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State of the Cap: Minnesota Timberwolves

Sun, 05/30/2010 - 2:35pm

By Mike Misek

2010/11 Minnesota Timberwolves Payroll: $35.1 million
2010/11 NBA Salary Cap: $56.1 million
Roughly: $21 million under cap

Al JeffersonAl JeffersonVariables:

Darko Milicic - Unrestricted Free Agent
Damien Wilkins - Unrestricted Free Agent
Oleksiy Pecherov - Unrestricted Free Agent
Sasha Pavlovic - Unrestricted Free Agent
Brian Cardinal - Unrestricted Free Agent
Ryan Gomes - Non-guaranteed Team Option for $4.2 million -$1 million buyout
Greg Stiesma - Non-guaranteed Team Option for $762K
Nathan Jawai - Qualifying Offer for $1.0 million
Ricky Rubio - Rights Retained, $2.8 million cap hold
Draft Picks - 4th, 16th pick, 23rd pick, 45th pick, and 56th pick.

The Good: Nobody has assembled a better Euroleague roster than David Kahn. Ricky Rubio just capped off a tremendous season where he helped lead FC Barcalona to the Euroleague title. Nikola Pekovic had a strong campaign for Panathinaikos. Henk Norel continued to show promise with DKV Joventut, and Darko Milicic flashed enough in his stay so that he should be able to find a deal despite a tightening European market. If only Minnesota was in Europe and not the NBA, they might have been able to make the Final Four.

The Bad: Minnesota is one of the more dysfunctional franchises around. They went from the incompetence of Kevin McHale to the power hungry David Kahn. It has not taken long for Kahn to get rid of many of the players he inherited from McHale, but it is hard to see how any move that has been made will have any substantial long term meaning. The team had a stock pile of draft picks last summer, and yet only Jonny Flynn and Wayne Ellington played for the team last year. Flynn showed himself to be an NBA level point guard, but no better than a number of point guards taken after him and not good enough to justify alienating Ricky Rubio. Ellington was a streaky shooter, and his value to an NBA team is almost entirely based on his ability to shoot from the perimeter. If he does so the way he did in January and February, he can have a long career. If he shoots the way he did the rest of the season, he might not be long for the league. The organization appears to be aware of the fact that Kevin Love and Al Jefferson cannot play together. Only the completely apathetic Warriors were worse defensively than Minnesota. It is a difficult task to be more incompetent on that end than Toronto and New York, but the Wolves were able to do it. Clearly one of their big but not tall men has to go, though deciding to build around Love instead of Jefferson, as has been reported, would be foolish. Love is smaller, struggles with length, has conditioning issues, has struggled to adjust to the triangle offense Rambis wants to run, and just flat out is not as good as Jefferson. It will be interesting to see what kind of package Minnesota could get in return for Jefferson. Teams who are competitive, but not close, like Oklahoma City and Chicago could become much more interesting if they were to get a post scorer like Jefferson. Both teams have the worker bee big men who can protect the hoop and block shots, but neither have a reliable back-to-the-basket scorer. Big Al's recent DUI also muddies the trade waters.

The Future: The Timberwolves appear to be on their way to being well under the salary cap heading into the summer. They are still showing interest in Darko Milicic but it's unlikely they would allow him to keep a $11.3 million cap hold. If they simply choose to decline options on Stiesma and Jawai while keeping Ryan Gomes, the team will be $11.7 million under the cap. The problem for Minnesota is that their climate and struggles make it nearly impossible for them to attract free agents without severely overpaying, making the draft even more important for them than for other teams.

Minnesota should figure to be one of the major players on draft night. They have three first round picks, and one in the top five (4th, 16th, 23rd). Corey Brewer went from bust to respectable last season, but selecting Wes Johnson with the 4th pick would give them an instant upgrade at the 3 position and will probably be the best player available to them at 4 if they aren;t able to move up to get the guy they really covet (Evan Turner) at 2. It will be a revealing night for Timberwolves fans to see what Kahn thinks of his core and the franchise’s direction going forward. DeMarcus Cousins could be an option with the fourth pick. But the problem is he would further compound a logjam of similar bigmen (Love and Jefferson).

sheltwon3
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They need to do whatever they

They need to do whatever they can to move up to get Turner. A Flynn Turner Brewer combo is not bad and brewer is looking like he could still be improving after being written off by many including myself. Also they can take a small forward with the 23rd pick if they need someone to push Brewer.

