Wolves officially land Kevin Martin in three-team deal

MINNEAPOLIS — It took a bit more time and maneuvering than expected, but the Kevin Martin-Rick Adelman reunion in Minnesota is now official.
The Timberwolves announced Thursday night they’ve acquired Martin, a former player of Adelman’s on two separate occasions, from Oklahoma City in a three-team, sign-and-trade deal that sends point guard Luke Ridnour and a 2014 second-round draft pick to Milwaukee. Minnesota also receives cash considerations from Oklahoma City, while the Thunder get draft rights to the Bucks’ Szymon Szewczyk.
The Timberwolves dealt their selection acquired last summer from the Los Angeles Lakers via the Phoenix Suns to Milwaukee, where Ridnour will be reunited with his former team.
Reports surfaced last Tuesday that Minnesota and Martin had agreed to a four-year, $28 million contract. Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders said Thursday he’d originally planned to sign the 6-foot-7, 185-pound, nine-year veteran outright.
A press conference introducing the nine-year veteran was scheduled for Wednesday morning, but later cancelled in order to work out the sign-and-trade.
First reported Wednesday evening along with small forward Corey Brewer’s impending signing, Thursday’s transaction allowed Minnesota to dump Ridnour’s $4.3 million 2013-14 salary and use that money for other moves. It also puts in play Minnesota’s mid-level salary cap exception, worth about $5 million, Saunders said.
“The only way we do a sign-and-trade is if we get something back for it,” Saunders said during a conference call with reporters. “We weren’t going to do a sign-and-trade just to do it.
“We’re hoping that’s gonna lead to some other activity tomorrow.”
Brewer is expected to sign a three-year, $15 million deal, and unrestricted free-agent center Ronny Turiaf is on the way to the Twin Cities, too, according to his agent.
The Timberwolves also have yet to re-sign unrestricted free agent Chase Budinger or restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic, also, though both players’ Larry Bird rights allow Minnesota to exceed the cap to retain them.
Martin helps fill a giant need at the two-guard spot, especially when it comes to outside shooting. During an injury-filled, 31-51 campaign, the Timberwolves shot a league-worst 30.5 percent from behind the line.
Their newest acquisition, meanwhile, was putting together the best 3-point shooting season of his career. Although his overall production dwindled in the wake of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook’s central roles in Oklahoma City’s offense, Martin hit 42.6 percent of his 3-pointers and scored 14 points per night.
The Thunder’s first option off the bench, he ranked fourth in the NBA with an 89-percent free-throw clip.
Now, he’ll likely start and benefit from the motion-based, pass-and-cut offense he learned under Adelman in Sacramento from 2004-06 and perfected during one-and-a-half seasons in Houston from 2010-11.
“We’re gonna ask him to do a lot more,” Saunders said. “He’s more familiar with our offense than anybody on our roster, and he’s going to be able to teach that offense better than anybody. There’s no question, we’re almost getting a player that’s played for us before.”
When he was traded to the Rockets in 2010, Martin said, “I couldn’t have packed my bags faster when I found out I was going to Houston to play for Rick Adelman again.”
There’s a similar vibe as Martin gathers his belongings once again, this time heading north.
“We’ve been talking and texting daily, and he’s excited about being with Coach Adelman again and coming back to the system,” Saunders said. “He’s excited about our aggressiveness that we’ve shown in an effort to make this team better. … There’s no question he has a lot of excitement to where this team has the ability to go.”
Another Adelman favorite, however, is gone.
Ridnour started all 82 games last season, and most of them at shooting guard, which he holds isn’t his primary position. In each of his three seasons with Minnesota, he averaged more than 11 points and 3.8 assists per game.
He returns to Milwaukee, the team that acquired him in 2008 through another three-team trade then let him walk and sign with the Timberwolves as a free agent in 2010. It’s expected he’ll see more time as a point guard there.
“It was a tough decision,” Saunders said, “but Luke was very much wanted. … There were a lot of people, since the day I got this job, that they’d talked about him and liked him.”
News also broke Thursday that another Minnesota player is on the move. After opting out of the second year of his contract, unrestricted free agent Andrei Kirilenko agreed to a deal with the Brooklyn Nets

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