Reports: Wolves welcoming Brewer, parting with Ridnour

Benjamin Polk —  July 10, 2013 — 19 Comments

For weeks we have been speculating that either Luke Ridnour or J.J. Barea would be on the move in order to fill the team’s many non-point guard related needs. We’ve also been hearing for a few days now that the Wolves were attempting to regain the services of one Corey Brewer, either by signing him outright or via a sign-and-trade.

Well, according to multiple reports, the both events have come to pass. In a nimble bit of salary cap ballet, the team orchestrated a sign-and-trade for Kevin Martin and sent Ridnour and his expiring $4.6 million deal to Milwaukee. This created the cap room needed to sign Brewer to a three-year deal reportedly in the $15 million range.

Some preliminary thoughts on this. My deep love for Corey Brewer is fairly well documented. When I watch him play, I experience a commingled sensation of exhilaration and terror and hilarity that is pretty much unique to him and that makes me really love basketball. So I’m happy that I’ll once again get to see him play every game. Especially after losing Andrei Kirilenko (sad, sad), acquiring Martin and Shabazz Muhammad and re-signing Chase Budinger, the team badly needed a high energy wing defender; Brewer is that times a trillion. Brewer’s gambling, super-caffeinated defensive style was probably most at home on George Karl’s Nuggets; he has yet to show that he is either a true shutdown two or a consistent system defender. But: he will fight his way around screens (with terrifying abandon) and he is long and ferocious enough to get all up in the face of any opposing wing unfortunate enough to draw him. No other guards on the Wolves roster can say the same.

The downside, as you probably already know, is that Brewer is not a good shooter and probably never will be. (If you could only just combine Brewer’s and Martin’s best qualities! That would be so awesome! Of course you couldn’t get him for $5 million a year either.) A backcourt pairing of Brewer and Ricky Rubio would be truly fearsome defensive spectacle–all flying limbs and bloody passion–but would also produce a lot of terrible looking shots. An offense can survive with one awful shooter on the floor. Two, as we discovered last year, is a different ballgame. (That said, I can certainly imagine lineups consisting of Rubio and Brewer along with either Martin or Budinger that could both defend and put up points.)

One last point about this deal. I, personally would have rather seen Barea get moved than Ridnour. Between Barea, Martin and Muhammad, not to mention Kevin Love, the team is now a bit short on natural ball-movers and a bit long on high-volume shooters for my tastes. Unless Adelman and Rubio can really turn up the magic, the dream of fluid, Euro-style ball-sharing may be dead. (Incidentally, Brewer is an underrated passer within the context of a half-court offense. He should really help in the offensive flow department.) Perhaps because of his incredible will to play through pain or personal trauma, or because the thankless yeoman’s labor he put in guarding vastly larger players these past two seasons, or simply because on some terrible Wolves teams he was often the only adult on the floor–I have a real soft-spot for Ridnour. I realize that his expiring deal, and the fact that he is not a 5’10″ ball-stopping gunner (sorry J.J.) made him a more valuable trade asset, but I’m sad to see him go.

Benjamin Polk

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19 responses to Reports: Wolves welcoming Brewer, parting with Ridnour

  1. Good stuff, Ben! I think a lot of us have found that soft spot for Luke in the last couple years. There is something very compelling about a guy with few physical gifts who goes out there and competes as hard as he does every night (often while being forced into playing too many minutes and the wrong position) without complaining. In fact, at a time I felt guilty that Luke was playing this role on the Wolves while he deserved to play backup PG on a contender at this point in his career. The only thing that made that guilt go away was assuming we’d dish Ridnour to a contender either this offseason or near the trade deadline so he COULD play that role. Instead, he’s going to go spend a year on one of the most messed up rosters in the NBA. Crossing my fingers that Luke signs a good contract and/or gets with a good team in 2014/15- one of the few guys out there that seems to deserve it. Also hoping JJ has a good season filling the backup role.

    In other news, very excited to have Brewer back! I remember a few years ago, my wife and I left a game just as the buzzer sounded. It was warm out, so we took the 14 block/20 minute walk to Wasabi on Washington for late night happy hour. We walked in the door, and there is Corey Brewer finishing a plate of sushi at the bar…wearing a suit, woman at his side. No idea how he pulled all that off in under a half hour. I imagine it involved fighting through some kind of screen, though.

