Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Minnesota Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger has been traded to the Indiana Pacers.
Minnesota is nearing agreement on a trade to send Chase Budinger to the Indiana Pacers, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 11, 2015
As part of the Budinger deal, Indiana will send forward Damjan Rudez to Minnesota, league sources said. Deal should be finalized today.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 11, 2015
Budinger is entering the final year of his contract, and is due $5 million this season. His time in Minnesota was unfortunately filled with injuries. The 67 games he played in 2014-15 were more than he played in 2012-13 and 2013-14 combined. Near the end of the season, Budinger began to show flashes of the player he had been, but for the play he had demonstrated, his contract was not worth it. There were rumors that the Wolves were looking to trade him at the trade deadline in February, but no deal materialized. To see him moved now is not really a surprise to anyone.
Now, Damjan Rudez, who comes to the Timberwolves in the deal. Rudez, a small forward from Croatia, played in 68 games for the Pacers during his rookie season, averaging 15.4 minutes a game. He has two years remaining on his contract at $1.1 million per year, with 2016-17 being a team option. Rudez is 6'10" and 200 pounds, which, if I can do math, means that he is very, very skinny. He looks like a decent shooter, going 40.6% from 3 on 170 attempts in 2014-15. He shot nearly twice as many 3s as he did 2s. Looking at stats alone, he looks like a scorer and not much else, but not a half bad scorer.
This deal looks like a salary dump for the Wolves, and a chance to give yet another first- or second-year player a chance to succeed in the league. Assuming Rudez sticks on the roster, he would be the 3rd string small forward behind Andrew Wiggins and Shabazz Muhammad. His scoring off the bench could be really useful to provide a spark if the offense dries up, but it should not come at the cost of potentially bad defense. Like many of the other players on the roster, he has a chance to prove he belongs.