Wolves Face Few, Yet Very Important Free Agency Decisions


This off-season is going to be one of the most vital off-seasons the Timberwolves have had in quite some time.  With the Utah Jazz sneaking into the playoffs, Minnesota has acquired their draft pick (#18) as part of the Al Jefferson trade two years ago.  David Kahn will be responsible for filling some holes for the team.  Minnesota is in desperate need of perimeter scoring, and it wouldn’t hurt to draft a wing player in the draft or pursuing an established NBA scorer in free agency.

As these needs are being addressed, the team also faces the challenge of resigning some key players from this season.  Forwards Michael Beasley (restricted), Anthony Randolph (restriced), and Anthony Tolliver (unrestricted) are all on the market. While the Wolves have traditionally had depth at this position throughout franchise history, Kahn might have to rethink things and part ways with one, or all, of these players.  Each player brings something to the table, and can help out any NBA team whether they start or come off the bench.

After a brilliant season last year, Michael Beasley’s production dropped off significantly.  After averaging a career high 19.2 ppg in the 2010-2011 season he then went to average career lows in points, field-goal percentage, rebounding, and minutes played.  You could easily argue that the early injuries, trade rumors Derrick Williams, and Rick Adalmen’s coaching style hindered Beasley’s production, and that if he stays will likely contribute more next year if he stays healthy.  He has said that he loves Minnesota and wants to stay here, but is he willing to accept a different role and less money?  Another team might possibly overvalue ($10-$12 million) the potential of Beasley, and therefore make Minnesota unwilling to match any offer.  If Kwame Brown landed a $7.5 million deal, anything is possible.

Coming off the end of his 2-year deal in which he also recorded his ‘decision,’ Tolliver provided some offensive punch off of the bench.  As a big man who can stretch the floor with his 3-point shooting ability and the ability to disrupt defensively with his long arms, Tolliver would be a good bench addition to any team.  AT did look lost at times on defense, and occasionally tried to do too much on offense.  He will certainly improve as a player if he learns to play within his limitations.  Since his market value will likely be rather low, don’t be surprised if Minnesota gives him another two year deal for about the same money as before.

Anthony Randolph is the biggest question mark in my opinion.  A super long and athletic guy with the talent and play-making ability of AR doesn’t go under the radar for too long.  Although he is an extremely gifted player, the sad part is he is consistently labeled as inconsistent.  His effort and motor also come into question at times, and his playing time varies too much for him to be consistent off the bench.  It seems likely that AR will leave elsewhere for an opportunity for more playing time.  He could very well end up on a team like Charlotte, New Orleans, or Cleveland.

It will be very interesting to see how the Wolves use this off-season.  With David Kahn, things become rather unpredictable, so don’t be surprised to pick up the newspaper one day and read about some bold trade or signing.