MINNEAPOLIS — Kevin Martin’s official introduction with the Minnesota Timberwolves has been delayed, but that’s not because the unrestricted free agent starting shooting guard’s wavering on his end of the bargain.
On the contrary, he’d rather walk into as set-for-success a situation as possible.
As of Wednesday, the first day NBA free agents are allowed to ink new contracts, the Timberwolves were still diligently reaching out in hopes of rounding out the 2013-14 roster. That meant the cancellation of a morning press conference introducing Martin, a turn of events he’s totally fine with, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.
The national NBA reporter tweeted that Martin agreed to put off his signing while Minnesota looks at additional options, most notably Denver free agent and former Timberwolves swingman Corey Brewer. According to Yahoo!Sports, Minnesota and Brewer have agreed on a three-year deal worth $15 million.
There’s a good chance either Martin or Brewer ends up in the Twin Cities via a sign-and-trade.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports Minnesota will send guard Luke Ridnour to Milwaukee in a three-team, sign-and-trade deal that brings in Martin from Oklahoma City and clears cap space to sign Brewer.
With very little leeway provided by the league’s $58.678 salary cap announced Tuesday night, the Timberwolves are forced to deal a chip or two after agreeing to terms with incumbent small forward Chase Budinger ($5.3 million per year) and committing to re-sign restricted free-agent center Nikola Pekovic. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Minnesota is “getting close” to finalizing a $50 million, four-year extension for Pekovic, who as of Tuesday evening could begin entertaining offer sheets from other teams.
But with Martin coming in, Budinger coming back, and small forward Shabazz Muhammad being drafted 14th overall, Minnesota’s in need of some stopping power on the wing, too.
Enter Brewer, who spent his first three-and-a-half seasons in Minneapolis before becoming part of the massive three-team trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to New York. The Knicks waived him before he ever played a game, and Brewer landed a spot on Dallas’ roster on the Mavericks’ way to the 2011 NBA championship.
Brewer wound up in Denver, where he spent the past two seasons coming off the bench and locking down opponents’ top scoring threats. He’s coming off his second-best offensive season, too, having scored 12.1 points per game.
Adding Brewer would virtually terminate any possibility of re-signing forward Andrei Kirilenko, who opted out of the second year of his contract and became an unrestricted free agent. His name was tossed around in talks involving a sign and trade with San Antonio, but Yahoo! Sports reported those conversations have ceased.
Kirilenko’s player option year was worth $10.2 million; even with a sign-and-trade for Brewer or Martin, the Timberwolves don’t have that kind of money to offer the popular Russian swingman.