Luka Garza

Timberwolves Convert Luka Garza’s Contract To Standard Deal

1:45pm: Garza has officially been promoted to a standard deal, Minnesota confirmed in a press release.

10:49am: Luka Garza‘s two-way contract is being converted to a standard deal by the Timberwolves, The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweets. That will make Garza eligible for postseason action.

Minnesota has an open roster spot, so a corresponding move won’t be necessary to promote the third-year big man.

A former second-round pick, Garza is in his second season with the Timberwolves after having spent his rookie campaign with Detroit in 2021/22. The 6’10” center has appeared in 21 games this season, averaging 4.2 points and 1.2 rebounds in 5.2 minutes per game. Garza scored 16 points in just nine minutes against Toronto on Wednesday.

The former University of Iowa star will give Timberwolves coach Chris Finch another frontcourt option for the playoffs. Karl-Anthony Towns underwent knee surgery last month and his postseason status is uncertain.

The deadline to sign players to two-way contracts passed a month ago, so Minnesota’s third two-way slot will remain open for the rest of the season once Garza’s promotion is official.

Timberwolves Notes: A-Rod, Lore, Garza, Edwards

Former baseball star Alex Rodriguez and business partner Marc Lore must find new financial backers to gain majority ownership of the Timberwolves franchise, according to ESPN News Services.

They’ve lost the financial backing of the Carlyle Group with one payment left to claim majority ownership from current owner Glen Taylor. That payment would complete a process that began in April 2021 for Lore and Rodriguez to purchase the Timberwolves in installments. Lore and Rodriguez previously purchased two installments of 20% at a $1.5 billion valuation for the franchise.

They exercised their rights to buy an additional 40% of the franchise earlier this year. The final installment is due on March 27.

We have more on the Timberwolves:

  • With Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert and Naz Reid sidelined on Tuesday, two-way player Luka Garza received extended playing time. He posted 11 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes during the 115-112 loss to Denver. “I’ve just been working this entire year to help this team when I’m out there,” Garza told Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “I still feel like there’s another level I can get to. All I know is I did everything I could. I played hard.”
  • Despite being shorthanded and one the second night of a back-to-back, Minnesota pushed the Nuggets to the limit on Tuesday. Anthony Edwards, who dislocated a finger the previous night, missed a 3-point attempt that could have sent the game to overtime. “They’re really well-coached. They execute really well. They have Ant, who is one of the best players, most talented players, in the NBA right now,” Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic told Bennett Durando of the Denver Post. “You have Mike Conley, who’s a really good veteran. They just play really well. They play hard. They run their plays with purpose. That’s why they’re good. Even from the (2023) playoffs — they missed a couple guys in the playoffs, too, but they still had really good fight.”
  • Having appeared in his 65th game this season, Edwards is now eligible for postseason awards, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. That could lead to a bump in his salary. Edwards signed a five-year maximum-salary rookie extension last summer, which could rise in value from $204MM (25% of next season’s cap) to $245MM (30% of the cap) if he’s named All-NBA this season. The former No. 1 overall pick is averaging 26.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.

NBA G League Announces Up Next Participants

A pool of 28 players has been selected for the NBA G League’s Up Next Game at All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, the NBAGL announced in a press release.

According to the release, the event features “four teams of seven players competing in two semifinal games. The winner of each semifinal will face off in a Championship game.

“The teams will be made up of 28 NBA G League players, including 10 selected by a fan vote. The remaining 18 players will be selected by the NBA G League and will include eight members of NBA G League Ignite and at least one member of the Indiana Mad Ants, the G League affiliate of the All-Star hosting Indiana Pacers. Each team will be coached by a head coach from the NBA G League.”

Players marked with an asterisk (*) are on two-way contracts.

Fan vote:

Former Kentucky guard Hagans received the most votes.

NBAGL selections:

G League Ignite:

They aren’t currently on NBA teams, but it’s worth noting that Labissiere and Bazley are ineligible for two-way deals because they each hold four years of NBA experience. Weatherspoon (three years), Hagans (one) and Williams (one) also hold at least some NBA experience.

Western Notes: Kings, Brooks, Jones, Lillard, Timberwolves

The Kings decided to tweak the roster rather than make major changes this offseason after finally reaching the postseason in the spring. They acquired Chris Duarte in a trade and re-signed Harrison Barnes and Trey Lyles. They also signed EuroLeague star Sasha Vezenkov.

