Tag: Kevin Martin

New Orleans Pelicans v Minnesota Timberwolves

Chase Budinger opts into final year of contract with Timberwolves


Chase Budinger is no fool.

Budinger has a $5 million player option for next season, the last of a three-year deal he signed with the Timberwolves.

He struggled through injury the first two seasons, and there are still questions about where his athleticism stands now. Plus, he hasn’t come close to matching the 40 percent 3-point shooting he hit the year before the contract.

Though he played well enough down the stretch this season to make opting out at least discussion-worthy, there was effectively no chance he’d make $5 million on the open market next season. So…

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger has exercised the $5 million player option on his contract for the 2015-16 season, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

This is hardly disastrous, but it’s not the ideal outcome for the Timberwolves. They’d certainly prefer to give youngsters Andrew Wiggins and Shabazz Muhammad a majority of wing minutes, and Kevin Martin is still around to eat up the rest.

Minnesota could seek to trade Budinger, as it did last season, but that won’t be easy if he’s not playing.

Most likely, the Timberwolves and Budinger ride out the season, and then Budinger seeks a new – smaller – contract elsewhere in 2016.

Q&A: Corey Brewer on trade from Timberwolves, his 51-point game, Harden’s MVP case, Rockets vs. Mavericks

Washington Wizards v Houston Rockets

Corey Brewer has been a key rotation player for the Rockets this season, after coming to Houston via trade from Minnesota in mid-December. I caught up with him recently to talk about how the trade came together, and how in the world he scored a career-high 51 points in a game last season, James Harden’s MVP-caliber impact, and why he believes Dwight Howard is the best center in the league. Our discussion is transcribed below.


You began the season with the Timberwolves, and at the time there were reports that said you had requested to go to a contender, and that Minnesota gave you permission to speak with other teams. Can you kind of walk me through how that all went down?

“Minnesota’s a good organization, I was happy there. It wasn’t like I wanted to leave there, but you know, coach Saunders — we had a good relationship. He knew and I knew that they were going young, and it really wasn’t going to be a season for us to try to make the playoffs. For me, I’ve been in the league for eight years, and it’s all about playing in the playoffs. That’s what it’s about; you want to win a championship. He helped me out. We looked at the trade options, he gave me permission to talk to teams, and it worked out perfectly.”

Were there any other teams in the mix besides the Rockets?

“It was probably the Rockets and Cleveland. Those were basically the two teams.”

You had a career-high game against the Rockets the season before, how much might that have played a part in their level of interest?

“(Laughs) I don’t know if it played a part in it. Coach McHale drafted me actually, so we have a good relationship. We go way back to ’07.”

How did that happen, that 51-point game? As far as I could tell, your career-high before then was 29 points. You’re not really known as being a volume scorer like that, so how does that happen?

“Well, Kevin Love wasn’t playing, and Kevin Martin wasn’t playing, so there was a lot of shots out there. I hit my first four out of five, and there wasn’t nobody else taking shots, so I had the opportunity to be a scorer. It worked out perfect — and we got the win.”

So you guys have the Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. You beat them 3-1 during the regular season, can you take anything from those regular season meetings, or do you kind of have to throw that all out and start from scratch?

“You can take stuff from it, like what they did against us and how we were able to stop them, and what we did against them and how we can keep doing it. But also, it’s going to be totally different. In the playoffs, they’re going to make adjustments, we’re going to make adjustments. So it’s all about coming out in Game 1 and trying to impose our will on them.”

Where are some areas where you think you might have an advantage in the series?

“We have to get out in transition, and we have to take advantage of getting [Dwight Howard] the ball. Him and [James Harden] in pick-and-rolls should be really good for us.”

How big is it to have Dwight back healthy? He missed 40 games during the regular season, but you were still able to keep it together.

“It’s huge having Dwight back. Dwight’s a beast. He’s still probably the best center in the league, even though he’s been hurt lately. He’s still the best center in the league the way he impacts the game —  blocking shots, when he’s in pick-and-rolls, everybody (on the defense) has to help. It’ll be big for us to have him back.”

