So you had big hopes that the Timberwolves would make a trade before last week’s deadline? Sorry, that never materialized.
Then you set your sights on some of the most appealing buyout candidates — players either traded at the deadline for salary reasons and then dumped immediately by their new teams or players that teams couldn’t unload and were likely to reach agreements with their existing teams to part ways. Sorry, a lot of those guys are gone, too.
Before you could even fixate on how much Joe Johnson — with nearly 2,000 three-pointers made in his sharpshooting NBA career — has left in the tank, he agreed to join the Rockets. Marco Belinelli? If you dreamed of him splashing threes at Target Center, forget it. The 76ers grabbed him.
That said, the discard pile isn’t completely picked over. Here is a look at five guys who could be of interest to the Timberwolves as they head into the home stretch of a playoff-bound season. Bought out players must be signed by March 1 to be eligible for the postseason, so any of these moves would need to get done in the next two weeks or so.
Channing Frye: Frye was dealt to the Lakers as part of the Cavaliers’ complete roster makeover. While he’s saying the right things about being a mentor in L.A., it remains possible that Frye could be bought out. If he is, the 6-11 big man with the 38.7 percent career three-point percentage could be a fit here. Maybe there is a little redundancy with Nemanja Bjelica’s game, but you can never have too much shooting.
Tony Allen: Once considered a lockdown wing defender, Allen has slipped in recent years. At 36, it’s fair to question what he has left. But if Tom Thibodeau deems he still has game, Allen could be a fit. Thibodeau and Allen won a championship together a decade ago in Boston. Allen was waived by the Bulls last week after they acquired him in a deal.
Joakim Noah: I know. Another Thibs guy, and one the Wolves are surely glad they did NOT invest in as a free agent two offseasons ago when the Knicks gave him four years and $72 million. But if Noah and the Knicks can figure out a way to part company that leaves both sides satisfied, Noah can still be a useful part time player. He’s still a plus defender and a deft passer. You could imagine him in crunch time lineups against certain teams.
Derrick Rose: OK, I’m on record with a firm no on this one, but this list isn’t about who I want. It’s about who the Wolves might want. There is every indication Rose — yes, another Thibs guy from his Chicago days — could wind up here after being bought out by the Jazz following his trade from Cleveland. He cleared waivers and is free to sign anywhere. He’s never been even a decent shooter and he’ll never be what he was before injuries robbed him of his MVP skills, but maybe he could be useful in a bench scoring role? I don’t know. I’m just going to leave it here.
Arron Afflalo: If you’re willing to overlook his subpar numbers with Orlando this year and the fact that he fought with Bjelica in a game earlier this season, Afflalo could be a fit. He can still shoot threes (38.6 percent career, 41.1 percent last season), and the Wolves desperately need shooters. Hoopshype mentioned him as a possible buyout candidate, so we’ll see if that goes anywhere.
None of these guys puts the Wolves into championship contention mode, but the right addition could help with at least a series win.