Kings coach Mike Brown is excited to have his core group back and is eager to see how they respond to the newfound respect they’ve gained after snapping the franchise’s long playoff drought.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how we can handle the pressure,” the Kings coach said. “It’s flipped now. We’re no longer hunting people; people are hunting us. And there are expectations, so how do we handle that? I believe our guys are ready for it, and with the fans that we have here and the juice they brought last year – let’s go. Let’s get it. I’m excited for Sasha, I’m excited for Chris Duarte, I’m excited about our young guys. It’s good to have the new guys, but I’m more excited about having our guys to be able to run it back and give them the opportunity to grow as a nucleus than anything else.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Grizzlies allowed Dillon Brooks in free agency and traded Tyus Jones. So what have they lost? Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal explores that topic. The Grizzlies have become known for their flashy style and trash talking and Brooks was a major reason for that. Jones was a locker room leader and led the league in assist-to-turnover ratio in each of his four seasons with the club.
  • Trail Blazers fans want the Damian Lillard saga to be resolved soon. In a poll conducted by Jason Quick of The Athletic, 80.4% want the front office to take the best offer for their longtime All-Star and prioritize the team ahead of Lillard. However, the high-scoring guard was voted as the franchise’s greatest player (51.9%), ahead of Clyde Drexler and Bill Walton.
  • Anthony Edwards (United States), Karl-Anthony Towns (Dominican Republic), Rudy Gobert (France), Kyle Anderson (China), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Canada) and draft-and-stash prospect Matteo Spagnolo (Italy) are participating in the World Cup, while Luka Garza played for Bosnia and Herzegovina in a pre-qualifying Olympic tournament. That should give those Timberwolves players a head start to the NBA season, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Alexander-Walker agrees with the notion. “I want to use it to propel me for the season,” he said.

Northwest Notes: Lillard, Wolves, Thunder Roster, OKC Arena

A month after Damian Lillard requested a trade from the Trail Blazers, specifically to the Heat, there’s little movement on a deal with Miami or any other team, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on NBA Today (video link).

Lillard’s huge contract, not his desired destination, is the biggest impediment. His contract runs through the 2026/27 season and he’ll make an estimated $58.5MM the previous season before a $63.2MM option in the final year.

“It has simply been – for a lot of teams – his age and the idea of playing him over 60 million dollars at 35 and 36 years old, the last two years of his deal,” Wojnarowski said. “Right not, there’s just not been a lot of engagement among teams on a Lillard trade.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Thunder might be in a position this upcoming season where they start trading assets rather than hoarding them, The Ringer’s Michael Pina writes.  The team may be good enough to warrant some moves that increase its chances of winning in the short term, not just the long term. The Thunder could begin attaching salary to draft capital for more established players, rather than doing the reverse.
  • The Timberwolves’ best chance at improvement is to develop young players like Josh Minott, Wendell Moore, Luka Garza and Leonard Miller, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. The article details Minnesota’s efforts to coach up those reserves. “When you have the roster that we have, we’ve got to be able to develop some of these young guys and turn them into real players,” assistant coach Max Lefevre said. “It’s just huge.”
  • Oklahoma City mayor David Holt is more concerned about square footage than a seating capacity exceeding 20,000 in the Thunder’s proposed new arena, Steve Lackmeyer of The Oklahoman relays. Holt addressed a number of questions about the arena and other Thunder-related topics while answering readers’ questions. “Seating capacity is actually not that big of an issue in modern arena planning. The real issue for teams is square footage because the real revenue drivers for users are happening outside of the bowl,” Holt wrote. “That’s why it is so damaging for sports and concerts that our arena is dead-last of all NBA arenas in square footage. Some arenas are literally twice our size and most are 40-50 percent larger. I can’t tell you what the seating capacity of a new arena will be, but the current capacity is not really an issue and hasn’t really come up.”

Luka Garza Talks Team Bosnia, Timberwolves, International Opportunities

Timberwolves center Luka Garza spoke with Giorgos Kyriakidis of BasketNews about how he benefited from joining Minnesota in 2022/23, following what he felt to be a frustrating rookie two-way season with the Pistons.

