Chris Johnson will cost the Timberwolves nearly $1 million this season but will not play for them, as the team announced Saturday that they have waived the big man who appeared in 30 games last season after being called up from the D-league.
Johnson was signed for the season after two 10-day contracts in January, with a non-guaranteed deal for 2013-14. For reasons unknown, David Kahn guaranteed the salary for this year in the last days of his reign, and that act will cost the Wolves as they have decided to part ways with him in favor of forward Robbie Hummel and veteran point guard A.J. Price.
Johnson became a minor fan favorite last season as injuries gave him a chance and his emphatic blocked shots and dunks were crowd pleasers, especially as last year's backup Greg Stiemsma struggled under the weight of too much playing time. However, it has been rumored all summer that Johnson was potentially on the chopping block despite his contract, and in the end the team decided that they had the necessary depth up front without him.
Instead, the roster appears set now with opening night a mere four days away. The Wolves decided to keep an extra point guard, veteran A.J. Price who played for the Washington Wizards last season and was brought in at the suggestion of new Wolves GM Milt Newton, who was previously with the Wizards as well.
In other news, the Wolves announced they have picked up the 4th year options on the contracts of Derrick Williams and Ricky Rubio, guaranteeing them salaries for the 2014-15 season. This means that the Wolves have the choice to make either or both of them restricted free agents in the summer of 2015 by extending them qualifying offers. They are also both eligible for extensions prior to their 4th years.