Reports: Wolves sign Greg Smith to ten day contract, reach buy out agreement with Kevin Martin


The Minnesota Timberwolves were quiet at the trade deadline, but they’ve been very busy in the week and half since it passed.

Last Thursday, they reached a buyout agreement with Andre Miller and subsequently waived him; Tuesday, the ol’ professor signed a deal to join the San Antonio Spurs for the rest of the season. (Hot take: good for him. I hope he gets a ring.)

The Miller move left the Wolves with one open roster spot, and yesterday, the excellent Chris Reichert reported on how they’d fill it:

Greg Smith is a 25 year old center from Fresno State University. After going undrafted in 2011, Smith played for a pro team in Mexico during the lockout, and upon his return, spent three seasons between the Houston Rockets and their D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. His best season came in 2012-13, when he appeared in 70 games, including 10 starts, and put up averages of 6.0 points and 4.6 rebounds on 62% shooting. Injuries wrecked his 2013-14 NBA season, and Houston did not retain his services after it ended. Smith caught on with the Mavericks last year, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds in 42 games in a very limited role.

This year, with the Toronto Raptors’ 905 affiliate in the D-League, Smith averaged 12.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 blocks on 51% shooting in 17 games. He brings some NBA experience to the team’s frontcourt, which is badly needed; Gorgui Dieng missed Tuesday’s practice for personal reasons, and if he is unavailable for their next game, the Wolves would be dangerously thin up front. Of course, the signing hasn’t been officially announced by the team, so none of this is set in stone, but there’s a decent chance Smith will be in uniform when Minnesota takes on Washington at home on Wednesday night.

Some quick analysis: Smith has been a decent NBA player in the past. He stays in his lane on offense and has been a role player on a playoff team before. It’s more of a “let’s get a guy that can help right now” signing than a “ah, hell, let’s swing for the fences” signing, which I would’ve preferred, but that’s okay. The Wolves can use their next open roster spot on the next Jeremy Lin or Hassan Whiteside.

To wit:

Also happening Tuesday evening – the Wolves and representatives for Kevin Martin had until 11 P.M. CST to reach a buyout agreement, thus making the 33 year old shooting guard eligible to appear in a postseason game for another team. A half hour prior to the bell, Marc Stein gave us the expected news:

Martin, who had a $7.4 million player option for next year as part of the 4 year, $27.75 million deal he signed in the summer of 2013, finishes his Wolves career with averages of 17.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists on 42/39/86 shooting splits in 146 games (116 starts).

It’s a rather uninspired ending for a player who was, believe it or not, the biggest free agent signing in franchise history. He was a big part of the best (and yet, most disappointing) Timberwolves team of the past decade, the 40-42 effort in the final Adelman/Love campaign. His efficient scoring and spurts of carrying the offense never quite seemed to atone for his poor defense and lack of clutch shooting. As cool and quirky as it was to watch him unleash that funky shot of his, I will not miss his feverish attempts to draw fouls, often at the expense of ball movement and involving teammates.

Don’t get me wrong – there were some cool moments. This was my favorite – the night he dropped 37 points on New York after breaking his damn shooting wrist in the first damn quarter:

Which inspired my favorite media day moment I’ve ever been a part of:

All told, Martin was signed to be part of a good team trying to make the postseason, in a last ditch effort to convince Kevin Love to stay. Once that plan fizzled, Love moved on, and so did the Wolves, who went about rebuilding but K-Mart lingered. He didn’t really fit in with Minnesota’s youth movement, as evidenced by all the awkwardness that took place in training camp; it’s probably best he is moving on. For what it’s worth, it doesn’t sound like he’s holding any grudges.

The Spurs are reportedly the leader in the clubhouse to sign Martin, which makes me a little peeved, to be honest. If San Antonio really wanted the two oldest members of the Wolves’ backcourt so badly, maybe they would’ve offered Kawhi Leonard (or LaMarcus Aldridge or Patty Mills or even BOBAN!) at the trade deadline…

Come on, Milt Newton, ya bum.


Once the Smith and Martin moves are official, the roster will stand at 14 again. More theories on who the Wolves should sign from the D-League to follow.

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3 Responsesso far.

  1. gjk says:

    I never disliked Martin as much as some, and I wonder how much overlap there is in the Venn diagram of Martin haters and Rubio haters. Both play in a way that doesn’t look pretty but has been historically effective. And I don’t really blame him for the way he played this season; he mostly played with LaVine, and when he and Miller shared the floor it looked a lot more like the Adelman Kevin Martin. The memory that sticks out to me was the last game of the 2013-14 season that ended up being Adelman’s and Love’s last games here. They were laying an egg at home against the Jazz, and he just kept drawing fouls and willing them to OT while Love mailed it in. I don’t know what his motivation was, but it seemed like he wasn’t about to let his old coach go out on an uninspired loss to a then-bad team.

    There was a lot of asking why the buyout hadn’t been completed until the last moment, but that player option was a big deal. Hopefully, they got the language on the buyout right in a way that preserves as much cap space as possible this summer. Maybe they’re not in on big names, but it might help to have a few extra million for a role player like Jared Dudley or Marvin Williams since they’ll need to make the highest bid on any one they offer.

    Smith is fine for what they need. If Dieng and Bjelica aren’t playing tonight, they’ll need a guy to play 12-16 minutes in place of Towns. Get ready for lots Prince and Rudez guarding Markieff Morris tonight!

    • bpechek says:

      I’ve always like Rubio and waffled on Martin. When hes on hes great. But he’s always had multi-game long stretches where he just dragged down the whole offense. Every player has parts of their game that’s streaky, but Martin’s whole game is predicated on good shooting, so when he’s on a down streak, his defense is terrible, he throws passes out of bounds, he takes bad shots early in the shot clock, etc.

      Rubio on the other hand is basically always a net positive.

  2. pyrrol says:

    One of my favorite players to watch ever is Rubio. You never know what he’ll come up with. He always plays hard, and he has magic powers. I get that he’s not going to be dunking or hitting 30 foot jumpers with a hand in his face. Plenty of guys to watch in the NBA who shoot well or are athletic freaks. Rubio is fun to watch because of how he does everything else. If you go on youtube and look up Rubio highlights, you’ll see some all time entertaining and artful plays.

    Funny, I have an NBA friend who likes defense a lot, and for some reason also loves K-mart. Not sure how one comes to terms with that… Martin is kind of cool, in how he put his career together, how he came from a small school (Western Carolina?) how he used his smarts and played to his strengths. However, part of D is effort and any player with a lot of effort can be OK at it. Martin often wasn’t OK at it. What does that say about his effort? He was always a ‘crafty’ player who was good at drawing fouls. He made it part of his game, and I have a hard time liking folks like that (Harden). But you accept it when the player is doing well and it isn’t out of control. Martin’s game looks a lot less good, is a lot harder to turn a blind eye to when he’s not playing well. Part of that is coaching this season and him not being used correctly. However, he’s getting older and his game is getting markedly uglier. He’s also shown questionable effort at times. But he is capable of working really hard for his team. I guess it was fun, but I won’t miss him much.

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