Similarly to last season, Minnesota has limited spending power, but can unlock the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception while staying under the luxury tax line. They used that exception to sign both Kyle Anderson and Josh Minott last summer. In order to gain access to the full mid-level again this year, the Wolves’ front office would have to waive Taurean Prince, replace Jordan McLaughlin with a veteran’s minimum contract (about $1.93 million), sign 2023 second-round draftees Leonard Miller (No. 33 overall) and Jaylen Clark (No. 53 overall) to rookie minimums (about $1.1 million), and let Nickeil Alexander-Walker leave in restricted free agency. Prince’s deal is completely non-guaranteed if he’s waived before June 28 (tomorrow).
That would leave the Wolves with just north of $14 million in spending power. Assuming Miller and Clark will become members of the team’s full-time roster (not on two-way contracts), here is a look at the Wolves’ cap sheet:
However, Minnesota could also simply keep Prince beyond his June 28 contract guarantee date, sign back Alexander-Walker on a long-term contract cheaper annually than his $7 million qualifying offer, sign their rookies and stay under the luxury tax in “run it back” mode.
No matter what happens, whether it’s free agency rumors, trade rumors, or anything in between, we’ll keep you updated here and this thread will remain pinned up atop the site for the next week and change.
July 6th, 2:30 PM CT — A McDaniels contract extension is “not close”
After Anthony Edwards agreed to a five-year max contract to remain in the Twin Cities, speculation has started to ramp up regarding when Jaden McDaniels will sign his extension with Minnesota and for how much. However, Darren Wolfson said on a recent episode of SKOR North, that an extension between two parties is “not close.”
I was also told like, it’s not close right now. Not that the deadline is in a day or two, right? They have months to figure this out. Heck, worst case scenario, you don’t sign him to a contract extension now, he’s a restricted free agent next summer, you get this done a year from now. But, they do plan on signing him. They’d like to sign him to the contract extension this summer, but I was told yesterday talks have not progressed to the point of it being on the cusp of happening.
July 2nd, 2:50 PM CT — Garza set to return on a two-way deal
The Timberwolves will run it back for another season with Luka Garza on a two-day deal for the second consecutive season, according to Krawczynski. Expect Matt Ryan to be in the same boat.
June 30th, 7 PM CT — Milton has a team option for Year 2 and we know value amounts
Shake Milton's agreement with the Wolves is a 2-year deal with a team option for the 2nd year.— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) June 30, 2023
So this is what I have:
Wolves should be comfortably under the luxury tax ($3.6M ish) and have the ability to add slightly more than the veteran’s minimum in unrestricted free agency. This would be the case if Nate Knight did not return and they signed rookie Jaylen Clark to a two-way.
June 30th, 6:45 PM CT — Shake Milton agrees to two-year, $10 million deal with Wolves
June 30th, 6:05 PM CT — Brown Jr. contract has a team option for second year
Our friend Jace Frederick of the Pioneer Press reports that the second year of the Brown Jr. contract is a team option. Still no word on the contractual dollar amounts.
June 30th, 5:55 PM CT — Brown Jr., NAW signings will both be for fraction of MLE
According to our friend Dane Moore of Blue Wire, Wolves free agent agreements for Alexander-Walker and Brown Jr. will combine to be less than the full MLE, so the Wolves will have two roster spots open and some space to work with.
June 30th, 5:28 PM CT — Wolves agree to terms with Troy Brown Jr.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Minnesota agreed to a deal with former Los Angeles Laker Troy Brown Jr. It’s a solid pick up for Minnesota to fill what they lost in Taurean Prince, who signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Lakers.
Brown Jr. shot 38.1% from deep on 3.7 attempts per game last season and is a capable defender on the wing. He’s already played in five NBA seasons, but is still yet to turn 24. We’re yet to hear the financial figures there. Brown Jr. is also a solid athlete who has some playmaking chops and boasts a 2-to-1 career assist-to-turnover ratio.
June 30th, 5:25 PM CT — Alexander-Walker deal is two years
And it's done: Nickeil Alexander-Walker has agreed to terms on a two-year deal with the Timberwolves, league sources tell @TheAthletic.— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) June 30, 2023
June 30th, 5:15 PM CT — NAW deal is “nearing”
According to our friend Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, “All signs point to Nickeil Alexander-Walker remaining in Minnesota” and that there is “optimism all around that a deal is nearing.”
June 30th, 12:45 PM CT — Fischer links three names to Timberwolves
The Timberwolves are linked to three players in Yahoo! Sports’ Jake Fischer’s final pre-free agency notebook.
Bruce Brown is “considered to be the top target for Cleveland, Dallas, Minnesota and the Lakers,” Fischer wrote. He added that there has been “plenty of word in recent days that the Indiana Pacers could be the team that slaps a lucrative deal worth over $20 million annually for Brown, sources said.”
In addition to Brown, Fischer listed Minnesota first when listing the three suitors — “Minnesota, Phoenix and Los Angeles [Lakers]” — for former Milwaukee Bucks guard Jevon Carter.
Fischer said there is a long list of interested teams for Wizards guard Monte Morris.
Wizards guard Monte Morris has drawn a long list of interested teams on the trade market, including the Timberwolves and Bulls, led by former Nuggets executives Tim Connelly and Artūras Karnišovas, respectively.
Miami, should the Heat lose Gabe Vincent, Toronto, if VanVleet walks, New Orleans, Utah and Brooklyn have all been mentioned by league sources as teams to watch for Morris.
Lastly, Fischer closed the door on another potential Timberwolves’ option for the MLE.
All indications suggest that former Warriors guard Donte DiVincenzo will be headed to the Knicks, sources said, teaming with old Villanova teammates Brunson and Josh Hart.
June 30th, 12 PM CT — Caris LeVert is on the Wolves’ radar
According to Wolfson, pending unrestricted free agent and former Cleveland Cavaliers combo wing Caris LeVert is on Minnesota’s radar. The 28-year-old averaged 12.1 points on 43.1/39.2/72.2 shooting splits, 3.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists-to-1.6 turnovers, 1.0 steals, and 0.3 blocks across 30.2 minutes per game in a career-high 74 games played. The former Michigan star previously was signed to a three-year, $52.5 million contract signed in 2020.
June 29th, 10:30 PM CT — Wolves decline Nate Knight’s team option
Late Thursday night, Keith Smith reported that the Timberwolves declined Nate Knight’s $1.9 million contract for next season.
Keith reporting here that the Timberwolves have declined Nate Knight's club option for next season. https://t.co/FvMvUdXrPW— Charlie Walton (@CharlieWaltonMN) June 30, 2023
Following this move, Knight will hit unrestricted free agency tomorrow at 5 p.m. CT. The Wolves will have the option of resigning Knight to, perhaps, a longer-term deal. However, with Minnesota having $443 million tied up between Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, and Naz Reid, there just doesn’t seem to be a need for Knight on the roster anymore. Furthermore, as the Wolves continue to deal with cap space issues, clearing up almost $2M in room will be very beneficial in the free agent market this weekend.
June 29th, 4:25 PM CT — Wolves have interest in Eric Gordon
As the opening of free agency crawls closer and closer, the Timberwolves have been in more and more rumors. This time around, Kelly Iko of The Athletic reports the Wolves will pursue recently released shooting guard Eric Gordon. Minnesota joins the Lakers, Grizzlies, Suns, Bucks, and Trail Blazers as a team to register some level of interest in the thirty-four-year-old.
This interest makes sense for a Timberwolves team that just declined Taurean Prince’s option, leaving Kyle Anderson as the best shooter on the bench and maybe the third-best on the whole roster. Gordon shot 37% from deep last year, and a scorching 42.3% after joining the Clippers. He averaged a solid 12.4 points per game and was a spot starter at guard for both the Rockets and Clippers and would be an effective option off the bench.
June 29th, 4 PM CT — Wolves do not extend qualifying offer to Alexander-Walker
The Timberwolves will not extend a $7 million qualifying offer to Nickeil Alexander-Walker, according to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto.
As Dane notes here, and as Jon Krawczynski sure seemed to implicitly say this morning, the Wolves must’ve felt that NAW would’ve ended up taking his qualifying offer at $7 million and entered unrestricted free agency next summer.
From a cap perspective, this all but guarantees that if Nickeil Alexander-Walker re-signs with the Wolves that it will be for a starting salary less than his qualifying offer of $7M— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) June 29, 2023
It means it's also suggests they felt, if offered, NAW would have accepted that 1-year, $7M offer https://t.co/dp0fMiEzLK
Instead, they are eliminating that scenario by hoping to retain him in a more depressed market this summer where they can retain him long-term on a more team-friendly deal.
The Wolves now have about $15.8 million in space beneath the luxury tax and $22.8 million beneath the first apron. That does not account for any potential deals for draft picks Leonard Miller and Jaylen Clark, the latter of whom may accept a two-way deal as he’s expected to miss most of, if not the entire, 2023-24 season.
June 29th, 2:45 PM CT — Minnesota is “open” to a sign and trade with Jaylen Nowell
Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported this afternoon that the Wolves may have an interest in a sign-and-trade that would feature Jaylen Nowell.
Micheal reports here that the Timberwolves are "open" to sign-and-trade possibilities with Jaylen Nowell.— Charlie Walton (@CharlieWaltonMN) June 29, 2023
He also mentioned that the Timberwolves are still interested in Donte DiVincenzo, along with six other teams. https://t.co/SmmutfQTA1
Nowell reached the end of a four-year, $6.6 million contract last season with the Wolves. The 23-year-old guard will hit the free agency market this Friday afternoon. However, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported in late January that Nowell was “leaning toward leaving the team” once he became a free agent. And following a letdown of a 2022-23 campaign in Minnesota, it seemed as if the Wolves had no interest in bringing back his around $2M annual salary as the team needs all the cap space they can gather.
Scotto’s report is the first we’ve heard regarding a potential sign-and-trade with Nowell. However, depending on the size of the potential contract, the Wolves may be able to acquire Monte Morris or Delon Wright from the Wizards in that deal — two veteran point guards that have been reported to be on Minnesota’s radar.
The Timberwolves have engaged the Wizards in discussions about acquiring either Monte Morris or Delon Wright, sources tell The Athletic.— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) June 28, 2023
More details from @davidaldridgedc, @JoshuaBRobbins and @JonKrawczynski:https://t.co/T9E6txfkY9 pic.twitter.com/O7hYn0NDRR
June 29th, 11 AM CT — Alexander-Walker is “a prime target” for the Wolves
In that same article, Krawczynski said that Alexander-Walker is a prime target for the Wolves, but that “not tendering him [the $7 million qualifying offer] would do nothing to dim their desire to keep him. It would just be a way of trying to keep the first-year salary below that QO number.”
While we all thought the Timberwolves would just offer Alexander-Walker that qualifying offer to retain team control, this makes sense if NAW and the team both want to see him back in Minnesota even at a lower figure for multiple years.
June 29th, 10:50 AM CT — Don’t rule out a Prince return to Minnesota
Krawczynski wrote Thursday morning that the team “remains open to the idea of bringing Prince back, depending on how the market shakes out.” The Wolves are creating as much flexibility as possible just to see what’s out there, knowing they can at least come back to Prince and see bringing him back is at least in the cards.
June 29th, 9 AM CT — Timberwolves extend qualifying offers to Matt Ryan, Luka Garza
Keith Smith of Spotrac (and our friends over at CelticsBlog) reported Thursday morning that the Wolves tendered two-way qualifying offers to each of their two-way players from 2022-23. This makes them restricted free agents when free agency opens on Friday evening. Keep in mind that teams will now have three two-way spots instead of just two beginning this upcoming season.
What this means is Garza and Ryan can go out into free agency to try and sign a contract with a different team that is better than a two-way (i.e. a vet minimum), and then the Wolves have the option to match that contract, which would then force them to play that contract in MN.— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) June 29, 2023
June 28th, 4:20 PM CT — Minnesota has engaged Washington about Morris, Wright
According to Jon Krawczynski, Joshua Robbins, and David Aldridge of The Athletic, the Wolves have “engaged the Wizards in discussions about acquiring either veteran Monte Morris, Washington’s current starter at the point, or veteran Delon Wright.”
The Athletic did note that the talks have not been substantive, and that there is no traction on either Morris or Wright in initial discussions.
That can always change, as the Wolves are a logical destination for either of the two guards to play behind starting point guard Mike Conley.
June 28th, 4:03 PM CT — Wolves Waive Prince, Per Woj
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski announced Wednesday afternoon that the Timberwolves have officially waived forward Taurean Prince, allowing him to hit free agency.
The Timberwolves are declining to guarantee Taurean Prince’s $7.4M contract for the 2023-2024 season, sources tell ESPN. Prince — who’s averaged 10.4 points in his seven years — joins the free agent market.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 28, 2023
The Wolves now have Prince’s $7.4 million salary off the books this season, giving them roughly $6.5 million in luxury tax space, presuming they offer Nickeil Alexander-Walker a qualifying offer and sign both Leonard Miller and Jaylen Clark to rookie minimums. If they don’t retain NAW, they could have about $13.7 million in space under the luxury tax, which would all them to spend the full $12.4 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception.
June 28th, 12:45 PM CT - Wolves have had “real discussions” on keeping Prince
Wednesday morning, on his podcast (at the 21-minute mark), Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic touched on the swirling rumors surrounding Prince as we inch closer to the 3:59 PM CT deadline that would make his $7.4 million contract fully guaranteed next season.
There have been real discussions about keeping Taurean Prince. He is one of their best 3-point shooters. He certainly gets out in transition and scores very effectively. He can guard multiple positions. He is a very well thought of presence in the locker room.
So, I do think there has been some discussions about keeping Taurean Prince, whether it’s at the 1-year deal he’s on now, or maybe you waive him and then sign him to a longer term deal that is a little bit less than average annual value, but gives him a little bit more longer term security. That’s possible.
Prince shot a scorching 38.1% from 3 on seven attempts per game last season. As JK said, he was one of their best, most reliable 3-point shooting marksmen last year. And for a team that struggled to put the ball in the basket from beyond, waiving your most prolific outside threat off the bench would be a tough loss. However, if the Wolves can’t come to terms with Prince on a more team-friendly deal, they may have no choice but to part ways with the 29-year-old forward.
June 28th, 11:30 AM CT - Wolves Prince’s contract becomes guaranteed if they trade him
According to Wolfson, Prince’s contract becomes guaranteed “late afternoon central” on Wednesday. Minnesota also would need to guarantee his salary if they were going to trade him, which is a new bit of information as of this morning. Wolfson added that if the Wolves do guarantee Prince’s salary, that they “very, very likely have a trade they know they can make.”
June 27th, 3:45 PM CT - Wolves have held talks with Wizards for point guard Monte Morris
During that same SKOR North episode as mentioned above, Doogie brought up the likelihood of Wolves trading for veteran guard Monte Morris in a deal that would include Prince.
I’ve heard some other stuff, like Monte Morris trade interest. That there has been dialogue with the Washington Wizards. But the Wizards wouldn’t do straight-up Morris for Prince. You would need to incentivize the Wizards with draft pick compensation. Well, the Wolves do have a few second-round picks, but is that enough?
I was told last night [June 26th] that there really isn’t any serious traction with Washington and Minnesota. But, that Tim Connelly, the Wolves, have definitely registered interest in Monte Morris.
It seems increasingly likely that the Wolves will look to move on from Prince before his contract becomes fully guaranteed if the team plans to make any more changes that will affect their cap space. Minnesota has the choice to either trade or waive Prince’s contract before tomorrow.
When looking at trade suitors, being able to move Prince for a veteran backup point guard would be ideal. Being that Minnesota’s front office already dumped two future second-rounders on draft night, the team may be less likely to trade more in exchange for the 28-year-old guard.
June 27th, 3:40 PM CT - Minnesota likely to extend a qualifying offer to Alexander-Walker
Wolfson added a note in the same episode that he would be surprised if the Wolves didn’t extend the offer to the wiry wing defender and secondary playmaker.
Do the Wolves extend a qualifying offer? Does he accept a qualifying offer? I guess would be surprised based on Nickeil’s performance in the playoffs against Denver if the Wolves bypassed offering him a Q.O. Now, does he accept?
The Wolves can rescind that offer at any time, so it makes sense they would, at minimum, extend the qualifying offer to Alexander-Walker and ensure team control of him.
June 27th, 3:30 PM CT - Steam building towards Prince being waived or traded before his contract is guaranteed sometime Wednesday morning
On the latest episode of SKOR North’s Scoops With Doogie, our friend Darren Wolfson of KSTP said “there is a lot of buzz today that the Wolves will either A) waive Taurean Prince or B) trade him.”
Prince is due $7,455,000 if his contract is guaranteed either by the Wolves or another team. His contract could be useful to a team looking to acquire it and then waive him to save a significant chunk of change as teams prepare to open up money to offer potential free agents this weekend.
June 27th, 11:50 AM CT - Wolves, Blazers held trade talks for No. 3 pick
On the latest episode of The Mismatch (around 30:30 into the podcast), The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor said that the Wolves and Portland Trail Blazers held talks involving Karl-Anthony Towns and the No. 3 overall pick in last week’s draft.
“Paul George was the big name that people mentioned that was involved for talks for No. 3, KAT was the other. He didn’t get as much attention, but they did have talks. I don’t think they’re trading Scoot [Henderson] for Karl-Anthony Towns, but maybe you’re trading Anfernee Simons and future picks.
O’Connor went on to say, however, that he didn’t think Simons made sense in a deal for Minnesota alongside Anthony Edwards.
June 27th, 10:30 AM CT - Wolves linked to Bruce Brown, Donte DiVincenzo
According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports, Minnesota re-signing big man Naz Reid has executives around the league “waiting to see if the Timberwolves waive veteran wing Taurean Prince and his non-guaranteed $7.5 million salary.” If the Wolves do in fact waive Prince in an effort to open up that full non-taxpayer mid-level exception, Fischer writes, “there have already been several names linked to the Wolves at that salary slot, and they’re all playmaking, bigger combo guards such as Bruce Brown and Donte DiVincenzo.”
That checks out considering the Timberwolves’ pretty obvious need at backup point guard, and the glaring hole at 2-guard that would open up if they let Alexander-Walker leave in free agency.
Fischer added that there has been “growing noise” about DiVincenzo leaving the Golden State Warriors for the New York Knicks to join former Villanova teammates Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart.