MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Greg Stiemsma’s patience with the Minnesota Timberwolves appears to have paid off.
After waiting more than a week for the Timberwolves to finish their dalliance with Nicolas Batum, Stiemsma agreed to terms on an offer sheet with the Wolves on Saturday, his agent Mike Naiditch said.
Terms of the deal were not immediately available. The Boston Celtics have three days to match the offer for the restricted free agent big man, but they are expected to let him return to where his NBA career began.
Stiemsma finished his college career at Wisconsin in 2008 and bounced around from Turkey to South Korea to the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA’s development league before the Timberwolves signed him in the summer of 2010 to be a workout partner for Al Jefferson, who was recovering from a torn ACL.
He did not make the team out of training camp that season, but the hard-working forward/center made an impression with the organization.
He signed a 10-day contract with Cleveland in October of that year, but did not catch on before spending the rest of that season back in Turkey.
The Celtics signed him before the start of last season and he carved a niche for himself as an energy guy off the bench who would spell Kevin Garnett. Stiemsma averaged 2.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 14 minutes per game for the Celtics last season.
Boston coach Doc Rivers loved the energy and intensity on defense that Stiemsma brought, but the Celtics’ tight cap situation after adding Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and re-signing Jeff Green figured to make it difficult for them to match Minnesota’s offer.
If the Wolves do land Stiemsma, it will be a welcome bit of good fortune on the free agent market after a few swings and misses. They negotiated with Portland to try to get Batum for more than a week, only to have the Blazers match their four-year, $45 million offer sheet.
The Wolves then missed out on Lee, who was moved to Boston in a sign-and-trade deal, and power forward Jordan Hill, who re-signed with the Lakers.
Minnesota needed to add another big man to back up starting center Nikola Pekovic after using the amnesty clause on Darko Milicic and letting Anthony Randolph leave in free agency.
They also have agreements with former Blazers guard Brandon Roy and Russian guard Alexey Shved that have yet to be officially announced.
The Wolves also have shown interest in Bulls free agent Ronnie Brewer, Warriors forward Dominic McGuire and in bringing back forward Anthony Tolliver, who has spent the past two seasons in Minnesota.
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