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.
The Wolves tonight have reached contract terms with free-agent center/forward Ronny Turiaf, his agent Mark Bartelstein says.
It's a two-year, $3.2 million deal for the eight-year NBA veteran.
He gives the Wolves yet another post presence: They already have Nikola Pekovic (provided he re-signs, of course), rookie Gorgui Dieng and Chris Johnson at center, Kevin Love, Derrick Williams and Dante Cunningham at power forward.
But Turiaf -- 6-9 and 30 years old -- gives the Wolves at least three things: Interior defense, playoff experience and enthusiasm.
By all accounts, he's a great teammate and a fine bench/team guy.
He's appeared in 47 playoff games, too, including 12 played and seven started during the Heat's 2012 run to the NBA championship.
Bartelstein credited Flip Saunders with doing a "great job recruiting" his client and said Turiaf envisions himself fitting into Rick Adelman's offense much like Brad Miller did with his high-post passing skills.
"He's going to come in and compete for minutes," Bartelstein said. "They had a lot of injuries last year, so I think they were looking to fortify the roster. I think he'll play a lot."
Also on Thursday, Andrei Kirilenko reached agreement with Brooklyn on a two-year deal for the mini-mid level exception.
Yes, that's right math fans, that's $3.1 million a year for two years when he turned down a $10.2 million option year with the Wolves next season.
The Wolves today reached agreement with free-agent small forward Corey Brewer on a contract and with Milwaukee on a cap space-clearing trade that will send Luke Ridnour to the Bucks, two league sources said.
The deals won't be finalized until both players take physicals, like on Thursday.
The Wolves agreed with Brewer on a three-year, $15 million deal that will bring him back to the team that drafted him in 2007. To make room on their cap, Ridnour will go back to Milwaukee, where he played before signing with the Wolves, with no salaries coming back to Minnesota.
Also on Wednesday, Yahoo!Sports reported the Wolves were getting closer to a four-year, $50 million deal to sign Pekovic, but I'm told by a source with knowledge of the negotiations tonight that the Wolves are no closer to a deal and still are waiting to hear back on an offer they made last Friday.
The Brewer deal might include a player option for the third year, but I'm waiting to hear if that discussion was part of the final deal.
The Wolves also are expected to execute a sign-and-trade with Oklahoma City for Kevin Martin to clear cap space needed to make room for Brewer's $5 million salary.
The Wolves were planning to introduce Martin at a 9 a.m. news conference Wednesday, but postponed it while they worked to align all their salary-cap moves while they negotiated with Brewer on a contract and the Bucks on a trade that would clear Ridnour's $4.3 million salary and make room for Brewer's contract under the league's newly announced $58.7 million salary cap.
The Wolves need to line up the trades with the Thunder and Bucks and the signings of Martin and Brewer under the cap before they go over the cap by signing new deals with their own players, Pekovic and Chase Budinger, in a delicate dance of cap rules and numbers.
The Thunder would receive a $7 million trade exception for one year as part of their deal to sign and trade Martin to Minnesota.
ESPN.com first reported a deal had been reached with Brewer and the Wolves were trading Ridnour to make it possible under the cap.
The Wolves are exploring options of a sign-and-trade with Denver for free agent and former Timberwolves forward Corey Brewer, a source close to Brewer said Tuesday.
The Wolves are looking for a defensive-minded swingman as their next move after last week reaching contract agreements with offensive-minded Kevin Martin and Chase Budinger.
Brewer turned 27 in March and last season developed into an important role player on the Nuggets' 57-win team.
The Wolves still are trying to trade either guard J.J. Barea or Luke Ridnour to make salary-cap room for other moves.
Money is an issue in obtaining Brewer because without a sign-and-trade, the only slot the Wolves might have is that $2.6 million cap "room" exception and Brewer certainly is looking for more than that.
The source said the Wolves "would love" to obtain Brewer, but added the two sides are working on those salary-cap money issues.
The Wolves drafted Brewer seventh overall in 2007 and traded him to New York in 2011. The Knicks soon waived him and he signed with Dallas, with whom he was a little-used reserve during the Mavericks run to the 2011 NBA title.
The Wolves' top three draft picks -- UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad, Louisville's Gorgui Dieng and North Carolina State's Lorenzo Brown -- and big man Chris Johnson lead the list of names of the Wolves' Las Vegas Summer League team finalized today.
Second-year guard Alexey Shved is expected in town to practice with the team starting Wednesday, but will not play in Vegas because he's playing for the Russian national team later this summer.
Forward Robbie Hummel, the team's second-round pick in 2012 who played mainly in Spain last season, will play in Vegas.
So will Illinois guard Brandon Paul and Luke Sikma, Jack's son, is back on the roster after playing for the Wolves last summer.
The rest of the roster includes a number of Americans who have been playing overseas -- swingman Marqus Blakely, point guard Kee Kee Clark, shooting guard John Holland, forward Solomon Jones -- as well as D Leaguers Phil Jones (6-10 center), Demitri McCarney (6-3 guard) and Mychel Thompson (6-8 forward).
Jones has played parts of seven NBA seasons with Atlanta, Indiana, Clippers, New Orleans and the Knicks before playing in China last season.
Thompson is son of former Gophers star Mychel Thompson and brother of Golden State's Klay Thompson and he played for Sioux Falls in the D League last season.
Wolves player development coaches David Adelman and Shawn Respert will coach the Vegas team.
It shouldn't surprise anybody but...
The Wolves this afternoon officialy waived center Greg Stiemsma and swingman Mickael Gelabale.
Both moves are essentially official bookkeeping that will allow the Wolves to make other moves once the NBA moratorium ends July 10 and teams can sign players and complete trades.
By doing so, the Wolves won't be allowed to include either player's salary to help make a trade work, but Stiemsma's agent said there's still the chance his client will return to the Wolves.
"We'll see what happens, there so many different variables right now with teams and their cap space," agent Mark Bartelstein said. "This was a cap move. They (Wolves) like him. We'll get through this (the NBA moratorium that goes until July 10) and see what happens."
Stiemsma has been in Minnesota working out recently, hoping to be part of the team's future.
The Wolves had until July 17 to either waive Stiemsma or fully guarantee his $2.5 million contract for next season.
They opted for the former after replacing him as backup center by drafting Louisville's Gorgui Dieng in last month's draft. Stiemsma's release makes room for Dieng's signing when the moratorium ends.
The contract that Gelabale signed for the rest of the season last winter ran through the third week of July but the Wolves officially ended it today.
Both players were signed by former president of basketball operations David Kahn, who also signed Chris Johnson to a fully guaranteed contract for next season before Kahn's contract expired, wasn't renewed and he was replaced by Flip Saunders.
Stiemsma played in 76 games last season, averaging 4 points and 3.4 rebounds in 15.9 games.
Gelabale played in 36 games, averaging 5.0 points and 2.8 rebounds, after the Wolves were hit by a seemingly never-ending string of injuries last season.
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