While the Minnesota Timberwolves were out addressing their three-point shooting issues and their shallowness on the wings this summer in NBA Free Agency by signing Corey Brewer and Kevin Martin, as well as re-signing Chase Budinger, they made one other signing that no one is really talking about.
Actually, it’s not surprising in the least that no one is talking about the Wolves signing Ronny Turiaf to a two-year, $3.2 million contract this off-season. After all, in 440 career games in the league, Turiaf has only averaged 4.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 16.8 minutes per game, though he has shot a solid 52.8 percent from the floor. He’s been far from an impactful player.
However, I can’t shake the fact that I really like this signing for Minnesota because of all of the options that it gives them. Turiaf obviously isn’t going to be their number one option after they extended Nikola Pekovic for five year, $60 million, but he does offer their bench flexibility.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to me to see Turiaf split the reserve center minutes with rookie Gorgui Dieng at the start of this season. By allowing the two big men to split those minutes, it will help ease Dieng into the NBA environment and allow him to better adjust to the speed and flow of the game in the pros. Essentially, Turiaf offers the Wolves the chance to not throw Dieng in the lion’s den right away.
Moreover, Turiaf offers the Wolves a bit of injury insurance. Given the troubles with health that this team had last season, they now have place an emphasis on depth. Turiaf is a guy that can be a serviceable replacement if Pekovic or Dieng gets banged up and has to miss a few games.
Even if the Wolves never have to use Turiaf this year, he will still offer up entertainment on the bench. Over his career with several teams, Turiaf has shown he’s fun and energetic while on the bench, which helps the team and crowd respond more enthusiastically. Given all of the options that he brings, I don’t see how you can’t like this signing for Minnesota.