Wolves sign and introduce Ridnour, Kahn waiting on status of Flynn's hip injury before decision on PGs, Kahn says Pekovic signing should come soon and more
From the Timberwolves site:
The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed free-agent guard Luke Ridnour. Per team policy, terms of the contract offer were not disclosed.
"Luke's talent and experience will be helpful to our team this season and beyond," said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. "He will compete for the starting point guard position this season. But no matter what role Luke is playing, we believe he'll have a positive influence with our young backcourt, much as he demonstrated last season in Milwaukee."
"First of all, I want to say how excited I am to be here and be on this ballclub," Ridnour said at his introductory news conference Wednesday in Minnesota. "I think that Minnesota has a lot of talent on this team, and one of the things I thought about coming in is you want to have a chance to win. I believe this team is headed in the right direction. I'm excited to be a part of it and see this organization win some games."
Timberwolves president David Kahn said he expected Ridnour to challenge Flynn, who has had a lingering hip injury, for the starting point guard spot. Kahn said he did not intend to keep three healthy point guards on the roster, an indication that Sessions could go on the trading block when Flynn gets healthy.
Ridnour has said he looked forward to helping Flynn learn the position, much as he did with rookie Brandon Jennings last season with the Bucks. Ridnour and Jennings were the only two Bucks to play in all 82 games last season.
That said, Ridnour, 29, said one of the reasons he signed a four-year, $16 million contract here was the opportunity to compete for a starting job.
"It's something I wanted," he said of the chance. "I wanted the fair chance to compete, not just for a starting role, but to get playing time. I'm at the point in my career where I've been through a lot. [But] I'm going to get better and better, even at my age. I'm excited about the opportunity to come in here and compete and play and help this team win games."
Flynn had an up-and-down rookie season with the Timberwolves and had trouble as a pick-and-roll, ball-dominant point guard fitting into an offensive system predicated on ball movement. Kahn told Flynn in his season-ending interview that he "needed to be prepared to defend his starting position" heading into training camp.
"We like competition both in practices and within the roster," Kahn said. "I think it makes the players better for them to push each other for playing time and the things that go with it."
Ridnour said he looks forward to competing with Flynn, but also to helping the young player learn the nuances of the game, much like he did with rookie Brandon Jennings with the Bucks last year.
The question today is who he will compete with, Johnny Flynn or Ramon Sessions?
It will be Flynn, of course, should his sore left hip come around. Kahn said the injury, originally sustained in the second-to-last regular season game, was getting better steadily until Flynn tweaked it while preparing for the summer league games. Kahn said he didn't expect the situation to be dire, but said the team is still exploring treatment options.
Until they know for sure how Flynn is, Sessions will remain on the roster. Indeed, Kahn said he told Session's agent he could see a scenario in which Sessions is the starter on opening day. Of course, Sessions could also be traded by then.
Kahn said he's waiting on 6-11 center-forward Nikola Pekovic to complete a physical before finalizing a contract with the native of Serbia-Montenegro. Kahn said an agreement could be reached next week.
Pekovic, a second-round pick of the Wolves in 2008, is eligible to join the Wolves this season after completing his obligations with Panathinaikos Athens in the Euroleague.
Brewer said he was sad to see longtime teammate Al Jefferson get traded to Utah last week and he hopes he doesn't also have to relocate.
"I saw Al yesterday and I told him, "Good luck,'" Brewer said. "It's tough. Al went from being the franchise player to being traded. In this league, you never know what could happen.
"Nobody's safe. If Al can get traded, anybody can. I hope I don't get traded. I like it here; I like it in Minnesota."
Still, it's hard to believe would not make this team. The international game is much more predicated on high efficiency and the passing of big men than the NBA game, two aspects of the game where Love excels. He is the king of the outlet pass in addition to being an excellent rebounder, plus he has the ability to step out on the wing and hit a three-pointer.
Really, there may be no more perfect power forward for USA Basketball. Love admitted the prospect of playing for the USA colors had been a dream of his for a long time.
"I've always said that after the Timberwolves - after, really, my job – I think my first priority is Team USA. I'm hoping I have a good showing this week, hopefully I make it to New York, and I'll be playing through August, ending on September 12th at the world championship game."
From Sid Hartman:
The NBA Summer League in Las Vegas wrapped up Sunday. Timberwolves guard Wayne Ellington was 16th in scoring, averaging 15.8 points. Former Wolves first-round pick O.J. Mayo, who is playing for Memphis, was 21st at 15.5.
From The Hoops Market:
The negotiations between Olympiakos and Benetton Treviso for Nemanja Bjelica are close to end with an agreement between both parts. The 22-year-old Serbian forward, who was playing for Red Star, could be announced soon as the new player of Olympiakos.
Matta did go on to say that he believes Koufos can be successful in the NBA as a big man with an outside shot.
The other question is why El-Amin hasn't received another shot in the NBA. The Chicago Bulls picked him up in the second round of the 2000 NBA draft. El-Amin scored 18 points in the league's All-Star weekend rookie game that season. But within a year, he was out of the league.
"The Timberwolves never even gave Khalid a chance to come here," said Rene Pulley, founder of the Howard Pulley league. "And they needed point guards."
El-Amin, however, said he doesn't have any regrets about his brief NBA tenure.