Free agent F Joe Smith has agreed to terms with the Timberwolves. Smith said yesterday he signed a one-year, $2.2 million deal because he liked playing alongside Kevin Garnett and liked the direction the team was headed.

"I definitely could have gotten a better deal elsewhere, but this wasn't about my financial state," Smith said. "When I came here last year, I wanted to put the fun back in the game and be on a team that plays hard every night. I found that here. I like playing with Kevin and I like playing for Flip Saunders."

Smith, an all-American at Maryland, was chosen by the Warriors as the No. 1 pick in the 1995 NBA draft. He was traded to the 76ers on Feb. 17, 1998, and he signed with the Timberwolves as a free agent last season. Smith averaged 13.7 points and 8.3 rebounds for the Timberwolves.

ELLIOTT IMPROVES: A day after his kidney transplant, Spurs F Sean Elliott was moved out of the intensive care unit and was on his way to a full recovery.

"He has done just very well," physician Francis Wright said.

Elliott underwent the transplant Monday in San Antonio. His brother Noel, 32, donated one of his kidneys. Sean Elliott, 31, may be hospitalized for about a week; his brother could go home by the end of this week.

BEHIND THE MIKE: Mike Fratello, who was fired as coach of the Cavaliers in June, signed a multiyear deal to become an analyst with Turner Sports. Fratello was an analyst for NBC from 1990 to '93 and worked for Turner during the playoffs from 1994 to '96. Fratello replaces Doc Rivers, now coach of the Magic. . . .

The Suns signed G Randy Livingston to a multiyear contract, and the SuperSonics signed free agent C Greg Foster to a three-year contract.