Well, the T-Wolves signed a nother Point Guard. Luke Ridnour… come on down! He’s the lucky contestant to the tune of $16 million dollars over 4 years; which also happens to be the same contract KAHN gave Ramon Sessions last off-season. I can’t say I like this deal as is. There are a plethora of reasons (check out our discussions in the TWB Forums about this.) For concern over boring our readers to death, Ben Polk from AWAW summed it up nicely last week:
Let me tell you what this makes me wonder. Over their careers, Ridnour’s and Sessions’s stats are awfully similar (Ridnour’s sample size, of course, being quite a bit bigger than Ramon’s). Sessions boasts a career PER of 15.6 to Ridnour’s 14.5 Sessions’s true shooting percentage is .519, while Ridnour’s is .512. Dimes? Sessions’s assist rate is 31% while Ridnour’s is 29.7%. Turnover rate? 15.9% for Sessions, 15.5 for Ridnour. Even defensively, the two players’ profiles are remarkably similar.
So what’s this about? As mentioned above, veteran leadership was something sorely lacking from the Wolves’ lineup last year; Ridnour certainly provides that–although Sessions, despite his relative youth, offered a quiet, steady contrast to Jonny Flynn’s exuberant vocal stylee. I certainly hope this isn’t an overreaction to Sessions’s disappointing stats last season and Ridnour’s career year (Luke’s PER and true shooting percentage were significantly higher last year than in any of his previous six seasons–which suggests that they’re more than likely an aberration).
Because if anyone got a rotten deal last year, it wasn’t Jefferson or Kevin Love, but Sessions. For an entire season, he watched from the sidelines as Flynn received on-the-job training from the Wolves’ starting unit. Ramon, meanwhile, had to make do with the truly impressive cast D-Leaguers and Eurostars on the Wolves’ bench–and I’ll tell you, that crew could suck the life out of anybody’s game. Over and over, Sessions found himself the most competent scorer on the floor, forced to shoulder the man’s share of the offensive burden.
I like this a lot more if KAHN moves Sessions for a decent asset (Delonte West’s salary-dump contract does not count.) I hate this signing if we keep Sessions, Ridnour, AND Flynn going into next season. Who is the starter? Who’s the initial backup? What’s going on? On top of having a PG orgy, what the heck would Rubio think about this? Let’s just hope Kahn can move Sessions without just giving him away.
Luke Ridnour to Join the T-Wolves Today at Noon
From Ray Richardson at the Pioneer Press:
The Timberwolves apparently have finalized contract talks with free-agent point guard Luke Ridnour and plan to introduce the eight-year NBA veteran today at a news conference at Target Center.
Ridnour, who played last season with the Milwaukee Bucks, reportedly agreed to a four-year deal worth $16 million. Ridnour, 29, averaged 10.4 points, 4.0 assists and 1.3 turnovers in 21.2 minutes as the backup point guard to rookie standout Brandon Jennings.
Jerry Zgoda Wants You to Say Hello to Luke Ridnour
The Wolves haven’t officially announced the signing of point guard Luke Ridnour just yet, but they’ll introduce the former Milwaukee Buck anyway tomorrow at noon at Target Center.
The two sides agreed last week on a four-year deal worth about $16 million.
So will Sessions be traded soon, or not? Like I said, I’d sure hope so. Here are two conflicting accounts:
Sessions Thinks He’s Staying with the T-Wolves
From USA Today:
Reserve point guard Ramon (rah-MAHN’) Sessions says he expects to remain with the Minnesota Timberwolves this season.
Sessions spoke Tuesday during a stop at Owatonna High School on the team’s summer caravan.
He says he embraces the challenge of competing for playing time at his position, with Jonny Flynn and Luke Ridnour. Sessions has been rumored as a strong candidate to be traded.
Timberwolves Dealing Again
Bill Ingram at HoopsWorld:
Last summer Ramon Sessions was one of the more sought-after point guards in free agency. The Milwaukee Bucks liked him, but didn’t want to overpay to keep him, the New York Knicks offered a one-year deal, and the LA Clippers also showed a great deal of interest. At the end of the day the Minnesota Timberwolves made the best offer, getting four years and $16.4 million.
It was an odd signing, considering the Timberwolves drafted two point guards in Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio, and the more head coach Kurt Rambis tried Sessions in the triangle offense the less he looked like the right point guard for the Timberwolves. This summer the Timberwolves have added Luke Ridnour, who is a much better fit in the triangle, spelling the beginning of the end for Sessions.
The timing couldn’t be better for Minnesota to move Sessions, as a number of teams are looking for point guard help. The Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Bobcats, and Cleveland Cavaliers have all been in contact with Minnesota to explore what it would take to land Sessions. The Cavaliers are believed to be the frontrunners at this point, primarily because the Timberwolves would love to have Delonte West’s contract in return, with the idea that they would waive him and it would cost the team just $500,000 to save $4 million. Minnesota would throw in Kosta Koufas, as well.
