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NBA Free Agency Day 1: Clearing Cap Space Around Jeff Teague

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Jeff Teague is a Timberwolf but free agency has just begun. Tom Thibodeau could continue to be active today.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Day 1 of the Jeff Teague era has commenced where amidst frustration and sadness surrounding a unicorn named Rick, there is more work to be done.

After signing Teague to a three-year contract worth $57 (likely starting at $18.1 million), the Wolves are left with $7.25 million in cap space to work with today. As the Wolves have been reportedly pursuing J.J. Redick, Jonathan Simmons, C.J. Miles, Anthony Tolliver, Mike Muscala, Taj Gibson, and my best friend in the whole wide world—Paul Millsap.

Every one of those names listed above would require the Wolves clearing more than the $7.25 million they currently have in space. The more space cleared, the bigger the name.

Step 1: Renounce Shabazz Muhammad $7.6 million cap hold

Withdrawing the qualifying offer to Muhammad and renouncing his rights would unleash an additional $7.6 million in cap space. Totaling $14.85 million in space.

This puts the Wolves in the market for Jonathan Simmons—offered a three-year, $27 million contract by the San Antonio Spurs—and Taj Gibson—who will require an eight-figure salary. Anthony Tolliver and (Minnesota native) Mike Muscala would both certainly be able to be obtained for a number far less.

Step 2: Trade Cole Aldrich and his $7.3 million contract

If the Wolves want to get into the $20-plus million realm, moving Aldrich is the most feasible. Aldrich has two years and a relatively cheap $14.25 million (the second year partially guaranteed) left on his deal. The $7.3 million Aldrich is due this year being “dumped” along with renouncing Muhammad puts the Wolves at $21.35 million in space as $815k needs to be saved as a “roster hold.”

With $21.35 million in space, the Wolves would then be in J.J. Redick waters. Redick is meeting with Philadelphia for what is speculated to be a one-year $20 million deal. If Redick is offered a multi-year deal, the price point drops to $16-18 million, per reports on a multi-year deal from Brooklyn.

C.J. Miles is another option that could require the move of Aldrich. However, Darren Wolfson reports Miles is more of a “plan C or D” if the Wolves miss out on Redick or a power forward.

Step 3: Trade Gorgui Dieng and his $14.1 million contract

Wolfson’s report of a “power forward” (amongst other reports) implies the Paul Millsap option is still alive. To make this option work, assuming Millsap wants a max, the Wolves would need to renounce Muhammad, trade Cole Aldrich, AND trade Gorgui Dieng who is, now, on a four-year $64 million contract.

A max contract for Millsap starts at $34.65 million. My bar napkin (Twitter) math suggests step 1, 2, and 3 in conjunction get the Wolves right to that number.

This type of move would require the Wolves take back no money in an Aldrich or Dieng trade. The first round pick the Wolves acquired yesterday (or some additional asset) may have to be a sweetener to convince a team (or multiple teams) to take on the big men.

This option would leave the bench very thin—Tyus Jones, Nemanja Bjelica, and Justin Patton—but Paul Millsap is quite good.

Of course, in clearing cap space, another option is grouping smaller deals together so as to not go “all-in” on one player. The craziness continues, what path would you like to see?

NOTES FROM AROUND THE LEAGUE:

  • Jrue Holiday is staying with the Pels at a reported 5 years, $126M.
  • Tony Snell is re-upping with the Bucks for 4/$44M.
  • Joe Ingles seems likely to command around $15M a year on a 4 year deal.
  • Things seem to be moving slower than they did during last year’s frenzy.
  • Paul George to OKC is awesome. Great trade for the Thunder. YOLO.

Wolves Current Cap Space

Player Salary 2017-18 Notes
Player Salary 2017-18 Notes
Jimmy Butler $19,301,070
Jeff Teague $18,100,000 estimate
Gorgui Dieng $14,112,360
Shabazz Muhammad $7,615,748 cap hold
Andrew Wiggins $7,574,323
Cole Aldrich $7,300,000
Karl-Anthony Towns $6,216,840
Nemanja Bjelica $3,949,999
Tyus Jones $1,471,382
roster hold $815,615
roster hold $815,615
roster hold $815,615
roster hold $815,615
Kevin Martin $1,360,305 stretched
Sum of Salaries $90,264,487
Salary Cap $99,093,000
Cap Space $8,828,513
Renounce Shabazz Muhammad $7,615,748
Add One Roster Hold -$815,615
Cap Space w/out Muhammad $15,628,646
Trade Cole Aldrich $7,300,000
Add One Roster Hold -$815,615
Cap Space w/out SM and CA $22,113,031
Trade Gorgui Dieng $14,112,360
Add One Roster Hold -$815,615
Cap Space w/out SM, CA, and GD $35,409,776