Lew-Knee Bin – Timberwolves make 2016 playoffs


Shabazz Muhammad, left, and Zach Lavine are going to be key cogs in shaping Minnesota's future. (Photo credit to bleacherreport.net
Shabazz Muhammad, left, and Zach Lavine are going to be key cogs in shaping Minnesota’s future. (Photo credit to bleacherreport.net

Re-read the title.

I think it’s plausible, though.

Here is how.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have a young roster that is filled with talent. Andrew Wiggins and Zach Lavine are solid, and will be better next season.

Shabazz Muhammad is a great rebounder for his size and knows how to score. He was a very solid player this year, when healthy.

Gorgui Dieng is a solid big man who has shown the ability to shoot mid-range jumpers fairly well.

Chase Budinger was extremely productive once Flip Saunders used him as a stretch-four. Budinger has a player-option for the upcoming season.

Minnesota is guaranteed a top-four draft pick. It could be Jahlil Okafor, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell or Emmanuel Mudiay.

I think it’s only logical that Minnesota looks to move Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Martin and Ricky Rubio. Anthony Bennett for that matter, too.

Overhaul. With those four players gone, and with Kevin Garnett hopefully retiring or coming back for the veteran’s minimum, Minnesota only has $18,377,240 on its books for the upcoming season. A top-four pick won’t cut that deeply into Minnesota’s salary cap space.

Minnesota will have roughly $35-40 million in cap space.

Let’s say the T’wolves are lucky and get the top pick in the draft. They select Towns.

Before free agency

Point guard – Zach Lavine

Shooting guard – Shabazz Muhammad

Small forward – Andrew Wiggins

Power forward – Karl-Anthony Towns

Center – Gorgui Dieng

Interesting free agent targets

DeAndre Jordan – Minnesota could be a potential landing spot for DJ. While I’m sure he loves playing with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Los Angeles Clippers have had little success in the postseason, and DJ might want to show people he can succeed without Paul throwing lobs to him. It’s clear a lot of people don’t think much of him. He has no offensive game and can’t shoot free throws. Aside from those two huge things, he is a game-changer and a glass-eater. While going to Minnesota would be a backwards step, in terms of a championship contender, he could earn more respect by helping the T’wolves make the playoffs.

Kevin Love – Could it really happen? Do wounds heal after only one year? Personally, I don’t think Love will be back in Cleveland next season, and I have said it before. Glen Taylor could be out of the ownership spot in the next few seasons, as [Kevin] Garnett has expressed serious interest in owning the team. Saunders and Love got a long just fine, and Saunders said he really wanted to coach Love before he was traded.

Nick Calathes – Calathes has proven himself a strong backup point guard. Minnesota originally drafted him in 2009.

Omri Casspi – Minnesota has always been starved of good three-point shooting. Casspi is a 35.6 percent three-point shooter for his career.

Other targets – Arron Afflalo, Corey Brewer, DeMarre Carroll, Danny Green, Lou Williams.

Keep in mind that Minnesota would get value in return for trading Pekovic, Martin, Rubio and Bennett. I’m not sure what would be involved; whether it’s players, draft picks or a combination.

If Minnesota was able to add one big free agent, or two or three solid free agents, it could jolt them over a lot of teams in the Western Conference.

The Los Angeles Lakers figure to make some moves. Portland might lose LaMarcus Aldridge. Memphis’ Marc Gasol might go elsewhere. If the Clippers do lose Jordan, how does it affect them? If Draymond Green leaves the Warrriors for a bigger contract, I think it will have a huge impact on Golden State. Tim Duncan retiring will hurt San Antonio. I think Dallas will take a step back next year, unless it can get a marquee free agent. Houston will probably be the favorite to win the title.

A lot of pieces will be moving this coming summer.

If Minnesota were to do a mini blowup of the team, this would be the offseason to do it.

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