Minnesota’s Gersson Rosas hopes to re-sign Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez
The Minnesota Timberwolves have their stars at center and the point — Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell — but heading into the last trade deadline they needed shooting and depth on the wing. Which is why team president Gersson Rosas jumped into a four-team trade — one mostly remembered as the Clint Capela trade — and sent out a first-round pick to snag Malik Beasley to play the two and Juancho Hernangomez at the four.
Both men played the best basketball of their careers as a Timberwolves starters over the last month of the season (before the shutdown), with both seeing a considerable jump in minutes. Beasley was the floor-spacing wing the Timberwolves desperately needed, averaging 20.7 points a game, and he brought a needed feistiness to the lineup. Meanwhile, Hernangomez averaged 12.9 points and 7.3 rebounds a night.
Minnesota’s challenge? Both Beasley and Hernangomez are free agents this offseason (whenever that happens). In a radio interview Saturday, Rosas said he plans to keep both of them.
Gersson Rosas was asked about Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez (both free agents this summer) in his State of the Timberwolves address this evening.— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) May 2, 2020
Rosas' response: "We want those guys to be Timberwolves for a long, long time. Hopefully, for the rest of their careers."
Of course he said that, what else is Rosas going to say? He likely means it, but he’d also like to scare off suitors offering big contracts the Timberwolves would have to match, especially for Beasley. A 23-year-old wing who can shoot will be in demand (Beasley bet on himself turning down a three-year, $30 million extension offer from Denver, that bet is going to pay off.)
Minnesota will have some money to spend, thanks to both Evan Turner and the waived Allen Crabbe coming off the books, although how much money will depend on where the salary cap lands for next season (one of the many unknows around the NBA right now). In a down free agent class, there will be interest in both Beasley and Hernangomez, although nobody knows how the free agent market will play out now. Whatever happens, the Timberwolves will have the means to re-sign both men.
The question becomes, is that the best use of Minnesota’s resources? It’s impossible to say how this Timberwolves roster would really fit together because Towns was out the last dozen games before play was shut down. Without its All-NBA level center (when healthy) and preferred lineups the team went 4-10 after trade with a -4.9 net rating and a dreadful defense.
About the only thing to expect for sure is for Rosas to be aggressive this summer.
In his address this evening, Gersson Rosas did not rule out being aggressive this offseason.— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) May 2, 2020
Rosas referenced last summer and how he was very aggressive in the draft (trading up for Jarrett Culver) and in free agency (pursuing D'Angelo Russell) despite having limited resources. https://t.co/8X2xznzR82
Beasley has not focused on any of this. He has more important things on his mind having lost a family member to COVID-19 (as did Towns). His next contract, the resumption of the season, it all takes a back seat to the reality of his disease.
Eventually, the focus will return to the court.
How good Minnesota will be next season will depend on how well Towns and Russell mesh (and if they can stay healthy), combined with if coach Ryan Saunders can coax some defense out of this squad. Both Beasley (especially) and Hernangomez seemed a good fit so far.
What that will mean in terms of larger paychecks for the free agents is impossible to predict right now, but Minnesota wants to be in the game.