Sessions may not be an elite level point guard, but he is more than capable of running a team. The issue in Minnesota has everything to do with his inability to run the triangle, not his overall ability to play the point. Considering that the Timberwolves are seeking little beyond cap relief in return, don’t be surprised to see Sessions moved soon.
Please click “Read More” to discover Kahn’s Master Plan, & additional Wolves News…
Kahn’s Master Plan
From Bill Ingram at HoopsWorld:
When David Kahn took over as the President of Basketball Operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves he knew the road ahead would not be easy. The franchise had struggled ever since trading Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics, meaning Kahn and his team had plenty of work to do. They took the conservative approach, spending some time to get to know the team they had in place before making massive changes.
“It takes longer than people think,” Kahn tells HOOPSWORLD of the rebuilding process. “What I mean by that is we live in a very instantaneous-minded culture, where people want things now. It’s hard to do things immediately. I felt we had to spend a year last year learning the ball club, Kurt and I especially, seeing who we had and what their strengths and weaknesses were before we started doing things willy-nillly. We made some moves, but waited for significant ones until this offseason. It takes time; nothing happens overnight. I know that’s trite to say but it’s true. We’re trying to do things as quickly as possible, but not do things hastily and do things that could come back to hurt us.”
NBA Summer League Winners and Losers
From Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports:
LOSER: Minnesota Timberwolves
Wesley Johnson(notes), the third overall pick for the T’wolves, played in just one game in Las Vegas because of a hamstring injury. Second-year Wolves guard Jonny Flynn(notes) also didn’t play in the summer league because of a hip injury.
With Johnson and Flynn out, it was the Patrick O’Bryant and Wayne Ellington show for Minnesota in Vegas.
Evaluating Wesley Johnson’s Upside
From Timberwolf at BR:
Because Wesley Johnson can shoot the ball well, also being able to play without the ball, and has a very good chance of being an outstanding defender, his upside resides on creating for himself. The knock on the possibilities for this is of course his ball handling deficiencies, that is according to the experts.
The experts have been wrong before, not to say that they aren’t right, but Wesley’s ball handling is slightly better than advertised. People only see his highlights, which clearly only shows his athleticism and three-point stroke. Rarely is the ball in Wesley Johnson in his hands to allow him to create his own shot.
Off the highlights, you won’t see him crossing anyone by any stretch of the imagination, but creating his own shot is definitely not as glaring as a weakness as some make it to be. I, along with anyone that really knows his skill set, believe it’s his mindset that creates that scoring mentality, which is his weakness.
While Wesley Johnson has only played one summer league game, it was clearly obvious that he can play at the NBA speed. Johnson showed that he doesn’t waste possessions, takes smart shots, plays within his limitations, and he still has tons of potential.
I expect Wesley Johnson to start off pretty solid, and possibly produce rookie-of-the-year type numbers towards the end of the season.
Michael Beasley: “I Have Matured Off the Court”
From Sports Radio Interviews:
Michael Beasley became the odd man out in Miami when LeBron James decided to bolt Cleveland for South Beach. The Heat needed to trade Beasley to clear cap room to sign James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and a supporting cast. They traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves for second-round draft picks in 2011 and 2014
Beasley joined Paul Allen and Paul Charchian of KFAN-AM (Minneapolis) to talk about, among other things, his role with his new team and whether he really is excited about being the focal point in Minnesota. To listen to the interview, go to Sports Radio Interviews (the interview begins at the 29:39 mark). Answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.
On whether he realizes has has the potential to become a big-time player with Minnesota:
“I guess, I just want to win. I am not really worried about me being a star or an All-Star. I just want to win. So whatever I have got to do for us to be in the playoffs next year that is what I want to do.”
On what team president David Kahn and coach Kurt Rambis have told him his role will be:
“Honestly, we haven’t talked about it much. Obviously I am going to be a big part of this team, a big piece to the puzzle and a big piece of the success if we win.”
Kosta Koufos Learning About NBA Life
From Todd Porter CantonRep.com:
NBA summer basketball isn’t where stars are made. Few fans squeeze it in around vacation and fishing, and fewer notice who does what.
But it is where reputations start to be formed.
To that end, Kosta Koufos went to Orlando and had the best summer season of his career.
Last week, he returned home to Canton. He was going about his normal routine, which includes working out and playing hoops, when his cell phone rang.
The big 7-foot-1 center was about to stare the business end of the NBA in the eye.
Koufos had been traded from Utah to Minnesota. The Jazz spent a first-round pick on the one-and-done former Ohio State big man. Head Coach Jerry Sloan isn’t keen on playing rookies, and less so on 19-year-olds, and Koufos’ playing time was limited.
“I understand it’s a business, and I feel confident wherever I end up,” Koufos said. “I feel like I’ll be very successful in this league as long as I stay focused and continue to work. This is a one-day-at-a-time league.”
Coming off his best summer, Koufos also was dominant in NBA Developmental League games last season. He averaged 17.6 points and 8.9 rebounds in 15-plus D-League games.