The Timberwolves have a bunch of players competing for contracts
But a number of players – including many likely rotation players – also have huge financial implications related to this campaign.
D’Angelo Russell did not shy away from this on media day.
“Anytime it’s a contract year in this professional world, the pressure is on you, and you take it for what it’s worth,” said Russell. “I just wanted to come back with that mentality and that approach to the game. Hopefully some of the youngsters can see it. ”
To be clear, Russell has two more years on his contract. But he is considering a possible extension at the end of this campaign. Jake Layman, Patrick Beverley and Taurean Prince will be real free agents after this season.
If he can’t come to an agreement on an extension before the preseason deadline, Josh Okogie will be a restricted free agent next summer.
Timberwolves coach Chris Finch believes it is the team’s responsibility to increase the market value of their players. And he will not hesitate to discuss the subject when it concerns his players.
“I think if this applies to something that is going on within the team or something, it is above all in their mind and maybe disturbing their performance, we will talk about it individually and maybe openly about it, ”Finch said. “But above all it’s about getting involved in their development, helping them not only to improve their individual game, but also how to develop them in the system that brings them on the field to be able to play well. Lots of individual attention both with player development and film study. Things that everyone does.
Finch acknowledged that having a roster full of players over the course of a contract year can cut both ways for a team. Players tend to be their best – on and off the pitch – when their finances are on the line. But they can also worry about not being injured, and playing time and the role can become even more personal. when what you do in any given season can result in a gain or loss of millions of dollars.
“This is where the anxiety rises. This is where they start to worry so much about what their future holds. Just normal human behavior, ”Finch said. “It really depends on the individual and their approach. ”
The Timberwolves can point to their recent history, where they have prioritized re-signing their own players in free agency. It is often out of necessity. Without much headroom to speak of, signing their own players was the Timberwolves’ only option in free agency, outside of trade.
The same numbers will be the case for the future, unless the list is seriously overhauled. If you have a legitimate impact in helping the team, there’s a good chance you’ll be compensated as such in the next offseason. This has been the case for Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt in recent years.
So maybe Prince is approaching this season with the right approach. He too has been asked about playing a contract year this season.
“It’s a bigger year for the Timberwolves, obviously, for the bigger picture,” he said. “But for me, it’s obviously important to continue to give my children the life they deserve, as well as my family. So that’s what I work for. I get whatever I want any day. Money doesn’t define that.