Minnesota Timberwolves not as bleak as ESPN offseason guide portrays

Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /

After the Minnesota Timberwolves were ushered out of Round 1 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs, the team began their offseason. That means that the Minnesota Timberwolves must rework their roster, figure out how to maintain double-digit leads, and perhaps most of all, they must learn how to defeat inferior competition.

ESPN has created a video that spells out the offseason steps necessary to put the Minnesota Timberwolves back on track. The video spells out how to regroup around the burdensome contracts of power forward / center Karl-Anthony Towns, center Rudy Gobert, and potential extensions for shooting guard Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels.

The Timberwolves are already up against the NBA’s luxury tax threshold, with point guard Mike Conley Jr. and power forward Taurean Prince rapidly approaching guaranteed salaries in June 2023. Only backup point guard Jordan McLaughlin is likely to be waived before his contract price of $2.32 million becomes fully guaranteed on June 30, 2023.

Timberwolves roster

The Minnesota Timberwolves will either need to work on an extension of Naz Reid and/or Jaylen Nowell or go to the NBA Free Agency market to shop for a new player to add to the team’s rotation as a bench player.

Anthony Edwards will get a five-year $207 million deal this year. Terms are already set in place. The tricky part is how to structure a multi-year deal for Jaden McDaniels. What price will that contract come in at?

I agree that the Minnesota Timberwolves are not yet prepared to go deep into the luxury tax. So what is this offseason guide missing?

The video portrays a Timberwolves roster that has been painted into a corner, with no ‘wiggle room,’ to restock a depleted roster. That is not the reality.

The truth about the Timberwolves’ roster

What this guide fails to acknowledge is the value of some young contributors to this roster, as well as the fact that the Timberwolves know who their starting five players will be in the 2023-24 NBA season.  In fact, the Timberwolves have 11 players currently under contract for next season, with the biggest question mark looming over the decision of whether or not to stick with backup point guard Jordan McLaughlin. The Minnesota Timberwolves also have the option to extend:

Shooting guard / small forward Nickeil Alexander-Walker with a $7 million qualifying offer
Forward Matt Ryan with a $1.7 million qualifying offer
Center Luka Garza with a $1.7 qualifying offer
Naz Reid (To be determined)
Jaylen Nowell (To be determined)

As stated above, the Timberwolves may opt to release PG Jordan McLaughlin, recouping his $2.32 million to be used elsewhere. But even if the Timberwolves do so, they will end up with the 15 players necessary for the 2023-24 NBA season and still have options for three players on 2-way contracts. One of those three slots could be filled by the rookie selected in the 2023 NBA Draft, currently the 53rd overall pick.

So the Timberwolves, with next to no changes, already have the potential for 15 veteran players plus one rookie lined up for the 2023-24 NBA season. If the Timberwolves fail to extend either Naz Reid or Jaylen Nowell, the team has options to fill either or both of those vacated roster spots.

light. Hot. NBA Rumors: Timberwolves trade scenarios kick in after fisticuffs finale

Will the Minnesota Timberwolves need to be wise in how this Timberwolves roster is reassembled? Of course. But, unlike many teams right now, the Timberwolves have a pretty firm handle on what they must do to get there.