The Wolves on Tuesday committed about $43 million over the next four years, reaching agreement on new contracts with their own Chase Budinger and Oklahoma City shooting guard Kevin Martin.
In two fell swoops, Flip Saunders went a good way to fulfilling what he called the two biggest needs when took this job:
* Put shooters around Ricky Rubio. The league's worst 3-point shooting team a year ago now has brought back Budinger's corner three threat and added one of the league's most efficient scorers.
* Balance a roster that now has what Flip considers six point guards after draft night.
Finally, the Wolves have a legitimately size NBA shooting guard. If you don't believe me, check out the photo of Luke Ridnour trying to guard Martin that accompanies the news story for Wednesday's paper.
You can find that story here. There's reaction from both players when I reached them in San Diego and Ohio today.
Some quick thoughts on Tuesday's happenings:
* If you doubt whether Rick Adelman will be back this season, his influence in the wooing process with both players sugguests he's planning on being here for a least while longer.
Both players said they kept in contact with Adelman throughout the process.
* Why Martin?
One of the Wolves' top three targets went off the board Tuesday afternoon when the Clippers made a three-way deal to obtain J.J. Redick in a sign-and-trade with Milwaukee.
From there, the Wolves appear to simply have chosen Martin over O.J. Mayo despite Mayo's youth (25) and better defense, probably for a couple reasons: Adelman's history with Martin in Sacramento and Houston likely put Martin on the top of his list from the start and teams do exhaustive research on stuff like this and maybe had doubts about why both Memphis and Dallas gave up on Mayo for virtually nothing in return.
Near as I can tell the money specifics on the deals: Budinger's three-year, closer to $15 million than $16 million reported nationally, with a player option for the third year. Martin's four years, almost $28 million.
* The Wolves significantly upgraded their shooting and scoring, but with Budinger and Martin on the wing they now look defensively suscept, right?
Yes, but don't think they're done making moves yet. They still probably will have the $2.6 million "room" exception to add a player and still likely will trade either Ridnour or J.J. Barea to balance the roster further from the point guard spot and perhaps rid themselves of a $4 million-plus salary.
Here's what could happen: Root for anyone but Dallas to win the Dwight Howard sweepstakes. If the Mavs don't get the big guy, Mark Cuban just might take J.J. Barea and his nearly $5 million salary back for only a draft pick or two.
Here's a couple names to remember if the Wolves can clear enough room to absorb their salaries in search for a defensive wing player: Philadelphia's Evan Turner, Washington's Trevor Ariza (who played for Adelman in Houston) and maybe even bringing back Andrei Kirilenko isn't an impossibility, either, if he doesn't get the kind of offers he was expecting.
* Don't expect talks with restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic to really percolate until Howard makes his decision.
Pek's camp will wait until then to see if anyone shut out in their Howard bid will move to their client as an alternative plan.
There's a chance he might not get a serious bid for an offer sheet from another team at all, but he still won't come cheap.
San Antonio on Tuesday reached agreement with Tiago Spliter on a 4-year, $36 million deal.
That's $9 million a year for those keeping score at home. And if Splitter is worth that, the Wolves will be lucky to get Pekovic for $12 million a year. Expect his agent to push for a near max deal, which ultimately might be hard to be hard to demand if there's no serious competition.
Flip and his staff probably will go quiet here for a few days over the Fourth of July holiday to let today's activity settle a little before working toward their next move.
Remember: We've still got eight days to go until the moratorium period ends and teams can begin signing players for real on July 10.