Jon at the AP reports:
Timberwolves have extended the qualifying offer to Robbie Hummel— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) June 28, 2015
That qualifying offer is in the amount of $1,147,276, and has the effect of making Hummel a restricted free agent, meaning the Wolves can match any offer he receives from another team. They can also negotiate directly with Hummel, or Hummel can choose to accept the QO and play for the Wolves on the QO salary.
Flip loves Hummel's versatility. He is a good guy to have at the end of the bench. But another move likely needs to be made— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) June 28, 2015
Hummel, of course, is not going to be a priority free agent for teams as we come up to the negotiating period that starts on July 1st, but it wouldn't be entirely shocking to see him get an offer from somewhere for an amount somewhat higher than the QO, and perhaps for multiple years.
Still, it appears as if the Wolves are preparing to hang on to the Swiss Army Knife bench player who is capable of filling multiple roles (including point guard!) when asked.
Joseph Gill wrote a terrific article about Hummel's value as a smart, low mistake, committed bench player a couple of months ago, and it appears that the Wolves agree and want to keep him around this young, talented roster they are building.
I'd be happy to have Hummel back, a guy who can fill in in several spots, makes very few mistakes, and doesn't need playing time. But keeping Hummel crowds the roster further, and it seems time to lay out where the Wolves are roster-wise as we head toward free agency:
The Wolves are, at this moment, committed to 12 guaranteed contracts (sorted roughly by position):
They seem committed to bringing Kevin Garnett back for another run, and reports have them nearing a deal for Nemanja Bjelica. Re-signing Robbie Hummel would therefore be 15 players, the roster limit.
They could certainly go forward like that, but it means waiving Lorenzo Brown and his non-guaranteed contract, and creates something of a roster imbalance heading into the season.
I like Tyus Jones' chances of being a quality back up point guard, but he's a late first round pick who played one year of college ball; expecting him to be ready on opening night for a significant role is expecting a lot. Further, as we've seen all too often, one injury in the back court creates major problems. In short: that roster has too many power forwards and not enough guards.
There is no question that the Wolves would like to move Chase Budinger and/or Anthony Bennett to ease the crunch, but that might be hard to do without expending additional assets and/or taking salary back. Keeping Bennett with the above roster is especially rough, because whatever you think of him, it seems pretty clear that he won't have a role without multiple injuries. While the Wolves don't really owe him anything beyond his salary, finding him an opportunity for playing time would be a good thing.
Ultimately, the Wolves will have to wait out the free agency period and hope that after the dust settles there are teams who missed out looking to round out their rosters and would be willing to take on Bennett or Budinger for nothing, but at their salaries ($5M for Bud and $5.8M for Bennett) it isn't going to be easy.
Nonetheless, I am glad to see them taking steps to keep Robbie Hummel around. He's a useful guy who requires very little maintenance, something every team could use.
It will be interesting to see how the roster evolves from here.