The Minnesota Timberwolves were eliminated in the first round for the second straight season. Though the Timberwolves, on paper, boast a talented core of Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Rudy Gobert, the outlook of the franchise seems a bit murky considering their current salary situation and future draft assets.
According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, the Timberwolves are currently $18 million below the luxury tax threshold, with potentially $144 million committed in salaries for 2023-24. They still have decisions to make on Naz Reid and Jaylen Nowell, who are both unrestricted free agents this summer. Apart from securing Anthony Edwards on a long-term deal, retaining those two should be the top priority for the Timberwolves in the offseason. But given their unrestricted status, there is a real chance they could walk away. Nonetheless, if they are able to retain them, that will get them into tax-payer territory.
With that, the Timberwolves don't really have much money to work with in free agency. And given they are in win-now mode in such a crowded Western Conference, they don't have much margin for error in free agency. That's why they should be careful in not signing who may only add to their woes. With that said, here are two free agents the Timberwolves must avoid in free agency.
Based on their team needs, Minnesota has some holes to fill with their wing depth. They may be interested in taking a look at Dillon Brooks. Brooks reportedly will not be brought back by the Memphis Grizzlies “under any circumstances” as infamously reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic. While Brooks will reportedly generate interest around the league, Minnesota should stay away.
Sure, the Canadian fits the bill as a tough defender who is willing to do the dirty work. Minnesota could use a relentless point-of-attack defender that can help ease the load off Rudy Gobert up front.
However, Brooks has problems in terms of his shot selection, which could further impede their 23rd-ranked offensive rating. He takes ill-advised shots too often and doesn't seem to be aware of his role offensively. With that, the Timberwolves should stay away and find someone who plays more within his lane.
2. Derrick Rose
For Minnesota, it may be enticing to bring back a crowd-favorite like Derrick Rose. Rose has a team option, which would likely be declined, this offseason with the New York Knicks.
As mentioned earlier, the Timberwolves could use some more offense and the former league MVP could be slotted as the main sixth man of this team next season. Minnesota was in the middle of the pack in terms of bench production last season due to the emergence of Naz Reid and Jaylen Nowell. If Reid and Nowell walk away, they need to find someone who can take the offensive load in the second unit.
Rose did thrive in that role in the 2018-19 season, where he averaged 18.0 points per game. However, at this point in his career, Rose may no longer be capable of providing that kind of production, even in a reduced role off the bench.
The 34-year-old appeared in just 27 games with the Knicks this past season and was essentially out of the rotation. While a veteran presence like Rose is certainly welcome, they don't need that right now with Mike Conley at the helm.