In a tight race in the Western Conference standings, one factor that has not been in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ favor this season has been injury luck. They have dealt with injuries to a multitude of rotation players, and consistency has been hard to build.
With Karl-Anthony Towns still sidelined with his calf injury and Rudy Gobert recently missing a few games as well, the Wolves have been spread rather thin in the frontcourt. There is no doubt Tim Connelly and the front office are keeping their eyes and ears open for potential free agents to bring in.
Be it a player that will simply serve as a injury replacement or someone that might have a long-term role with the team, there are a few options for Minnesota on the free agent market. One new name recently emerged that may intrigue Timberwolves fans.
The newest name in the NBA buyout market could be of note to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Shams recently announced that Serge Ibaka would not remain with the Milwaukee Bucks, and that the organization had agreed to find him a new home. The 14-year league vet may not be in his heyday anymore, but he could still be quite useful for a team like the Minnesota Timberwolves.
One thing is for sure about Ibaka: his career has been filled with winning basketball. Having played alongside the likes of players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook, Ibaka knows the habits of a champion and has been an elite role player on multiple teams that went to the NBA Finals.
Serge would be a valuable leader for this Timberwolves team even if he were just around for the final three months of the season. Playing on a one-year, $2.9M veteran minimum contract for Milwaukee in 2022-23, Minnesota would not take on any significant financial burden in bringing Ibaka in.
Minnesota could be the new home Serge Ibaka needs.
While he may not look like the player he was a few seasons ago in Toronto, Ibaka is still just 33 years old. Injuries have limited him in the last several seasons and he has had a hard time remaining a rotation player, but a change of scenery and lower expectations could be just what the doctor ordered to extend his career.
Still, the Timberwolves should be hesitant about making any trades for Serge Ibaka. They should not be willing to give up much for the 14-year veteran. If Milwaukee is unable to find any suitors before the deadline and end up having to buy Ibaka out, the optimal situation for Minnesota would be to scoop him up in free agency.