MINNEAPOLIS — It’d register as a shock if the Timberwolves don’t pick up the team option on Derrick Williams’ contract for 2014-15.
Minnesota’s front office has until Oct. 31 to make a decision.
“We’ll see how camp is, but I’ve said all along, I’ve always been a big fan of his,” president of basketball operations Flip Saunders told reporters Wednesday after introducing Ronny Turiaf. “There’s still a decision there, but there’s a timeline involved. I feel and I believe that he’s gonna be here.”
The Timberwolves drafted Williams second overall in 2011. Since then, he hasn’t produced at the expected level, sitting behind Kevin Love on the depth chart and averaging 10.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game through two seasons.
But if Minnesota were to let his contract expire after this season, Williams could potentially walk away without offering the Timberwolves anything in return.
The team option is worth $6.3 million. Williams is scheduled to make $5.1 million this year.
Overseas reports: Timberwolves scout Zarko Durisic spent the past month in Europe taking in the Eurobasket 2013 endeavors of guards Ricky Rubio and Alexey Shved.
Reports came back mostly positive.
Shved was one of few bright spots for a Russian team that went 1-4and didn’t advance past the first round-robin stage. His 16.4 points per game ranked 10th among all scorers through the first round of group play.
Saunders isn’t too concerned, as long as his point guard stays healthy.
“He’s had a couple scares the last couple of games, which people are kind of surprised, but we’ll see how they do now,” Saunders said.
“Hopefully he’ll get enough rest and have that same energy for us when we start.”
J.J. Barea’s performances at both the Tuto Marchand Continental Cup and FIBA Americas Championship also impressed Saunders. When training camp opens Oct. 1, he expects the three international participants to be in prime physical condition after playing so much basketball over the past month.
Here they come: Timberwolves players continue to file into Minneapolis ahead of training camp. Wednesday was Turiaf’s first full day in Minnesota since he signed, and Corey Brewer is also back in town.
Shved and a handful of other players are expected to arrive by the end of the weekend.
Chase Budinger, Othyus Jeffers and rookies Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng and Lorenzo Brown have been in town for nearly two weeks. New player development coach Bobby Jackson has orchestrated several voluntary workouts involving that group.
Training camp at Minnesota State in Mankato begins Tuesday, Oct. 1 and runs through Oct. 4.