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Euro League

This team is not good enough to compete with the best teams in Europe! (some of those teams are seriously stocked with talent)

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If the wolves were serious

If the wolves were serious about becoming better they need to get rid of the bums... release the first 8 names on the variable list

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I hope they dont make the

I hope they dont make the mistake of drafting Wesley Johnson at number 4..

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Trade the 16th and 23rd picks

I'm really curious about Minnesota's draft strategy. They can draft Wes Johnson straight up but that might mean goodbye to Corey Brewer. Cousins would give them a good frontcourt combo with Jefferson but Love would be the odd man out, but i don't think Cousins would be a franchise-player type of guy, so is Kevin Love. Maybe it'll be better to trade the 16th and 23rd pick for a higher pick, let's say the 10th-12th, and snag Xavier Henry.
It would take a miracle for the Wolves to be contenders in the near future, team chemistry is and still would be bad even after the draft night.

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The Timberwolves need a

The Timberwolves need a center so Al Jefferson can play his natural position. Demarcus Cousins would be a nice pickup or If they're satisfied with big Al playing center go for Greg Monroe. He's very polished and NBA ready. That would give them a solid front court.

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They have alot of draft picks

They have alot of draft picks for a weak draft

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I said it from day one, they

I said it from day one, they should have drafted Brook Lopez. Every sports writer in the country predicted them drafting Lopez. It only made sense. He was a Tim Duncan-type player coming out of college and he would have solidified the Wolves in the paint on Defense and Offense. He also would have allowed Jefferson to play his natural position at PF. Wolves would have had a dominating interior game with those two towers. They screwed up their opportunity and now 2 years later they are trying to make up for it. Too little, too late. This franchise just better pray at this point.

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If they are serious response

Darko - will be signed unless Cousins is drafted or $$ is an issue (turns out he actually cares more about playing than winning) not a lot of high post centers want to give this train wreck team the time of day
Wilkins - gone
Pecherov - gone
Pavlovic - gone
Cardinal - gone
Gomes - Wolves last option after failing in the draft and FA market
Stiesma - gone
Jawai - gone
Rubio - Kahn will be fired long before he gives up Rubio's rights

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Silver Bullet

The Wolves weren't the only team to pass up on Lopez. The Wolves drafted Mayo and then traded for cap relief that was sorely needed. You have excellent hindsight as would Miami and the other 8 or 9 teams that selected other players. Love is a top 1 or 2 rebounder in the league so it's not like the Wolves received nothing and the fact remains Lopez's teams have been historically bad.

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Capspace

The Wolves do not need to sign a freeagent to do well with their capspace. They can help facilitate many trades that can/will occure starting in July. They also have the option of buying players off other rosters that need cap relief. It's the perfect way to accumulate talent for the future as well as being able to stockpile more draftpicks in the process.

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ajk004

Of those players that you listed as gone or leaving, how many do you think they want to return? Those players entire value is the fact that their contracts are expiring. Ryan Gomes contract is valuable because it can be traded for 4-5 million in trade value and then bought out for around 600K by a team needing cap relief.
It's fine not to be happy or impressed with the teams situation.... just know the correct facts that should be bothering you.

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No one wants to come to MN in

No one wants to come to MN in free agency. Kahn is an idiot, last year he made the worst draft picks and trades on draft night trading away ty lawson at number 18 who in my opinion is better than johnny flynn. flynn got benched near the end of the season for Ramon Sessions until the front office said hey Flynn is a high pick and is getting played more play him. Really the teams over the cap how do you know they will even make the trades to the wolves since there is litterally 10 teams that are way under the cap?

