Saunders sees a relatively quiet free agency period for Wolves

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 30, 2014 - 11:15 AM

The Wolves basketball operations president and coach said he doesn’t see his team as a big spender.

This time last year, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders flew out to Los Angeles for separate late-night rendezvous with free agents J.J. Redick and O.J. Mayo.

It was the start of several frenetic days in which he began a $120 million summertime spending spree by first signing Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger and Corey Brewer instead.

This time around, the NBA’s annual free-agency period begins at 11 p.m. Monday and Saunders plans to stay home to work the phones while many other NBA teams woo free agents LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.

This time around, Saunders predicts he’ll be relatively quiet — and certainly more frugal — than a year ago.

That’s because the Wolves soon will have 14 players under guaranteed contracts and because he believes he has better balanced a roster that once was lopsided with point guards and big men.

“I’m sure some people have my phone on speed dial, they know how to get in touch with me,” Saunders said. “Are we going to be very active in free agency? Probably not. I feel very comfortable where our roster is at right now.”

The Wolves’ payroll is well over the NBA’s salary cap and approaching the luxury-tax line while Ricky Rubio still needs a contract extension that can be negotiated starting Monday night.

That leaves Saunders at the moment with only the $5 million-plus mid-level exception salary slot to spend while he continues to discuss Kevin Love trade scenarios. He’s also believed to be seeking trades that would send away veteran guards Martin and J.J. Barea as well possibly as players such as Budinger and Alexey Shved.

Barring a Love trade that reshapes the roster, the Wolves’ biggest need, with Barea on the trading block, appears to be a veteran backup point guard. The league’s list of unrestricted free agents at that position includes Shaun Livingston, Ramon Sessions, Steve Blake, former Timberwolf Luke Ridnour and possibly Chauncey Billups if he decides to play one more season.

Saunders said he will not rush to spend that mid-level exception slot.

“That’s not a priority,” he said. “Right now, there are not a lot of guys who are out there. If there are not guys out there who are better than guys on our team, we’re not just going to spend it because we have it. If someone pops down and we think it’s worth it, we’ll do it.”

Saunders likely is waiting to see how the league landscape changes depending upon where free agents Anthony, James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh land while everybody from Chicago, Houston and the Los Angeles Clippers to Golden State and Phoenix pursue one or more.

If teams such as the Bulls and Rockets get shut out, they could re-emerge as contenders to acquire Love in a trade, that is if Saunders does indeed intend to trade his All-Star by the time training camps start in October.

For now, Saunders said the team will improve only if its current players get better. Rubio is working at times this summer with a new shooting coach in Los Angeles. Shved, last season’s rookies Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad and just-drafted Zach LaVine and Glenn Robinson III all report July 7 for summer-league play that will take them to Las Vegas for games.

Budinger also been asked to at least practice with the team for three days in Minneapolis so Saunders and his staff can gauge his rehabilitation for two knee surgeries.

Saunders plans to play Shved mostly at point guard rather than shooting guard in a summer audition to see if he can resolve the Wolves’ backup issue there.

“I believe that’s where he has to be to make it at our level, so we’ll have to see where he’s at,” Saunders said. “How these guys develop will decide a lot where things work out with J.J. here, too. But I’m comfortable with our position right now. I believe we’ve got it covered. We’ll see how they are when we have to run what we want to run. …

“We’ve got to get better within, and that starts with development and that starts now, working with players.”

  • related content

  • Glen Taylor finalizes purchase of Star Tribune

    Tuesday July 1, 2014

    The Star Tribune joins Taylor’s group of more than 80 businesses, including the Wolves and Lynx and dozens of companies in printing and other industries.

