The Free Press, Mankato, MN

July 4, 2013

This time, Wolves' makeover seems to have purpose


The Mankato Free Press

---- — It’s midsummer, a time for lake activities and neighborhood grilling get-togethers. The tan should be dark, and the golf swing should be better than it is.

And it’s also time for the Minnesota Timberwolves to remake the roster. In what’s become an annual personnel shuffle, the Timberwolves are trying to hold onto players they like and complement them with new talent.

It’s a routine that every NBA team goes through, though it shouldn’t happen this drastically, this often.

The roster has been in some form of disarray since Kevin Garnett was traded to Boston in 2007, but the last few years, it’s been a revolving door with the organization.

In 2010, the Timberwolves added Darko Milicic. Before the 2011 season, Michael Beasley, Martell Webster, Brian Cardinal, Anthony Tolliver, Wesley Johnson and Nikola Pekovic joined the team. How did that work out?

Only Pekovic remains, though he’s a restricted free agent, whom the Timberwolves are trying to re-sign.

For 2012, the Timberwolves were able to finally sign Ricky Rubio and drafted Derrick Williams, but other pieces added to the roster were Anthony Randolph, J.J. Berea and Chase Budinger. Gone were Milicic, Beasley, Johnson and Webster, which made sense, but the roster continuity, which every coach tells you is important for success, escaped the organization.

This summer, the Timberwolves have again been aggressive in remaking the roster, though this time, there seems to be a chance that this unit could stick together. With cornerstones Rubio and Kevin Love in place for at least two more years, the Timberwolves have signed Budinger and Kevin Martin, both exceptional perimeter shooters, to multi-year deals, and it shouldn’t be long before Pekovic is signed.

Promising youngsters Dante Cunningham and Alexey Shved are back, and Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng were added through the draft, however controversial those draft-night maneuvers were considered.

All of these players should be in the league for a while, and depending what happens to Love when he opts out of his contract in 2015, it’s a group that could stay here and develop together.

It’s not uncommon for NBA teams to remake the roster, but it can’t be an annual tradition. Under David Kahn, there were too many transactions, though the team is more talented than when he took over.

Now, it seems like the moves being made have a purpose, adding young players throughout all five positions, giving the team some flexibility and stability.

Wouldn’t in be something if that Timberwolves jersey you bought for your kids one Christmas didn’t become obsolete by the next season?

Chad Courrier is a Free Press staff writer. To contact him, call 507-344-6353, e-mail at ccourrier@mankatofreepress.com or follow his Twitter feed @ChadCourrier.