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Draft

The Wolves need to draft a player that can become a mismatch against othe teams. That could be accomplished with either D. Cousins or Wes Johnson. To make the proper choice between the two players is in looking into their backgrounds. On one hand you have Cousins that could become one of the best post-up players in the league or what might become the next Z. Randolph/Laettner/Jr Rider on your hands. With a young team that will only get younger, if the team doesn't trade up for Turner they need to Draft Johnson. He could become a "Pippen w/a 3 pt. shot" for the Wolves and become the best missmatch on the court. He's an athletic freak that can block passing lanes and play above the rim without messing with team chemistry/young minds with lots of time and money on their hands. In a year they could have Johnson with Rubio flying down the court all the while playing hard defense and creating mismatches that will allow open shots for the players.

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Kanebanger

Players will go where the money and opportunity is. Historically the biggest trades need at least 3 teams to make contracts work out. Being that Wolves have tons of capspace they would be the facilitator other teams need to make all of the salaries match, they would be collecting draftpicks, young players or next years expiring contracts. You might not be signing D. Wade or Lebron but neither will 28 or 29 other teams. It's pretty easy to like Ty Lawson over J. Flynn when Lawson is playing on a #2 seed team with veteran allstrar players. Pull your headout and look at the big picture.... Rome wasn't built in a day... this won't get done in a day either. There is no rule stating that you need to watch or follow the Wolves.... what is, is. Understand it properly and stop whining. They have a chance to be a vastly better team in the near future.

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rebuild

look! The T wolves must rebuild. they are not showing progress year to year and cannot maximize the potential of a player like jefferson with their current roster. OKC would make a great trading partner. they would want jefferson if they could get him without giving up westbrook or durant so give them jefferson for Harden, Mullens and a future conditional first round pick in 2011. They will make the deal. draft Wes Johnson or Cousins. build on flynn your lottery pick and keep accumulating draft picks. look for young guys you feel are undervalued on their current teams. you need your best players to grow together. Try to sign back pecherov if for a resonable price he can be a valuable player if you play small or want to give opponents a different challenge then love gives you. Kahn has the right Idea. Most of all know what type of ball you want to play. this gives the team an identity and allows management to see team needs clearer.

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steve from nowthen

flynn is garbage i like lawson because hes just better than flynn. vastly better? any team can be vastly better if they change the whole team. Celtics for example they go from mediocre to getting garnett allen rondo thats almost a whole different core except Pierce. The current roster of the wolves is the worst team in the NBA worse than the nets even. I can whine if i want they are &$#%#&@! why not whine they dont have talent to be good currently. and Denver was the 4th seed noobie

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Does anyone realize rubio

Does anyone realize rubio said he doesnt want to play for the wolves and his father said the same thing so why doesnt everyone think rubio is going to be the greatest thing ever.

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Trade UP

Yeah Perfect except if they draft Wes Johnson they dont need another guard really. So they should get a True TALL center that would go with either Love of Jefferson( who ever they pick). They could get Ed Davis or Hassan Whiteside

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Trade UP

Yeah Perfect except if they draft Wes Johnson they dont need another guard really. So they should get a True TALL center that would go with either Love of Jefferson( who ever they pick). They could get Ed Davis or Hassan Whiteside

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Trade UP

Yeah Perfect except if they draft Wes Johnson they don't need another guard really. So they should get a True TALL center that would go with either Love of Jefferson( who ever they pick). They could get Ed Davis or Hassan Whiteside

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Severin

Look... the progress the Wolves are making isn't wins, it's in draft picks, capspace and young players. You completely lost me when you said sign back Pecherov (lol). The Wolves are not out to make OKC stronger. The basic rule is you don't trade a big (Jefferson) for a small (Harden), and the Wolves are not in the market for a still like Mullens or another 20 something draft pick. It would take at least Green+ to get Jefferson. The Wolves of 2010 will look nothing like the Wolves of 2011.