Most people have the MVP race down to James Harden and Stephen Curry. I went with Harden, I think what he’s done for you guys has been incredible, and not to take anything away from Curry, because they’re both probably equally deserving. I’m not going to ask you who your pick is, because I’m sure you’ll go with your guy Harden, but what has he meant to you guys? Why is he the MVP this year?

“He’s done a lot for us. Before me and [Josh Smith] got here, Dwight was hurt and he was out there carrying the team. It was him and [Trevor Ariza], they were playing like 45 minutes a game. It was crazy. Then when we got here, he upped his ability — the way he’s been scoring, the way he’s been passing, he just makes us go. He makes us so much better when he’s aggressive. When he’s scoring, then they start helping on him and he can really pass. The things he’s doing right now are unbelievable. He can go out there and get 50, and then the next night get a triple-double. It’s crazy.”

Tell me about some of the work you’re doing with the University of Florida Diabetes Institute.

“The Center for Diabetes is excellent. They’re trying to find a cure for diabetes, and I do a basketball camp in the summer, the Corey Brewer Back2Back Basketball Camp — it’ll be in Gainesville. I’ve been doing that for the last six or seven years and give all the funds to the diabetes foundation. It’s all about trying to find a cure, man. It’s very unfortunate because my dad passed away from diabetes, and my mom has diabetes also. So I know what it’s like for someone who has diabetes to go through that.”

Corey Brewer supports his alma mater, The University of Florida Diabetes Institute to raise money for education and awareness to prevent diabetes and those living with the disease.

For more info: http://www.coreybrewer.com/foundation/

Timberwolves granted injury exception, sign Sean Kilpatrick to 10-day contract

Talib Zanna, Sean Kilpatrick
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The Timberwolves have been beset by injuries in recent months. Anthony Bennett, Nikola Pekovic, Shabazz Muhammad and Robbie Hummel (almost a third of the roster) are still out and don’t seem like they’ll be back in the near future. Because of this, the NBA has granted Minnesota a hardship exception, allowing them to sign a 16th player, and they’ve signed former D-League guard Sean Kilpatrick to a 10-day contract.

From the team’s press release:

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed guard Sean Kilpatrick to a 10-day contract. The Timberwolves were granted an NBA hardship exception for a 16th roster spot due to having four players out due to injury.

Kilpatrick, 25, has averaged 13.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 42 games this season with Delaware and Santa Cruz of the NBADL. Kilpatrick, 6-4, went undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft after a four-year career at the University of Cincinnati. Kilpatrick finished his career with averages of 15.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 140 contests, earning Second-Team All-America honors his senior season. Kilpatrick was signed by the Golden State Warriors on October 20, 2014 and waived on October 24, 2014 after playing with the Philadelphia 76ers on their 2014 NBA Summer League team.

Kilpatrick likely won’t play much, but the Timberwolves need bodies to close out the season with so many rotation players out, and he’ll help to keep down the minutes for Ricky Rubio and Kevin Martin, who have had injury problems of their own earlier in the year.

Spurs’ Manu Ginobili out 7-10 days with ankle sprain

Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Will Sevening

It had been an efficient outing for Manu Ginobili Sunday — he had 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting as San Antonio toyed with Orlando. Plus Ginobili did this to Kevin Martin.

However, in the third quarter he went up for a rebound and came down on the foot of Gorgui Dieng, and Ginobili rolled his ankle pretty badly. Tim Duncan had to help him off the court and Ginobili did not return. After the game coach Gregg Popovich gave this assessment.

We could talk about how this impacts the Spurs, but we all know they’ll just plug someone in — a combination of Danny Green, Marco Belinelli, Cory Joseph and Patty Mills — and be fine.

The Spurs have won 7-of-8 (the one loss was in overtime to the Cavaliers, and San Antonio would have one that if Kawhi Leonard hit a free throw). With Sundays win they are fifth in the West but in a virtual tie with the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks (San Antonio is one up in the loss column). The Spurs are looking like a team that nobody wants to play come the postseason. Although the West is loaded with those teams.

