Timberwolves Eyeying Matt Barnes?

Now that the Timberwolves have seeming addressed their shooting issue by retaining Chase Budinger and bringing Kevin Martin into the fold, the team will look to round out their bench. Without much more than a few million in cap space remaining, any help the team will be seeking will have to be of the bargain kind. One of those names that’s out there and was mentioned by ESPN 1500’s Darren Wolfson was Clippers free agent Matt Barnes.

Barnes is one of those players that manages to sneak under the radar despite being a valuable rotation player just about every season. Despite playing for eight teams in ten seasons, he is a career .451/.331/.730 shooter who has never made more than $3 million in one season, so he would likely be affordable as well. Additionally, it will help that he has had very little in the way of an injury history and is still capable of being a 20-25 minute per game player if it came down to that.

According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles, the Clippers would be hard-pressed to bring in free agent Carl Landry and retain Barnes, giving the Wolves somewhat of an advantage. It’s not as if Barnes would command much of a raise from his ’13 salary of $1.2 million since he took a $7 million dollar paycut from 2012, so it’s not as if there would be some major bidding war here, and the Timberwolves would be able to save some space.

Should the Timberwolves go further into talks with Barnes and ink a deal, this is rough idea of what the roster would look like, not necessarily in any particular order:

C: Nikola Pekovic/Gorgui Dieng/Chris Johnson

PF: Kevin Love/ Dante Cunningham/Derrick Williams

SF: Chase Budinger/Derrick Williams/Matt Barnes/Shabazz Muhammad

SG: Kevin Martin/Shabazz Muhammad/Alexey Shved

PG: Ricky Rubio/Luke Ridnour/J.J. Barea/Alexey Shved

Of course, a lot of this could change and several players are likely interchangeable from position-to-position, but this is a seemingly deep team, especially if Muhammad can contribute even semi-consistently. As for Barnes, he would be able to perform in a similar role in Minnesota with Rubio as he did in Los Angeles with Chris Paul by getting open and waiting for the pass. In fact, Barnes shot .345 percent from three and was assisted on those .941 percent of the time, so he won’t try to do too much.



In particular you can see Barnes shot very well from the left side of the floor from beyond the arc and was an effective midrange shooter within the arc from the right side. If players like Martin (Click the link, DO IT), Budinger, and Muhammad are effective from range, Barnes’ efficiency will be just that much more valuable. Really, it would only diversify what should already be a  pretty potent offense if they were to bring Barnes on.

More than that Barnes is a decent rebounder for his position with an average Usage Rate and also doesn’t commit too many turnovers. At a salary around what he made last and on a short-term deal Barnes could really be a terrific fit for what the Timberwolves are trying to do as they work to finalize the roster before next season. I also decided that Matt Barnes is the hill I’d rather die on, instead of Nick Young.

About Derek James

In addition to writing for Howlin' T-Wolf, Derek James writes about basketball Hardwood Paroxysm in the ESPN TrueHoop Network and covers the Charlotte Bobcats for SB Nation’s Rufus on Fire. Andray Blatche and Isaiah Rider follow him on Twitter.