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Timberwolves Re-Sign Jordan McLaughlin, Release Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

The roster shakeup continues as Minnesota prepares for the upcoming start of the regular season.

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Memphis Grizzlies v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Minnesota Timberwolves wrapped up their preseason this past Thursday with a comeback victory against the Dallas Mavericks, which signaled a small break from Wolves-related news between then and the start of the regular season.

Or so we thought.

First, it was announced minutes before Thursday’s preseason finale that the Timberwolves has finally re-signed fan favorite Jordan McLaughlin to a two-way deal, giving the team additional depth at the PG position:

While many fans (myself included) believed that J-Mac was worthy of a much stronger contract offer, the Wolves used something they rarely possess — leverage — to bring back a talented player on a deal that was extremely fan friendly. McLaughlin will slot into the third PG role for the team, but considering all of the variables heading into this specific season (condensed schedule, injuries, COVID-19), I would imagine there will be plenty of opportunities for Jordan to see the floor and (hopefully) help the team.

When news broke that McLaughlin signed a two-way deal, it signaled that the team would not have to make any additional roster moves prior to the start of the season this upcoming Wednesday.

Or so we thought.

Real talk — this was a massive head-scratcher. RHJ struggled to find a competitive offer in the shortened offseason, which led to him signing a training camp deal with Minnesota. He balled out in a blowout loss to Memphis last week, and showed the type of grit, energy, and defensive prowess that this franchise has lacked for as long as I can remember.

Why did they make this move (when technically speaking they didn’t have to), well, I’m still pretty stumped. As Jon and Dane mention below, the overall strategy here is roster flexibility (as well as financial flexibility), so that’s probably the best explanation we will get for the time being.

Both of these tweets make perfect sense, but from an on-court perspective, it’s hard to argue that this move did anything but make the team (slightly) worse. While I agree with Dane that this was always a numbers game and that RHJ was going to struggle to find rotation minutes (which is a separate topic in and of itself), making a move that isn’t all that necessary simply for future roster flexibility is a tough (albeit small) pill to swallow.

Again, the NBA is a numbers game, and playing time is often tied directly into how much a player receives in their direct deposit. While RHJ showed far more than a guy like Juancho Hernangomez did during the shortened preseason, the Wolves are financially committed to the recent movie star, which means he will get multiple opportunities to show that his performance after the trade deadline this past spring was not a fluke.

Switching gears for a second to something far more important, I just wanted to take a moment to express my sincere condolences for the loss of a true Minnesota legend — Tom Hanneman. As many of you know, it was announced yesterday afternoon that Tom passed away at the age of 68. Hanneman was truly one of the good guys — not only in sports media, but in the world in general.

There were some really fantastic articles written about Tom yesterday by members of the local media, and I’d like to share them below.

Many of you have your own stories about Tom Hanneman, and I strongly encourage you to share them below. 2020 has been one of (if not the) most difficult years for so many of us, and this latest loss is just another severe gut punch to the entire Minneapolis community.

On behalf of everyone at Canis, I want to send our sincere thoughts and prayers to the Hanneman family. And to all of you reading this, please continue to be well, stay safe, and do whatever you possibly can to continue to express your love for the people you hold dearest to you in your lives.