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Kaneanger

They were #2 until their coach underwent cancer treatment. Give any team to 2 HOF's like Boston added and you would have a championship caliber team. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out. Isn't it the Noobie who can't spell newbie? Let's wait 7,8 years and see if Lawson ever gets a starting gig. It won't happen on a playoff team.

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Kanebanger

Rubio doesn't want to play on a bad team.... (he didn't specify the Wolves). He wants to play in the NBA.... and if and when he comes over he has to go through the Wolves.

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Ballerz

The Wolves need talent period! It does not matter much what position. They would've selected Wall if they had won the lottery. Wes Johnson can play either the 2 or 3, not just the 2. Ed Davis or Whiteside might come with the 16th or 23rd pick but certainly not the 4th.

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I totally agree, get cousins

I totally agree, get cousins or monroe, or trade up for turner

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@Silver bullet, you are

@Silver bullet, you are totally right. The wolves just keep on screwin themselves over with these stupid draft picks like this.

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Gomes

I guess I didn't say enough. Gomes absolutely has value as a trade option to create cap space for another team. I expect the Wolves to be very active trading in the off season. Gomes likely will be part of that. That being said if the Wolves fail to achieve what they set out to do in the FA market (they are in great position, but failure is possible) I expect their last option with Gomes would be to sign him for next year. He has value on the Wolves roster next year, but I think this plan B or C. As for most of the rest of the guys being gone. Well it's no surprise as this was by design to set the Wolves up for an active FA and trading off season this year, but one of the previous posters said something to the extent of the top 8 names need to go. I was trying to state Darko, Gomes and Rubio's rights are likely the only 3 name on the articles list in consideration.

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Rubio and general complaining about last year's 4 first rounders

Here's why Rubio is the greatest thing ever...

He's 19. He's been a pro since 14. He's won the Euroleague emerging star type award for under 21 players 3 years running. He's played well in the Olympics against the best and started for the Euroleague champions this year. He's faced better competition that the average NCAA player and shined. He wasn't supposed to available to MN at the 5th pick. He's a major prospect who hasn't busted yet.

Here's why he's not the greatest thing ever

He's in Spain. Kahn worked out a deal for him to come to MN and he passed. If he sustains a major injury MN gets nothing out of a number 5 pick. It's uncertain he'll cross the ocean while MN holds his rights.

With a lot of teams I'd understand the feeling the "nothing" was received from a number 5 pick, but with the Wolves rebuilding as much as they are I'd reserve judgment this one until Ricky's right are traded, his sustains some crazy career ending injury, he's done with his 2nd year in the NBA as a Timberwolf or 5 years pass and he's 24 and overseas.

As far as the other complaining about screwing up with the 4 picks last year:
Well Evans wasn't available as he was taken 4th. Curry didn't want to be a Timberwolf and declined to work out with the team. Flynn may not be anyone's hero, but he's a NBA point guard. Not an all-star, but a possible long term starter is hardly a bust with a 6 pick in a "weak" draft as it was being called. Hindsight is always better. Trading the 18 pick for this years 16 pick is still in play and too early to make judgments on. Ellington has role player potential which is about what you expect from late first rounders. Really any judgments about Kahn's stupidity/genuis/something inbetween with last year's 4 picks are premature.

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Gomes is signed

Gomes is signed for next year... he is what is considered a "super contract", the Wolves have an option on him for just over 4 million but he can be bought out 600,000 (about?). In other words he can be traded for a 4-5 million dollar player and be waived immediately with little NBA cost for freeagency flexibility. His contract will be highly sought by many teams.

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Trade Rubio for the 2nd pick?

I say the Wolves should trade Rubios rights,Cory Brewer, Wilkins, and Ryan Gomes. To the Sixers for the 2nd pick (which is Evan Turner), and Andre Iguadala.

Wolves future lineup.

pg-Jonny Flyn
sg-Evan Turner
sf-Andre Iguadala
pf-Greg Monroe (use the fourth pick on him, his game is perfect for the triangle)
C-AL Jefferson.

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