The news doesn’t sleep. The big news this morning is Luol Deng has agreed to sign with the Lakers on a deal worth $72M over four years.
Deng, in my opinion, was the most coveted free agent for the Timberwolves and probably the biggest impact player in terms of need and helping the Timberwolves make a playoff push this next season. Losing him may send the Wolves into a panic quite frankly. It may mean that a trade will fill the power forward position. Luckily there are other free agents but many are back-up level power forwards and don’t have the versatility that Deng has.
The craziest part about this Deng signing is the bar it naturally set for free agents. Deng, passed his prime and not the player he once was, just pulled in $18M for the max amount of years you can sign with a team that wasn’t your former. This changes what players can expect to sign, especially older players, when signing with anyone. Pau Gasol, the Wolves’ next target, can point to the contract Deng got with a rebuilding Laker team, and say he wants something in that realm.
The Wolves were smart to avoid giving Deng four years. Even three-years would’ve been a stretch. The Timberwolves are in a position that anyone over two years has to be considered a solid part of the future here. The reason being is that the Wolves will need to extend players like Wiggins and LaVine. The Wolves have learned from the Thunder/ James Harden scenario that you can’t give up that easily on young players. You need to be prepared to extend them.
Gasol is the only player that the Wolves have left on the board that is still a quality starter at the power forward position. His defense lacks and would require the ball a lot to be effective unfortunately, but could absolutely help the Wolves make a playoff push.
I still haven’t heard anything around Moe Harkless. He is more of a gamble, but if he is capable of starting at power forward, he is the only player I would be willing to give a third, even a fourth year to. My hope is that he isn’t looking to get Deng money. My impression before the Deng deal is that Harkless would expect more than Deng simply due to his potential. He has a three-pointer that used to exist and still an unproven commodity.
More to come nonetheless.
Man a lot has happened in the last 8 hours. Here is what is happening on the Wolves front:
So the Wolves are clearly interested in a shooting guard. Courtney Lee would be among the top candidates for the Wolves to sign. The Wolves also were in contact with Anthony Tolliver and Kris Humphries, both with their own ties to Minnesota previously. They would be bench players for the most part.
Around the League?
Two guys off the list: Solomon Hill to the Pelicans. Mirza Teletovic to the Bucks. Crossing off the list.
Mike Conley received the largest contract in NBA history, getting the full max for five-years. He has never been an all-star. He heads back to Memphis. He will team up with Chandler Parsons, who has agreed to sign with Memphis. It is interesting because Memphis is looking like a playoff team and the Mavs are looking to hit the lottery. Those are important things to note as the Wolves make a playoff push.
Dwight Howard went to the Hawks on a three-year deal worth $70.5M. Not sure what they are doing there but chances are, Al Horford will head elsewhere.
The Blazers overpaid for Evan Turner. The Blazers are making a serious push to be in the playoffs again. With Turner going to Portland, I would imagine Harkless or Crabbe become more available in restricted free agency.
A quiet signing was Jeff Green going to Orlando on a one-year deal. They are looking to make a playoff push in the East now.
That is a lot of info. Will let it digest. Please share!
Lots of developments in the last hour. On the Wolves front, they are showing interest in Kent Bazemore. May be pricy for his position and how he would fit with the Wolves though.
In news around the NBA. Al Jefferson has signed with Pacers on a three-year deal. Jefferson is a former Timberwolves franchise-centerpiece and the beginning of the rebuilding in MN. Also, free agent O.J. Mayo has been suspended by the NBA for two years for their substance-abuse policy. Mayo could’ve got a solid contract this summer. Instead, he is going to be without a paycheck for two years. This is why you don’t do drugs kids. He just lost a ton of money.
Looking like Whiteside is heading back to Miami to kick it with DJ Khaled. The Pistons also got their backup point guard in Ish Smith, signing him to a three-year deal.
Free agency is officially underway. When Woj went to bed at 1am, it made sense that the rest of us do the same.
On the Timberwolves front, Tom Thibodeau has reached out to Luol Deng and they should talk today or tomorrow. There are many other teams interested in Deng. Teams interested are Miami, Utah, Boston, and Washington. I feel that the Wolves have a decent chance of landing Deng since Minnesota seems like a better situation than the others.
According to Doogie Wolfson, the Wolves have not shown interest in Demar Derozan (who is heading back to Toronto anyway), Al Horford, or Jamal Crawford. All of this is expected I think. There are mentorship ties between Horford and Towns as well as with Crawford and LaVine.
Around the league, the Lakers struck first in agreeing to terms with Timofey Mozgov and re-sign Jordan Clarkson. They dished out a ton of money to do that.
DJ Augustin, who the Wolves had interest in is headed to the Magic it looks like. He will be struck off the list.
Nicolas Batum signed a max deal with the Hornets for 5-years. He will come off the list. I didn’t expect him to be a target for the Wolves, but the Hornets are going to attempt to retain Courtney Lee and Marvin Williams still.
Eric Gordon seems to be highly coveted by the Knicks. They will likely throw a ton of money at him. Something to watch there.
There are rumblings that the Nets will look to pursue Ryan Anderson. That would make me happy.
The Spurs have interest in Mirza Teletovic. That should indicate that the Wolves should really go after him then.
As for Hassan Whiteside, it looks like Miami is back in the running for him. So will see what happens there.
Rumblings of the Wolves around Luol Deng and Pau Gasol. Wolves will likely contact them at midnight tonight.
Whiteside sounds like heading to Dallas and KD back to OKC. More info soon.
For what it’s worth, looks like KG and Thibs spoke.
Latest on big free agents. Hassan Whiteside will decide between the Mavs and Heat. Noah is reportedly planning to sign with the Knicks for $18M.
On the Wolves front, looks like Timberwolves have interest in forward Lance Thomas from the Knicks. Would be a great signing.
There are lots of teams swirling everywhere around difference players. Cool resource here though to see players’ max contracts. https://public.tableau.com/profile/sraanalytics#!/vizhome/NBAFreeAgency/NBAFreeAgency
First update! Adding Brandon Bass to the list of players to watch below. Thanks Doogie!
12 hours from the start of free agency! This will be your one stop-shop for everything offseason for your Minnesota Timberwolves. We are going to take a fivethirtyeight approach to the offseason this summer and keep updates in one posts. This will to not clutter your inbox but also a place you know you can go to get the latest-and-greatest on what is happening with the Timberwolves. Please follow our blog and then on social media (@timberrebuilder ) on twitter/ facebook/ Instagram. Our managing editor, Sherief, also has a personal twitter now that you can follow @SheriefNBA.
How this will work is we will continue to update this specific post, keeping the most relevant information at the top. Each day, you can come visit our page and this specific post and see what is happening with players around the league, specifically those of interest for the Timberwolves. Players we will keep track of will be based first on our post initially on Timberwolves free agency. We will then track other big free agents, since they really form the market. We will also follow other players that have said to be of interest for the Wolves by other sources. There are a few players that have overlap with what is reported as ‘having steam’ and that we see as good fits. Below is a running list of players:
Then we will follow any trade rumors that involve the Timberwolves and those that could be NBA landscape changing. We will add quick personal thoughts here instead of starting new posts for every rumor.
Finally, there is something called summer league that is happening! After the draft, the summer league is one of the most exciting things in the offseason.
Please follow and share. Will continue to make updates as developments happen over the summer!
The Timber Rebuilder.