In the midst of all the free agency hysteria of the last week or two, the situation of C’s center Greg Stiemsma faded to the background after initial reports the Minnesota Timberwolves were interested in signing the big man. Given the C’s inability to sign Stiemsma for more than the BAE (roughly 2 million per year) due to a lack of cap space and Bird rights, Minnesota appeared to be ready to swoop in with a bigger offer to lure the former Wisconsin Badger closer to home.
There were questions if that was still the plan in Minnesota, as the Wolves were busy trying to wrap up free agent Nicholas Batum, amongst other maneuvers. However, according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 in Minnesota, the plan to bring in the Steamer is still in effect.:
• The Wolves expect to get restricted free agent center Greg Stiemsma. Boston is over the cap, so the Wolves feel like they will be able to structure the contract in a fashion such that Celtics general manager Danny Ainge won’t be able to match.
Wolfson also reports the Wolves could be players in the Courtney Lee sweepstakes, a situation that would directly affect the C’s pursuit of the shooting guard in potential sign-and-trade offers.
• As for getting a wing, the Wolves will sign free agent Courtney Lee if the price is right. But they won’t wait long after Thursday morning. If his price is too high, they will move quickly to sign free agent Ronnie Brewer. If Lee waits too long, he won’t be a Timberwolf. O.J. Mayo, who chose the Mavericks on Monday night, was never seriously on the Wolves’ radar. The Wolves called on Mayo early in free agency but didn’t keep in touch in the last few days.
Despite the fact the Steamer is skipping town, you have to feel good about the guy getting a solid contract. He paid his dues in the D-League and overseas the last few years and burst onto the scene with the C’s, unexpectedly making the team out of training camp. If it wasn’t for multiple foot injuries slowing him down in the second half of the season, he may have been considered one of the best overall rookies last season.
Now, it appears he’s going to get paid and he deserves it. Good for Greg.