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Working the Margins: Free Agent Finds

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As a cap strapped team, Minnesota must work the margins to find value.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that Minnesota is one of the most capped-out teams in the NBA, and, barring any drastic changes, will be one of many teams that will need to fill out their roster with players on minimum or near minimum contracts. Namely, Minnesota is likely going to need some depth at either PF and/or PG, so who are a few names at each position that might make some sense?

Let’s start with a few point guards that will be available for cheap. When you’re looking to fill out the roster with a cheap PG, you’re not looking for a guy who’s going to give you 25 minutes a night with stellar production. You’re looking for someone more in the 15-20 minutes range (at the most) who can eat some minutes without screwing everything up.

One name that sticks out to me is Ryan Arcidiacono. The former national champion from Villanova is not a flashy player by any means, but he can come in and not screw things up. Arch is a very good shooter (37.4% from three) with a very good AST/TO ratio that sits at above 3/1.

He’s not a world beater, but it’s definitely worth noting that last year Arch posted a +6 on/off net-rating for Chicago. Now, Chicago was terrible, and those numbers can be noisy. It’s encouraging though that he (kind of?) made a positive impact on such a bad team. Minnesota could do worse than signing him to a minimum contract.

Another name that sticks out to me is Quinn Cook. There aren’t many PG’s who will offer a whole lot of anything that sign minimum contracts this offseason, but, at the very least, Cook can really light it up from three (career 41.8% 3P%) if he were thrust into action.

While Arcidiacono is someone who could probably take some real minutes in the rotation, Cook would be more likely to play solely in emergency. If you’d rather use a two-way spot for PG depth instead of adding someone like Cook, I won’t argue against that. There are worse things to have on your bench than guys who can create their own shot and make a lot of threes, though.

In terms of what types of PF’s the Wolves might target on a cheap deal, it comes down to finding someone who can either stretch the floor a bit and/or defend multiple positions somewhat competently. It’s difficult to find someone who can do both of those things for cheap, but finding someone who can do one or the other has to be a priority given their current roster construction.

On a one year deal, it would be fun to see someone like Jared Dudley on the Timberwolves. He’s a great locker room guy, and has shown the ability to knock down threes while not getting completely killed on defense. There’s a chance he’ll be more expensive than I think he will be, but Dudley would be a best case scenario as Minnesota fills out the ends of their bench.

He should NOT be the plan to start. It seems likely that Minnesota will use most or all of their Mid-Level Exception to find a starting forward, and having Dudley as some depth would be a solid move.

The other guy I’d look at is someone the Wolves are very familiar with, Anthony Tolliver. It’s unclear whether Tolly will even want to come back given his lack of consistent role last year, but if he does, his shooting and competent team defense would be just the kind of depth the Wolves could use.

The other guy to look at would be Mike Scott. He’ll probably be a bit more expensive than Dudley or Tolliver, but on something close to the Bi-Annual Exception (~$5 million), he would be a really nice addition. Scott is a hard-nosed player who is a willing and (mostly) able three point shooter.

One thing to keep in mind as Minnesota tries to fill out their forward positions is that Gersson Rosas has stated that he believes the four is Robert Covington’s best position. If Minnesota is really that committed to Cov playing the four for a large portion of each game, they might not even spend an extra roster spot on an extra four man.

It’s not ridiculous to expect them to enter camp with a front court rotation of (for example) Jamychal Green/Robert Covington/KBD with Gorgui Dieng/Karl-Anthony Towns. It all really depends on how Rosas views his group of wing-ish players and how he wants to use his available roster spots.

For a few more days, we wait to see what the New Wolves Order has cooked up.