The Minnesota Timberwolves have agreed 45th draft pick Josh Minott to a four-year, $6.8 million deal, according to Shams Charania the athlete.
The former four-star contender has averaged 12.3 points in his four Summer League appearances to date, with 34.6/45.5/72.7 shooting splits, 9.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1, 5 steals and 1.5 blocks in 26.5 minutes of action per game impressed.
His energy, defensive versatility, improved 3-point shooting, activity, and rebounds have all surfaced in his minutes. Minott’s 9.5 rebounds per game ranks fifth overall in the Summer League among players who played four games. His 4.5 offensive rebounds per fight is second in the same group.
Minott didn’t make a big impression in his first season at Memphis, in part because he was recruited by Memphis’ senior assistant at the time, not head coach Penny Hardaway, complicating his role last season. Still, Minott averaged 6.6 points in 52.2/14.3/75.4 splits, 3.8 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.7 blocks per game in 14.6 minutes per contest .
Whether Minott will start the season with the Iowa Wolves in the G-League remains to be seen. But if he’s not getting NBA minutes, it might be wise to catch as much game action as possible to hone his live-action skills while he flies between Des Moines and Minneapolis whenever he can to practice and shoot around the NBA wolves.
Minott’s deal will likely be paid for in the first year with the remainder of the Timberwolves’ $1,690,000 non-taxable mid-level exemption (MLE). If that is indeed the case, Minnesota will still have the $4,105,000 semi-annual exemption (BAE) available, and the team will be approximately $4.23 million short of the luxury tax.
Here’s a look at the updated Wolves cap, making a few assumptions:
- Minott’s deal takes advantage of the MLE, which allows for a maximum contract term of four years with 5% annual salary increases. Because of this, the remaining $1.5 million ($6.8 million reported total – $5.3 million in cap hits) in his contract are likely unlikely incentives (which aren’t based on count toward the cap unless they are met). Given that Minott won’t be playing much, I’d bet the Wolves essentially made those incentive requirements unattainable.
- The first two years of Minott’s deal are fully guaranteed, while the last two years are either partially guaranteed or non-guaranteed.
- Forward Nathan Knight will sign his restricted free agency tender, handing him a two-way deal for next season. Minnesota would then have one remaining two-way spot. Summer League standout guard Kevon Harris might be a name to watch there.
This deal gives Wolves the flexibility to explore a wide range of options with the BAE if they choose to use it for the final roster slot. Based on how they structured Kyle Anderson’s deal with the MLE – and looking at Minott – I expect the Minnesota front office to make some use of this BAE, be it partial use or full use. However, given how stagnant things are across the league until the Kyrie Irving/Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant dominoes fall, it may be a while before the team capitalize on them.
If Wolves choose to go that route, don’t be surprised if Minnesota is targeting a legitimate center (not a small-ball center like Naz Reid), like DeMarcus Cousins – who played for the Nuggets of Basketball Operations last year Tim Connelly played and under head coach Chris Finch when he was offensive coordinator at New Orleans in 2017-18 — or under incumbent veteran Greg Monroe.
A fullback at the attacking point could also be an option, but considering the team just reached an agreement with Austin Rivers on Thursday night, that might not be as urgent anymore. Eric Bledsoe, Avery Bradley, Lance Stephenson and Trent Forrest are options if Wolves go that route.
You can catch Minott, as well as Wendell Moore Jr. and Matteo Spagnolo, also drafted for 2022, in the Wolves’ final Summer League matchup against the Charlotte Hornets today at 4:00 p.m. CT on NBA TV.