Budinger, 25, averaged 9.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in 23 games last season after being acquired in a trade with the Rockets for a first-round pick. He missed most of the season after having knee surgery.
The Timberwolves struggled to find consistent shooting from either wing position last season, and Andrei Kirilenko's decision to opt out of his contract apparently left new president Flip Saunders in a position where he felt that needed to act fast. Budinger is familiar with coach Rick Adelman's system dating to their shared time in Houston. The strengths of his game are his fairly reliable spot-up shooting, even if his percentages last season post-surgery don't necessarily reflect that fact, and his ability to create high-percentage scoring opportunities by moving off the ball.
Minnesota also agreed Tuesday to a four-year, $28 million contract with free-agent guard Kevin Martin, suggesting that Kirilenko is on his way out. If that's the case, Budinger pencils in as the starting small forward, at least for now. Although his defensive abilities and off-the-dribble game are nothing to write home about, he should be able to handle the responsibilities that come with the first full-time starting gig of his career.
The free-agent negotiating period opened on Monday. Contracts can't be signed until July 10.Grade: C+. Ricky Rubio Kevin Love