Minnesota Timberwolves: 3 ripple effects of Malik Beasley re-signing

Malik Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Malik Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Jarrett Culver
Jarrett Culver of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Impact of Minnesota Timberwolves re-signing Malik Beasley: Jarrett Culver

There was plenty of pre-draft chatter that Jarrett Culver, last year’s No. 6 pick, was available in a trade. The specific rumor that kept popping up was that the Wolves would send Culver and the No. 17 pick (which was eventually traded to Oklahoma City on draft night) to Atlanta in order to move back into the lottery at No. 6.

After the draft, there was some chatter that the Wolves had gotten cold feet regarding the idea of moving Culver and that the Hawks had remained open to the potential of a trade. The Wolves are surely still open to moving Culver, but it would have to be in the right deal.

After all, Culver was decent defensively and still has the length and athleticism to be able to guard multiple positions. He improved massively from year one to year two at Texas Tech, and is still only 21 years old. There’s reason to believe that he still has starting-caliber upside.

Of course, therein lies his trade value. And on a team with few assets that carry actual value, the Wolves will have to consider Culver as available as the year moves along.

Minnesota isn’t trading Towns or Russell. They just re-signed Beasley and traded for Rubio. The Wolves don’t have any picks in the 2021 draft. That leaves Okogie, Jacob Evans, Omari Spellman and second-year players on non-guaranteed deals like Jaylen Nowell and Naz Reid.

Culver and Okogie are the only ones with real trade value, and that means that the Wolves have to be open to the idea of moving both of them in the right deal.

Now, consider that the new rotation also includes Rubio, Russell, Edwards, Beasley, and Okogie. Don’t forget about Jake Layman, who may see time at the 4 but Saunders has talked about playing him primarily at the 3.

Culver’s minutes will be cut precipitously unless he shows major improvement, and mostly when it comes to his shooting. He may get an opportunity to run the second unit, but that depends on the Russell/Rubio pairing and how often Saunders rolls with that as his backcourt.

Either way, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Culver moved by this year’s trade deadline, or perhaps next offseason depending on how this season unfolds.

Unfortunately for him, that’s the way these things work. The Wolves are trying to compete for a playoff spot, and even though he was the No. 6 overall pick just last year, the team needs him to show massive improvement or he will find himself on the fringes of the rotation.

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Culver is likely to be the player on the current roster most affected by Beasley’s re-signing, but his minutes are only one of the trickle-down effects taking place on the roster.