The Minnesota Timberwolves are expected to end their long playoff drought this season, but they are still years — and several pieces — away from becoming a serious title contender. Tom Thibodeau’s arrival brought positive changes to the Timberwolves, and they look poised to continue their progress in the next several seasons.
The Timberwolves are expected to be an attractive destination for free agents this summer because of their success this season. According to Andrew Neururer of Dunking With The Wolves, Minnesota should keep an eye on Los Angeles Lakers‘ center Brook Lopez, who will be an unrestricted free agent after this season.
Lopez was traded to the Lakers in the offseason in the deal that sent D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets. The Lakers are in dire need for a veteran presence, but the trade did not work out for Lopez. The 29-year-old, who spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Nets, is having the worst season of his career.
After averaging at least 20 points per game during his last two seasons in Brooklyn, his numbers are down to 13.3 points this season. According to Jason Reed of LA Sports Hub, the Lakers are unlikely to sign him to a new deal, considering his struggles in Los Angeles this season. Reed also pointed out that there are other, cheaper options for the Lakers.
With a return to the Lakers next season likely out of the picture for Lopez, Neururer said that pursuing the former Nets center makes a lot of sense for the Timberwolves. Minnesota already has a budding superstar big man in Karl-Anthony Towns, but adding Lopez would give them a solid piece moving forward.
Lopez, who is playing in his 10th season in the NBA, can score in the paint, and can also stretch the floor with his ability to shoot from beyond the arc. He averaged 1.8 three-pointers per game last season, and is tallying 1.5 conversions from long distance for the Lakers this year.
Towns can also stretch the floor like Lopez, which makes Neururer believe that the offensive potential of a Towns-Lopez frontcourt is limitless. It is also worth noting that Lopez can defend inside the paint, as he has a career average of 1.7 blocks per game.
It remains to be seen whether Lopez’s value would go down significantly in free agency because of the sudden drop in his production this season. The Timberwolves might still need to do some cap tinkering in order to tender a reasonable offer to the former Stanford standout.