Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Minnesota Timberwolves (Last Year: 31-51)
2017-18 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Karl-Anthony Towns/Cole Aldrich/Nikola Pekovic
PF: Gorgui Dieng/Nemanja Bjelica/#Jordan Hill
SF: Andrew Wiggins/*Shabazz Muhammad
SG: Zach LaVine
PG: Ricky Rubio/Kris Dunn/Tyus Jones
NBA Free Agents:
*SF-Shabazz Muhammad (RFA)
SF-Omri Casspi (UFA)
PF-Adreian Payne (UFA)
SG-Brandon Rush (UFA)
#PF-Jordan Hill (TO)
2017-18 Team Salary: Approximately $63.6 million
NBA Offseason Team Needs:
1. Extend Wiggins and LaVine:
Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine are both entering the final guaranteed years of their rookie contracts and become restricted free agents next summer. The Timberwolves should work on extending Wiggins for the max deal, but they might be better off taking a sit-and-wait approach with LaVine since he is coming off a season-ending torn ACL.
2. Wing Depth:
With Shabazz Muhammad a restricted free agent and the only reserve wing currently on the roster, Minnesota needs to find depth behind Wiggins and LaVine, especially since LaVine will not likely be ready for the start of the season.
3. Spend Wisely:
Since Nikola Pekovic did not play in a single game last season, Minnesota can remove the final year of his contract for its salary cap, which will free up an additional $11.6 million. That, combined with the cap flexibility the Timberwolves already have, should allow them to pursue some expensive free agents. However, the team has to be careful with extensions due sooner than later to some of its younger talent.
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