Minnesota Timberwolves: Practicing the art of walking away in free agency

MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: Juan Hernangomez hugs Malik Beasley after they defeated the Miami Heat. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: Juan Hernangomez hugs Malik Beasley after they defeated the Miami Heat. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Jordan McLaughlin
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – FEBRUARY 12: Jordan McLaughlin #6 of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives to the basket. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

Jordan McLaughlin

It’s hard to see the upstart two-way point guard get an offer Minnesota doesn’t want to match, but after his breakout it’s certainly possible.

His stats and physical gifts may not be the most overwhelming, but Jordan McLaughlin proved to be a capable spot starter in place of D’Angelo Russell, and a more than capable backup point guard. He’s a strong locker room presence and clearly knows how to stay in his lane and excel in his role.

McLaughlin’s likely market is the veteran minimum of $3 million annually, but there’s a chance that a team offers him the taxpayer mid-level exception and gives him a three-year, $5 million-per-year deal due to a thin free agency class at point guard. If that happens, especially if it’s after the team potentially re-signs Beasley and/or Hernangomez, McLaughlin could fall victim to the team penny-pinching and not having his Bird rights.

The Wolves could already have a replacement for McLaughlin on the team through the draft if they use their second-round pick on former Wolf Tyus Jones‘ brother, Tre Jones. Jones offers a similar type of package that both his brother and McLaughlin offered in steady play-making and being okay at everything else.

He would fit well into the hole that is left and the team could have already drafted him anyways before they decided on McLaughlin’s future due to having a small need for point guard depth.

Another way the Wolves could address the McLaughlin-sized hole in the lineup and the heart of the team is fellow restricted free agent Jevon Carter of the Phoenix Suns. With the play-making the team has, there’s a way that Carter’s 3-and-D playing style fits perfectly into the lineups. The Suns have a myriad of guards already in the lineup and if the Wolves offer something like $3 million a year they could get scared away from matching.

One more potential replacement option to replace the fan-favorite point guard could be Shane Larkin. Larkin is currently playing overseas but provided the injured Boston Celtics really solid, steady backup minutes a couple of years ago, and there’s a good chance that his game has been further refined overseas.

Larkin could potentially be had on a minimum salary contract, too, which would provide the team some decent salary flexibility.