Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
Canadian forward and former Wolf Anthony Bennett officially cleared waivers this weekend and signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Raptors for the veteran's minimum.
He'll have a chance to carve out minutes behind starter Patrick Patterson on the depth chart.
For Minnesota, buying out Anthony Bennett clears space in their crowded front court with Kevin Garnett, Karl-Anthony Towns, Gorgui Dieng, Nikola Pekovic, Nemanja Bjelica, and Adriean Payne.
The Wolves now have 15 guaranteed contracts heading into training camp this coming week: Ricky Rubio, Andre Miller, Tyus Jones, Kevin Martin, Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, Shabazz Muhammad, Tayshaun Prince, Damjan Rudez, Kevin Garnett, Nemanja Bjelica, Adriean Payne, Karl-Anthony Towns, Gorgui Dieng, and Nikola Pekovic.
Media day is tomorrow (Monday, 9/28) for the Timberwolves and that means practices and preseason games are just around the corner! Stay tuned!
UPDATE: The Timberwolves reportedly bought out Bennett's $5.8 million contract for $3.6 million. If another team claims him off of waivers, the Wolves won't owe him any money, however if he clears waivers and becomes and UFA the Wolves will pay that $3.6 million.
After one season, the Minnesota Timberwolves and forward Anthony Bennett will be parting ways. It was announced on Tuesday afternoon that the Timberwolves had reached an agreement on a buyout with Bennett.
Anthony Bennett initially joined the Timberwolves last summer in the trade that sent Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers and landed the Wolves Andrew Wiggins, Thaddeus Young, Anthony Bennett, and a first-round pick.
This came after a year spent with the Cavaliers in a rookie campaign that was plagued by injuries, inconsistencies in play, and playing time--despite the fact that he was playing on a Cavalier squad that would finish the season with just 33 wins.
Bennett was selected #1 overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, much to the surprise of...everyone. Some teams had him in his top-five, while others barely had him in their top-ten.
During his rookie campaign he posted putrid numbers thanks in large part to being overweight and his injuries. He finished the season with averages of 12.8 minutes, 3.0 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.2 blocks, 4.2 points on .356 FG%, .245 3PT%, .390 2PT%, .638 FT% in 52 games (0 starts).
A change of scenery was definitely needed, especially with Kevin Love joining the Cavaliers and Tristan Thompson firmly entrenched as a primary player ahead of Bennett. As such, Bennett joined the Timberwolves looking for a fresh start.
In his lone season with Minnesota, he upped his averages in every category, though that isn't exactly impressive. He finished 2014-15 averaging 15.7 minutes, 3.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.3 blocks, 5.2 points on .421 FG%, .304 3PT%, .431 2PT%, .641 FT% in 57 games (3 starts).
With so many new faces in Minnesota, the logjam at power forward means that he wouldn't have too many opportunities to carve out playing time or a role with Minnesota this season. The Wolves added Karl-Anthony Towns with the first overall pick and Euroleague MVP Nemanja Bjelica. They also re-signed Kevin Garnett and they have Adriean Payne, Gorgui Dieng, and Nikola Pekovic in their frontcourt.
Bennett is now on waivers and there is a small chance that a team could claim him and his $5.8 million salary for the season. The more likely scenario is that he clears waivers within the next 48 hours and becomes an unrestricted free agent. If that happens, it is likely that an NBA team will bring him on (on a training camp deal, at least). Bennett needs to prove to an NBA team that he is coachable, can stay healthy, and perhaps, most importantly, stay in shape. I'd say there's a very good chance that Bennett lands with an NBA team somewhere...whether or not he'll be able to salvage his NBA career...that remains to be seen.
For the Wolves, they are now down to 15 guaranteed contracts for the season, heading into training camp next month.
Complications with the treatment Flip Saunders is receiving for his cancer has placed him in the hospital. As a result, he will be taking an extended break from his duties as both head coach and as President of Basketball Operations.
In his stead, the Wolves are turning to former Coach of the Year Sam Mitchell. Mitchell was officially named the interim head coach on Friday morning and from the sounds of it, he'll likely hold that role for at least half of the season.
General Manager Milt Newton will take over day-to-day responsibilities in the front office. He'll be tasked with adding a few more players to the training camp roster and making a decision before the season begins on the final 15-man roster, which will involved either a trade or two, and/or one or two players being waived.
Owner Glen Taylor says that he doesn't want any of the staff or players bothering Flip while he's hospitalized, though it's more than likely that Milt will communicate via text with Saunders with questions/decisions, etc.
Both Newton & Mitchell ensure that they fully intend to continue what Saunders has done up to this point and to carry out his vision for this team, just as he would.
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