"I'm not a development league player. I'm an NBA player," Ebi
said Friday after practice. "I've been playing against NBA players
since I was 15 years old. I'm an NBA player. I'm not a
developmental league player, period."
Entering his third season in the NBA, Ebi is not eligible under
a new rule that allows teams to assign players with less than two
years of experience to the NBDL.
The Timberwolves are hoping that the league would allow the
21-year-old Ebi, who was drafted in the first round in 2003
straight out of high school, to be "grandfathered in."
"That's a great word for it," new coach Dwane Casey said.
"This kid needs to play. He's a talented athlete. He needs to get
a feel for the game with bodies out there and how to navigate those
Ebi has played in just 19 games in his two seasons, including
only two last year. He looked impressive in one of them, scoring 18
points against San Antonio in the final game of the year.
He hasn't seen much playing time this preseason either,
averaging less than 4.0 minutes and 3.0 points in three games.
"It's premature to speculate on whether Ndudi is truly a
candidate for this type of option," Ebi's agent, Dan Fegan, told
The Associated Press. "But the spirit of the rule, on both sides
of the table, was to help younger players get an opportunity to
develop. Ndudi wants to be a good teammate and good part of the
organization and is willing explore the options that will help him
Casey, general manager Jim Stack and vice president of
basketball operations Kevin McHale think a stint in the D-league,
where he would get much more playing time, would help Ebi develop.
"We're just looking at options, there's nothing wrong with
that," Casey said. "We're trying to see if it's a possibility.
This kid needs to play. He's a talented athlete. He needs to get a
feel for the game with bodies out there and how to navigate those
The biggest mistake the Timberwolves may have made was letting
news of their proposal slip out before discussing it with Ebi.
McHale declined comment on Friday and Casey apologized for not
informing Ebi sooner, saying he wasn't surprised at Ebi's initial
"No player should expect themselves to be a D-league player.
I'd be very disappointed with any player who was jumping up and
down saying, 'Hey, I want to go to the D-league.' That's not to be
As upset as Ebi was, he said he would need time to think about
how he would take such a proposition, if it comes.
"I've been doing this for a long time, but if that's how they
feel, that's how they feel," Ebi said. "A lot of guys in my
position would go crazy right now. But I know what I can do. My
confidence is still the same.
"If that's what they want to do, I respect their decision.
Basketball's a business, I understand that."
Casey said no decision has been made yet on whether Ebi will
make the roster, even though his $800,000 salary is guaranteed this
season, or if they would assign him to the D-league if that is an
"We haven't got to that bridge yet," Casey said. "At least I