Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Familiarity breeds Wolves trade to fill a need

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 27, 2012 - 3:31 PM

Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman celebrated his 66th birthday two weeks ago and has two years left on the contract he signed in September, two reasons that might explain why his team on Tuesday traded the 18th pick in Thursday's NBA draft for Houston swingman Chase Budinger and a European prospect.

Swapping the future's promise for today's known, the deal reunites Adelman with an athletic, three-point shooter who played for him for two seasons with the Rockets.

It's a deal that -- if followed by bigger moves either on draft night or in the NBA's free-agency period that starts Sunday -- is intended to end eight consecutive losing seasons and help the Wolves reach the playoffs this coming season.

It's also a deal that will make Thursday night's draft-viewing party at Hubert's in Target Center a bore if the Wolves don't make another trade before then.

The Wolves passed up the prospect of drafting yet another young player, such as Iowa State's Royce White, Kentucky's Terrence Jones or St. John's Moe Harkless, and instead chose a player with whom Adelman knows just what he is getting, even if Budinger probably isn't the answer as the team's starting small forward or shooting guard.

"A guy who can shoot the ball incredibly well, a very good slasher, athletic enough to get into the lane and finish around the rim," the 6-7 Budinger said Tuesday, describing himself. "Very well-rounded, passes the ball very well, I do a little bit of everything. That's why I think Rick Adelman really likes me."

The feeling is mutual, apparently.

"I've very excited," Budinger, 24, said from his home in San Diego, where he grew up. "Rick Adelman was a great, great coach for me. I have much respect for him. I love his system. I feel I fit it very well."

The Wolves also received 6-9 Israeli forward Lior Eliyahu, a 2006 second-round pick who at age 26 is expected to try to play his way to the NBA next season with the Wolves' Las Vegas Summer League team next month.

Budinger's arrival means the team essentially can replace Martell Webster with him and save nearly $5 million that they can use to sign a free agent next month. The Wolves can buy out the remaining $5.7 million year on Webster's contract for $600,000 if they release him by Saturday, or they can pass that salary-cap savings on to another team if they trade his contract by then.

Budinger will make a mere $942,293 next season in the final year of a rookie contract the former second-round pick signed in 2009. He will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.

That exchange, combined with other roster moves, is expected to give the Wolves between $10 million and $15 million to spend on a shooting guard, such as unrestricted free agents Brandon Roy or Jamal Crawford (if he becomes one on Friday) or restricted free agents O.J. Mayo or Courtney Lee, who also played for Adelman in Houston, as well as a backup big man.

Adelman and Wolves boss David Kahn didn't talk to reporters about the trade Tuesday. In a team statement, Adelman said Budinger will help his team's perimeter game with his "athleticism and shooting ability" and Kahn called him a "proven shot-maker" who also has an "excellent all-around game." Budinger will be introduced at a Target Center news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Budinger's statistics -- minutes played per game, scoring average, everything except for a career-high 40.2 three-point shooting percentage last season -- didn't change much from his final season with Adelman in 2010-11 to his first one with new Rockets coach Kevin McHale in 2011-12.

Still, Budinger said he didn't adapt to McHale's system as well as he would have liked after playing two seasons in Adelman's motion offense.

"Last year was a bit of a struggle for me with my playing time being inconsistent," said Budinger, who started nine of 58 games and saw rookie Chandler Parsons assume some of his role last season. "I feel like I did a lot of standing around last year. In Adelman's offense, you don't do that at all. There's a lot of movement."

Budinger isn't exactly the ballhandling playmaker or lockdown defender on the wing that the Wolves need most. And he's not the natural shooting guard many Timberwolves fans think their team lacks most, although Budinger said he can play both that guard spot and small forward because they are nearly interchangeable in Adelman's offensive system.

"That's what is so great about his system," Budinger said.

But he is a deft shooter who can spread the floor for point guard Ricky Rubio. He also knows how to make a backdoor cut, the move upon which Adelman's offense largely depends and one which Wolves players seemed allergic to last season.

He's also athletic enough that he appeared for NBA All-Star Weekend's slam dunk contest last February dressed as playground legend Billy Hoyle ... and delivered a memorable one-hand dunk over rapper P. Diddy.

"Like the movie says, 'White men can't jump' is true in most cases," Budinger said. "But when you really get to know me, you find I can definitely jump with the best of them."

Budinger scored a career-high 35 points for the Rockets at Target Center in the 2010-11 season finale, the last game Adelman coached for Houston.

So ... does he have many more 35-point games left in him at Target Center?

"Let's hope so," he said. "I do always play well in that gym. I love playing in that gym. Everything I shot, every time I went to the basket that night, I couldn't do any wrong. I hope there's a lot more nights in there like that."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Brooklyn 109 FINAL
Boston 107
Cleveland 98 FINAL
Orlando 89
Indiana 109 FINAL
Detroit 119
Milwaukee 107 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Houston 117 FINAL
Memphis 111
San Antonio 90 FINAL
New Orleans 97
Charlotte 75 FINAL
Oklahoma City 98
LA Lakers 98 FINAL
Dallas 102
Minnesota 102 FINAL
Denver 106
Philadelphia 93 FINAL
Portland 114
Phoenix 115 FINAL
Sacramento 106
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(15) Arizona State 1:10 PM
Duke
Miami-Florida 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close