Yesterday, Shams Charania of RealGM.com reported that the Wolves are in the process of giving Serbian big man Miroslav Raduljica a guaranteed contract for the remainder of the season. While the team’s primary beat writers (Jerry Zgoda and Jon Krawczynski, to name a couple) have yet to confirm the report, Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN said via Twitter that signs were “pointing to it happening.”
The 7’0 foot, 250 pound Raduljica will turn 27 in early January. He made his NBA debut as an undrafted free agent with Milwaukee last season, putting up per-game averages of 3.8 points and 2.3 rebounds on 54% shooting in 9.7 minutes during his stint with the Bucks. In August, he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in the Jared Dudley deal, but was waived three days later.
In September, he signed to play with the Shandong Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association, where he averaged 18 points and 8 rebounds on 56% shooting in 13 games before having his contract bought out last week, making him a free agent. Raduljica previously played in Serbia, Turkey, Germany and Ukraine during his professional career. He is also a part of the Serbian national team, which took home the silver medal at this year’s World Cup of Basketball.
Desperate for a true center to back up Gorgui Dieng, it makes sense for the Timberwolves to explore signing Miroslav Raduljica. If the acquisition does happen, it probably means Jeff Adrien, who has won over many fans and writers (including Steve McPherson and myself) with his hustle and aggressiveness, would be released. It’d be less of a knock against the 6’7 Adrien, and more of an acknowledgement that the Wolves desperately need size. Since Adrien has the only non-guaranteed deal on the team, he’d get the short end of the stick.
It also probably means that Nikola Pekovic is nowhere close to making a return, which is oddly both familiar and depressing at the same time.
Raduljica is relatively young and an unknown commodity; he was hyper-efficient with the Bucks last season, somehow logging a +4.0 per 100 possessions on a 15-67 team. He also allowed opponents to shoot just 38.9% at the rim in 3 chances per game. Granted, it’s a really small sample, but since Minnesota currently ranks dead last in the NBA at defending shots in the restricted area, perhaps Raduljica is worth a look.
Pekovic and Raduljica actually played together with Partizan Belgrade during the 2011 lockout. He is large, bearded and from the Balkans. We like those kinds of guys around here…
Plus, I mean, look at the kinds of plays you can run for him…