Timberwolves Waive Martell Webster, Trade Brad Miller To Hornets
In an effort to clear salary cap space for future offseason moves, the Minnesota Timberwolves today waived guard Martell Webster and traded center Brad Miller along with two upcoming second round picks to New Orleans in exchange for a future conditional second round pick.
President of Basketball Operations David Kahn said during a conference call Friday afternoon that the team hopes to use that additional cap space to complete an offer sheet with Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum. The Wolves can formally present the offer sheet to the league once Webster clears waivers on Sunday afternoon.
Batum is a restricted free agent and Portland has 72 hours after the offer sheet is submitted to match the Timberwolves’ offer.
Kahn said today’s roster moves plus waiving Darko Milicic on Thursday as the team’s one-time amnesty player creates additional room for future moves.
“We see it that we owe it to ourselves to take a shot,” Kahn said of making room for a possible offer sheet to Batum. “And secondly, they could choose to match it and it leaves us with frankly a significant amount of room under the cap to pursue other players.”
Kahn said although Portland has made it known publicly they plan to match any offer for Batum, the team wants to honor their commitment toward pursuing him through free agency. He said the team looks at Batum as a young player with veteran experience in the league that can add dynamic play on the wing and can play multiple positions.
“He’s just a fine all-around basketball player,” Kahn said.
Batum averaged 13.9 points per game in 59 contests last season. He also brought down 4.6 rebounds and shot 45.1 percent from the floor—including 39.1 percent from 3-point range.
Kahn also said the team renounced the contracts for free agents Anthony Tolliver and Anthony Randolph. The moves did not mean neither player could return next season, he said, but it allows to add additional flexibility to the team’s free agency moves.
Webster played in 47 games during the 2011-12 regular season after undergoing back surgery in the offseason. He finished the year with 6.9 points per game, shot 42.3 percent from the field and connected on 33.9 percent of his shots from 3-point range.
Originally acquired from the Portland Trail Blazers on June 24, 2010, Webster, a 6-foot-7 guard/forward, averaged 8.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 93 games (27 starts) over parts of two seasons with the Wolves.
"We want to thank Martell for his two years with us," Kahn said. "Unfortunately, Martell's back condition caused him to miss significant time both seasons and prevented him from playing at a consistently high level. I have spoken to Martell on numerous occasions and watched him work out last month. We are both optimistic he will have a terrific season next year."
Miller and two draft picks—Brooklyn’s 2013 second round selection and Minnesota’s 2016 second round draft choice—head to New Orleans in exchange for a conditional second round pick.
Originally acquired from the Houston Rockets on June 24, 2011, Miller, a 7-0 center, played one season (2011-12) with the Wolves, averaging 2.3 points and 1.3 rebounds in 15 games (one start). In 868 career games (598 starts), the 14-year NBA veteran holds career averages of 11.2 points and 7.1 rebounds in 28.3 minutes per game.
His presence off the court was felt throughout the locker room, not only by his longtime coach Rick Adelman, who coached him in Sacramento and Houston before coming to Minnesota, but also among players. Tolliver said after the final game of the season he learned more from Miller than anyone else he’s ever learned from on the court.
"Brad's help to us last season occurred off the court as much as on the court. He will be missed," Kahn said. "We thank him for being a part of the Timberwolves."
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