There’s no doubt that Anthony Bennett is on course to become one of the biggest busts in NBA draft history, and the Minnesota Timberwolves are unlikely to pick up his option for the 2016-2017 season.
Making $5.8 million in the 2015-2016 season, Bennett’s option for the season after that is $7.3 million, and the Timberwolves have until November 2 to decide whether or not to keep him for another season.
Having a good Pan-American tournament won’t help him stay with the team and avoid free agency. His NBA numbers, including last season, when he got more chances and lost some weight after an awful rookie season in Cleveland, weren’t very promising. He averaged 5.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 15 minutes a night. His shooting improved from all ranges, including 42.1% from the field and 30.4% from beyond the arc.
But his per minute numbers aren’t eye popping and Minnesota was often better with him off the court, whether he was playing power forward or center. Yes, he’ll probably be making progress, but he also has Nemanja Bjelica to compete with. There’s also Kevin Garnett, maybe Adrian Payne, and we’ll see how the center-power forward thing works, with Nikola Pekovic and Karl-Anthony Towns on the team as well.
In short? Bennett might carry on improving to become a more useful, serviceable NBA player. But is he worth the fourth year option? While $7.3 million won’t sound like much once the salary cap bounces to incredible levels ($89 million is the project number for the 2016-2017 season), a player who really doesn’t give a team anything extra isn’t worth even that.