Tag: Kevin Martin

Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul- CSKA Moscow: Turkish Airlines Euroleague

Report: Timberwolves sign Euroleague star Nemanja Bjelica to three-year, $11.7 million contract


Nemanja Bjelica has been a sleeper for five years.

Now, after a little negotiating, the Timberwolves will see just what the No. 35 pick in the 2010 draft can do. They are bringing him over to the USA.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Euroleague star forward Nemanja Bjelica has agreed to a three-year, $11.7 million deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Timberwolves are paying an additional $625,000 – the most allowable contribution – for his buyout clause in Europe, sources said.

Bjelica fits in with the NBA trend of big men who are versatile — he can play inside or out, at the three or the four, plus take on some ball handling responsibilities. He shot 37 percent from three last season, and he pulled down more than eight rebounds a game as well for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce Ulker.

Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Gorgui Dieng, Shabazz Muhammad, Zach LaVine, Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Martin, Adreian Payne, Anthony Bennett – and now Bjelica. The Timberwolves are stockpiling a lot of talent.

It’s unclear how ready the youngest of that group is to compete, and though Bjelica is already 27, he also must adjust to the NBA. The fit of those players is unclear, too. And he Western Conference is not the least bit forgiving.

But talent is the place to start, and Minnesota is doing just fine there.

How Billy Donovan differs from every other college-to-NBA coach in last 20 years


Billy Donovan is unlike any other coach making the college-to-NBA jump in the last 20 years.

The Thunder, who hired Donovan yesterday (and will pay him handsomely), certainly hope so. That’s because, aside from Brad Stevens, the rest have failed.

But Donovan has already proven his uniqueness – by getting himself hired by a good team.

Here are the 10 NCAA-to-NBA coaches in the last 20 years with their NBA team’s wins the season before their arrival (normalized to an 82-game schedule):


Tim Floyd took over the threepeating Bulls – minus Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. Obviously, Floyd did not inherit a team that at all resembled what the chart indicates.

Stevens, the only other coach besides Floyd and Donovan to take over a winner, also didn’t have the players his predecessor did. Before hiring Stevens, the Celtics – who were barely a winning team at 41-40 – traded their two best players (Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets).

Donovan, of course, isn’t getting a dismantled roster. Quite the opposite.

The Thunder’s 45-37 record masks their true ability. Many key players – most notably Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka – missed significant time last season due to injury. If those three are healthy as expected, Donovan has a championship contender on his hands.

He also has a team unlike any of his college-to-pro peers.

Here are the three win-share leaders on each coach’s new NBA team. Because we don’t know how the 2015-16 Thunder will perform, I use the average for Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka the last three years.


Ibaka is running neck-and-neck with Kevin Martin for the third-best player in this group. Durant and Westbrook soar well above everyone else.

Of course, Donovan will be held to a higher standard because of his roster, but it’s often difficult to parse where the contributions of coaches end and players begin. It’s not Floyd’s fault he had to rely on Dickey Simpkins, Toni Kukoc and Kornel David. But it sure made it more likely the Bulls would fire him.

NBA coaches from college usually lose. NBA coaches with good players usually win.

It will be up to Donovan to show which of those factors is more important.

Chase Budinger opts into final year of contract with Timberwolves

New Orleans Pelicans v Minnesota 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.