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Free Agent Frenzy: Timberwolves Looking at Luol Deng, Pau Gasol, and Others

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Free agents are flying off the board left and right. Let's look at a few names that have been tied to the Wolves.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Free agency is in full swing and the Minnesota Timberwolves have been in talks with many players. Below are players the Wolves have been linked to as of this writing as well as some pros and cons in regards to if the Wolves should sign them or not. I also rate whether or not the Wolves should sign the player with a grade of 0 being "absolutely not" and 5 being "they should have signed them yesterday."

Pau Gasol

Pros: The biggest strength that Gasol would add would be his veteran presence. The Wolves are still an extremely young team and Gasol could help them learn the ropes a la Kevin Garnett, but in a much calmer way. Karl-Anthony Towns could learn a lot from Gasol, including how to best utilize his passing and finesse on offensive; imagine a world in which Towns spent his first two seasons in the league learning from future Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett and Pau Gasol!

Cons: Ok, I admit, I kind of grasped at straws to find pros for signing Gasol. The fact of the matter is that he doesn't really solve any of the Wolves' current deficiencies, other than rebounding. He isn't much of a defensive stopper and doesn't really stretch the floor. Add in the fact that he will be turning 36 in a few days and I just can't see his fit with the Wolves.

Should the Wolves sign?: 1.5. There are worse people to sign on a one-year deal, but I think the Wolves would be better off spending their money elsewhere.

Luol Deng

Pros: What's not to like about Deng? He can play both the three and stretch four and would help significantly improve the Wolves' defense, as evidenced by his 105 defensive rating and 6.4 defensive win shares last season. Deng is also a pretty good rebounder for his size as he pulled down 15.4% of the Miami Heat's defensive rebounds last season. Basically, he would address all of the major needs the Wolves have this summer.

Cons: The biggest knock against Deng is his age; he is 31, but won't turn 32 until next April. Deng's age perhaps places him just outside of the Wolves' perceived timeline, but if he only signs a deal for two or three years his increasing age shouldn't cause much concern. By the time Deng's starting days are past him, his contract will be winding up and will be off the books.

Should the Wolves sign?: 4.5. I think Deng should be one of the players the Wolves really target this summer. I understand the concern about his age, but he would undeniably make the team better. Wins can help with development just as much as playing time.

Brandon Bass

Pros: The greatest thing Bass could provide to the Wolves is roster depth. Bass can play as both a power forward and an undersized center. Roster depth is definitely something the Wolves have lacked in the past couple of seasons, especially at the power forward and center positions. Bass would provide exactly that.

Cons: Signing Bass just wouldn't move the needle much for me. He doesn't stretch the floor at all (only 55 three-point attempts in his 11 years in the league), and doesn't play defense either (defensive rating of 111). He is also 31 years old. Outside of depth, I don't know if Bass can provide much for the Wolves that would improve the team.

Should the Wolves sign?: 2. Like Gasol, I think the Wolves would be better off spending their money elsewhere, but if they do sign Bass I guess it isn't the end of the world.

Kris Humphries

Pros: Humphries is a good rebounder (21.5 defensive rebounding percentage last season) and a decent defender (104 defensive rating) at the four, both of which are needs for the Wolves. He would provide much needed bench depth as well. Humphries doesn't do anything spectacular, but he also doesn't do anything exceptionally bad, either. He'd be a consistent bench player for a team that desperately needs that. Plus, he's ONE OF US!

Cons: It's hard to imagine that the signing of Humphries would help the Wolves improve all that much. He doesn't provide a huge impact when he's on the court (remember he doesn't do anything great or bad), so I think the Wolves would be better off giving his minutes to Bjelica and, to a lesser extent, Gorgui Dieng and Towns.

Should the Wolves sign?: 2.5. Humphries would be a better signing than Gasol and Bass, but not by a whole lot.

Anthony Tolliver

Pros: Like Bass and Humphries before him, Tolliver would provide much needed depth to the Wolves front court; a team could do worse than having Tolliver as their third or fourth power forward.

Cons: Tolliver is 31 and wouldn't figure to play a whole lot. Because of that, I guess there really aren't many cons to signing him, but I think the Wolves money would be better off spent elsewhere first.

Should the Wolves sign?: 2. The signing of Tolliver just wouldn't move the needle or make the Wolves that much better.

Courtney Lee

Pros: Lee is a career 38.4% three-point shooter and is an underrated defensive wing stopper. Like Bazemore, he could either come off the bench and be a great sixth man or start and play well next to Wiggins. There is a reason why many teams are interested in his services.

Cons: Like Deng, Lee is 31, so his age is his biggest weakness. Lee also can't really play any position offensively other than the two, which limits him some. His career three-point percentage may also be a little misleading as he has never attempted more than 3.7 attempts per game for an entire season.

Should the Wolves sign?: 4.5. Lee is basically a cheaper, older Bazemore, but he is a better three-point shooter and provides less defensive versatility.

Willie Reed

Pros: Reed is 26 years old and is intriguing. He only played roughly 10 mpg last season for Brooklyn, but his per 36 numbers are impressive; he averaged 15.4 pp36 and 10.3 rp36 as well as an offensive rating of 116, numbers similar to what he averaged in the D-League. Though, admittedly, the sample size was rather small.

Cons: Reed is 26 and has only played one season in the NBA. Chances are he is already at the beginning of his peak, meaning his growth will probably only occur over the next two or three seasons. I would like the signing of Reed more than that of Gasol, Bass, and even Humphries because of his intriguing (though possibly deceptive) per 36 numbers, but the Wolves should probably focus elsewhere first.

Should the Wolves sign?: 3. Reed could probably be had for very cheap, so taking a flyer on him wouldn't be all that bad.

The Wolves watched a lot of players go elsewhere yesterday, for better or worse. We'll see what happens today.