  • Flip Saunders

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 26 FINAL
Atlanta 24
Tennessee 24 FINAL
Philadelphia 43
Detroit 9 FINAL
New England 34
Green Bay 24 FINAL
Minnesota 21
Jacksonville 3 FINAL
Indianapolis 23
Cincinnati 22 FINAL
Houston 13
Tampa Bay 13 FINAL
Chicago 21
Arizona 3 FINAL
Seattle 19
St. Louis 24 FINAL
San Diego 27
Miami 36 FINAL
Denver 39
Washington 13 FINAL
San Francisco 17
Dallas 31 FINAL
NY Giants 28
NY Jets 11/24/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Baltimore 11/24/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Detroit
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
LA Clippers 91 FINAL
Memphis 107
Portland 94 FINAL
Boston 88
Charlotte 93 FINAL
Miami 94
Golden State 91 FINAL
Oklahoma City 86
Denver 101 FINAL
LA Lakers 94
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Montreal 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 5
Arizona 1 FINAL
Anaheim 2
Chicago 1 FINAL
Vancouver 4
Coll of Charleston 61 FINAL
George Mason 60
Massachusetts 75 FINAL
Florida State 69
Youngstown St 76 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 67
Wofford 64 FINAL
Sam Houston St 53
Ark-Pine Bluff 43 FINAL
Central Mich 75
Southern Ill 67 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Drexel 61 FINAL
Cornell 59
American Univ 51 FINAL
Morehead State 46
CS-Northridge 88 FINAL
Ark-Little Rock 94
Bethune-Cookman 65 FINAL
Central Conn St 60
Columbia 54 FINAL
Lehigh 44
Texas A&M 64 FINAL
New Mexico 51
TX A&M-CC 62 FINAL
Saint Louis 56
Merchant Marine 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 89
South Dakota 72 FINAL
Fairfield 80
Longwood 48 FINAL
Eastern Mich 79
Providence 75 FINAL
Notre Dame 74
Jackson State 50 FINAL
UAB 58
Coppin State 54 FINAL
Denver 80
Northwestern St 68 FINAL
Oklahoma 90
Catawba 52 FINAL
Radford 88
Newman 57 FINAL
Wichita State 105
Yale 66 FINAL
Kent State 59
St Katherine 49 FINAL
UC Riverside 102
NC Central 45 FINAL
Creighton 65
South Florida 65 FINAL
NC State 68
USC 61 FINAL
Penn State 63
Nichols College 70 FINAL
Holy Cross 101
Dayton 65 FINAL
Boston College 53
Wagner 71 FINAL
Hofstra 93
Towson 79 FINAL
Monmouth 75
NC A&T 50 FINAL
Bradley 58
Eastern Ill 49 FINAL
Cincinnati 54
Fla Atlantic 61 FINAL
Georgia 74
Presbyterian 48 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 76
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Rutgers 76
UMKC 55 FINAL
Samford 64
Binghamton 68 FINAL
Navy 70
USC Upstate 69 FINAL
UCF 76
UMass Lowell 64 FINAL
Fordham 57
Montana State 28 FINAL
Kentucky 86
Iona 78 FINAL
North Texas 58
Gardner-Webb 67 FINAL
Seton Hall 85
Akron 68 FINAL
South Carolina 63
Hood College 51 FINAL
Howard 78
Sacred Heart 48 FINAL
Ohio State 106
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Vanderbilt 78
Connecticut 68 FINAL
West Virginia 78
Delaware 52 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 70
Mercer 62 FINAL
Colorado State 75
SD Christian 60 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 82
Northern Ariz 74 FINAL
Ole Miss 80
Manhattan 51 FINAL
Northeastern 65
Pacific 69 FINAL
Washington 76
Miami-Florida 77 FINAL
Charlotte 58
UC Irvine 69 FINAL
St Marys-CA 72
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Illinois State 64
Long Beach State 63 FINAL
UCLA 77
Montana 66 FINAL
Seattle 62
Char Southern 9 FINAL
(8) Georgia 55
South Alabama 12 FINAL
So Carolina 37
Rutgers 3 FINAL
(10) Michigan State 45
(22) Minnesota 28 FINAL
Nebraska 24
Northwestern 38 FINAL
Purdue 14
(19) Marshall 23 FINAL
UAB 18
Kansas 7 FINAL
(20) Oklahoma 44
Indiana 27 FINAL
(7) Ohio State 42
Penn State 14 FINAL
Illinois 16
(16) Eastern Ky 3 FINAL
Florida 52
TX-San Antonio 7 FINAL
Western Ky 45
SMU 7 FINAL
UCF 53
Tulsa 28 FINAL
Houston 38
Virginia Tech 3 FINAL
Wake Forest 6
Washington St 31 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 52
Louisiana Tech 27 FINAL
Old Dominion 30
Western Mich 32 FINAL
