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What Timberwolves Need in NBA Offseason

Big Trade Equals Big Failure for Minnesota

The Minnesota Timberwolves made the biggest NBA news in the 2022 offseason by trading for Rudy Gobert. It was a massive deal with the Utah Jazz that consisted of five possible first-round picks, Timberwolves 2022 first-rounder Walker Kesslerand four other players. It was an enormous haul that immediately put pressure on Minnesota to now live up to NBA title odds.

It would almost immediately seem to be a mistake, with the ultra-big lineup of Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns struggling to connect on defense or offense. In addition, the guards that started the season with the Timberwolves – Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell – seemed unwilling to pass Gobert the ball. Towns also missed most of the season with an injury that made Minnesota hard to go with for NBA picks.

What Timberwolves Need in NBA Offseason
Rudy Gobert #27 of the Minnesota Timberwolves celebrates with Anthony Edwards #1 - Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFP

Eventually, Towns returned and Russell was traded while the Timberwolves acquired Mike Conley, a point guard that passed the ball to Gobert. All that, along with the continued fantastic play of Edwards, rejuvenated the team’s NBA playoffs odds.

The Timberwolves did just enough to finish eighth in the standings. Minnesota lost its first play-in game to the Los Angeles Lakers but beat the Oklahoma City Thunder to secure the eighth seed. However, sportsbooks saw them as massive underdogs against the No.1 seed Denver Nuggets, which proved true as the series lasted only five games.

With limited assets and little to no cap space, this leaves the Timberwolves with few options for NBA predictions. But Minnesota will be desperate to build something around this core to make sure the Gobert trade was not a monumental failure.

2022-23 Season Record: 42-40

Status of Coach: Chris Finch has already been entrusted with the franchise despite the poor roster construction. He could quickly be on the hot seat if the team starts poorly due to a new ownership group coming in soon.

Positions of Need for Timberwolves

  • Playmaking Point Guard
  • A Lot of Floor Spacing

Possible Free Agency Plan

Right off the bat, the Timberwolves’ cap space is not looking too great. Gobert alone will be accounting for $41 million in 2023-24, along with Towns adding $36. On top of that, Towns already signed his upcoming max contract, which could be $224 million over four years, going into effect 2024-25. That puts Towns at around $50 million in 2024-25 and only going up after that.

Not to mention that Edwards, who just made an All-Star game in his third season, will be up for a massive extension with his rookie deal ending after 2023-24. Jaden McDaniels is another player with a rookie deal ending next season and is someone that the Timberwolves should want to keep around. He could have been selected to an All-Defensive team, having the stats to back it up, but was overlooked.

There are a lot of holes to fill on this roster and Minnesota has nearly no cap space. For one, the Timberwolves need a lot more floor spacing, which the team lacked in the regular season, primarily due to Gobert offering little to no shooting.

The only way the Timberwolves can open up some money is to cut Conley. He will be 36 years old and is set to make $24 million, but it is non-guaranteed, with the team needing to decide 48 hours after the draft if they want to move on. However, the only issue with cutting Conley is the Timberwolves would have to put that extra money to good use.

Fred VanVleet seems to be the best possible option. He would have to decline his $22 million player option with the Toronto Raptors, likely looking for a bigger payday. However, if the Timberwolves could find the money, having a point guard that can be a playmaker and spot-up shooter or take over a game scoring-wise would be well worth it.

Signing VanVleet would worsen the cap situation, but with the pieces on this roster, Minnesota needs to win now. This free agency class does not have a lot of top-level point guards unless Timberwolves want to go after Kyrie Irving or bring back Russell, with both options likely not happening.

The other option for the Timberwolves is to sign a bunch of combo guards that can shoot. That would include adding at least two of Seth Curry, Coby White, Lonnie Walker IV and Kendrick Nunn, hoping their playmaking improves.

Possible Draft Plan

Minnesota does not have a first-round draft pick in this draft, having sent that to Jazz in the deal for Gobert. That is another example of why the Timberwolves are tied into this roster, having no assets to acquire another player outside of free agency.

However, they do have the 53rd pick in the draft. That late second-round pick should be used on the best shooter available to get a little more floor spacing on a cheap deal.

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