This morning, RealGM reported that Serbian center Miroslav Raduljica is finalizing a guaranteed deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the remainder of the 2014-15 season. League sources told RealGM that Raduljica was bought out by the Shandong Lions -- of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) -- last week for $1.2 million.
Here is text from the RealGM report.
Raduljica, a seven-footer, had spent the past week finalizing his buyout settlement with Shandong of the Chinese Basketball Association.
Raduljica's agent, Matt Babcock of APAA Sports Group, gauged calls around the NBA upon settling the situation in China and sought a guaranteed deal.
This tweet by Darren Wolfson confirmed the RealGM report.
Just getting out of a way too long Catholic mass and baptism. Yes, Raduljica is very close to being a Wolf. RealGM first. #twolves— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) December 28, 2014
The Wolves need to release someone in order to make room for Raduljica. With the expectation that Nikola Pekovic will return to the lineup sometime during the next few weeks, Jeff Adrien, presumably, is to be released. Adrien is averaging 3.3 points, 4.6 rebounds in 12.1 minutes per game through 13 appearances with the Wolves.
Raduljica (26) is listed at 7', 250 lbs and had a cup of coffee with the Milwaukee Bucks last season. He appeared in 48 games, and started in two of them, but only played 465 minutes throughout the year. Radulija averaged 3.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per game in what was his only NBA season. He was traded to and waived by the Los Angeles Clippers in the offseason before returning overseas to China.
A member of the Serbian national team during the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, Raduljica averaged 13 points and 4.6 rebounds over nine tournament games.
Here's a video with some highlights.
Flip Saunders has mentioned European players before, that he said weren't ready to come over yet, but there's no proverbial paper trail that could have led to this. The news that Raduljica and the Wolves are close to a deal is surprising, although it is also proactive.
Gorgui Dieng fell to the floor during Saturday's loss to the Golden State Warriors with an injured ankle. It looked like he was in severe pain, although Dieng played during the second half and appeared to be fine. It was a scary moment.
Nikola Pekovic may never play more than 60-games in a single-season. His chronic knee issues kept him sidelined for long stretches of time this season and last year. Adrien is serviceable, but isn't part of the Wolves long-term future.
Thus, perhaps Saunders intends to keep Raduljica around a while, assuming he can stay healthy. Or, until the Wolves address the center position in the 2015 NBA Draft.
The Timberwolves PR department has not confirmed anything. Same is true for Zgoda and Jon Krawczynski. But this seems to be happening. We'll do our best to keep you updated.
Some local heads weighed in on this already.
@PhilErvin Sign a back up Center at the expense of only real back up PF. Seems weird- but you are probably right.— AverageJer (@AverageJer) December 28, 2014
What are your thoughts?