Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves have made their first move of the 2012 NBA offseason. With just two roughly 50+ hours until the NBA Draft on Thursday night, the Wolves sent the 18th pick (they acquired as a part of the Al Jefferson trade two summers ago, from the Utah Jazz) to the Houston Rockets for swingman Chase Budinger and the draft rights to Lior Eliyahu (an Israeli prospect).
This one has Rick Adelman's fingerprints ALL OVER IT. Chase is Adelman's guy. Rick coached him for multiple seasons, when they were both with the Rockets.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have until this Saturday to pick up the team option for Budinger (obviously, they will). His salary for 2012-13, Chase will make roughly $942,293 next season and will have a full season in Minnesota to prove he's worthy of an extension. This also means if Chase playing in Minnesota doesn't pan out, they'll let him leave via free agency next summer.
There's a VERY good chance the Budinger will be starting at small forward on opening day, this fall. Bud shot over 40% from three last season and will be a welcome upgrade over Wesley Johnson.
There was a report, earlier today that Israeli prospect Lior Eliyahu, may join Minnesota's Summer League squad in July. Eliyahu has an NBA opt-out clause in his contract of roughly $500,000. It's sounding as though Lior may actually have a shot at making Minnesota's roster, especially if Anthony Randolph won't be back with the TWolves (likely won't be).
Lior is a 6'10"/232lbs. combo forward. The 26-year-old was drafted in 2006 by the Orlando Magic with the 44th overall pick. Eliyahu is currently playing with Maccabi Tel-Aviv.
I was REALLY hoping that the Wolves would keep this pick and maybe draft someone like Royce White or Terrence Ross. I think we can all agree that Chase isn't really the veteran leadership the Wolves have been lacking the past few seasons. Budinger is just 24 years old.
Down the road, there's a good chance that this move might have been better than drafting another 19-22 year old with the 18th overall pick in Thursday's draft. We can look at it this way, who are the players (since 2000) that have gone 18th in the draft. 2000: Quentin Richardson, 2001: Jason Collins, 2002: Curtis Borchardt, 2003: David West, 2004: J.R. Smith, 2005: Gerald Green, 2006: Oleksiy Pecherov, 2007: Marco Belinelli, 2008: JaVale McGee, 2009: Ty Lawson, 2010: Eric Bledsoe, 2011: Chris Singleton. The best of the them? David West, J.R. Smith and Ty Lawson. Bledsoe and McGee could still develop into All-Star players and Marco Belinelli is a solid role player. SO, to think that we would've got some great player that could have contributed right away, would've been HIGHLY unlikely!
That's all for now, stay tuned for more TWolves news, information and updates as we move closer to the 2012 NBA Draft on Thursday, June 28th @6pmCT.
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