The Timberwolves kept busy Thursday, reaching contract terms with veteran big man Ronny Turiaf on the same night they officially completed a three-way trade that brought free-agent shooting guard Kevin Martin from Oklahoma City.
The Wolves and the 6-10 Turiaf agreed on a two-year, $3.2 million deal, his agent said, in the latest of a series of dizzying moves that also will bring the team Martin, their own free-agent Chase Budinger and Denver swingman Corey Brewer when all the deals are finalized under the league’s complicated salary cap rules.
Turiaf, 30, is an eight-year NBA veteran who can play both center and power forward and is expected to give the Wolves interior defense, playoff experience and, by all accounts, boundless enthusiasm off the bench. He has played 47 career playoff games and won an NBA title with Miami in 2012.
The Wolves acquired Martin to fill their need for backcourt size and three-point shooting. He comes through a three-way trade with Milwaukee and Oklahoma City that includes a sign-and-trade arrangement with the Thunder.
The Wolves sent veteran guard Luke Ridnour and the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2014 second-round pick to the Bucks and received Martin and an unknown amount of cash from Oklahoma City in return.
With the Ridnour move, the Wolves help balance their roster by trading away one of their six point guards and received one of the league’s most efficient scorers in Martin while maintaining their full midlevel exception which they are expected to use on Friday to officially sign Brewer.
Saunders called trading Ridnour a “tough decision” and said the team dealt him rather than fellow point guard J.J. Barea because Ridnour was “very much wanted” because of his durability, skill and a $4.3 million contract that has just one year left.
By acquiring Martin on a four-year contract worth nearly $28 million, the Wolves reunite him with coach Rick Adelman for the third time in both their careers.
Saunders called getting a 6-7 scorer and shooter who knows Adelman’s system so well “a necessity” and mentioned Martin as a scorer statistically in the next breath behind players like Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade.
“He’s more familiar with the offense more than anybody we have on the roster,” Saunders said. “He’ll be able to teach our guys the offense better than anybody. There is no question we’re almost getting a player who has played for us because he knows the system so well.”
Also on Thursday, former Wolves forward Andrei Kirilenko agreed to a two-year contract with Brooklyn that will pay him the NBA’s “mini mid-level” exception of $3.1 million per season. Kirilenko opted out of a $10.2 million salary with the Wolves to become a free agent — and now will play for less than a third of that for Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov on a Nets team expected to contend for the NBA title.