means the Wolves decided to keep Glenn Robinson III, Chase Budinger and Robbie Hummel--three players that were also on the chopping block.
What it likely came down to was...playing time. With Ricky Rubio, Mo Williams and Zach LaVine all in the mix. A consistent role with consistent playing time just wasn't in the cards for J.J. this season.
Barea will clear waivers before tomorrow's 5pmCST roster deadline. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, if/once he clears waivers, he hopes to re-join the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs would have to clear a roster spot for Barea. The cut would likely come down to either Gal Mekel or Charlie Villanueva.
The Wolves roster is now set...
PG: Ricky Rubio, Mo Williams, Zach LaVine
SG: Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger
SF: Andrew Wiggins, Corey Brewer, Shabazz Muhammad, Glenn Robinson III
PF: Thaddeus Young, Anthony Bennett, Robbie Hummel
C: Nikola Pekovic, Gorgui Dieng, Ronny Turiaf
The Wolves are still heavy on the wings and Flip will definitely have his hands full managing those minutes.
The Wolves season begins Wednesday night vs. the Grizzlies in Memphis!
An article from ESPN.com on former Minnesota Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham. Fans of the Wolves know his story, but few know what's he's been up to since the season ended for the Wolves in April.
I know earlier in the season, it seemed like a lock that the Wolves would be re-signing Cunningham this summer, after what happened late in the season, coupled with the Kevin Love trade--as well as the Ray Rice/NFL domestic violence scandal--Dante has been unable to find a job.
Here's the link to the full story from ESPN via the Associated Press: Former Minnesota Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham Struggles to Clear Name.
I think there's a good chance that Dante Cunningham returns to the NBA sometime this season, whether that's on a 10-day contract or for the league minimum, there will be a team that takes a chance on him. Watching him the past couple seasons, he definitely has NBA talent and deserves a shot. Here's hoping someone gives it to him.
NBA.com unveiled their annual NBA GM Survey earlier this week. Today we're looking at places where the Wolves showed up in a variety of different questions.
Before we get to the Wolves, let's talk a bit about how the GM's think the NBA Finals will play out. 55.6% of GMs think the San Antonio Spurs will win the Western Conference. Also receiving votes: Oklahoma City (29.6%) & the L.A. Clippers (11.1%). 70.4% of GMs believe the Cleveland Cavaliers will win the Eastern Conference Finals. The other team receiving the majority of votes: the Chicago Bulls (25.9%). 46.2% say the Spurs will repeat as NBA champions, 15.4% think the Cavaliers will win it all. Both the Bulls and the Clippers got 11.5% of the votes as NBA champions.
Something pertaining a bit more to the Timberwolves, "Who will win the Northwest Division?" 92.9% said the Oklahoma City Thunder with the other 7.1% of the votes going to the Portland Trailblazers.
This one I found somewhat humorous..."The NBA's best power forward?" Both Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge and the Clippers' Blake Griffin recieved 25% of the votes each. 21.4% said Anthony Davis, 10.7% of voters said LeBron James (75% said he was the best small forward, too) and Kevin Love nabbed 7.1% of the votes as best power forward.
On to the Wolves...
"Most Underrated Acquisition"
-Tyson Chandler, Dallas Mavericks (17.9%)
-Omer Asik, New Orleans Pelicans (14.3%)
Spencer Hawes, L.A. Clippers (14.3%)
Others Receiving Votes: Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves & Thaddeus Young, Minnesota Timberwolves
"Most Surprising Offseason Move"
-LeBron James to Cleveland (42.9%)
-Andrew Wiggins--Kevin Love Trade (7.1%)
"Rookie of the Year?"
-Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks (75%)
-Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves (17.9%)
"Which Rookie will be the Best in Five Years?"
-Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks (35.7%)
-Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves (32.1%)
-Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (21.4%)
"Coach with the Best Offense"
-Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs (77.8%)
-Rick Carlisle, Dallas Mavericks (11.1%)
Others w/Votes: Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers; Erik Spolestra, Miami Heat; & Flip Saunders, Minnesota Timberwolves
"Most Athletic Player?"
-LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers (50%)
-Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers (10.7%)
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder (10.7%)
-Gerald Green, Phoenix Suns (7.1%)
Others w/Votes: Zach LaVine, Minnesota Timberwolves & Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves
"The Biggest Steal of the Draft, Based on Where Rookie Was Drafted?"
-Rodney Hood, Utah Jazz (17.9%)
-Doug McDermott, Chicago Bulls (14.3%)
-Zach LaVine, Minnesota Timberwolves (10.7%)
Kyle Anderson, San Antonio Spurs (10.7%)
"International Player Most Likely to Have a Breakout Season in 2014-15?"
-Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors (33.3%)
-Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (18.5%)
-Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz (11.1%)
-Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves (7.4%)
Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic (7.4%)
Nikola Mirotic, Chicago Bulls (7.4%)
-Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers (64.3%)
-LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers (10.7%)
Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics (10.7%)
Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves (10.7%)
-Steve Nash, Los Angeles Lakers (3.6%)
-Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies (25.9%)
-Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers (11.1%)
David West, Indiana Pacers (11.1%)
-Reggie Evans, Sacramento Kings (7.4%)
Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets (7.4%)
Others w/Votes: Nikola Pekovic, Minnesota Timberwolves
Those are all of the places in which the Minnesota Timberwolves and its players appear in the NBA.com GM survey. If you'd like to check out the full GM survey, here's the link: NBA.com 2014-15 GM Survey.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have a glut of wings on the roster and according to multiple reports, they're looking to thin the herd by shopping forward Chase Budinger.
Budinger hasn't enjoyed much personal success during his injury-plagued tenure with the Timberwolves. Since 2012-13, Budinger has appeared in just 64 games.
With the 'changing of the guard' at the head coaching position, gone is Rick Adelman and in his stead sits the winningest coach in franchise history: Flip Saunders. Budinger was a player that Adelman advocated for trading for when the Wolves sent their first-round pick to Houston to nab Chase. Budinger played less than ten games in his debut season before suffering a lateral meniscus tear. He returned to the court by the end of the year, but struggled to return to form. That has been the case throughout his Timberwolves career.
In camp this summer, he has said that he is feeling good and his health isn't something he's even thinking about--he's just getting out on the court and playing his game.
In limited action, he's looked good. The problem remains that the Wolves have Kevin Martin, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Corey Brewer and Shabazz Muhammad all vying for valuable minutes at those wing positions. Add in the fact that J.J. Barea & Mo Williams can play off the ball as two-guards and it further limits Budinger's court time.
As such, it should come as no surprise that the Wolves are shopping him. The question is...what would they want in return. I assume they're doing this not only to clear some room on the wings, but also so they can keep Glenn Robinson III as well as J.J. Barea (who many believe the Wolves are trying to trade or would/could waive). According to reports, J.J. Barea has been one of the best players early in the training camp and opinions on the small guard may be changing.
The Wolves would probably look to acquire a draft pick and/or a player on a non-guaranteed deal that they could waive. Two teams that are reportedly registering interest: the Detroit Pistons and the Houston Rockets. Both teams are reportedly a little weary of taking on Budinger's $5million salary for this year in addition to his $5million player option next season.
The Rockets are looking for contributors after losing out on Chris Bosh as well as losing Jeremy Lin & Omer Asik to trades...AND Chandler Parsons in free agency. Houston is also (obviously) where Budinger began his professional career. The other (Detroit) just lost Jodie Meeks to an injury for the next two months and are looking for a replacement that can provide a similar skill set on the wings.
Stay tuned for updates and more information. Thanks for reading HOWL!
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