4:09pm: The buyout is official and Bennett has been placed on waivers, the team announced. “In speaking with Anthony and his representatives over the past few days, we came to the conclusion that this was the best outcome for both parties,” Timberwolves GM Milt Newton said in the team’s official statement. “When you look at our team, our deepest position is probably power forward. This move balances out our roster while also allowing Anthony another opportunity in the NBA. He has a lot of talent and his play this summer internationally made this a difficult decision for us. During his short time here Anthony has carried himself with class and represented the franchise in a very professional manner. We thank him for his positive attitude and wish him the best of luck in future endeavors.”
WEDNESDAY, 10:29am: Bennett agreed to have his salary cut to $3.65MM in the deal, which the Timberwolves are finalizing, sources tell Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press (Twitter links). Minnesota won’t be responsible for even the reduced figure if another team picks him up off waivers, but the Wolves haven’t been expecting that to happen, Krawczynski adds (on Twitter).
TUESDAY, 11:12am: The Timberwolves and Anthony Bennett have reached agreement on a buyout, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Minnesota will waive the 2013 No. 1 overall pick shortly, Charania adds. The move will resolve a roster dilemma, since Minnesota has been carrying 16 players with fully guaranteed contracts, one more than the regular season roster limit. Without Bennett, the Wolves will have 15 full guarantees plus a partial guarantee for Lorenzo Brown and the non-guaranteed pacts of Kleon Penn and Nick Wiggins.
Bennett has been in line for a guaranteed $5,803,560 this season, with a decision due by the end of November 2nd on a team option worth more than $7.318MM for 2016/17. It’s unclear how much the Excel Sports Management client is giving up, but he wanted the buyout so he could have an opportunity to control the next step in his career, according to Charania (Twitter link), while Bennett’s reps have been eager for a buyout so that he can see more playing time elsewhere, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote Monday. Wojnarowski first reported at that point that Bennett and the Wolves were making progress toward a buyout deal.
The 22-year-old Bennett showed improvement last season after a disastrous rookie year, and he looked strong playing for the Canadian national team this summer. However, his path to minutes was complicated in Minnesota, where 2015 top pick Karl-Anthony Towns, 2014 15th overall pick Adreian Payne and reigning Euroleague MVP Nemanja Bjelica are all competing for playing time in the frontcourt along with Gorgui Dieng, Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Garnett. Andrew Wiggins, Tayshaun Prince, Shabazz Muhammad and Damjan Rudez clog the way to playing time at small forward.
Who do you think a buyout will benefit more, Bennett or the Timberwolves? Leave a comment to let us know.