Central Mich 20
New Mexico 20 FINAL
(21) Colorado State 58
Eastern Mich 30 FINAL
Ball State 45
Appalachian St 35 FINAL
Louisiana 16
(12) Arizona 42 FINAL
Utah 10
FIU 14 FINAL
North Texas 17
(18) Ole Miss 0 FINAL
Arkansas 30
(24) Louisville 31 FINAL
Notre Dame 28
Maryland 23 FINAL
Michigan 16
Texas Tech 34 FINAL
Iowa State 31
(14) Wisconsin 26 FINAL
Iowa 24
Syracuse 7 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
Boston College 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 20
Georgia State 0 FINAL
(23) Clemson 28
Tulane 6 FINAL
East Carolina 34
Stanford 38 FINAL
California 17
Western Carolina 14 FINAL
(2) Alabama 48
ULM 30 FINAL
New Mexico St 17
So Florida 20 FINAL
Memphis 31
Colorado 10 FINAL
(3) Oregon 44
Fla Atlantic 34 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 35
Samford 7 FINAL
(15) Auburn 31
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
Virginia 30
Vanderbilt 0 FINAL
(4) Miss State 51
(17) Missouri 29 FINAL
Tennessee 21
Oklahoma State 28 FINAL
(5) Baylor 49
USC 20 FINAL
(9) UCLA 38
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
Connecticut 0
(25) Boise State 63 FINAL
Wyoming 14
Oregon State 13 FINAL
Washington 37
Fresno State 40 FINAL
Nevada 20
UNLV 35 FINAL
Hawaii 37
Ohio U 11/25/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
New England 2 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 0 FINAL
Los Angeles 1
Montreal 24 FINAL
Hamilton 40
Edmonton 18 FINAL
Calgary 43
Alabama 58 FINAL
Temple 51
Massachusetts 46 FINAL
Florida State 74
Creighton 60 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 96
Bryant 79 FINAL
Boston College 90
Robert Morris 84 FINAL
UMBC 60
Sacred Heart 59 FINAL
Maine 58
Virginia Tech 72 FINAL
Providence 69
Coll of Charleston 61 FINAL
George Mason 71
Hartford 59 FINAL
Lafayette 74
William & Mary 80 FINAL
High Point 87
Western Ill 88 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 90
Pittsburgh 64 FINAL
James Madison 80
Toledo 48 FINAL
(24) Purdue 66
Western Mich 47 FINAL
Michigan 74
Cleveland State 73 FINAL
FIU 65
San Diego State 38 FINAL
(2) South Carolina 89
Mount St Marys 62 FINAL
Davidson 67
IUPUI 45 FINAL
(15) Michigan State 64
Illinois State 49 FINAL
Colorado State 70
Incarnate Word 49 FINAL
Indiana 85
Cincinnati 54 FINAL
Iowa State 85
Furman 69 FINAL
Clemson 79
VA Commonwealth 86 FINAL
Ohio State 96
Marquette 51 FINAL
(7) Duke 83
Bethune-Cookman 42 FINAL
East Carolina 71
Coppin State 54 FINAL
Wake Forest 65
(24) Georgia 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 57
Ball State 56 FINAL
(12) Louisville 69
Auburn 51 FINAL
Virginia 66
Utah 43 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 66
Minnesota 68 FINAL
Memphis 62
Georgetown 42 FINAL
Kansas 55
Northwestern St 30 FINAL
Arkansas 78
TX-San Antonio 72 FINAL
Lamar 40
Southern Miss 55 FINAL
McNeese State 57
Air Force 51 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 86
IUPU-Ft Wayne 73 FINAL
USC Upstate 85
Morgan State 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 65
Western Ky 77 FINAL
Miss State 88
Southern U 42 FINAL
Illinois 62
Eastern Illinois 59 FINAL
North Texas 57
Alabama State 61 FINAL
South Alabama 64
Wisconsin 77 FINAL
Drake 89
Seattle 61 FINAL
Montana State 74
UC Santa Barbara 49 FINAL
Northern Ariz 67
Hofstra 64 FINAL
Norfolk State 47
Iona 49 FINAL
Pacific 64
Middle Tennessee 71 FINAL
Ole Miss 65
Portland 67 FINAL
Cal Poly 76
(10) Texas 75 FINAL
UCLA 65
Fresno State 50 FINAL
USC 68
Ave Maria 54 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 102
Holy Cross 29 FINAL
(3) Notre Dame 104
Chicago State 40 FINAL
Oakland 66
(11) North Carolina 76 FINAL
Oregon 59
Harvard 87 FINAL
Quinnipiac 83
Princeton 63 FINAL
American Univ 56
Missouri 70 FINAL
(14) California 82
Yale 51 FINAL
Washington 81
UNLV 40 2nd Half 17:50
Hawaii 48
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: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close