AUGUST 20TH, 10:59am: The deal is official, the team announced (Twitter link).
“We’re excited to add a veteran like Tayshaun,” Timberwolves coach/executive Flip Saunders said in the team’s statement. “Having coached Tayshaun for three seasons in Detroit, I know that his experience and defensive mindset will benefit our younger players. He also has shown that he can shoot from long distance, which will help our ability to stretch the floor.”
AUGUST 13TH, 12:54pm: The Timberwolves have reached agreement on a one-year deal with Tayshaun Prince for the minimum salary, a source told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). The move is somewhat surprising, since Minnesota already has 15 fully guaranteed deals. He’ll join Kevin Garnett and the newly signed Andre Miller among the long-tenured veterans supplementing a youthful Wolves core. Prince is “super close” with longtime Pistons trainer Arnie Kander, who also recently joined Minnesota, notes Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link).
Prince finished up this past season in Detroit as a coda to the 10 and a half seasons he spent there at the start of his career. His production bounced back to a degree this past season after a dropoff in 2013/14. The Cavs and Spurs reportedly reached out to the Bill Duffy client at the start of free agency last month, and the Blazers apparently had more recent interest before the Wolves snagged him. Prince spent 2014/15 on the move, as the Grizzlies traded him to the Celtics in the Jeff Green deal and Boston later flipped him to the Pistons at the deadline.
Since it’s only for one year, the deal with Prince will cost the Wolves just $947,276 while the league picks up the tab for the rest of his $1,499,187 salary. It’s not much of a financial burden for Minnesota, which had been carrying about $72.7MM in guaranteed salary, well shy of the $84.74MM tax threshold, but it puts pressure on the team to make a trade before opening night to get down to no more than 15 fully guaranteed deals. Prince’s arrival also seemingly makes it tougher for Lorenzo Brown to stick past the preseason. His salary is partially guaranteed for only $75K.
Prince had hoped to sign with a contender, but the Wolves, who finished with the league’s worst record this past season, don’t fit that bill, notes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com (Twitter link). The small forward signed his last contract while he was still in his prime, so this pact will represent a significant decline in pay from the more than $7.7MM he made in 2014/15. Our Dana Gauruder correctly predicted in Prince’s Free Agent Stock Watch this week that he would end up with a one-year deal, even though the 35-year-old said this spring that he felt he could play for another two or three years.
Do you think Prince is the right fit for the Timberwolves? Leave a comment to let us know.