Wilkins gets offer sheet from Wolves

Updated: August 18, 2005, 11:06 PM ET
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves signed Seattle forward Damien Wilkins to an offer sheet on Thursday.

The Sonics have seven days to decide whether to match the offer or let Wilkins, a restricted free agent, leave. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

As a rookie last season, Wilkins averaged 6.3 points and 2.3 rebounds a game for Seattle, but saved his best basketball for the playoffs.

He averaged 7.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 25.2 minutes in the Western Conference semifinals against San Antonio, including 15 points and six rebounds in Game 3.

"Damien is someone that we believe has tremendous upside," general manager Jim Stack said. "He continually improved throughout last season, and he became a significant contributor for Seattle during the playoffs. Hopefully, we'll see him in a Timberwolves uniform this upcoming season."

Wilkins' transition to Minnesota would be a relatively easy one. In the offseason, the Wolves hired longtime Seattle assistant Dwane Casey as their head coach. Casey plans to use a system much similar to the freewheeling transition game that made the Sonics one of the surprise successes last season.

"Obviously Dwane's got a great comfort level with him," Stack said. "We felt like he really came on down the stretch of the year and into the playoffs. We kind of eyeballed him and Dwayne encouraged us to look into doing something with him."

Wilkins is the son of former pro Gerald Wilkins and the nephew of nine-time All-Star Dominique Wilkins. He went undrafted out of North Carolina State last season, but didn't give up.

Stack said Wilkins' pedigree may have played a role in that determination.

"Having lived it and been around people who have lived it, you understand what it takes to get to this level and stay at this level," Stack said. "A lot of guys don't have that same understanding of the day-in and day-out commitment it takes to play at this high of a level."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press