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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Timberwolves Summer Primer

The Minnesota Timberwolves are close to being a Playoff team in the 2012-13 season. Let's take a look at how they can get there, who they might target this off-season, and who they might let go from the current roster.

Wolves roster and the salary they are due next year and what I would do with them.

Michael Beasley- is due $8.17 million Qualifying offer- He is gone at that price.
Martell Webster- Team option at $5.7 million-gone-too much money for a player who doesn't get it.
Darko Milicic-$5.2 million this year-Gone I would amnesty him. Good riddance.
Brad Miller-Retiring.
JJ Barea $4.5 million-returns- good guy off bench.
Kevin Love-$13.67 mil-trade, just kidding-obviously keeping him.
Derrick Williams-$4.9 Mil-keep-need to find a way to get him in the starting lineup, or trade him.
Nik Pekovic-$4.6 mil-Keep him and sign him to an extension-may have the best contract in the league.
Wes Johnson-$4.3 mil-Keep him or trade him-The Wolves have a team option for his contract in 2013.
Luke Ridnour-$4 mil-keep him-good backup pg.
Ricky Rubio-$3.7 mil-keep him-he will attract guys to play with him here even with the cold weather.
Anthony Randolph-$4mil qualifying offer-I think we should keep him-he's got great talent.
Anthony Tolliver-Free Agent-possibly re-sign on the cheap-gives everything he has even if it's not much.
Wayne Ellington-3.1 mil qualifying offer-keep him- another guy that gives his all-can shoot a little bit too.

After making my cuts here is the Wolves roster for next year, with salary.
JJ Barea-$4.5 mil
Kevin Love-$13.7 mil
Derrick Williams-$4.9 mil
Nik Pekovic-$4.6 mil
Wes Johnson-$4.3 mil
Luke Ridnour-$4 mil
Ricky Rubio-$3.7 mil
Anthony Randolph-$4mil
Wayne Ellington-$3.1 mil
Total salary $46.8 million for 9 players. NBA rosters are 12 players

This leaves the the Wolves with 9 players under contract at $46.8 mil in salary.  Depending on what the Wolves do with the 18th pick in this years draft, they will need 2-3 players to fill out the roster. The salary cap for the 2012-13 season is expected to be about $58 million. This will give the Wolves roughly $11.5 mil to spend on free agents. This leaves the T-Wolves, with enough space under the cap to attract a quality Free-Agent.

Potential targets for the Wolves this off-season in order of importance.
1.Nicolas Batum SF Portland-(RFA)- This would be the perfect player for the Minnesota Timberwolves to target this off-season. He is an elite defender, which the Wolves desperately need. He also can shoot, as he made 39% of his 3point shots this season. The Wolves need someone, who can consistently make the open jump-shots Ricky Rubio creates.The only downside is he is a restricted free agent(RFA), which means Portland can match any offer the Wolves make. Portland will be close to the cap, so the Wolves could get creative and steal him away. Getting Batum, would make this team an instant Playoff contender. It would also allow the Wolves to explore trading Derrick Williams, who despite being immensely talented has nowhere to play on this Wolves squad, and he needs to play.
2.Jamal Crawford SG-UFA- Getting Crawford would give the Wolves a shooter, which they desperately need. By adding Crawford, the Wolves would be adding a scorer, and a ball-handler. This would also allow the Wolves the option of seeing if Derrick Williams can play SF on a consistent basis.
3.Courtney Lee SG-Rockets-(RFA)- Lee is a more cost effective option at SG. He is also younger than Crawford, but he is a RFA, so the Rockets could match any Wolves offer. Lee, is not as accomplished as Crawford, but he is an intriguing player to look at.
4.Ray Allen SG(UFA)-He would be second on this list if there was any chance the Wolves could get him. He would bring a veteran presence to this roster that the Wolves sorely lack. He also is one of the best shooters of all-time.
5.Nick Young SG(UFA)-He may be crazy, but he can shoot, and he has shown some promise playing with the Clippers.
6.Eric Gordon SG-Hornets(RFA)-He would be number 1A) after Batum. But there is no chance, the Hornets would not match any offer he receives. He would be ideal for the Wolves.

Other targets-Players who are intriguing, but a step below the players listed above.

1.Grant Hill SF (UFA)-He would be perfect for this squad, but he will either retire, or re-sign with the Suns.
2.Kevin Garnett PF (UFA)-He would definitely add leadership and character to his former squad, but what position would he play? Would he want to come back?
3.Steve Novak SF (UFA)-Great 3pt shooter, but that is all he can do. He can not defend.
4.Spencer Hawes C (UFA)-He has probably played his way out of the Wolves price range-great backup C.
5.Greg Oden C (UFA)- Worth a shot-Would be a great backup Center as well.
6.Joel Pryzbilla C (UFA)-Might play another year-could do worse backing up Pek.
7.Marcus Camby C (UFA)-Probably too pricey-would provide veteran stability.
8.Michael Redd SG (UFA)-Played well in spurts for the Suns. Would be a veteran off the bench.
9.Tracy McGrady SG(UFA)-He has been in the league for ever, still has something to give off the bench.
10.Landry Fields SG(UFA)- Good defender.

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