Timberwolves sign Turiaf; AK to the Nets

Benjamin Polk —  July 12, 2013 — 16 Comments

Garbage time, blown calls, awesome plays, victory celebrations: All of these just got a lot more fun, because Flip Saunders has signed the exceptionally enthusiastic, spectacularly bearded Ronny Turiaf for two-years and $3.2 million. (That’s the veterans’ minimum in case you were worried.) Turiaf isn’t really a good player or anything; I’d quote you some stats but there’s not really much to see. He’s a nice guy to turn to if your team needs a burst of frantic energy, or if your coach wants to change the flow of the game by making it suddenly frazzled and chaotic or to change up the defensive looks on an opposing power forward. Mostly, though, Turiaf is a bright, pulsing orb of positive vibes. That is a nice thing to have.

Here’s Turiaf doing an awesome crazy dance:

Here’s another one:

Here he is reacting to a bad call:

Here he is airballing a free throw:

In other news, Andrei Kirilenko has signed with the Nets and is scheduled to make $3.1 million next year. If you have been following the story, you know that this represents a seven million dollar paycut from what AK was scheduled to make with the Wolves this season and is $2 million less than the mid-level-ish deal the Wolves had reportedly offered him earlier this week. Now, some people will tell you that this shows that AK “wanted to come off the bench play for a contender” or that he just really loved the idea of being paid by a Russian oligarch or that the Target Center locker rooms were too small or something. But I ask you: have you ever known an NBA player to intentionally leave $7 million on the table for any reason whatsoever? Neither have I. (Also, I have my doubts about the Nets as “contenders.”) No, if you ask me, this simply represents a massive miscalculation on the part of Kirilenko and his agent. They believed he would command a multi-year deal in free agency and they were wrong. Boy, I sure wish the Wolves could have had him for $3.1 million.

Benjamin Polk

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16 responses to Timberwolves sign Turiaf; AK to the Nets

  1. I don’t think you’ll find anyone who is not in the market for a piece of the Brooklyn bridge who believes AK is “only” making 3.1 million this year to play for the Nets. Since anything he receives on the side in Mother Russia will be completely untraceable.

  2. Ak-47 signing tells you all you need to know about how the T-wolves and Minneapolis are viewed in the NBA. Ak-47 chose to sign for less money to a team which on its face is not that much better then the Wolves considering a healthy K-Love, an improving Rubio and Pekovic, and some new nice signings. You throw Ak-47 on the wolves for 3.5 mil and the Wolves might be better then the Nets next year even.

    The NBA is so stacked against Minnesota being competitve on a regular basis that the Wolves out to fold up. I know a defeatist attitude is unbecoming, but 9 years of losing and all. The T-wolves goal is just to make the playoffs and be one of the teams in the top half of the league rather then competing for a championship. I guess Indiana gives the Wolves hope that small market cold weather teams can compete, but things feel so stacked against them – oh well.

  3. When you are in the lottery nine years in a row your goal should be to “just make the playoffs” You don’t go from lottery to NBA champ in a single season. Not even the Heat who added LeBron, and Bosh in the year of the “Decision” became champs that year.

    AK-47 made a huge mistake, he recovered by making an under the table deal with his fellow countryman. that’s all that happened here. The only thing stacked against the Wolves has been years of apathy by their owner in regards to the team since 04. Flip has obviously renewed his interest in the team (proven fact since Glenn pulled the team from the market), and now we’re seeing an actual NBA roster for the first time since that 04 run.

    Rubio/Shved/Barea
    Martin/Shabaaz/Shved
    Budinger/Brewer/D Will
    Love/DC/D Will/C Johnson
    Pek/Dieng/Turiaf/C Johnson

    That’s a fairly balanced roster with a lot of versatility. Easily the most balance/talent we have seen in quite a few years.

  4. Interesting “under the table” theory. I seem to remember the Wolves getting in a touch of trouble for a similar scheme. Speaking of the Nets, can you believe they have Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Deron Williams all on the same team? Volume!

  5. I highly doubt that AK made a financial mistake here… I am fully in on the conspiracy theory of an under the table deal. It’s somewhat believable that he made the financial gamble of opting out, but it is not logical that he would compound the mistake by then accepting a deal 2+ million less per season than the other deals on the table.

  6. I wonder how much of a role Deron Williams had in AK deciding on the Nets since they played together a long time.

  7. Benjamin Polk July 12, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I don’t know guys. I feel like creating an under the table deal is an exceptionally high risk for a team. Think about it: the upside for the Nets is that they get a very good 6th man at well below his market value. The downside is they lose all their draft picks for like ten years. I’m not sure its worth it.

  8. No possible way for the funds to be traced or how it could be paid out in Russia minimises the risk greatly. Add in the fact the Wolves offered him twice as much money than he ended up taking I think the the under the table deal is pretty obvious.

    When you’re willing to pay 90 million in taxes do you really worry about drafting?

  9. Think about it: the upside for the Nets is that they get a very good 6th man at well below his market value. The downside is they lose all their draft picks for like ten years. I’m not sure its worth it.

    Not that I’m buying into a conspiracy in this situation, but since there’s no standard punishment for this sort of thing, I tend to look at both the chances of this being investigated and the severity of the punishment as being inversely proportional to how badly the NBA wants the team in question to succeed.

    Sadly, the T-Wolves had the hammer dropped on them for the Joe Smith debacle because the NBA isn’t terribly invested in how well Minnesota does and it allowed them to show that it was tough on these sorts of violations. Do you think for a minute that the Knicks or the Lakers would have received the same punishment? Do you think similar accusations against them would have even been investigated?

  10. shalabotnik13 July 12, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I’m with ya, farnorth. Anything could be going on in Russia. Somehow AK’s uncle walks into a primo land deal, AK’s mom gets a mansion for what a 2-BR, 1 Bath is going for in Northfield, something like that. How can the NBA investigate that?

  11. How is nobody talking about Turiaf!?! Far and away my favorite player on the roster now!

  12. Yeah, sorry Ben but as someone who works in Asia and gets involved in the odd Chinese or Russian deal, believe me there is no way the NBA can control what happens in Russia. Kirilenko’s mom got a suitcase full of cash last week.

  13. And while Ben’s cost-benefit analysis for why Prokorov wouldn’t have brokered a shady deal to get a good sixth man makes sense from an average American standpoint, it isn’t the right reference point for a man who made 10 billion dollars in Russia out of thin air by brokering shady deals with the full cooperation of the Russian government. He is spending $90 million in luxury tax to field a 50-win team. Stern and the other owners made the deal with the devil by letting him buy the Nets for way over value and pocketing their share of the cash, they aren’t going to step on his toes over whether he throws a few million at Kirilenko under the table.

  14. Shows you what I know about business, Russian or otherwise. I wish the Wolves could’ve found an oligarch to deliver a suitcase full of cash to someone in Joe Smith’s family.

  15. Ben, Just so we’re clear. The Wolves mistake was not in the making of the Joe Smith deal. The mistake was putting it in writing.

  16. Agreed completely.

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