If the Minnesota Timberwolves could clear the necessary cap space, Tobias Harris would be a perfect free agent target to get them into the playoffs.
Heading into the draft I theorized the Minnesota Timberwolves may look to add some cheap forwards to bolster the bench, but with two guards selected in the 2019 NBA Draft, it seems the Wolves will instead be looking at available players in free agency to fill the open spots on the roster.
While a potential pathway to filling out the team without extra forwards would include a small-ball lineup with Robert Covington at the four, I’d imagine the front office will look to at the very least add some big men to the bench, with the current situation currently seeing only Karl-Anthony Towns, Gorgui Dieng and Keita Bates-Diop as the traditional big men on the roster capable of filling the traditional power forward and center positions.
At 6-9, Tobias Harris is actually the same height as Covington, however, is much more versed in the power forward position. Not to mention, a starting lineup with both on the court would add some size. Keeping Covington at the shooting guard position with Wiggins at small forward, Harris at power forward, and Towns at center would see a strong starting lineup, albeit quite costly. However, if the Wolves were able to shift the contracts of Dieng or Jeff Teague (or ideally both) then this scenario may be viable.
At 26 years old, Harris is an NBA journeyman, spending time with five teams throughout his eight seasons in the league. Last season, we saw a career-best year for Harris, who started all 82 games of the season, which he split between the Clippers and 76ers, averaging 20 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in 34.7 minutes.
A front court of Harris and Towns could be one of the fiercest in the league, and in my opinion, turn the Timberwolves into true contenders in the Western Conference, or at the very least a playoff lock.
If this season is anything to go by, Harris is likely to have a large market in free agency and demand quite a large contract in free agency. Due to this, the Wolves would have to dump some contracts to make this signing work.
The last deal Harris signed was a four-year, $64 million contract; the same deal the Wolves have Dieng on currently with two years remaining. If the Wolves could somehow move Dieng and sign Harris to a similar contract then we’d be good as gold.
However, I’m expecting Harris to either sign a deal demanding a higher-salary or sign with someone who has already proven themselves to be a solid championship contender over the last few seasons. While Minnesota would be able to pitch themselves as a contender with Harris and Towns, Minnesota hasn’t exactly seemed to be a ‘destination’ big free agents have considered…… like ever.
But a fan can dream, and dream is what I’ll do. The absolute best scenario I see for free agency? Wolves trade Teague and Dieng for cap space and sign D’Angelo Russell and Harris to four-year deals. A Russell, Covington, Wiggins, Harris, and Towns starting lineup is something I could happily watch dominate the Western Conference for years to come.
Add a couple of veteran wings to the bench, and with the youth acquired at the guard positions the last few drafts, the Timberwolves would have a pretty solid team. Harris is going to have quite the market, but if the Timberwolves are all in on the next couple of seasons, they can make this happen.
If you ask me, it’s almost certain the Timberwolves are going to be shopping for some big men in free agency. Whether or not they’re looking for some stars at the position on a big contract is yet to be seen, but Tobias Harris may be the best on offer.