Minnesota Timberwolves

Offseason Outlook: What's next for the Minnesota Timberwolves?

The Minnesota Timberwolves still have 11 games remaining this season, but now that they've officially been eliminated from the playoffs, they can start to shift their attention to the offseason.

It's going to be another interesting offseason for the Timberwolves. While they won't likely have much cap space to work with in free agency, they could add another talented prospect to their young core through the NBA Draft.

For more on what could be to come, here's a look at what the Timberwolves will be working with...

Upcoming free agents

The Timberwolves will have an opportunity to run it back with almost the exact same roster next season.

The only player slated to be an unrestricted free agent is Ed Davis, who has appeared in only 22 games this season. Jarred Vanderbilt and Jordan McLaughlin, meanwhile, will be restricted free agents, giving the Timberwolves control over whether or not they return.

Timberwolves set to be free agents (2021)
Unrestricted Free Agent(s) Restricted Free Agent(s)
Ed Davis, C Jarred Vanderbilt
Jordan McLaughlin

Looking forward, Ricky Rubio is under team control for one more season while D'Angelo Russell has two more seasons remaining on his contract. Malik Beasley has a team option in his contract for 2023-24, and the soonest Karl-Anthony Towns can be an unrestricted free agent is 2024.

The downside of having everyone under contract for the foreseeable future is the Timberwolves have limited cap space. According to Basketball Reference, they already have $131.1 million committed to next season's roster. Their best shot at upgrading their roster or shaking it up will be via trade.

- Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles)

The 2021 NBA Draft

According to Tankathon, the Timberwolves have a 40.1 percent chance to land a top-three pick, which bodes well for their future. The only problem: if that pick lands outside the top three, it will be conveyed to the Golden State Warriors as part of the deal that sent D'Angelo Russell to Minnesota in return for Andrew Wiggins.

Those same Tankathon odds give the Warriors a 59.8 (!) percent chance of receiving that pick from the Timberwolves.

For the sake of this article, let's say Minnesota does get to make a selection in the top three. Who should it take?

Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham is the clear favourite to be selected first overall and although the Timberwolves seem to have their backcourt of the future shored up in Russell and Anthony Edwards, it might be too tough to pass on a franchise-altering talent like Cunningham if they won the lottery for the second year in a row.

In terms of filling a need, it makes the most sense for the Timberwolves to take 6-foot-8 forward Jonathan Kuminga, who is the most versatile two-way player in this draft class. With Russell, Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns, this Minnesota team has plenty of offence. Kuminga would give them a defensive stopper who can defend multiple positions while still providing some offence, fitting in seamlessly with the franchise cornerstones that are already in place.

The Timberwolves now just have to hope the ping pong balls fall in their favour and land inside the top three.

- Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_)

One burning question

Is this the beginning of something special?

It's been another rough season for the Timberwolves, but the potential is clear. Towns is a two-time All-Star who is one of the most talented centres in the league. The No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Edwards got off to a slow start but has proven himself to be a special talent lately, averaging 23.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.7 steals over his last 29 games. In his first season with the Timberwolves, Malik Beasley has had a breakout campaign to the tune of 19.6 points per game.

The Timberwolves also got one of the steals of the 2020 NBA Draft in Jaden McDaniels. He's averaging only 6.8 points per game, but McDaniels is a big-time talent on defence.

Perhaps the most interesting player on Minnesota's roster is Russell, who has been limited to 31 games due to injury. Edwards continuing to trend in the direction he's heading would take some pressure off of Russell to regain his All-Star form, but the franchise has a lot riding on him being a key piece of their core moving forward, having given up that protected pick to the Warriors for him.

Step one for Russell will be getting healthy.

- Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles)

One stat to know

Towns, Edwards and Russell have only logged 128 minutes over 13 games together as of this writing. The three of them have been dynamite offensively, scoring at a rate of 125.0 points per 100 possessions, but they've been a sieve defensively, giving up 126.2 points per 100 possessions. 128 minutes is a small sample size, but Towns, Edwards and Russell are each known far more for their offence than their defence.

- Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles)

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