Without knowing who will be on the roster next season, aside from the few players that we already know — 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 money 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.
Shooting guard options: I really like LaVine, but Thibodeau really has to like LaVine. There is no question he is a starter for this team, but if Thibodeau doesn’t think so, it’ll be interesting to see where Minnesota goes. I think either LaVine is the starter or Minnesota makes a play for Demar DeRozan. While he loves Toronto, there is certainly no way that team is ready to get past Cleveland in the Eastern Conference. I know the Raptors just had their best season ever, but that is as good as it’ll get for DeRozan. I could see Minnesota bringing in a player like Courtney Lee, a tough, hard-nosed defender with experience, but I believe that will hamper the growth of LaVine. He would serve a crucial backup role, though, and maybe would be interested in that. Arron Afflalo is another player, like Lee, except with a little more offensive game. He still guard and would bring experience to a young team. Eric Gordon, when healthy, can be a valuable asset. He would demand more money than both Lee and Afflalo, but he also has a little more upside because he is younger. If he can stay healthy, he could help a team to the playoffs.
I think Lee and Afflalo are reasonable gets for Minnesota. It would be nice to have the depth of LaVine/Afflalo or Lee/Muhammad.