Projecting the Timberwolves Expansion Draft Protections

Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /
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The NBA media rights deal is set to expire at the end of the 2024/25 season. However, the NBA will be able to negotiate their new media rights deal as early as March of 2024. It is believed the NBA would use this new media rights deal to expand the league from 30 teams to 32 teams, with Las Vegas and Seattle being the front runners for the new cities.

What does this mean for the Minnesota Timberwolves? Expansion draft!

There are plenty of rules for an expansion draft, but basically, the Wolves will need to protect eight players who will be under contract during the time of the draft, and those protections would have to be done a year before the actual expansion draft. So, with speculation that there can be a pair of expansion teams in two years, protections can come as early as this upcoming offseason.

Who would the Wolves protect?

For this exercise, I am going just to use the current Wolves roster as is and not project any trades, even if some seem likely. I will also take into account the draft pick they will have this summer since no one knows how they will use that.

It is also noteworthy that the Wolves do not have all the players on the team under contract for the 2025-26 season, but I will be still including those players since they can always be brought back for the future.

Luckily, the Timberwolves have re-signed their “big 3” young core in guard Anthony Edwards, forward Jaden McDaniels, and center Naz Reid for the next 4-5 years, so they will be the easiest three players to decide upon.

Timberwolves center/power forward Karl-Anthony Towns will also be protected simply because when playing at his best, he is a top 20 player in the NBA.

But now there are four spots remaining…