RIP Stuart Scott, who died yesterday at the age of 49.
Here are some dates to know, and a situation to ponder.
A hardship exemption is granted when a roster has four inactive players who are expected to miss at least two weeks, according to the Larry Coon CBAFAQ. In November -- this is after it had been determined Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Martin and Ronny Turiaf were sidelined indefinitely -- the Minnesota Timberwolves received the hardship exemption used to sign Jeff Adrien to a 10-day contract.
Adrien signed another 10-day contract on December 11th. On December 19th, the Wolves exchanged two players (Corey Brewer, Ronnie Turiaf) and received one (Troy Daniels) in return. Subsequently, Adrien then occupied the 15th and final roster vacancy.
Today is the first day teams can sign players to 10-day contracts, permitted space on the roster is available. A team may sign an individual player to two 10-day contracts in one season (they may or may not be consecutive). After the second 10-day contract, the team can only retain the player by signing him for at least the remainder of the season.
On January 10th, the base salary in all contracts becomes guaranteed for the remainder of that season. A player must clear waivers before this date, so teams have to waive players by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on January 7th in order to have them off their rosters by the 10th.
This means the Wolves don't have very long to decide whether or not they intend to keep Adrien for the remainder of the season. His importance has been acknowledged by Flip Saunders; Adrien has been a serviceable backup to Gorgui Dieng, and would be the only center left on the roster if Dieng were to miss any time to injuries, illnesses, etc.
This website recently published an article asserting that Adrien is too valuable to waive. The column received attention on the interwebs -- it was shared on Twitter by Dave Benz and Jim Peterson -- by explaining why Adrien's value to the Wolves. (Paraphrasing two points -- data last accurate as of January 2nd.)
- Adrien is cutting down Wolves' Opponents field goal percentages from shots taken inside the restricted area.
- Although the Wolves are less than 1 point/100 possessions worse (-0.7) when Adrien plays, but is hyper efficient at the offensive end by playing within himself and knowing his limitations.
Five days before the aforementioned article was published RealGM reported Serbian national Miroslav Raduljica is close to finalizing a deal with the Timberwolves. Raduljica -- who is a 7-foot center known for his offensive efficiency and ability to protect the rim -- spent time as a rookie with the Milwaukee Bucks last year. He was ultimately traded to the Los Angeles Clippers before he was released during the offseason.
Raduljica signed a $1.5 million dollar contract with the Shandong Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association. Labeled a bust, he averaged 18 points, 9 rebounds and 21 minutes per game in 14 appearances and was hindered by an unspecified injury. The team and Raduljica agreed to a contract buyout valued at $1.2 million, and is expected to be an affordable asset for any team in need of size.
The Wolves need size. Key mentioned the positive contributions of Adrien, but size is something he doesn't possess -- he's 6'7". This cannot be taught, players either have it or they don't. Where being undersized becomes a problem is against opponents who deploy multiple bigs, such as the Utah Jazz.
Utah cycles between Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert, all of which are at least 6'10'' tall -- Kanter is 6'11'', Favors is 6'10'' and Gobert is 7'1''. Even though Kanter missed Saturday's meeting, Utah managed to out rebound the Wolves 90-71 in two games played last week.In 29 minutes during these two games, Adrien accounted for 13 of the Wolves 71 rebounds. He also scored seven points on 2-of-8 field goal shooting (3-of-5 from the free throw line), tallied six personal fouls and recorded one assists.
It should be noted Adrien isn't the sole reason for such rebounding woes during these contests, but there's only so much that he could do to help. The Wolves are struggling in a lot of areas, and especially on defense, but it isn't the fault of only one player.
As far as what Raduljica offers, this column offers some ideas, and there may be enough to support the idea that he could be just as, if not more, productive than Adrien. But, there are other variables to consider when making a roster change -- team chemistry, other things General Managers and coaches consider when doing their jobs, things like that.
To summarize: If the Wolves release Adrien on January 7th (before 5:00 Eastern Time) that may mean Raduljica could be the next addition. We don't know what's going to happen, but we'll find out soon.
This one probably isn't technically metal. I'm no genre buff. I like music, but some people are sticklers when it comes to genres. Sorry if I've offended any of those people. For what it's worth, if you despite Metal Monday, there is a greater chance you will like the music selection this week -- Alexisonfire: This Could Be Anywhere in the World.