When Alexey Shved was a boy, just starting to play basketball, his father was his coach. Victor Shved used to bring home VHS tapes of NBA games that Alexey would watch. That's when the dream started.
Wednesday brought that dream a little closer to reality as the Timberwolves signed Shved, a 23-year-old guard, to a three-year, $10 million deal to play in the NBA this fall.
"We had no Internet then or satellite TV," Alexey Shved said on a conference call, with his agent, Obrad Fimic, translating. "So since those days I told my mom and dad that this was my wish, to play like the guys on TV."
The 6-6 combo guard has been playing professionally since he was 17. Last season, with CSKA Moscow, he averaged 11.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists. He was named the playoff MVP by Sports Express after leading his club to the Russian national championship. CSKA Moscow later reached the EuroLeague finals. And in the coming days, Shved will play for the Russian team in the Olympics.
David Kahn, president of basketball operations for the Wolves, said that he envisioned Shved playing both guard positions and that he could play some small forward. One thing is certain: Shved will not enter his rookie NBA season with great expectations.
"Alexey is very thin," Kahn said. "Because of his length and height, it doesn't seem to affect him very much on the offensive end. I think on the defensive end is where he'll be challenged, especially at the start. There will be a transition period."
But Shved does give coach Rick Adelman another skilled player on the perimeter.
Fimic said his client, who went undrafted a few years ago, began drawing more interest from NBA teams after his team's recent playoff successes.
• Kahn said on Wednesday that making the playoffs is a realistic goal this season. That comment came when he was asked about Kevin Love seeking more talent on the Wolves roster. "I think it's just the right time," Kahn said. "We tore down the team; we've been rebuilding it. I think we have an opportunity now -- provided we stay healthy -- we think next season is the year where that's within our reach."
• The Wolves will play a preseason game this fall in Fargo, N.D. Returning to the city for the first time since 2002, the Wolves will play Indiana on Oct. 10 at the Fargodome.