Tyus Jones’ status as a restricted free agent is among several factors that make it hard to predict whether he’ll return to the Timberwolves next season, according to Michael Rand and Chris Hine of the Star-Tribune. Minnesota will have to determine how high it is willing to go to match an offer for the fourth-year point guard, who is making $2.44MM this year.
The decision will be influenced by whether starting point guard Jeff Teague opts into a $19MM salary for next year. The Wolves, who have luxury tax concerns, could find their budget tightening if Karl-Anthony Towns makes an All-NBA team, which would increase the value of his extension by $6MM per season.
There’s also a question of whether current GM Scott Layden will be kept around to make the decision on Jones. Minnesota didn’t give serious consideration to giving Jones an extension when Tom Thibodeau was running the organization, but Hine believes Ryan Saunders will advocate for keeping Jones if he is still the coach.
There’s more Wolves news to pass along:
- Minnesota should take away Andrew Wiggins‘ starting spot and try to trade him this summer, contends Jim Souhan of The Star-Tribune. Wiggins’ low shooting percentages and poor defensive effort have become too much for the team to endure, Souhan argues, and benching him might be the last chance to motivate him and save the season. Wiggins still has four seasons and more than $121MM remaining on his contract.
- The coaching change has worked out well for the Timberwolves’ reserves, who are seeing more playing time with Saunders than they did under Thibodeau, notes Kent Youngblood of The Star-Tribune. Luol Deng, Keita Bates-Diop and Anthony Tolliver are among those getting a greater chance to contribute.
- Owner Glen Taylor recently purchased the 5% ownership in the team held by Chinese investor Lizhang Jiang and may eventually sell some of that to Meyer Orbach, who bought 9.5% of the franchise in 2016, according to Sid Hartman of The Star-Tribune. “I think [the team’s value] went up about 19 percent, which is an awful lot, but everybody else’s went up, too,” Taylor said of a recent Forbes report that valued the Wolves at $1.26 billion. “It is just unbelievable. It’s not anything I anticipated, and it’s surprising. But at this point, I just want to continue to play with this team and work with them. And I have every expectation it might continue to go up in the future.”