Minnesota Timberwolves 2021 Offseason Outlook


Overview


The Minnesota Timberwolves completed the 2020-2021 NBA season with a record of 23-49 which placed them at 13th in the Western Conference and 25th in the league. If you thought the Timberwolves were easily good enough to make the playoffs this season, you would have been very wrong. From injuries to coaching changes to disappointing play from overpaid players, the Timberwolves just didn’t have anything going for them this season. The one bright spot for them was rookie of the year candidate, Anthony Edwards. Edwards proved critics that he can be a key cog to a team’s offense and towards the end of the season, we saw that he fits well with Towns and Russell. Another positive to take from this season is that Russell can be a really effective player coming off the bench and will allow the Timberwolves some roster flexibility in their guard rotation moving forward. This offseason, the Timberwolves won’t be able to look to the draft or free agency to improve their team significantly so they will have to look into the trade market to make any drastic changes. They will be looking to add some veteran forward depth and offload some of their expensive, disappointing players.


Salary Cap


Currently, the Minnesota Timberwolves have 10 players with guaranteed contacts for the 2021-2022 NBA season. They have no player or team options to action, but they do have some players with non-guaranteed salary for next season. Jaylen Nowell and Naz Reid both have small non-guaranteed contracts for next season, but it is expected that they will both return to the side as they have both performed at a standard worth more than their current contracts and will either help contribute next season or be added to a trade for draft assets. Jarred Vanderbilt is a restricted free agent and Jordan McLaughlin is a two-way free agent. The Timberwolves will also have several unrestricted free agents including Evan Turner, Ed Davis, Leandro Bolmaro and Aaron Brooks. Due to the large amount of guaranteed salary on the books for next season, the Timberwolves will be operating over the cap and will only have the $5.9 million taxpayer mid-level exception available to them in free agency.


Depth Chart 2020-21 Season–


2021 NBA Draft


The Minnesota Timberwolves as it stands will take no part in the 2021 NBA draft as their first-round pick goes to Golden State due to the Andrew Wiggins trade. They also do not have any second-round picks so they will have to look to other avenues to improve.


Free Agency


The Minnesota Timberwolves will be operating well over the salary cap and will therefore not be major players in the free agency market. Their main priority will be retaining restricted free agent, Jarred Vanderbilt on a small deal. They can also use their early-bird rights and the taxpayer mid-level exception to bring back Ed Davis to back up their center rotation after a solid season. With no remaining flexibility, the Kings will need to look to the trade block to try to improve their team. There are currently a lot of rumours floating around surrounding a potential Ben Simmons trade, but I do not believe the Timberwolves have enough assets they are willing to part with to make a deal like this realistic. A team they could trade with is the Sacramento Kings. The Timberwolves will be looking to part with one or both of Malik Beasley and Ricky Rubio due to their large contracts that are only set to increase. They could take on two players from Sacramento that have shown frustration with the organization over the last season and the Kings get a young guard with promise in return along with some frontcourt depth to use as insurance should they lose Richaun Holmes in free agency. This trade is a win-win for both teams, and I would not be surprised to see a deal like this get done this offseason.


Summary


The Minnesota Timberwolves will enter the offseason after a disappointing season with very little flexibility or avenues to improve. They will have no draft picks and have no cap room to make any noise in free agency. Instead, they will likely look to make one or many trade to try to improve their roster in hopes of finally making the playoffs. Despite many Ben Simmons rumours, I doubt they will get a deal of that magnitude done but look for this team to make several smaller moves to improve the piece around their core three and push for a playoff berth next season.


Projected Depth Chart 2021/22 Season –