“This year [2022/23], signing with Minnesota and being in a way more comfortable position, allowed me to come out and play,” Garza reflected.

This past season with the Timberwolves, the 6’11” big man out of Iowa averaged 6.5 PPG on .543/.359/.788 shooting splits, along with 2.3 RPG, 0.6 APG. Across six regular season contests with Minnesota’s NBAGL affiliate, the Iowa Wolves, he averaged 32.2 PPG on a superlative slash line of .642/.429/.704. The big man also pulled down 11.5 RPG, dished out 3.8 APG, and rejected 1.3 BPG.

Garza and Kyriakidis also discussed the third-year center’s decision to re-sign with Minnesota on a two-way contract, joining Bosnia and Herzegovina’s national team for the Olympic pre-qualification tournament next month, and more. Their full conversation is well worth a read, but here are some highlights.

On why he ultimately opted to play for Team Bosnia instead of Team USA:

“For me, the only other option I could have taken was play for the USA team. Obviously, there were opportunities mid-year and during the summer time, like playing in the qualifiers. But for me, there was never a doubt in my mind where I wanted to play for and who I wanted to represent. It has been that way since I was a kid. Just being around my grandfather, my grandmother, and my mom, it was an easy decision.”

On playing with Bosnian center Jusuf Nurkic:

“And obviously, alongside Nurkic, there’s going to be a little bit of both for both of us because he’s a skilled guy who can score from the perimeter as well. So, I think it will be a smooth transition because I can adjust my game. We have to just wait and see what training camp is like and figure it out from there, but I believe so.”

On returning to the Timberwolves:

“Through early conversations, it seemed that the front office wanted me back. It was about figuring out the terms of the contract and what the situations was going to be like.”

On agreeing to a two-way deal instead of a standard roster spot:

“It’s not set in stone. For me, it doesn’t mean that much. It’s about being with the organization and the team. I feel like the rest will take care of itself as I continue to play and show my value.”

On receiving overtures from European teams:

“When I first entered the draft from my junior year, there were some opportunities there. Even last summer, after being cut by the Pistons, I didn’t have any contracts besides Exhibit 10s or training-camp deals. Different teams reached out to me, but I felt like I hadn’t finished my story in the NBA… I’ve always had big respect for European basketball. It’s amazing the way the game is played over there. At no point have I said, ‘Oh, I don’t want to play in Europe.’ That’s something that’s on the cards for me, but not until I’m done chasing my dream in the NBA.”

Luka Garza Returns To Timberwolves On Two-Way Deal

The Timberwolves have re-signed big man Luka Garza on a two-way contract, Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype tweets. The signing is official, according to the NBA’s transactions log.

Garza was also on a two-way deal last season. Entering his third NBA season, Garza received a qualifying offer from Minnesota prior to the start of free agency, making him a restricted free agent. Minnesota has a full 15-man roster after reaching agreements with three free agents and adding two rookies via the draft.

While Garza didn’t get a standard contract from the club, he’ll now fill one of the Timberwolves’ three two-way slots for the coming season. Garza appeared in 28 games for the Timberwolves last season, averaging 6.5 points and 2.3 rebounds in 8.7 minutes per game off the bench.

He spent his first NBA season with Detroit after being selected with the No. 52 pick of the 2021 draft. He played 32 games for the Pistons, including five starts.

Under the new CBA, two-way players can now negotiate to receive $75K immediately upon signing, and they can negotiate that 50% of their salary is guaranteed if they are on the roster on the first day of the regular season.

Wolves’ Garza, Ryan Among Players Receiving Two-Way QOs

Timberwolves forward Luka Garza and wing Matt Ryan are among several players on two-way contracts who received qualifying offers on Wednesday, according to the official transaction log at

Besides Garza and Ryan, the following two-way players were issued qualifying offers, making them restricted free agents:

The default qualifying offer for a player on a two-way contract is another one-year, two-way deal, with a small partial guarantee.

A player who has four years of experience or who has spent the last two seasons on a two-way contract with the same time becomes eligible for a QO equivalent to a standard, minimum-salary deal. However, none of these seven players fit that bill.

These two-way restricted free agents will have the option of accepting their qualifying offers or trying to negotiate new contracts. They’re all technically eligible to sign offer sheets with new teams, which their current clubs would have the ability to match. However, that outcome has been a rarity for players coming off two-way deals.

