The Minnesota Timberwolves have a numbers issue at the moment, but it looks to be a pretty good one. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is reporting that the Wolves and second round pick Glenn Robinson III have agreed to a guaranteed deal. Robinson was selected 40th in the 2014 draft and puts the Wolves at 16 players with guaranteed deals and 18 players overall.
Glenn Robinson III has agreed to a guaranteed deal with Minnesota, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. Robinson was 40th pick in 2014 Draft.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) September 16, 2014
Kyrylo Fesenko and Brady Heslip are the two players with non-guaranteed deals for the upcoming season. They’ll come to training camp and be casualties of a crowded roster. But even then, the Wolves have 16 players for 15 spots. That leads to us wondering which player will be the next to go via a trade or a buyout. The top candidate for either is J.J. Barea, which is probably best for all parties involved. Wolves fans can’t stand him because he was asked to play outside of his proper role and failed enough in the process. Barea’s ability (and yes, he has positive abilities for a team) is wasted on a team looking to rebuild and would be much better suited as a scoring spark plug off the bench for a contending team, much like we saw in Dallas.
Barea is owed $4.5 million in the final year of a four-year deal he signed with the Wolves back in 2011, following a championship with the Mavericks. Typically, buyouts for players rest somewhere in that 80% of the money owed range and allow the player to become a free agent and sign with any team that is willing to have him. This seems like the most probable scenario because the Wolves would have zero leverage in a trade and would probably have to give up a second round pick in the process to get rid of him. If you can trade him and get a trade exception back in return, you do it but not if it means giving up a draft pick of any sort (unless it’s heavily protected). The buyout would save the Wolves money (assuming it isn’t for the full amount, which rarely happens), but it wouldn’t improve their cap situation at all.
As for Robinson, it’s great news to know he’ll be fully entrenched with the Wolves this coming season. We could see him spend quite a bit of time in the D-League with Fort Wayne, and really that’s where he should go for most of the year. The Wolves have a bevy of options at the wing positions, which need to be cut down a little bit by the end of next offseason. Let’s take a quick look at a rough draft of the depth chart for the Wolves:
PG: Ricky Rubio, Mo Williams, JJ Barea
SG: Kevin Martin, Zach LaVine, Chase Budinger, Glenn Robinson III
SF: Andrew Wiggins, Corey Brewer, Shabazz Muhammad, Robbie Hummel
PF: Thaddeus Young, Anthony Bennett
C: Nikola Pekovic, Gorgui Dieng, Ronny Turiaf
Eventually, you’d like to hope Flip Saunders can make a deal to move Martin and/or Brewer, maybe even Chase if his knee doesn’t come back to full strength. But a buyout/trade of Barea will set the roster for now and let the Wolves begin the rebuilding process with a lot of athleticism.