Press Conference: Flip Saunders

Press Conference: Flip Saunders

Flip Saunders
Press Conference | July 12, 2013
Opening Statement

“So where do we start? Today we have signed Chase Budinger, Shabazz Muhammad, and we just signed Corey Brewer and we are in the advanced stages of with Ronny Turiaf. We expect that he’ll join our team in the next day or two. And last night for the people we of course didn’t talk to on the conference call, we signed Kevin Martin in a sign and trade deal with Oklahoma City and Milwaukee. So we’ve accomplished a lot in the last few days and since the draft and we said from the beginning that we needed to address some issues with our team. One was balancing the roster, which we thought was very important. It helps you overcome potential injuries if you have injuries and the other was the ability to both score and 3-point shooting, we feel both Chase and with Martin we have definitely addressed that. Hopefully with Kevin (Love) returning next year , he’s also going to add to the 3-point shooting. And we felt that we really bolstered our defense with the addition of Corey Brewer and Ronny Turiaf , getting us both veteran players that are both physical players that know how to play. We’re excited about our rookies, both Shabazz and Gorgui. I think both of those guys have an opportunity to really be successful but it takes the pressure of them in that they're not going to be expected or have to produce form the beginning and I’ve always said that as a rookie and young players, you want to put them in a position in that you give them responsibilities and the responsibilities they accept whether they keep improving then you give more responsibility. Sometime when you grant them responsibility, it’s not earned because they have to play and sometimes they don’t appreciate that enough and maybe hinders their development and the team concept. I think there’s no question with the signings that we have will really help the rookies develop in a proper time that they need to develop”

Will Corey Brewer start or come off the bench?

“I think that’s up to coach (Adelman). He gets the choice. What I like is that we have great compliment in that Corey is a great defender, can get out and run with Rubio, can get out in the open floor and the one thing people talk about a lot is that Corey was here before but he developed a lot since he left here and it’s always different when you come with expectations of a top-10 pick and you’re counted on to carry the team. He’s not going to be counted on to carry the team. We’ve got our main pieces that are strong for us. When you look at Love and Rubio and Pek and Martin. He’s going to be a guy that’s going to be playing in a role he’s comfortable with and he’s played that role extremely well winning a championship with Dallas and extremely well this past year with Denver when they won 57-58 games. So you look at a guy who is on a team and he averaged just over 12 points per game in 27 minutes. He’s going to come in and either accept a role of being a starter or accept the role of being a player coming off the bench, so you’re going to have the luxury where Chase can play both spots, he can play the two and three and sometimes he might play the four. Sometimes what our lineup has done with the people we’ve added is given us great flexibility to play players in different lineups. We are an extremely big team. We’ve gone from a team that was very small last year especially in the backcourt at times to now are two guards are 6’5, 6’6, or 6’7 at times, so now Shved’s 6’6, 6’7 so now we’re coming a long team where our small forward is 6’9 and of course Kevin is 6’10 and Pek is 6’11 and we look at Gorgui and Turiaf and those guys there and Johnson and those guys are 6’10, 6’11. We’ve added size, too. We’ll leave that up to coach to decide. I think I really believe is that our players need to understand that it’s a team and that certain guys are going to play at certain times and everyone brings something. It’s a melting pot. We don’t have a lot of players that have the same strengths. We have players who have their own strengths and their own weaknesses; what might be their strength might be someone else’s weaknesses. I think that makes for having a much stronger team.”

Are you happy about the offseason?

“You feel better because you kind of you had an idea of what you needed to do. You had people that knew what we wanted to do and we pretty much filled our targets. So you feel good about that, now the work just begins. Now it’s the matter of continuing the player development with those guys and continuing what we are going to do medically to keep our guys healthy and so it’s just the beginning of the process… I feel good that we have pieces in place and now we know what we have and now we can keep molding those guys. Everyone knows that Kevin and Ricky got together and had some guys in LA for some bonding thing. I’m sure they will do something like that again with some of the new guys. I do feel like we are making strides in the right direction. We’ll have a lot of excitement at Target Center.”

Do you think you’ll keep Pek?

