Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
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.
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