The Minnesota Timberwolves are making some news this summer with interest in free agents and trade rumors, and they reportedly remain interested in one of their initial targets when free agency opened, center Greg Stiemsma. Minnesota has pushed back a meeting with Stiemsma that had been scheduled for Saturday, but have been quick to reiterate their interest in the restricted free agent big man.
Stiemsma is a University of Wisconsin alum who played in Turkey and South Korea in 2008 and 2009 respectively after going undrafted. He then spent the 2009-2010 season with the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the NBA’s D-League. The Timberwolves actually signed Stiemsma for a time in 2010 before waiving him without using him in a game. The Cleveland Cavaliers signed him to a 10-day contract after Minnesota waived him, but he never appeared in a game, was again waived and spent the 2010-2011 season back in Turkey. Stiemsma then played four games back with the Skyforce in the D-League in October 2011 before being signed by the Boston Celtics.
Stiemsma spent the 2011-2012 season, seeing his first NBA action, with the Celtics and he saw action in 55 games (three starts). He averaged 2.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.5 block per game in limited playing time (just under 14 minutes per game), and also saw action in 19 playoff games as Boston made their run to the Eastern Conference Finals. It’s fair to wonder what he could do with more playing time, and the Timberwolves could give him that opportunity as Nikola Pekovic’s primary backup. The Timberwolves have a clear need for a good low post defender and shot blocker, and the 6’11”, 260-pound Stiemsma fits that mold.
If nothing else, Stiemsma can almost certainly be brought to Minnesota inexpensively, though the Celtics have the right to match any offer he receives and seem to be in a good position to do so if they want to. If everything falls into place with the other free agents they are interested in (Nicolas Batum), the Timberwolves would not be able to make a huge offer anyway.