There is a mood in Minnesota right now. A smoldering euphoria that is heating up over the optimism associated with the Minnesota Timberwolves right now. It’s a strange feeling, and perhaps one that is a bit unfamiliar to the team and the fan base. But it’s not going to remain strange, as the Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operation Tim Connelly has stated quite clearly what the master plan is for the team.
"‘A place you want to come to win’ – Per Timberwolves President Tim Connelly"
And that sets the tone for everything else on the to-do list throughout the off-season.
Such as? Well, signing FA guard Eric Bledsoe is one of those items on the to-do list. But isn’t he under contract for the Portland Trail Blazers? Well, if you are to believe the latest reported rumor from NBA Insider Shams Charania, not for much longer. It seems that the Trail Blazers plan to release him before he is due his roster guarantee:
And that creates a sweet opportunity for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Portland’s misfortune means Minnesota’s opportunity
Eric Bledsoe is a solid veteran NBA point guard who was acquired by the Trail Blazers in February 2022. At the time, the team was hopeful that the NBA Lottery would be kind. Unfortunately, the Trail Blazers ended up with the seventh overall pick. That outcome, it seems, changed the outlook of the team.
Releasing him now would free up approximately $15 million, which all but guarantees his release. So why should the Minnesota Timberwolves be interested?
For starters, Bledsoe is a veteran point guard who has been a key contributor on playoff teams for both the LA Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks. That type of experience at the point guard position is a bit tough to come by right now, but would surely be welcome to the Timberwolves roster.
Bledsoe is ideal for the Timberwolves in that he has the ability to start or come off the bench. While he has historically primarily been a starter, he was about a 50/50 starter backup role for the LA Clippers in the 2021-22 season.
Another reason to love Bledsoe is his versatility. While he is a point guard, he is a field general, a facilitator, and can create his own shots. He even has the sneaky ability to get hot from the perimeter, forcing defenders to come out to challenge him. That, in turn, frees up baskets in the paint or from other perimeter shooters.
It appears that the Timberwolves will be sticking with D’Angelo Russell to run the team this year. Bledsoe gives the Timberwolves that vital backup who can take over if Russell goes cold. This just makes too much sense to look away from.