The Minnesota Timberwolves stayed busy during the opening hours of free agency. After speculation about whether Nickeil Alexander-Walker would find himself back in Minnesota or on a new team, the Timberwolves officially assured his future with a new contract.
Details have not yet been announced, but it is expected that he will be earning less annually than the $7 million qualifying offer the Wolves decided not to extend to him. After the announcement of NAW’s return, Minnesota also picked up Troy Brown Jr. from the Lakers, making another solid addition to their bench.
The third and likely final major addition to the Timberwolves’ 2023 free agent class was Shake Milton, who will be headed to Minnesota on a two-year, $10 million deal. The fifth-year guard was an unrestricted free agent with the Philadelphia 76ers, and he finds his new home in the land of lakes.
With this signing, Minnesota’s rotation looks to be set. Barring an unexpected move, Shake Milton’s arrival with the Timberwolves should all but guarantee the departure of one current player in Minnesota: Jaylen Nowell.
Shake Milton’s arrival should guarantee the departure of Jaylen Nowell.
It was already well known that Jaylen Nowell was walking on shaky ground for the last several months of the 2022-23 season. His poor shooting numbers and tendency to go cold were a major problem. Add in his lackluster defense, and it made it hard to justify keeping him on the floor down the stretch of close contests.
This development was difficult to watch for Wolves fans, after seeing what a success story he had become as a second-round pick. There were multiple moments throughout the season where it seemed that his days in Minnesota could be numbered.
As much as fans and management alike love Nowell, they could see the writing on the wall. The front office clearly decided they needed to find a replacement, and it appears Shake Milton is the man for the job.
Milton will likely operate in a somewhat similar role as Nowell off the bench. However, there will be far less expectation for Milton to provide quick scoring, which should allow him to be much more efficient and take care of the ball while he is on the floor.
The Timberwolves have clearly committed to making major upgrades to their bench this offseason. Shake Milton may not be as flashy a player as Jaylen Nowell, but he could easily be the right choice for this group going forward.