Wolves trade for Hawks power forward Payne
MINNEAPOLIS -- Shortly after cracking open a roster spot in the Mo Williams trade, the Timberwolves filled it with a guy they considered drafting this past summer.
Minnesota has acquired Atlanta power forward Adreian Payne in exchange for a protected future first-round draft pick, the team announced Tuesday afternoon. Wolves coach and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders is well familiar with the Michigan State product, having scouted him heavily and worked him out before the 2014 NBA Draft.
"We are extremely excited to welcome Adreian to Minnesota," Saunders said in a release. "Adreian fits the mold of a young, athletic and talented player who we believe will fit in well with our young and talented core. We've liked him for a while and look forward to seeing him grow with us in a Wolves uniform."
Earlier Tuesday, Saunders dealt Williams and guard Troy Daniels to Charlotte for Gary Neal and a 2019 second-round pick. That opened one slot on the 15-man roster.
Saddled behind the Hawks' staunch frontcourt rotation, Payne has spent most of the season in the NBA Developmental League. In 17 games with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and Austin Spurs, he averaged 12.9 points on 48.3 percent shooting, 8.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 27.2 minutes per game.
The 6-foot-10, 240-pound Dayton, Ohio native has appeared in just three NBA games.
Drafted 15th overall by the Hawks, Payne averaged 16.4 points on 50.3 percent shooting (42.3 percent from 3-point range) and 7.3 rebounds per game as a senior in 2013-14, earning second-team all-Big Ten and Associated Press All-American honorable mention recognition. He finished his collegiate career as one of nine players in Michigan State history with 1,200 or more points and 700-plus rebounds and finished his four-year tenure as the school's all-time leader in blocked shots.
Follow Phil Ervin on Twitter