The Minnesota Timberwolves are having themselves a helluva summer. They made their big splash on draft night, when they traded for Jimmy Butler, but they’ve also made some big additions in free agency, signing Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson. With these quality veterans around their star-studded young core, the Wolves figure to be a serious playoff team this season.
As part of their moves to create room to sign Teague and Gibson, the Wolves are reportedly looking to dump the contract of Cole Aldrich, who they signed last summer to a three-year, $22 million deal. Aldrich is due $7.3M this year, and only $2,056,021 of his $6,956,021 salary is guaranteed for 2018-19. He would fit perfectly in the trade exception that the Clippers created in the Chris Paul trade. In order to entice a team to take Aldrich’s deal, the Timberwolves are reportedly willing to throw in Oklahoma City’s 2018 first round pick.
Wolves appear to be floating OKC’s 2018 pick for anybody that will take on Cole Aldrich’s $7 million deal. Kings prolly wanna look at that— Aaron Bruski (@aaronbruski) July 2, 2017
For the Clippers, this would give them three first-round picks in next year’s draft. All of them will likely be late, as Houston, Oklahoma City, and the Clippers all figure to be playoff teams, but they’re still valuable assets—the Clippers could package them for a better pick or use them as sweetener in various deals throughout the year. They could even prove of some value in the coming days, as a potential sign-and-trade for forward Danilo Gallinari would involve compensating a team for absorbing the contracts of Jamal Crawford and Wesley Johnson, as well as providing Denver an incentive to facilitate the deal.
If the Clippers were to move the salaries of Crawford and Johnson, and then add Gallinari at a starting salary of $20 million, they would be able to absorb Cole Aldrich’s salary, use the full non-taxpayer MLE, and still have several million dollars under the hard cap to sign minimum-salaried players. They could also dodge the luxury tax altogether by moving Lou Williams’ $7 million expiring deal, or re-trading Aldrich, at the trade deadline.