Soon after the “official” start of NBA Free Agency kicked off at 12:00am ET, the Wolves moved quickly to re-sign one of their top FA targets:
Free agent Derrick Rose is finalizing a one-year deal to return to Minnesota, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2018
While this move was disappointing to some, it was also far from unexpected. Since Tom Thibodeau arrived in Minnesota back in the summer of 2016, he has made no secrets about acquiring former players who he trusts and had success with in the past. Whether or not the Wolves signed Rose was never really the question, but just how much they would offer him was the real interesting subplot.
Well, according to The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski, the Wolves got their man for the veteran minimum, meaning their use of the MLE is still strongly in play:
Wolves have locked in Derrick Rose for 1-year, $2.393 million, according to sources.— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) July 1, 2018
The signing of Derrick Rose brings out strong emotions from each side, and that’s totally understandable. Some people don’t like him on the court, most people dislike him off the court, and some people just dislike him from all angles.
For me personally, considering this deal was always going to happen, I’m at least relieved that Thibs and Layden didn’t outbid themselves for a player who didn’t have a strong market anyway. Rose can still play (ideally alongside Tyus in the second unit), and a minimum deal is a good deal for both teams, considering money won’t really be an issue for Rose this upcoming season:
By being on a NBA roster, DRose’s Adidas contract kicks in and will pay him more than $14.5 Million for the 2018-19 season. He’ll wear the DRose 9 signature shoe this year. https://t.co/A3TAMfntKa— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) July 1, 2018
Aside from Rose, the other somewhat “breaking” news during the first night of free agency involved Mr. Jimmy Butler:
The Timberwolves began free agency by informing star guard Jimmy Butler that they intend to offer him a maximum contract extension valued in the four-year, $110 million range as soon as he's eligible to sign the deal on July 9, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 1, 2018
While any tweet last night involving the “Timberwolves” or “Jimmy Butler” got my heart racing, this specific tweet doesn’t mean much. However, as Jon K points out, this offer doesn’t mean a deal is done:
There is zero indication Jimmy Butler will take this extension. Would be giving up WAY too much money. https://t.co/y3LfArjLDL— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) July 1, 2018
In other words, offering this deal to Jimmy right now is basically the Wolves performing due diligence, even though they (and most of us) know that Jimmy will likely wait a year so he can optimize his salary earnings.
It’s been a surprisingly slow start to the 2018 free agency, with most players re-signing with their current team (the only real shocker came with Trevor Ariza agreeing to a one-year/$15 million deal with the Phoenix Suns). While the world waits on LeBron James, it appears most free agents are trying to get their money as fast as possible rather than wait on the King’s decision.
For the Wolves, this may provide the opportunity to strike on a certain player they want rather than wait it out for the market to settle. As mentioned above, the signing of Rose to the vet minimum keeps the window open to use the MLE, which could be even more valuable as players pounce on any available money that’s out there.
We’re less than 24 hours into July, but expect some massive fireworks to come very soon...