Without knowing who will be on the roster next season, aside from the few players who have proven themselves and others of whom Minnesota is contractually obligated — Karl-Anthony Towns, Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio, Shabazz Muhammad, Nikola Pekovic, Nemanja Bjelica, Gorgui Dieng and Tyus Jones.
I’m not even sure Pekovic or Muhammad will survive the draft, but let’s say they do. Minnesota will have $50,242,401 under contract for next season.
The best news for them? The salary cap will jump up to $92 million this summer.That first total doesn’t include Kevin Garnett’s $8 million, but even including that, the Timberwolves will have over $32 million to spend.
First, let’s look at the roster breakdown.
PG: Ricky Rubio/Tyus Jones/Zach LaVine
SG: Zach LaVine/Shabazz Muhammad
SF: Andrew Wiggins/Shabazz Muhammad
PF: Gorgui Dieng/Nemanja Bjelica/Kevin Garnett
C: Karl-Anthony Towns/Nikola Pekovic
Despite having the No. 5 pick in the draft, Minnesota needs some depth up front and at guard.
Point guard options: Mike Conley will be the most-sought after free agent at point guard. Rumors are the Spurs are the front-runner to obtain his services. With him off the table, I think Minnesota will look to take more of a backup point guard. Jones played very well at the end of the season, but I’m not sure Thibodeau is sold on him. Mario Chalmers is a very good player, and was originally drafted by Minnesota in 2008. At 30 years old, Chalmers is probably no longer a starter in the NBA, so coming off the bench would suit him and Minnesota. He is a veteran with championship experience, and he would be relatively cheap. The one big thing is his Achilles. He ruptured it in March. His recovery will be crucial. Another possible point guard to consider is Ty Lawson. While this past year was the worst of his career, he won’t demand a huge contract and will be looking to redeem himself. Again, Minnesota drafted him in 2009, the year where they drafted so many point guards but still have problems at the position, and he has had a good career until last year. If Minnesota doesn’t want to chase a point guard in free agency, Kris Dunn of Providence is hoping the Timberwolves draft him, and that might not be a bad move. He has size and scoring ability of which Rubio could only dream.
Imagine a backcourt of Rubio/Chalmers/Dunn/LaVine/Jones. While it might get crowded at the two guard positions, there is no telling who might get traded or injured.
These options would come at a relatively cheap price and allow Minnesota to save money for other free agents.