Cole Aldrich to Timberwolves: Latest Contract Details and Reaction

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured Columnist

Los Angeles Clippers center Cole Aldrich (45) lays the ball up as Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors, rear, defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 8, 2016, in Salt Lake City. The Clippers won 102-99 in overtime. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Cole Aldrich declined his $1.2 million player option with the Los Angeles Clippers in early June, and the career journeyman evidently made a wise choice.  

ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported on July 3 that Aldrich inked a three-year deal worth $22 million with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves confirmed the signing on Wednesday.

Aldrich averaged a modest 5.5 points and 4.8 rebounds during his lone campaign with the Clippers, but he came on strong as the regular season wrapped up. 

Over the course of seven April appearances, including two starts, Aldrich averaged 9.4 points and 8.6 rebounds while shooting 75 percent from the field. 

On a per-36-minute basis, Aldrich enjoyed the finest season of his career.

As a key member of the Clippers' bench mob, Aldrich posted 14.8 points, 13.0 rebounds and 3.1 blocks on the adjusted scale while developing into a dependable defender below the free-throw line. 

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Although his offense has always been limited to looks below the free-throw line—not a single one of his field-goal attempts came from beyond 16 feet last season—Aldrich served as a net positive for a Clippers defense that needed his robust presence with Blake Griffin sidelined. 

According to NBA.com's lineup data, Los Angeles allowed just 99.8 points per 100 possessions with Aldrich on the floor, a number that compared favorably to the team's defensive rating of 101.2 with him on the bench. 

"For me, it's just coming in and just doing my job, finding a way, whatever we can do to get a win," Aldrich said in April, per the Orange County Register's Dan Woike. "Sometimes you walk out with bruises and scars and a missing tooth. It’s just all part of it."

Aldrich isn't going to change the complexion of Minnesota's frontcourt in a particularly big way, but he will give the Timberwolves some peace of mind and depth behind Gorgui Dieng and the oft-injured Nikola Pekovic. 

Although Aldrich may not have been a free-agent jewel by any stretch, he is a reliable, durable and overlooked big who isn't afraid to do the dirty work below the free-throw line. 

And while his contributions may not always show up in the box score, Aldrich is capable of affecting the game as a savvy defender. Both Dieng and Karl-Anthony Towns are strong in that area as well, so Minnesota's 23rd-ranked scoring defense from last season figures to improve.


Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com unless noted otherwise.  


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