Minnesota Timberwolves to add Jordan Bell on a one-year deal

PORTLAND, OREGON - MAY 18: Jordan Bell #2 of the Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OREGON - MAY 18: Jordan Bell #2 of the Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves have finally made their first signing of this year’s free agency period, reportedly inking former Golden State Warriors big man Jordan Bell to a one-year deal.

Shortly after news broke that the Minnesota Timberwolves landed a pair of former Brooklyn Nets players via Golden State, it also became public that the Wolves had made their first signing.

Jordan Bell, who was a second-round pick by Chicago in the 2017 draft and sent to Golden State on draft night, will reportedly sign a one-year, $1.6 million deal with the Wolves.

It was initially reported that the Warriors had extended the qualifying offer to Bell, making him a free agent, but if the Wolves are only signing him to a one-year deal it suggests that the Warriors have pulled back their offer.

Bell was an underrated prospect after three years at the University of Oregon, where he averaged 10.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 63.6 percent from the floor in his final year in college.

He immediately stepped in and played a role as a rookie for the 2017-18 Warriors team that went on to win the championship. Bell played in 57 games as a rookie, starting 13, and averaged 4.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 blocks, and 0.6 steals per game.

Bell took a small step back in his just-completed second season, largely due to his field goal percentage coming back down to a more earthly 51.6 percent.

But most importantly, Bell has carried impressive block and steal rates through two years in the league and is a fantastic defender. For his career, Bell has a 5.5 percent block rate and a 1.7 percent steal rate. For context, Bell’s block rate ranked No. 11 in the NBA last year among players who appeared in 60 or more games. Gorgui Dieng‘s career block rate is 3.3 percent and Karl-Anthony Towns‘ is 3.7 percent.

Bell’s 1.7 percent steal rate is in line with some of the better defensive big men in the league and is representative of his length, athleticism, and activity in the paint and as a help defender.

There are some similarities between Bell and Brandon Clarke, the Gonzaga big man who was a polarizing potential target in this year’s draft. He’ll turn 25 years old during the season and will bring a level of defensive activity and athleticism to the frontcourt that the Wolves haven’t had in a while.

Bell has primarily played center in his NBA career, but it sure seems possible that he could see some minutes alongside Towns in the Wolves lineup. It probably isn’t logical to expect Bell to be the starter, and it would be a mild surprise to see Dieng back in the starting lineup as a power forward once again.

Next. Wolves land Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham. dark

That means that there is probably at least one other significant frontcourt move to be made. We’ll take a look at power forwards that could be available either free agency or via trade this week here at Dunking With Wolves, as Minnesota clearly isn’t done yet.