The Minnesota Timberwolves have been playing an elusive game regarding their intentions for their point guard position in the near future and long term. It’s hard to tell what their plans are with the name of Derrick Rose being linked to the team recently.
Rose is coming off his one-year experience with the failing New York Knicks, averaging 18 points per game in a disappointing season for him and for the team. The Knicks won just 31 games while Rose was heavily criticized for his defense and his ability to run an offense. He had a falling out with the team in January which made him leave for a short time. It’s his first time hitting free agency, leaving the Bulls last season via trade to the Knicks.
The connection to Rose isn’t coming out of nowhere. Tom Thibodeau coached Rose in Chicago, and the Timberwolves have been actively seeking a trade for Ricky Rubio, at least according to reports, for almost a year now. Rubio is the Timberwolves highest paid player, with two more seasons and $29 million still left on his deal. His inability to develop an outside shot has been a thorn in the team’s side for quite some time, and in today’s NBA might be something the Timberwolves can’t live with anymore.
Rose, who made $21.3 million last season, has said that the prospect of winning is more important to him heading into the offseason than money, although we’ve heard players say that before and then do something contradictory. The Timberwolves have $79 million in guaranteed money going to players next season, which currently leaves them around $22 million under the projected salary cap. They have quite a few contracts they’d love to get rid of, like the remaining $11.6 million Nikola Pekovic has coming to him (didn’t play at all last season), while having to think about the extension they’ll be giving Andrew Wiggins.
Unless Rose plans on taking a massive pay cut compared to his previous deals, it’s hard to see the Timberwolves actually doing something with this interest. Rose has shown he’s more durable than in the past despite another Meniscus tear last season, appearing in 66 and 64 games over the last two years for the Bulls and Knicks. Another noteworthy numbers from last season is Rose’s 3-point shooting, taking only 0.9 shots per game while hitting 21.7% of them. Not exactly something the Wolves are looking for considering the main gripes about Rubio.