The Minnesota Timberwolves have come to an agreement with forward Josh Minott — the No. 45 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft — on a four-year, $6.8 million deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The former four-star prospect has impressed in his four Summer League performances thus far, averaging 12.3 points on 34.6/45.5/72.7 shooting splits, 9.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks across 26.5 minutes of action per game.
His energy, defensive versatility, improved 3-point shooting, activity and rebounding have popped in his minutes. Minott’s 9.5 rebounds per game ranks fifth in all of Summer League among players who have played four games. His 4.5 offensive rebounds per contest is second among that same group.
Minott didn’t make much of an impact in his freshman season at Memphis, partly because he was recruited by Memphis’s lead assistant at the time, not Head Coach Penny Hardaway, which complicated his role last season. Nonetheless, Minott averaged 6.6 points on 52.2/14.3/75.4 shooting splits, 3.8 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.7 blocks per game in 14.6 minutes per contest.
Whether or not Minott will begin the season with the Iowa Wolves in the G-League remains to be seen. But if he won’t be getting NBA minutes, it may be wise for him to see as much game action as he can to polish his skills in live action, while flying between Des Moines and Minneapolis whenever he can for practice time and shootarounds with the NBA Wolves.
Minott’s deal will likely be paid for in Year 1 using the remainder of the Timberwolves’ non-taxpayer mid-level exception (MLE), $1,690,000. If that is in fact the case, Minnesota will still have the bi-annual exception (BAE) of $4,105,000 available to use, and the team will be roughly, $4.23 million below the luxury tax.
Here’s a look at the Wolves’ updated cap sheet, using a few assumptions:
- Minott’s deal is using the MLE, which allows a maximum of four years on the contract, with 5% annual raises. Because of this, the remaining $1.5 million ($6.8 million reported in total value - $5.3 million in cap hits) in his contract probably is in unlikely incentives (which do not count against the cap unless they are reached). Considering Minott will not play much, I’d bet the Wolves made those incentive requirements essentially unattainable.
- The first two years of Minott’s deal are fully guaranteed, while the final two years are either partially guaranteed or non-guaranteed.
- Forward Nathan Knight will sign his restricted free agency tender, putting him on a two-way contract for next season. Minnesota would then have one two-way spot remaining. Summer League standout guard Kevon Harris could be a name to watch there.
This deal gives the Wolves the flexibility to explore a wide range of options using the BAE if they choose to use it for the final roster spot. Based on how they structured Kyle Anderson’s deal with the MLE — and with Minott in mind — I expect the Minnesota front office to use that BAE in some capacity, whether it is a partial use of it or complete use of it. However, given the stagnant nature of things across the league until the Kyrie Irving/Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant dominos fall, it may be a little bit before the team uses it.
If the Wolves choose to go that route, don’t be surprised if Minnesota targets a legit center (not a small-ball one of Naz Reid’s type), such as DeMarcus Cousins — who played for President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly’s Nuggets last year and under Head Coach Chris Finch when he was the offensive coordinator in New Orleans in 2017-18 — or incumbent veteran addition Greg Monroe.
A defender at the point of attack may be an option as well, but considering the team just agreed to terms with Austin Rivers on Thursday night, that may no longer be as pressing of a need. Eric Bledsoe, Avery Bradley, Lance Stephenson, and Trent Forrest are options if the Wolves go down that path.
You can catch Minott, as well as fellow 2022 draftees Wendell Moore Jr. and Matteo Spagnolo, in the Wolves’ final summer league matchup today against the Charlotte Hornets at 4 PM CT on NBA TV.