NBA Rumors: B/R projects Timberwolves signing this familiar free agent

Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Timberwolves have a clear plan for the 2023-24 NBA season, and it includes getting stronger on offense and on defense. Along the way, the Timberwolves roster appears to be parting ways with a number of players who have competed for the Timberwolves until now. But as we have noticed in our Minnesota Timberwolves free agency tracker, the Timberwolves roster has been a bit more difficult to enroll in this season.

But Bleacher Report does not think it’s over just yet for this former Minnesota Timberwolves player. In fact, in a recent article written by Zach Buckley, the take on the ambitious task of naming the top free agent target for each of the 30 NBA teams. And his top free agent listing for the Timberwolves was a bit . . . surprising.

Right now, if I had to guess, I would think that the Timberwolves’ top free agent target might be forward/center Bol Bol, or perhaps a backcourt veteran like Michael Carter-Williams. But Buckley has another player in mind, and names shooting guard Jaylen Nowell as the Timberwolves’ top free-agent target.

Now, how likely is it?

Must Read. Timberwolves free agent focus: Jaylen Nowell. light

Nowell? Now, now . . .

Jaylen Nowell is a 23-year-old shooting guard who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs just over 201 pounds. He’s played four seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, which is his entire NBA career. In terms of progress, his career showed a steady track of development until the 2022-23 NBA season, when his minutes and role increased, but his shooting accuracy regressed significantly.

Nowell is not exactly known for dominating defense, so when he lost the ability to score dependably from the perimeter, he lost a lot of value for a Timberwolves team that was begging for perimeter shooting. His perimeter shooting accuracy plummeted, from an impressive 39.4 percent accuracy in 2021-22 to a dismal 28.9 percent accuracy in 2022-23.

And that is why Buckley believes that Nowell should be given another chance:

"“So, the smart move for Minnesota now is keeping Nowell and seeing if he can get that three-ball back on track. If he does, he could be a helpful spark plug to have, since he has some on-ball utility and mid-range shot-making already in his bag.” –per Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley"

While Nowell could turn it around this season, I for one am not convinced that the Timberwolves have any inclination to consider the 2022-23 NBA season a do-over, and simply re-sign Nowell to a contract extension.

Hot. Wolves fans will be thrilled with the 2023 Summer League roster. light

The Timberwolves have limited minutes to distribute, and a host of younger players who show promise like Wendell Moore Jr., Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and soon rookie Jaylen Clark. That is a lot of hungry mouths to feed with minutes that an extension for Nowell would hinder. Even if Jaylen Nowell is willing to sign to a veteran minimum, I’m not convinced that the Timberwolves see value in bringing him back.

Sure, some say that he could be cheap. But the cost in dollars is not the real issue. The cost to the Timberwolves and the risk of derailing young players with better upside is a bit expensive.

I can’t see it happening. What are your thoughts?