  2. Is it just me or am I getting more excited about next season than I was last season? Wow! I’m actually impressed the way the Wolves are handling things here. I liked what we did in the draft with Shabazz and Dieng. Hopefully these two players can make a difference for next season. As for free-agency, resigning Budinger, getting Kevin Martin and returning T-Wolve, Corey Brewer, also in the making of resigning Pekovic, just wow, I’m impressed. Too bad we had to trade away L. Ridnour… I would have preferred Baera to leave, so that Luke could be our back-up PG, but best of luck to the man at Milwaukee. Overall, I’m interested to see what will happen from now until next season!

  3. I’m liking this move. I’m probably in the minority, but I prefer to have JJ. He’s a gutsy little guy and has a flair for the dramatic. He can take over a game at times, something Ridnour can’t do. I know he’s a “high volume shooter”, or a ball hog, basically, but I’m hoping Rubio’s example of unselfish play and dazzling passing finally starts to rub off on JJ. As for Brewer, I’m a little concerned about what we’re getting. I remember hearing a lot last year that Brewer’s improvements over the past two years should be largely attributed to Denver’s system. But still, we’ll get max effort, solid defense and some fast break points out of Corey. He’s also a decent safety net if/when K-Mart gets hurt.

  4. Add me to the “would have rather kept Luke” club I guess I will never figure out why we signed Barea in the first place. No offense to JJ but of all the positions we needed to add, PG was not one of them.

    I kind of feel like the kid on Christmas who was looking forward to all the wonderful presents he was going to get and ended up with socks and underwear.

    Yeah sure everyone needs socks and underwear, but it sort of lacks the excitement of of the shiny new toy or dirt bike I really wanted.

    I wanted KCP, we got Shabaaz
    I wanted JJ Redick, we got Kevin Martin
    I wanted Thaddeus Young, or Evan Turner or Luol Deng or maybe even take a shot at Danny Granger (yeah even after the Roy flop). Maybe even one more run at Rudy Gay. I would have given up Derrick Williams for anybody on that list. We got Corey Brewer.

    Sure they’re good players and we’re more talented top to bottom then we have been since 04 but I am just not as excited as I would have been if we could have gone 2/3 from anyone on that list.

    Anyhow, I am glad Corey is back, I think too much was expected of him the first time around and we wanted him to be something he will never be. A reliable scorer who can handle the ball.
    I see a lot of fast break dunks in his future and I hope some pesky defense on the other teams best 2 or 3. We could still use another vet 2 guard, too bad that Marshon Brooks deal never happened. That’s one I still regret Kahn passing on just so he could raise the funds to buy out the coach he never should have hired in the first place.

    Anyhow those are my random thoughts of the morning. I am looking forward to seeing this team play, and I hope Shabaaz tears it up in summer league and gets me out of my funk.

  5. I am definitely in the camp that wanted to keep Ridnour over Barea but I’m hoping JJ will flourish now that we have a more rounded/stable team on the floor. Barea only helps as an offensive sparkplug and not as a traditional point guard. He seems like a “luxury item” to me and hopefully this team is better suited to his “style of play” than it has been the last couple of years. Also I’d much prefer Ridnour’s play through pain style as opposed to Barea’s fickle injury history but if giving up Ridnour is what had to be done to bring smiley Brewer back to the Twin Cities I’m okay with that.

  6. I can’t imagine watching Corey Brewer for more than 5 minutes and wanting him on your basketball team. He’s a spastic nightmare. He is a huge detriment to a functioning offense. He isn’t even a good team defender. Wildly gambling for steals does not make one a good defender. If the NBA bans team defense and insists that 1:1 is the only allowable form of basketball, Corey Brewer would go from awful to bad. I have a horrible scene playing in my mind of Kevin Martin giving up easy baskets on D, just to trot down to the offensive end and watch Corey Brewer haul up a contested, bricked 3-pointer. Was he brought in to make fans fondly remember the 3-point shooting of Wes Johnson?

  7. Here’s what excites me about this:
    If i understand the deals correctly, the wolves did a sign-and-trade in order to stay over the cap (including cap holds), and therefore retaining the mid-level, which they then used on Brewer.
    As an important side-effect, the wolves did not have to renounce Kirilenkos non-Bird rights to create the cap space they would have needed to sign Martin.
    This means that they can still resign Kirilenko for up to 4 years at pretty much any salary (max ~10m). Which at this point should be more than enough to outbid any other team.
    Lets make it happen!

  8. Like the deal. I do think Brewer is slightly overrated as a defender and underrated as a locker-room guy and athlete. He probably isn’t worth the money we paid, but hey, at least he’s capable, he’s long, and he’s a winner. I’ll take him (and watch him) over Ridnour any day. When the season starts we won’t even notice Ridnour is gone….

