Mar 10, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves small forward Michael Beasley (8) against the New Orleans Hornets during the third quarter at Target Center. Hornets won 95-89. Mandatory Credit: Greg Smith-US PRESSWIRE
The Timberwolves could have over $22 million in cap space as they enter free agency.
Depending on the moves they make this weekend and in free agency, the Minnesota Timberwolves could be fielding a team that looks very different next year. They'll need to decide by midnight on Saturday whether Michael Beasley, Anthony Randolph and Martell Webster have futures with the team.
Beasley and Randolph are both restricted free agents, so if the Timberwolves extend qualifying offers to either, they'd have the ability to match any contract offers made by other teams. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the combined value of those qualifying offers would be $12.2 million. If Minnesota declines, both players become unrestricted free agents, and the team would find itself with some extra cap space. Given the pair's inconsistent play with the Wolves, and the recent trade for Chase Budinger, it wouldn't be too surprising to see both walk.
Martell Webster has an unguaranteed contract worth $5.7 million next year, and could negotiate a buyout with the team. When combined with the cap savings from Brad Miller's retirement, that would save the Timberwolves an additional $10.8 million.
All told, Minnesota could find themselves with $22 million or more in cap space as they move into free agency. That gives them flexibility; they could use the money to absorb contracts in their push to trade for Pau Gasol, or they could chase some of the premier free agents in this class to pair with Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. Either move would go a long way towards helping the team make their first playoffs since 2004.