Thursday 22nd October 2020,

Timberwolves Owner Hoping Jimmy Butler Can Sell Free Agents on Playing for Less in Minnesota

Timberwolves Owner Hoping Jimmy Butler Can Sell Free Agents on Playing for Less in Minnesota


Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is hoping Jimmy Butler can carry his team to victory—both in the playoffs and over the offseason.

Speaking on WCCO Radio ahead of the Timberwolves’ Monday night loss to the Houston Rockets (via The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski), Taylor said the organization will lean on Butler to convince free agents to join its cause on a discount in the name of winning:

This seems hysterical on the surface. The Timberwolves are probably going to fall in five games to the Rockets. Calling them a winner after a first-round exit feels like a massive stretch.

To their credit, though, they were on course to flirt with 50 victories before Butler’s meniscus injury. Adding an impact player or two—preferably on the wing—ups their ceiling by a considerable margin.

Selling free agents on potential pay cuts still figures to be a tall task—and maybe even an impossible one. The Timberwolves should be able to access the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, even with Andrew Wiggins’ extension kicking in. That matters in a market short on cash; impact free agents might take that $8.6 million or so. But are the Wolves willing to give their entire MLE to one player?

More importantly: Is Butler—and, of course, Karl-Anthony Towns—enough for free agents to choose them over other teams? The Timberwolves won’t be the only squad dangling the full MLE. Free agents worth a damn will have similar offers elsewhere. Minnesota will need to win the sales pitch beyond its contract offer. That’ll be tough to do, not only because the market isn’t the most desirable, but because Butler is ticketed for free agency himself in 2019 (player option).

Unless he makes a verbal long-term commitment to the organization, the Timberwolves’ targets should be wary of any other promises he makes.

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