Flip Saunders wanted a veteran to beef up the Timberwolves’ bench, the first person he thought of Ronny Turiaf.
And in June he signed the veteran center/forward to a two-year, $3.2 million deal in June, Turiaf was finally officially introduced Wednesday.
What initially attracted him to the Wolves was the strengthening of the core group.
“When Flip called me to express interest, it was a funny moment for me, because deep down inside, my gut was telling me that’s where I would end up,” Turiaf said.
The two got to know each other well while Saunders was a Coach in Washington two years ago. Saunders knew he needed someone to block shots when the Wolves needed to. But he also needed an experienced player who is familiar with the playoffs to help this young group that has yet to make it into the postseason.
While Turiaf’s numbers are far from flashy, his last four seasons he’s averaged 3.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and one block per game with five different teams (Golden State, New York, Washington and the Los Angeles Clippers).
But he is a role player and that is what the Wolves want. Originally drafted by the Lakers in 2005 out of Gonzaga, he has been to the playoffs six out his eight seasons in the league, including the 2008 NBA Finals with the Lakers and a championship ring from his brief stint with the 2012 Miami Heat.
Turiaf will be counted on to give them some toughness when they face some of the bigger teams in the league. The Wolves have Pekovic starting at center and drafted Louisville shot-blocker Gorgui Dieng in the first round in June.
Turiaf has has gone toe-to-toe with some of the best low-post scorers in the game.
“I’m so excited about joining this team because of what they already are and what I can bring to the table,” Turiaf said. “It’s this kid excitement, this pureness about really wanting to accomplish something special.”
He says he’s excited to serve as a mentor for this young team. We can officially see what The Wolves have to offer when they open training camp on Oct. 1.