Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

Budinger meets the press

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Vikings draft, Wolves news Updated: June 27, 2012 - 3:23 PM

 Lots of newsy nuggets came out of todays press conference over at Target Center, which began with Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn, coach Rick Adelman and newly acquired player Chase Budinger talking about the trade that brought Budinger here. 

But it also included updates on Derrick Williams, Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love and Kahn talking about further moves being made, either in the short-term or down the road.
 
Hello. Kent Youngblood here. I'll get you a quick update while Jerry Zgoda tweets and works on his stories for tomorrow.
 
--Let's start with Derrick Williams.
 
Everybody's been wondering how he would look to improve his game and his body in his first professional off-season. Well, here's the update from Kahn.
 
Williams was not able to really start working out until after Memorial Day because he had surgery to repair the septum in his nose. Indeed, Kahn said that once the surgery was performed, it was discovered Williams had three fractures in his nose he didn't even know about. The Wolves are convinced that his improved breathing ability will be a big plus.
 
Since he started working out, Williams has been working with trainer Gunnar Peterson -- Kevin Love's guy. Kahn said he went to see Williams last week and was pleased with what he saw. "I think his weight was down to 233 (Williams was listed at 241 as a rookie)."
 
Unfortunately, a bout with pink eye put Williams down for a few days. But Kahn said Williams was hoping to lose more weight. "He's intent on pushing as low as 225," Kahn said. "That's not a mandate from us. That's what he wants. Here we are, June 27, he's been at it four weeks. We're pleased with what he's been doing."
 
As for Williams status, as in, is he on the trading block? Kahn wouldn't go there. He reiterated his belief that only Love and Ricky Rubio are untouchable, everybody else falls into other categories. But he did stress that Williams is only 21. "This is a very important summer for him to demonstrate he's serious about his craft, his occupation," Kahn said, "about taking care of himself, and do what one must do in an off-season. ... I'm eager to see the results of his summer."
 
 
-Now, on to Ricky Rubio.
Rubio, who had surgery on his knee in March, left for Spain yesterday. But he didn't cross the pond alone. The Wolves sent a staff physical therapist with Love to make sure Love continues on the rehab schedule he's been keeping thus far.
 
Kahn said a checkup last week on Rubio showed very good progress. Rubio is due back in Colorado for a checkup about six weeks from now. Kahn wouldn't put a time table on his return to the court, however.
 
 
--And now, here is more on the Budinger trade.
Interesting as to how it came about. Kahn said he made it clear to Houston GM Daryl Morey at the pre-draft combine in Chicago that the Wolves would be interested in acquiring Budinger, who played two of his first three seasons for Adelman. No proposals were made.
 
A few days ago Adelman came to Kahn and said he'd gotten a call indicating there was a chance of swinging a deal before the draft, and that's exactly what happened.
 
In Budinger the Wolves get a player who is still young, but has three years of NBA experience, two of them in Adelman's system. He can shoot from the outside, he's good at making the extra pass -- key to Adelman's offense -- and he has flexibility, able to play big guard or small forward.
 
Adelman talked all last season about the need for more wing players who could both knock down an open shot and be a play maker. Today Adelman said Budinger helps in both areas.
 
Adelman likes Budinger's ability to shoot off a screen -- something he wasn't allowed to do much in Houston last season under coach Kevin McHale -- his ability to cut to the basket and make a pass.
 
"He does a lot of things we need wing people to do," Adelman said. "He can come off screens, and he can shoot the ball very well. And his cutting, he has an instinct for that. That's really going to help us."
 
Adelman said Budinger will enter training camp as a player high in the Wolves' rotation, though he wouldn't talk specifically about the minutes Budinger should play. 
 
But it's clear his acquisition means the Wolves have some redundancy among wing players, one reason why Kahn said we should all assume that other changes will be made. Among those Budinger's arrival could impact the team's plans for Michael Beasley, Wes Johnson and Martell Webster. 
 
(An aside: When asked about roster decisions to be made, including those on Beasley, Anthony Randolph and Webster, Kahn said those decisions would be made by Saturday).
 
Kahn said the roster was better for having made the move, but said other moves were likely. "You should assume there will be other changes made," he said.
 
Budinger, who grew up in Los Angeles, said he played on a club team with Love and Brandon Jennings. His biggest memory: Love's outlet passing ability. "It was a fast-break drill," he said.
 
Budinger said he felt a bit underutilized in McHale's offense last year, when he was used mainly as a spot-up jumper and wasn't allowed to do more things. He said he's thrilled to be allowed to use his abilities off screens, something he'll get here.
 
"I think I can still grow a lot," he said. "I really haven't used my pick-and-roll very much in my NBA career so far. That's a part of my game I think I could really excel at."
 
 
Here are some other notes:
--Kahn confirmed reports that the Wolves were interested in former Portland shooting guard Brandon Roy, who is looking to get back into the NBA after missing last season with knee issues.
--Kahn said there is a chance the Wolves could make a move to jump back into the draft before their second round pick comes up (58th overall). It would only happen, he said, for a specific player or two the team values were to be available. 
--Kahn said he has not yet contacted the agent for Lior Eliyahu, the other player acquired in the Budinger draft. Eliyahu is currently with a team in Tel Aviv, Israel. Kahn said the next few days should bring some clarity about Eliyahu contract status and future plans. 
 
That's about it for now. Have a good day.
 
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