Oct. 27, 2004
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Minnesota Timberwolves General Manager Jim Stack late Tuesday announced the team has waived Jackie Butler, Rick Rickert and Blake Stepp.
Stepp, a 6-4, 194-pound guard from Gonzaga University, appeared in five preseason games for the Wolves, averaging 6.2 points (.500 FG%), 1.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 12.6 minutes per game. Stepp was slowed by a sprained ankle as a member of the Wolves' summer league team, but played in four games, his best outing a 12-point, six-assist night against Milwaukee on July 9. He was chosen by the Wolves in the second round (58th overall) of the 2004 NBA Draft. He earned Associated Press All-America Second Team honors last spring after netting 14.6 points and 6.7 assists per game while leading Gonzaga to a 28-3 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance. He was a two-time All-West Coast Conference Player of the Year selection.
Butler, a 6-10, 250-pound forward and product of Coastal Christian Academy in Virginia Beach, Va., appeared in three preseason games for the Wolves, but did not score in 16 minutes played. Butler participated on the Wolves' summer league entry at Target Center in July, averaging 6.6 points (.583 FG%) and 4.2 rebounds per game in five contests. The rookie posted a nine-point, 10-rebound effort vs. Philadelphia on July 6. He went undrafted in the 2004 NBA Draft, after tallying 29.3 points, 17.0 rebounds and 6.0 blocks per game for Coastal Christian Academy in 2003-04.
Rickert, a 6-11, 215-pound forward from the University of Minnesota, appeared in four preseason games for the Wolves, averaging 2.0 points (.400 FG%) and 7.3 minutes per game. Rickert was a member of the Wolves' summer league entry, averaging 6.6 points (.481 FG%) and 3.2 rebounds per game in five contests. Rickert enjoyed a 12-point outing vs. Detroit on July 8, and added 11 points vs. Toronto on July 10. He was chosen by the Wolves in the second round (55th overall) of the 2003 NBA Draft, after playing two years at Minnesota. Rickert spent the 2003-04 season playing for Krka (Slovenia) of the Adriatic Basketball Association, where he averaged 11.8 points (539 FG%) and 5.6 rebounds per game.