Five Things We Learned in NBA Monday: James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis all pad MVP resumes

James Harden, Chris Paul

If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while thinking photos of people covered in honey are pretty cool

1) It’s not always pretty, but James Harden gets the numbers, a little help, and the Ws. James Harden’s game is to attack and put pressure on everyone — the defenders to stop him and the referees not to call the contact he creates. It works. After a slow start to the game Sunday for Houston, Harden took over the final six minutes of the first half, putting up 18 of his 34 points in the quarter. It all started after Matt Barnes picked up a flagrant for throwing Harden down. It changed the flow of the game. Chris Paul did a solid job defending Harden late — Harden was 1-of-5 for four points in the fourth — but then the Clippers were undone by their own sloppiness with the game on the line. The Clippers had six fourth-quarter turnovers and seemed to go hunting for calls rather than shots. Harden forces contact, but he’s looking for his shot the whole time and finishes through that contact well.

Plus Harden got a little help.

Clippers/Rockets may a playoff series preview. I hope not. It would just be a lot of free throws and complaining to the officials from both sides. I prefer basketball.

2) Russell Westbrook keeps getting numbers — and getting his team wins they need to have. New Orleans lost to Denver Sunday, so Oklahoma City’s win Sunday moved them back into the eighth seed and final playoff spot in the West. They got it because of Westbrook. He scored 36 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. But more than that, as he has done through this entire stretch of basketball, he just puts pressure on the other team. He does it attacking in transition. He does it with his defense. Sometimes it is both.

He is just a force of nature right now. He’s also getting a lot of help — Steven Adams and Enes Kanter combined for 32 points and 29 boards against Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah.

3) Anthony Davis puts up numbers to rival anyone else, can we get the man some help? Check out Anthony Davis’ final line from Sunday: 36 points, 14 rebounds, nine blocks, and seven assists. According to Basketball-Reference.com, no other player in the last 30 seasons has posted a line with at least those numbers. Nobody. Still the Pelicans lost 118-111. There are a couple things at play in that double-overtime result. First, sometimes it’s about when you catch a team on the schedule, and interim coach Melvin Hunt has Denver playing well again. However, the Pelicans have issues. With Ryan Anderson down they lack three-point shooting (Tyreke Evans was 4-of-11, every one else on New Orleans was a combined for 2-of-11). When they beat the Nuggets recently, Evans and Eric Gordon had success posting up Ty Lawson, but the Pelicans went away from that Sunday. The Pelicans’ defense is inconsistent and while Davis blocked everything he could the Nuggets still had 64 points in the paint. Finally, the Pelicans were just sloppy with the ball in stretches. This was the kind of game they needed to get into the playoffs, and they lost. Even with Davis doing things like this.

4) LeBron tweaked knee and could sit out second return to Miami Monday. LeBron put up impressive numbers — 21 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists — pretty quietly Sunday as the Cavaliers had little trouble against the Magic. But things got scary for Cleveland in the third quarter when LeBron tried to block Dewayne Dedmon’s shot, landed awkwardly and tweaked his knee. LeBron played through it, but after the game wondered if he would need to sit out a game or two to rest it, just to be safe. The Cavaliers travel to Miami Monday night, and while that game loses some luster without LeBron Cleveland should be able to beat slumping Miami. Maybe even Kevin Love will get to play.

5) Manu Ginobili can still make plays, which is why the Spurs will miss him for the next week. Manu Ginobili is showing his age this season. The Spurs’ fan favorite is shooting just 43 percent, and he’s been more of a solid role player than guy you lean on (Kawhi Leonard has taken over his spot in the Spurs big three). But give him the chance and Ginobili can still make plays, just ask Kevin Martin.

Which is why the Spurs will miss him — Ginobili sprained his ankle in the win over Minnesota and will be out a week to 10 days.