Will playoff Derrick Rose return to the Timberwolves?

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 21: Derrick Rose
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 21: Derrick Rose /

Derrick Rose reunited with Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and coach Tom Thibodeau when the Timberwolves signed him for the rest of the season back in March. After a shaky start, he’s become a reliable asset and arguably been one of the Wolves’ most impressive players throughout the playoffs.

Many people, myself included, were wary of the Derrick Rose signing when first announced. The Timberwolves became Rose’s fifth NBA team since 2016, including Utah for which Rose never made an appearance.

The former MVP was trending downwards in his productivity, and many fans and experts had written him off as done for. However what Thibodeau knew (or guessed) was that Rose was far from done, and he would have a huge impact for the Wolves on the court.

After averaging 5.8 points in 12.4 minutes per game through his nine regular season appearances for the Timberwolves, Rose has graduated to the role of backup point guard taking minutes from Tyus Jones’ total, and pushing Aaron Brooks even further back on the depth chart, if not all the way back.

Rose’s game has taken a step up in the playoffs, where he is currently averaging 14 points in 20.7 minutes per game, including shooting 60% of his three-point attempts (albeit that’s less than two per game).

The productivity from Rose is certainly welcome for Timberwolves fans, who just witnessed their first playoff win in 14 years. In the win, Rose contributed 17 points off the bench, two steals and two assists in 21 minutes.

Two big questions that must be asked however, is if Rose’s playoff productivity can translate to the regular season next year, and if Rose himself will be back in Minnesota.

Rose is only on contract for the Wolves for the remainder of the season, after he was traded from Cleveland where he signed a minimum contract to join a contender, and waived from Utah.

Whether Rose’s plans to join a contender have changed after the season is yet to be seen, although it’s unlikely the Timberwolves will be considered a true contender for the championship next season.

The Timberwolves may also struggle to compete with salary offers Rose receives after his impressive play to close out the season. His minimum contract with Cleveland this year was the lowest Rose has agreed to in his career, and he did so because Cleveland was considered a contender (Rose has yet to win a championship).

For the two seasons prior to his Cleveland contract, Rose was making over $20 million a year, and aside from last year, he hasn’t had a contract worth less than $16 million since the 2011 season.

If Rose chooses to stay in Minnesota, he may ask for more than the $2.1 million Utah are on the hook to pay him this year.

The Timberwolves’ contract amount for next season already outdoes what they had to pay throughout this year, despite less players being guaranteed for the season.

Looking to resign Rose will have to be carefully balanced up with Nemanja Bjelica, Aaron Brooks and Marcus Georges-Hunt becoming free agents in the offseason, the Timberwolves’ two-way contract owners in Anthony Brown and Amile Jefferson off-contract, and Jamal Crawford having a player option on his proposed $4.5 million contract.

The Timberwolves are also able to offer Karl-Anthony Towns an extension which will likely rival Andrew Wiggins’ max-contract which comes into effect next season, making him the Wolves’ highest paid player with a $25 million hit next year alone.

Planning for the future will also play a huge part in the Wolves’ decision, as Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague both have a player option for the 2019-20 season, and Taj Gibson, Tyus Jones, Cole Aldrich, Jamal Crawford (should his contract remain the same this offseason) and, depending on what the Timberwolves’ manage in terms of his extension, Towns all off-contract the same season.

The Timberwolves certainly have themselves a heck of a contract situation that will need careful consideration this offseason.

Next: Playoff Wiggins what Wolves fans were promised

It’s yet to be seen if Derrick Rose is in the Timberwolves’ long-term plans, but for now, his performance has done big things for the Wolves.