5:01pm: The Timberwolves have officially waived Prince, per NBA.com’s transaction log.
Because Prince has a non-guaranteed contract rather than an option, he’ll have to be waived, meaning Minnesota won’t retain any form of Bird rights on him. While Prince could technically be claimed by a team with cap room or a trade exception big enough to cover his salary, he’ll likely pass through waivers and become an unrestricted free agent.
The Wolves’ decision is a little surprising, given that Prince has been a reliable rotation piece in Minnesota for the last two years. In 123 games since the start of the 2021/22 season, he has averaged 8.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 19.3 minutes per night, with a solid shooting line of .460/.378/.799.
Still, if the Wolves hope to re-sign restricted free agent Nickeil Alexander-Walker and use a significant portion of their mid-level exception, it would have been virtually impossible to retain Prince and avoid becoming a taxpayer. Waiving him will give the team more wiggle room to negotiate with Alexander-Walker and use the MLE without surpassing the luxury tax threshold.
According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link), Minnesota now projects to be about $15.6MM below the tax line with four roster spots to fill, so the club still isn’t in position to use its full $12.4MM mid-level without further cost-cutting.
Prince, 29, figures to appeal to teams looking for depth on the wing this summer. A decision on his 2023/24 salary was due today, as our list of early guarantee dates shows.