“I think there’s a misconception from at least when I read Twitter. I haven’t tweeted anymore I’ve gotten off that, but people think he can pretty much go where ever he wants to go. You can sign an offer sheet but we have the ability to match anything and right now, where we’re set within our budget, we have the ability to sign Pek, so we expect that he will be back.

Are you looking for other free agents?

“Not right now, looking who’s out there right now, there’s no one out there who’s going to give us anything we don’t have on our roster. So what you see is pretty much what you get. As I said the biggest thing for us now is to continue to work on our player development and keep these guys getting better individually and keep on working medically to get them in the best physical position they can be in. I feel very positive that some of the players who have had injuries the past year in both Kevin and Ricky are both progressing and working out with no limitations and have shown great signs.”

Were you worried about Kevin’s dip in production last season?

“Last year he still averaged 14.5 or 15 and he was their third guy. With the people that we have, if he can give us 15 a game we’re going to be more than happy. Last year we struggled to get 20 points out of the two and three combined. The thing that Kevin can do is he can knock down shots. He’s going to be effective because he’s going to know the offense better than anybody except for probably coach Adelman. He’s run it so much, he can play without the ball. His 3-point shooting was 43 percent last season. He was fourth in the league in free throws which is great to have a free-throw shooter down the stretch, to be able to give him the ball down the stretch. So there are so many things he brings that we didn’t have. When you think of guys, like I said last night, that played seven years in this league, he’s the fourth leading scorer behind Kobe, Dwyane Wade and Monta Ellis. That says something.”

Were there any problems getting him?

“There was a question, yes. He had an offer that was more than what we were at and we thought we were really close and another team jumped in there so we had to do a little more to get it done but he was important. How we looked at it, I know people always say guys are overpaid or underpaid, everyone in our league is overpaid. We’re all overpaid. What it boils down to is that you need to put a value on what that player is for you and where he fits in to your budget. We had a team budget and what we did, I feel good that we were able to get players and pay them within our team budget. That’s how we look at it.”

How much does the budget play into things?

“We look at our budget, we put it in there and we look at it in this year and next year, the next three or four years where we’re at. We also view them as assets that can be dealt with later, like Oklahoma City did with a sign and trade just recently with Kevin Martin, so there’s a lot that can be done.”

Have you talked to any of the players since the moves?

“I texted Ricky, so they are pretty much aware and they are excited about the people we have and excited about who we were talking to before. I believe they want to help and they want to have a good solid team. One thing that also happens, to be a playoff team, it’s important to have a team behind the starters who can make them better every day as starters. We will have probably one of the most competitive practices being you can have the second team be just as competitive as the first tea. It’s not going to be where the first tem dominates every day at practice. That’s not how you get better. You get better when you have a team that has depth and that competes against each other.”

Explain the AK situation?

“AK’s situation, people have asked me that the one thing about players in our league is that not very many times do you have the ability to become a free agent and when you do you have the ability to decide what you want to do. Where you want to play, whether it becomes a financial situation or it becomes a situation where you look you can go and win a championship. So, we talked to AK all the way through, because until you sign somebody, you don’t have anybody. Until we knew we had Corey, we continued to talk to AK and his reps. They talked to us about both sign and trade and we talked about how we were not against bringing him back. But things went in a different direction and we wish him the best of luck I know last year, people really respected how he played here and what he did for the organization."

Why was Corey the pick over him then?

“Corey’s the right guy because not only can he defend but he can get out and run with Ricky which what we thought was important. To really get out and run the break and even though he only shot 30 percent from the 3 last year, he was a very good 3-point shooter out of corners. 38 percent. We thought that was going to be a positive because in Rick’s system there are a lot of corner 3-point opportunities.”

Explain Luke’s situation

“Milwaukee had a comfort level because Luke had been there and so, there’s a few factors on why he became a popular choice. A lot of teams tried to get him. Number one is he played 82 games last year. He’s been a starter in this league. He’s not only a very good player, he’s a very good person, great characters and can give great leaderships to the locker-room and to a team. And he’s got one year left on his contract so it gives teams flexibility. When it came down to it was more of who they wanted.”

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