While Garza, Ryan, Mobley, Rhoden, Quinones, and Green all finished the 2022/23 season under contract with their respective teams, Mannion has been out of the NBA since 2021 and recently signed with Baskonia in Spain. Having issued him a qualifying offer in each of the last three seasons, Golden State continues to retain Mannion’s RFA rights in the event that he eventually returns stateside.

According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, the Warriors aren’t expected to tender qualifying offers to Anthony Lamb and Ty Jerome (two-way). The team still has some level of interest in re-signing one or both players, but that interest may hinge on how the free agent market plays out, Slater explains.

NBA G League Announces 24 Players For Next Up Game

The NBA G League announced today that G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson and Timberwolves/Iowa Wolves forward Luka Garza have been named team captains for the NBAGL Next Up Game, which will take place in Salt Lake City during All-Star weekend.

While the exhibition match isn’t technically being called a G League All-Star Game, that’s essentially what it is. The 24-player pool was selected by a fan vote and by the league itself.

Henderson averaged 21.2 PPG, 6.0 APG, and 4.3 RPG in six Showcase Cup games (28.5 MPG) before missing time with an injury. The guard, widely projected to be the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, has registered 17.7 PPG, 5.7 APG, and 4.5 RPG in 11 regular season games (29.8 MPG) since returning.

Garza, meanwhile, has been dominant at the G League level while playing for the Timberwolves on a two-way contract. He averaged 29.8 PPG, 9.2 RPG, and 3.2 APG on .628/.500/.794 shooting in nine Showcase Cup games (34.4 MPG) and has been boosted those averages in two regular season games (32.5 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 5.0 APG) for the Iowa Wolves.

Here’s the full list of players who will take part in the G League Next Up Game:

(* Players marked with an asterisk are on two-way contracts with NBA teams.)

As is the case with the NBA All-Star Game, the team captains – in this case, Henderson and Garza – will select their 12-man squads in a draft. The draft for the G League Next Up Game will take place on February 14.

Northwest Notes: Nowell, Wolves Centers, Kessler, Blazers

Part of the reason the Timberwolves were willing to part with Patrick Beverley and Malik Beasley in the Rudy Gobert trade was because they wanted to give Jaylen Nowell an opportunity to have a regular spot in the rotation. The fourth-year guard admitted a couple weeks ago that his season was “not going well,” and Monday’s loss to the last-place Rockets was further evidence of that, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

In nearly 19 minutes of action, Nowell finished 3-of-8 from the field for seven points, and committed three turnovers with zero assists. He also struggled defensively, Krawczynski notes, which has been an ongoing issue.

Obviously, the loss was not solely on the 23-year-old, who is set to hit unrestricted free agency in the summer. But if the Wolves want to make a real playoff push, they’ll need Nowell to provide a more consistent offensive spark off the bench, says Krawczynski.

Here’s more from the Northwest:

  • With Karl-Anthony Towns sidelined since late November due to a calf strain, and Gobert missing nine games with various injuries, the Timberwolves‘ center depth has been a positive in 2022/23, as Chris Hine of The Star Tribune details. Naz Reid, Nathan Knight and Luka Garza have all been given opportunities at various points during the season, and while they’re all trying to earn minutes, they also support each other. “You still want them to be successful,” Reid said, per Hine. “So you talk to each and every one of those guys. I might see something on the court, say something to them adjustment-wise of whatever the case may be and they might say something to me. At the same time, we’re all trying to help each other get better.”
  • Walker Kessler has had an impressive rookie season for the Jazz, and is already one of the top shot blockers in the league. He has been starting at center in place of the injured Kelly Olynyk (ankle), but how can he land the job full time? Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune has the story.
  • The Trail Blazers have had a rocky season, currently sitting at 23-25, the No. 12 seed in the West. While Damian Lillard has been as great as ever, scoring a season-high 60 points (on 21-of-29 shooting) in Wednesday’s win over Utah, there has been “little to zero” indication that Portland can make a legitimate playoff push, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic. Ahead of the trade deadline, Quick believes the simplest route to infuse more talent on the roster would be to land in the lottery again, as the Blazers will lose their 2023 first-rounder if they reach the playoffs. However, that’s complicated by the fact that Lillard wants to be “in the best position to win.”