    Still a little worried, though, that we’ll see too many Rubio passes bounce off his mitts into the stands, followed by an excruciating smile (‘duh, sorry…but it was kinda funny, right?”).

  9. interesting Leo, I actually just asked that very question of Zgoda. Where are the Wolves hard cap wise when it comes to being a taxpayer? It seems that we are still below the softcap, but of course we also have to consider Rubio is due up soon. IS it possible to resign Kirilenko?

    Although I think Brewer is supposed to be out poor mans version of Andrei

  10. I am not sure that is correct. Pekovik has a 9 million cap hold right now, all in all I think the wolves are around 58-59(assuming Budinger has officially signed), which is right at the cap, and that is not counting the cap holds for the rookies. I think they still have to release Kirilenkos rights.

  11. thank god Ridnour’s gone. He was a good player the first 40 minutes of the game, but the final 8 minutes, looked like a high school kid playing with grown men

  12. Brewer is a great add… Aside from re-signing Pek, he is the final piece of this off-season puzzle. A hard nosed wing defender. Someone to match up with the Durants and LaBrons of the world (of course no one will shut those kinds of players down… But he’s all knees and elbows, and will surely make them uncomfortable.) Well done Flip.

    Let us not forget that Kevin Love will be healthy and motivated, and have a full season with Rubio (knock on wood) for the first time since they’ve been on the same team. Add a 20 PPG 2 guard who spreads the floor, 2 centers that get after it on defense and will be able to hang with any center duo in the league… AND instant bench offense (Shabazz, JJ and Chase) and now we’re getting somewhere.

    Never more excited to be a Wolves fan…

  13. Will this give the wolves enough cap space to pick up an undrafted summer league player, say, Vander Blue?

  14. Just saw AK47 signed a deal with the Nets for three million next year? Did he just want to play with a contender or whats the deal? He took a 7 million pay cut to pay for the nets Russian billionaire guy???

  15. I was concerned about a worst-case scenario: losing Bud, not getting a starting 2, and a S/T of Pek, with a plan of Muhammad and Williams at the 3 and a combo of Shved and, like, Keith Bogans at the 2. What’s happened is far from a worst-case scenario (though the Pek thing isn’t finalized so there’s a small, somewhat irrational worry there).

    I like the return for Brewer, but less so for the team. AK was by all reports unwilling to consider the MLE, which has something to do with pride as much as anything. I was hoping for a more physical defender who makes 35% or higher from 3, but I suppose Metta World Peace wasn’t coming here.

    Ridnour is probably the guy I respect most from last year’s team. He was battling back issues early in the season yet was often the team’s best perimeter offensive threat and battled on D.

  16. One question.
    Why aren’t there more articles with the tagline “spazzy players”?
    Why?

  17. The wolves second unit should be a lot of fun and offer high energy, good defense and be able to out run teams. Something like Barea, Shevd, Brewer, Williams, DC or perhaps Deng or Chris Williams or Ronny Turiaf. I think Barea fits better with a running second unit then Ridinour would.

    I would not play Brewer much with Pek actually, but I think Pek should just play 32 minutes a game so play Brewer for about 20 minutes. Brewer and Pek will not compliment each other I am thinking. The wolves overpaid for 20+ minutes for Brewer and 25+ from Budinger, but what have you.

    I cringe when I read the experts on espn or the media in general predict the wolves are not going to be even a playoff team this year. The Wolves have a highly respected coach, an all star power forward, a rising star, a player who was the third best player on the team with most wins in the Western Conference last year, one of the better centers in the NBA, and several good role players.

    Who really is better in the West? Probably Ok City with Durant and Westbrook. San Antonio definitely, the Clippers possibly, Golden State looks exciting anyone else? Memphis is older, Denver lost AI and Karl, the Lakers are out, Utah done, Houston is overrated. My pick is Wolves 5th in the West.

  18. Brewer is an underrated corner 3 player! Brewer is actually scored the most points in the NBA from the left corner 3: the same favorite spot as Ray Allen, etc. I was very surprised to hear this fact. If we can keep Love and Rubio healthy, its going to be a great year.

    Look at this graphic/article from Kirk Goldsberry from Grantland.

    http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/68152/the-2012-13-courtvision-awards-leading-scorers

    An excerpt:
    “Corey Brewer might be one of the preeminent “3-and-D” guys in the league. As a scorer, he has come a long way as a perimeter threat, and his ability to knock down corner 3s provides the Nuggets with a key spacing tactic that opens the floor for his high-flying teammates. Brewer especially loves the left corner, a.k.a. Ray Allen’s happy spot, where he outscored everyone this season.”

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