When Andrei Kirilenko opted out of his contract, improving their wing depth became a pressing off-season need for the Minnesota Timberwolves. The T-Wolves hope to have filled that void by signing free agent shooting guard Kevin Martin and bringing back Chase Budinger. While the moves look good on paper, is it enough to help Minnesota leap into the Western Conference playoff picture?
Addressing the hole for scoring on the wing began on NBA Draft night when the T-Wolves selected UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad with the 14th overall pick and continued Tuesday when the team agreed to sign SG Kevin Martin to a 4-year deal worth a reported $28-$30 million and re-sign SF Chase Budinger to 3-year, $16 million deal.
I see what the Minnesota Timberwolves did here in addressing their need for shooters on the wing, I just don’t think Martin/Budinger is the combination you are looking for to really help your team take the next step to becoming a playoff contender especially when you are locking them each up for the next three years, or in Martin’s case, four years.
I like Chase Budinger. I’m just not sure I like Chase Budinger for five-plus million a year. All of my friends who are Timberwolves fans love the deal since he played well for Minnesota last season before getting hurt and because he fits with head coach Rick Adelman. There were several teams hard after Budinger so his value continued to climb as the hours ticked by so that’s what drove his cost up. He certainly fits the need for a shooter on the wing and should start at small forward with Kirilenko opting out of his contract.
Martin comes to Minnesota after his one year stint in Oklahoma City where he served as the Thunder’s sixth man. He will return to the starting lineup for the T-Wolves and also gets reunited with Adelman who was his coach in Houston and Sacramento. Martin is a proven scorer which is why he was coveted by the Timberwolves and several other teams this off-season.
Both guys should get plenty of open looks from the outside and benefit from Ricky Rubio’s ability to see the floor and create for his teammates. However, neither Martin nor Budinger is known for their defensive prowess on the wing which is a concern. The mission though was to get wing scorers and with these two signings, Minnesota can cross that off their to-do list.
Next on the agenda for the Minnesota Timberwolves; sign restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic to an extension and trade either Luke Ridnour or J.J. Barea. Those moves combined with today’s signings and a healthy Kevin Love makes Minnesota a better team than last year, but I’m not sure they are ready to become a playoff team in the tough Western Conference.
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David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks