According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Minnesota Timberwolves will waive forward Taurean Prince, ending his time in Minnesota. The 29-year-old will now hit free agency and bring his high-level shooting and veteran leadership to another team.
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
Prince was acquired by Minnesota on August 2, 2021 in a deal that sent beloved-Wolf Ricky Rubio to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Prince and a second-round pick (which ended up being Bryce McGowens).
Over his two seasons in the Twin Cities, the veteran forward averaged 8.1 points per game and just under 38% shooting from beyond the arc. During his time as a Wolf, he was a valuable floor spacer and locker room presence for a young Timberwolves roster.
He also provided us this fantastic photo/celebration:
After re-signing center Naz Reid, it became more likely the Wolves would waive Prince before his $7,455,000 non-guaranteed salary became guaranteed late this afternoon, and instead opt for further flexibility below the luxury tax. Recent draft choices Leonard Miller and Jaylen Clark, Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s restricted free agency, a crowded front-court rotation, and being pressed near the luxury tax all contributed to a decision to part ways with the former Baylor Bear.
As the idea of the Wolves using the full MLE ($12.4M) is gaining some steam, a reminder: A team can only use that MLE if they stay below the 1st apron.— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) June 27, 2023
Even if paying the tax were approved, they don't have space below 1st apron to do all three of: MLE; guarantee TP; re-sign NAW. pic.twitter.com/SaAuzdFtea
Prince’s salary was set to become guaranteed “late afternoon central,” according to Darren Wolfson of KSTP, so the front office took the decision to retain or release him all the way down to the buzzer.
As mentioned in our Minnesota Timberwolves 2023 Free Agency Rumor tracker, Wolfson said on SKOR North’s Scoops With Doogie that “there is a lot of buzz today that the Wolves will either A) waive Taurean Prince or B) trade him.”
Although we don’t know exactly how active the team was in shopping him, Minnesota’s front office could’ve traded him to a team that wanted to clear cap space, and all that team would have had to do was acquire him and then waive him.
Wolfson also mentioned that the Wolves had talked with the Washington Wizards, possibly about a deal for guard Monte Morris, but that the Wizards would need draft capital or other incentive in that potential deal.
Ultimately, the team couldn’t find a trade partner that offered a return they were comfortable with, and therefore, decided it best to waive Prince.
Here’s a look at the team’s finances moving forward, presuming the Wolves offer Alexander-Walker a qualifying offer and sign both Miller and Clark to rookie minimums. If Minnesota lets NAW walk, they could have about $13.7 million in space beneath the luxury tax, enough to spend the full $12.4 non-taxpayer mid-level exception.
As we noted yesterday in our Free Agency Thread, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports, Minnesota has registered interest in Bruce Brown and Donte DiVincenzo, among several other names that are “all playmaking, bigger combo guards.”
Who knows what will happen when free agency opens, but the Wolves figure to be active in going about replacing Prince, who became a fan favorite in his two-plus seasons in Minnesota.