Wolves ink Russian starThe Minnesota Timberwolves have once again reached outside the United States for talent, adding Russian guard Alexey Shved to a roster already brimming international flavor. And they hope to have another one in the mix before all is said and done.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves have once again reached outside the United States for talent, adding Russian guard Alexey Shved to a roster already brimming international flavor. And they hope to have another one in the mix before all is said and done.
Contract terms were not immediately available, but Shved will join a team with Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, Montenegrin center Nikola Pekovic and Puerto Rican guard J.J. Barea already on the roster.
The Wolves were also working with Portland to try and bring swingman Nicolas Batum of France to Minnesota.
The Wolves and Batum, a restricted free agent, agreed on terms of a four-year, $45 million deal with bonuses that could push it past $50 million, and Batum’s agent Bouna Ndiaye told The Associated Press last week that they hoped the Blazers would either not match the offer or execute a sign-and-trade with the Timberwolves.
The 6-foot-6 Shved averaged 10.6 points, 3.0 assists and shot 49 percent from 3-point range in 21 Euro League games last season. The Timberwolves see him as a player who can play both positions in the backcourt, create off the dribble and flourish off ball screens in Rick Adelman’s offense.
Adding Shved to the mix could make veteran guards Luke Ridnour and Barea easier to trade. The Wolves had been reluctant to move either player, preferring to keep them on the roster while Rubio worked his way back from a torn ACL in his left knee. Rubio is making progress on his rehabilitation, but it remains unclear if he’s going to be ready right at the start of next season.
The Wolves have also agreed to terms with former Blazers guard Brandon Roy in a busy offseason.
The moratorium on free agency was set to expire at 11 p.m. Central time on Tuesday, allowing players to officially sign contracts. But Shved and Roy likely will have to wait until there is clarity on Batum.
The Wolves would like to pull off a sign and trade with the Blazers to help them create some cap room to take on Batum’s new salary. Several of their short-term contracts that could be desirable if Portland decides to rebuild after missing out on restricted free agent Roy Hibbert.
Martell Webster’s $5.7 million contract and Brad Miller’s $5.1 million deal can be bought out for much less money by Minnesota or another team, and the Wolves will likely use the amnesty clause on center Darko Milicic’s remaining two seasons to free up a total of about $15 million.
Ridnour, Barea, Derrick Williams and Wes Johnson have also been mentioned as possible trade chips that would help the Wolves create more cap space if they need it.