The Minnesota Timberwolves tip off their 2011-12 season in just 16 days on December 26th.
That means Timberwolves’ GM David Kahn and head coach Rick Adelman have 12 days to get their opening roster set. That could come in the form of a free agent signing or a trade.
In order to execute a trade, the Wolves will surely use one of their future draft picks. And due to their abundance of cap space, the Wolves are still able to make a semi-splash in free agency, or also adding a player with a sizable contract.
Here are the Wolves assets that don’t come in the form of actual basketball players. Although in some cases- Nikola Pekovic– a piece of paper that says “Utah Jazz Protected 1st Round Pick” would have a better chance of catching a Ricky Rubio no look pass.
For this season, the NBA’s salary cap will be 58.044 million dollars.
After the Lazar Hayward trade to Oklahoma City, and estimating that JJ Barea will be owed about 4.5 million this season, and figuring that the combined rookie contracts of Derrick Williams and Malcom Lee will be worth about 2 million dollars, the Wolves salary is at 53.5 million dollars give-or-take a couple hundred-thousand. About 4.5 million dollars below the salary cap.
With that money the Wolves could add a scorer like Kevin Martin via a trade with Houston. Martin is scheduled to make 12.02 million dollars this season. Factoring in a player or two that would be sent to Houston in a potential deal, the Wolves would more than likely stay below the soft salary cap and avoid paying a cap penalty.
The Wolves could also use that remaining 4.5 millions dollars in cap space to sign a cheap option on the wing. Josh Howard, who can play both shooting guard and small forward positions, would be a potential candidate if the Wolves go that route.
The Wolves could also use their amnesty option on a variety of different players. That would free up more cap space to either sit on for next year, or make a play at a higher caliber free agent.
2012 Draft Picks: (Note: Like you didn’t already know, the Wolves don’t have their own first round pick this season, no matter where the pick falls… Sorry, just had to get it out there.)
Utah Jazz 1st round pick. Here are the restrictions to that asset.
- Top 14 protected in 2012
- Top 12 protected in 2013
- Top 9 protected in 2014
- The Wolves receive a 2nd round pick from Utah if they don’t receive a first round pick from Utah by 2014.
The Wolves also own two conditional second round picks from Oklahoma City from the Lazar Hayward trade earlier this week.
2013 Draft Picks:
The Wolves own their own first round pick in 2013.
Memphis Grizzlies’ first round pick (via Houston)
- Top 14 protected from 2013-2016
- Turns into an extremely confusing circus of rotating second round picks after 2016
The Wolves also own New Jersey’s second round pick
2014 Draft Picks:
The Wolves only first round pick in 2014 is their own.
With the NBA season beginning in just 12 days for the Timberwolves, there are still some moves that could be made. Any potential deal would need incorporate some of the assets that the Wolves own in the form of cap space and future draft picks.
Brett is a Contributor to The Sports Bank. He covers all things Minnesota sports. You can follow him on Twitter @brettcloutier