A Bite of Reality: The Wolves current situation

The Wolves currently have 12 players under contract (With 2 players on 2 way deal), along with 3 "in house" free agents. According to fanspo, currently we are 10.1 Million under the luxury tax. Let's assume Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Balmaro, and Jordan McLaughlin all sign identical 3/10M contracts. This would be roughly $9.6 million in salary; or $500,000 under the luxury tax.

Any free agent signing or trade would require us to stay roughly in this range; with a little wiggle room to stay under the luxury depending on if we could get our in house guys to sign for slightly less. The best way for the Timberwolves to improve this roster is to make moves on the fringes; paying in draft picks to turn end of the bench guys into rotation players.

Free Agent Targets: Paul Millsap, Reggie Jackson, Dennis Schroder, Justise Winslow, James Ennis, Avery Bradley

This is the remaining crop of NBA free agents that could impact our rotation in any meaningful way. We would have to use the majority if not all of the MLE to convince any of these players to sign in Minnesota; so I think that eliminates Ennis and Bradley from any real consideration. Let's assume the Wolves do use the full MLE on Schroder; a 4/37M contract with player options.

Roster size: 16 with 2 2way contracts

Salary above the tax: $9,000,000

Minnesota will be forced to call up OKC in this situation to dump Jarrett Culver and either Jake Layman or Juancho Hernangomez. In this scenario OKC holds all the leverage, and a premium would likely need to be paid. I think some sort of first round pick swap would be required here, and rather than come up with pick protections; I'm going to go all out here and also acquire Lou Dortz.

The Trade: Jarrett Culver, Juancho Hernangomez and a 2022 unprotected pick swap for Lou Dortz and the worst of OKC/MIN/PHX/DET 2022 first round pick.

Roster size: 15 with 2 2way contracts

Salary below the tax: $1,700,000

Rotation: D'lo/Ant/Dortz/McDaniels/KAT
Schroeder - Okoge - Prince - Naz - Nowell - Balmaro - Vanderbilt - Beasley

Sign and Trade: Lauri Markkanen, Josh Hart

Lauri seems to think he's worth 15M plus, as San Antonio turned down including him in the Derozan S&T, and Charlotte opted to pay Kelly Oubre 13M per year. I think that price + the assets we'd have to concede to fit the salary in wouldn't ultimately be worth the cost. Let's say we sign Lauri for 3/45M. Secondary moves would be required here to maneuver under the tax before the end of the league year. Beasley would need to be flipped for small contracts before the trade deadline in this scenario

The Trade: Lauri for Culver, Juancho, Layman, and 3 2nd round picks

Roster size: 13 with 2 2way contracts

Salary above the tax: $1,700,000

Rotation: D'lo/Ant/McDaniels/Markkanen/KAT
Okoge - Prince - Naz - Nowell - Balmaro - Vanderbilt - Beasley

Trade Options: Kyle Kuzma, Danilo Gallinari, Myles Turner, Chris Boucher, Larry Nance Jr., Marcus Morris, Steven Adams, Thaddeus Young, Al-Farouq Aminu, Harrison Barnes, Derrick Favors

I think the Wolves would lean towards the more dispensable guys on this list; as the price to acquire them is likely less than the Turner and Barnes' of the world. In this scenario let's pick Favors. OKC will want draft capital, has ample cap space, and wants out of this contract. The Wolves would have 3.3M to use with their MLE and still be under the luxury tax here. This is where a Bradley or Ennis could come in from the free agents list above.

The Trade: Hernangomez, Culver, and 1 protected 2nd round pick for Favors

Roster size: 14 with 2 2way contracts

Salary below the tax: $3,300,000

Rotation: D'lo/Ant/McDaniels/Favors/KAT
Okoge - Prince - Naz - Nowell - Balmaro - Vanderbilt - Beasley

The Grand Prize: Ben Simmons

With tensions increasing in Philly, The Wolves may still have an outside opportunity to acquire an all star in Ben Simmons. I'm going to assume Ben forces their hand a bit here, and the Wolves can pull this off in this scenario without giving up our Big 3. We would probably only be able to carry 13 full contracts in this situation to stay under the luxury tax, Ennis for 3M would be the ideal goal here.

The Trade: Simmons for Beasley, Prince, McDaniels, Culver, and 3 unprotected first rounders (2023, '25,'27).

Ultimately I think adding in OKC as a third team for Philly to dump contracts too makes this work a little better, as Philly would have 17 players under contract here. Flipping Culver, Prince, and Toliver and a few seconds and/or a pick swap for Derrick Favors gets Philly under the tax here while also netting a real rotation guy.

Roster size: 12 with 2 2way contracts

Salary below the tax: $3,300,000

Rotation: D'lo/Ant/Okoge/Simmons/KAT
Naz - Nowell - Balmaro - Vanderbilt - McLaughlin - Layman

Here are all the realistic options I think are out there for our team. Which option would you all most like to see?