NBA Free Agency: 6 Players Who Could Impact Future of Timberwolves
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Miller may have been a bit over the hill to fit effectively into the Wolves' scheme. However, according to the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda, there are other experienced impact players who could help push this team where it needs to go.
Even considering Love's $13 million contract, GM David Kahn could free up approximately $12 million if he releases Anthony Randolph, Darko Milicic, Michael Beasley and Martell Webster—all players who have yet to prove themselves in Minnesota.
Here are six different players the Wolves could spend their money on in free agency.
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The term "veteran" may be used a bit loosely in this case.
Although O.J. Mayo is only headed into his fifth season in 2012-2013, the 24-year-old shooting guard plays with a basketball I.Q. of someone who's been in the league much longer.
Mayo has, at times, been criticized for his production totals. Granted, 12.6 PPG doesn't exactly scream "impressive." However, Mayo shares playing time with Tony Allen in Memphis, meaning he only averages 28 minutes per game. Taking that into consideration, his numbers can no longer be scoffed at.
Being a restricted free agent, Mayo may prove to be difficult to sign. He'd be a great asset to Minnesota, though, and could fill a hole not satisfied by Wes Johnson or Michael Beasley thus far.
Interestingly enough, the Timberwolves originally drafted Mayo No. 3 overall in 2008 but then traded him to attain Kevin Love. Combining the two now could be the answer Minnesota is looking for.
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He may not have the leadership capacity that Ricky Rubio demonstrates, but Gordon averages 20.6 PPG and 3.4 APG while showing versatility on the floor. He's able to drive the lane and knock them down from the perimeter, and he's much more consistent than either Johnson or Beasley.
Gordon would require a qualifying offer of $5.1 million from Minnesota to consider joining the Wolves roster.
Kahn should strongly consider this deal and the trade off of letting two mediocre shooting guards go to create space for a consistent player like Gordon.
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Nicolas Batum could be an interesting prospect for Minnesota.
A starting shooting guard for the Portland Trail Blazers, the fourth-year Batum averages 13.9 PPG and 4.6 RPG over 30 minutes. While his point total could be higher, he plays consistently across the board, averaging a steal and block per game.
Batum plays well, considering his role in a struggling franchise. Being that Portland's future looks a bit unstable at the moment, he may be more easily persuaded than some of the other players to join Ricky Rubio and the Pack in the Midwest.
In addition, his $3.1 million salary would be much more feasible for Minnesota to take on.
This is a huge shot in the dark, because Minnesota would be forced to overpay the 16-year veteran Ray Allen.
Granted, Allen's one of the best to ever play the game. He continues to shoot with amazing accuracy—including 39 percent from downtown—but he's definitely slowing down.
Allen averages 14.2 PPG and 2.4 APG. These numbers would definitely be an improvement over the streaky Martell Webster, but the veteran is on the decline.
The number of seasons Allen would remain in Minnesota (that is, assuming he'd even consider coming to a small-market team at this point in his career) would not be worth the $10 million owner Glen Taylor would have to dish out for an only-slightly-above-mediocre stat line.
The Timberwolves would be paying prominently for the name on the jersey in this case, and fans shouldn't expect them to pursue this one too hard.
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Averaging 8.8 PPG and 2.6 APG, Landry shows potential and possesses valuable experience as a full-time starter, despite only being 23 years old.
His numbers aren't huge, but they are clearly better than those of current Minnesota starter Wes Johnson. Last season, Johnson earned over $4 million and produced averages of only six points and less than one assist per game.
Bringing in Fields would be an investment on the Wolves' part and, most importantly, it would prove to be a less-expensive purchase, allowing additional salary to be spent elsewhere on the roster.
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Minnesota would have to pay almost $13 million in contract to get him, but it would prove profitable long term.
Having spent eight years in the league, Martin holds a necessary balance of experience and youthful athleticism.
The Ohio native puts up impressive numbers, averaging 17.1 PPG and 2.8 APG. If Martin recovers from a current shoulder injury and stays healthy, his consistency and confidence could fill a huge void on the Target Center hardwood.
An added bonus is Martin's previous time spent playing under now-Minnesota-coach Rick Adelman.
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Headed into next season, and hopefully bringing back a healthy Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic, the Timberwolves will look ahead and make some roster decisions.
Although owner Glen Taylor holds a reputation of being "too frugal" with his money in regards to team decisions, I find it hard to believe the organization would spend the money to bring in Adelman if it wasn't ready to spend money on other necessary puzzle pieces.
Adelman couldn't have put it any better. From The Star Tribune:
When you look at Kevin and you look at Ricky and the style that we're going to play, it's going to be good. I think people will look at it. We have some pieces people would like to play with. I mean, this team was pretty good not long ago and let's face it, guys like to get paid. So if you can pay 'em and you have some people around? There are some positives here.