With the release of the 2021-2022 regular season schedule upon us and the Patrick Beverley trade finalized, what is next for the Minnesota Timberwolves this offseason?
We all know Gersson Rosas is willing to make whatever trade is necessary to bring high valued players around the league to Minnesota and after the Patrick Beverley trade, where we saw Juancho Hernangomez and Jarrett Culver depart, what is next for the team?
The ongoing talks between the Wolves and the 76ers has been a theme the last couple of months, but none of them have been serious enough. There are a lot of rumors circulating Twitter, and a package I have seen that could entice the 76ers included Leandro Bolmaro, Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, and three first round picks. If the 76ers continue to hold onto Simmons until training camp, this could possibly be a trade we see come late September or early October (depending of course on what other offers are out there and who a third team may be to turn Minnesota’s picks into win-now players for Philadelphia).
Regarding Simmons in Minnesota, I have seen mixed emotions across social media if a trade would ever happen. I do think if the price isn’t steep, which means keeping KAT, D’Angelo, Ant, and McDaniels, the Wolves definitely should pull it off.
As for free agency, it is indeed still open and the Wolves continue to have contract talks with Jarred Vanderbilt, which should be one of the top priorities for the Wolves to bring back. Vando brought a lot of great energy when he was on the court last season, and as he enters a potential third season with the team, with an increased role, I believe he has great potential to improve offensively and being a lot sharper on defense.
If the Wolves end up bringing back Vando, the roster count would be at 13 and a couple two-way players. To fill out another roster spot, some free agents to look at would be Avery Bradley, who would be a great off the bench defender and spot up shooter, Aron Baynes who would bring some outside shooting, and Isaiah Hartenstein, who has had talks with the Wolves and has major upside since he is still only 23 years old.
Remaining 2021 NBA Free Agents
Bradley didn’t have the best season with the Rockets last season and only appeared in 27 games, 10 with the Heat and 17 with Houston, but he is a 36.3% career three point shooter and 11.5 point per game scorer for his career. He would obviously come off the bench, but he could give the team another on-ball defender to pair with Patrick Beverley, and to the surprise of many (myself included), he’s still only 30-years old.
The Australian big man had a career year a couple seasons ago with the Phoenix Suns, averaging 11.5 points and being a 30.8% career three point shooter as well. A lineup with KAT at the 4 and Baynes at the 5 could also be a scenario that Chris Finch relies on since both can shoot and run the PNR.
Baynes did suffer a fairly significant neck injury during the 2020 Summer Olympics earlier this month, which could rule him out for the entire 2021-22 season. If that is indeed the diagnosis, then that would also rule him out as a potential minimum-priced free agent target for Minnesota.
This might be my favorite under-the-radar free agent — Hartenstein hasn’t made a name for himself in the league at 23, but with 16 games played for the Cavs last season, he averaged 8.2 points and shot 33.3% from three.
There are probably other players currently more desirable to the Wolves front office and fan base (i.e. Paul Millsap), but Hartenstein could be an interesting player with solid potential to add to the backend of the roster.
The remaining free agent list is dwindling fast, but are there any targets remaining that you think would be worthy of a flier? Comment below.