The Minnesota Timberwolves have been flirting with playoff contention for a few years now and they haven’t been able to get over that playoff hump.
They would have had a great shot last season, but everything was derailed because of lengthy injuries to star players Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. They seemed to have an excellent shot at making the playoffs once this offseason began, but things have gone south quickly.
New management led by Flip Saunders foolishly re-signed forward Chase Budinger to a three-year, $16 million contract yesterday, a move that makes no sense given the team’s current financial restraints, essentially choosing to keep him over Andrei Kirilenko. The team also signed free agent guard Kevin Martin yesterday, most likely signaling Kirilenko’s departure.
The Budinger move is just a head-scratcher. He has been extremely overrated for a few seasons now and he really isn’t that special of a player. He has a nice jump shot but that really is about it. He is not a great defender by any means and he has a difficult time creating his own jump shot.
With career averages of nine points and three rebounds per game, handing a guy a contract worth $5 million per season just does not make smart business sense. If this move inhibits the franchise from re-signing Kirilenko, then it is that much more of a stupid decision.
Budinger is being paid handsomely for a lack of production, and it is a move the Timberwolves will ultimately regret making.
Rob Lunder covers the NBA for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @rlunder18