While Flip Saunders was in Los Angeles meeting Sunday evening with O.J. Mayo and lining up visits with free agents J.J Redick and Mike Dunleavy (probably among others)...the Wolves sent director of basketball adminstration Rob Babcock to San Diego to Chase Budinger's door as soon as the clock struck 9 p.m. in California last night.
"He came in last night and we had a nice casual talk," Budinger said today. "It definitely shows they're interested. It definitely meant something on a personal level."
Yahoo!Sports last night reported the Wolves, Milwaukee and New Orleans, among others, are, uh, chasing Chase in negotations that are going to mean a big, big raise for the unrestricted free agent who made $942,000 last season in the last year of his rookie contract.
He could make $4 million or more per year in his new contract, even after missing four months last season because of that knee injury that required November surgery.
The Lakers also called his agent Sunday night, but they only can offer the taxpayer's mini-mid level slot of $3.2 million.
Unlike their negotiations with Nikola Pekovic, the Wolves don't have the last word and the right to match any offer for Budinger.
But they're hoping Budinger's relationship with Rick Adelman and the way he fit so well into Adelman's system in Minnesota and Houston is a major factor in Budinger's decision.
"They know how I feel," Budinger said from San Diego. "I love Rick. I love the guys there. I love playing in the system. So I'd definitely love to be there. Rick knows how I play and how I fit in with that system he has. It definitely plays to my strengths, so year."
I asked him about the possibility of signing a three- or four-deal knowing that Adelman might only coach another year or two and if that would make a difference.
"Not much," he said. "If he's only there two years, what we have there with Minnesota creating a group of guys that have been there that many years, so what you're trying to do is build relationships with players so you can win a championship."
Budinger said he has not yet met with any other teams in person yet and said "I'm...not sure right now," when asked if he has any other scheduled.
Budinger visited with Saunders in Southern California last week when Saunders flew out for an overnight trip to have dinner and watch a workout involving Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and a handful of teammates they had gathered. Budinger did not work out with them.
Budinger said negotiations with teams "seems quiet right now" and said he doesn't know how long all this will take to play out.
"II have no idea," he said. "That's just something me and my agent have to work out. This is my first time through this, so I have no idea how things work. But it's a good time in my life."