The Minnesota Timberwolves seem to have quite a bit of trouble luring top-flight free agents due to the cold weather and sometimes seemingly-inept management. The times, they are a'changing.
Free agent shooting guard J.R. Smith has actually expressed interest in signing with the Wolves, according to Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick. In an odd turn of events, however, the Timberwolves might not be interested in the former Denver Nuggets sharpshooter.
While the Clippers and Knicks are known to be two possible landing spots for the scorer, sources close to Smith have also said Minnesota is in the running, in large part, because the Timberwolves can offer up to $5 million by way of their midlevel exception. The Knicks could pay Smith a pro-rated mini midlevel for $2.5 million, while the Clippers could give him the veteran's minimum. A source with knowledge of Minnesota's thinking, however, said Smith is not in the team's plans.
Smith is expected to return from China this weekend, following the end of the season for his team in China. He was expected to be in Asia a bit longer, but he and Josh Boone were unable to lead their team to the playoffs.
Considering the Wolves are currently starting Wesley Johnson at shooting guard, it would seem to be a no-brainer that they should upgrade the position with Smith if possible. Smith certainly has his problems, but he'd definitely be able to help spread the floor as the Wolves try to keep pace with other three-point shooting teams (see Magic, Orlando).
If there's a good reason to pass on Smith, that's fine. If the Wolves don't want to spend the money and continue to trot out Johnson, though, that's a problem.