3. Rod Strickland
As we enter the three worst free agent signings in Timberwolves history, we should remember that the most detrimental player contracts are ones that financially handicap the team or waste the prime years of a franchise player. Unfortunately, the latter is exactly what happened when Minnesota signed Rod Strickland in 2002.
To be clear, Strickland was not a bad player, he was just an old one. Turning 36 years old heading into the 2002-03 season, Strickland was far past his prime and would be out of the league three years later. Playing in 47 games with eight starts in his lone season with the Wolves, he simply was no longer able to contribute at a meaningful enough level for a team competing for a championship.
That is the chief reason why his contract with the Timberwolves was a disaster. Even though he was playing on a veteran minimum, $1.03 million deal, he was not the type of player Minnesota should have been pursuing in the summer of 2002. The front office would have given the team a far better chance that season had they been willing to break the bank for a true co-star for Kevin Garnett.
We have already established that the Wolves had their best season as a franchise to date in 2002-03, but they ultimately still ended up as a first-round exit in the playoffs. Had the organization swung for the fences in free agency rather than playing it safe, things could have turned out differently.