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News » Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2008-08-29

Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2008-08-29

Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2008-08-29
A Timberwolves franchise that either provided or accepted big, bloated contracts for such suspect players as Troy Hudson, Mark Blount and Marko Jaric now has steered itself toward the future by signing free agents Craig Smith, Sebastian Telfair and Ryan Gomes to reasonable, potentially short-term deals this summer.

In little more than a year, Wolves management has transformed the team, trading away superstar Kevin Garnett and in time ridding itself of the aforementioned contracts while rebuilding with a stable of young players, substantial salary-cap relief and extra first-round draft picks.

Now, they also have Smith, Telfair and Gomes -- those final two players part of the six-player that sent Garnett to Boston last summer -- re-signed to a team that has added lottery pick Kevin Love and veteran shooter Mike Miller since finishing 22-60 last season.

"The night we left the draft, we said our top priority was to re-sign those three guys," McHale said. "I'm thrilled that we were able to get that done."

The Wolves first signed restricted free agent Smith, a former second-round pick and third-year forward, to a two-year, $4.8 million contract that same day he injured a knee in an NBA Summer League game that required arthroscopic surgery.

Telfair, who became a restricted free agent after the Wolves declined to make him a $3.5 million qualifying offer, signed a three-year contract that gives him the option to return for the final season and will pay him $2.3 this season, $2.5 next season and $2.7 million if he accepts the option for the 2010-11 season.

Gomes, a restricted free agent, signed a five-year deal that will approach $22 million if he plays all five seasons. But the Wolves have options after the second and third years of the deal to give them additional flexibility for the summer of 2010 when free agents are expected to be plentiful and the Wolves will have cash to spend. Gomes has the option for the final year. The contract guarantees him $3.5 million this season and $3.8 million in 2009-10.

"We're really not too young anymore," said Gomes, a 6-7 forward entering his fourth NBA season. "We've been two, three, four, five years in the league. Now it's time to make that jump and get into the playoffs. With this group, if we are together four, five, six years, this can be something very, very special, something Minnesota has been waiting to see."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: August 29, 2008


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