Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

July 12, 2013

Thunder involved in 3-team trade

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Timberwolves have secured their veteran shooting guard. They finalized a deal to send away his predecessor at the position to further enhance this fast-changing roster under new basketball boss Flip Saunders.

After agreeing to the framework of the deal the day before, the Wolves acquired Kevin Martin via a sign-and-trade maneuver with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night and dealt Luke Ridnour to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bucks also got a 2014 second-round draft pick from the Wolves. The Thunder got the draft rights to second-round draft pick Szymon Szewczyk from the Bucks. The Thunder also sent an undisclosed amount of cash to both the Wolves and the Bucks.

The Wolves needed to trade Ridnour for flexibility to sign small forward Corey Brewer, their former first-round pick who played last season for the Denver Nuggets, and to re-sign small forward Chase Budinger. Those deals were expected to be done on Friday.

Coach Rick Adelman was fond of Ridnour, who started all 82 games for the Wolves last season while playing out of position for a small, injury-ravaged team. He came to Minnesota after two seasons with Milwaukee.

“Sometimes you have to give up things you don’t really want to, but you have to look at where you want to go at the end,” Saunders said.

The Timberwolves were last in the league in 3-point shooting last season. The 6-foot-7 Martin shot a career-high 42.6 percent from behind the arc with the Thunder. He has averaged 20-plus points per game in five of his nine seasons in the NBA.

His production decreased with the Thunder, but Saunders chalked that up to the presence of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Saunders also brushed off any concern about Martin’s defense, praising his shooting touch as a defensive weapon of its own.

“As Coach said, he feels in his system we can chalk in 18 points,” Saunders said, referring to Martin’s career scoring average.

The 6-2 Ridnour had the most efficient season of his career with the Bucks in 2009-10, setting personal bests in field goal and free throw shooting.

“Luke didn’t want to continue playing as a ‘2’ guard,” Saunders said. “He wanted to be in a situation where he thought he could get really extended playing time at the point guard.”

The Wolves watched small forward Andrei Kirilenko, who earlier opted out of his contract, agree to terms on a new deal with the Brooklyn Nets. But they added another veteran to the roster by agreeing to terms on a two-year, $3.2 million contract with power forward Ronny Turiaf, according to his agent, Mark Bartelstein.

“The direction Flip’s got the team going and the style that Rick plays is something he was really excited about,” Bartelstein said in a phone interview.

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