Timberwolves’ roster next season will be expensive; basketball brass wants ownership to pay the bill

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The Timberwolves are fresh off their best season in two decades — 56 wins, two playoffs series victories, including an ouster of the defending champions.

After being eliminated from the Western Conference finals by Dallas, numerous Wolves players noted the team would be back. That’s a fair expectation given the number of key players set to return for the 2024-25 campaign.

Kyle Anderson is the only member of the top eight not signed for next season, and both he, coach Chris Finch and basketball boss Tim Connelly stated a clear interest in the forward returning next season.

So, there’s no reason for Minnesota not to trot out essentially the same roster next season with the idea that player development, tweaks to approach and another year of continuity could potentially be enough to get the Wolves over the hump.

“I’m a big fan of continuity, certainly. You should have continuity offensively because you just kind of know each other better,” Finch said. “Hopefully, we can continue to be a little bit better out of the gate offensively. Continuity and internal growth, to me, is the key to going far in this league. We’ve experienced it ourself — heavy change takes awhile to settle down and then build off of. … If you have continuity, you’re going to be ahead of the curve.”

The only obstacle standing between Minnesota and another season of “running it back,” frankly, is money.

The Wolves are going to be an expensive team next season, as the big-money contract extensions of Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels kick in. Just keeping who’s under contract at the moment will leave Minnesota in the luxury tax, and hand ownership — whoever that consists of next season — a hefty bill to foot.

Re-signing Anderson — unless his market is noncompetitive, which would be surprising for the smart, do-it-all 31-year-old forward — would likely push Minnesota past the second apron, which would then also restrict what the team can do in free agency and on the trade market.

But that’s all worth it if it maintains a championship-caliber roster. Frankly, in the NBA, it’s expensive to contend at a high level. That’s the cost of doing business.

“I think we have to be cognizant of how big the table we’re at. Oftentimes, the final four table comes with a price tag that’s different than teams that aren’t playing this late in the season, and certainly whatever ownership allows, we’re going to be committed and aggressive,” Connelly said. “I think when you get a taste of it, you want more and more, so that’ll be something we discuss with ownership. It’s also something that we’re pretty aware to a large degree, to be where we are, it’s going to come with a certain check. And I think by all accounts, ownership has given us no indication we’re going to be anything but aggressive and try to get over one more hump. We got over a big hump after 20 years this year, but we’re certainly not content.”

Connelly noted Minnesota’s current ownership situation is “obviously in a unique place right now.”

Connelly — who has an opt-out in his contract this summer but expressed a firm desire to remain in Minnesota — said everyone has been “unbelievably supportive.” Finch said he’s not concerned with the ownership situation, noting his strong relationships with all parties.

“They’ve all pledged that no matter how it shakes out, that they’re going to give us every opportunity to be successful and continue to build, build a winner and a champion, and all the things that we’re all trying to do together,” Finch said.

Connelly noted owners — majority and minority alike — clearly enjoyed the postseason run, which only increases the likelihood of being willing to pay to compete again next season.

That’s certainly Connelly’s hope.

“I think, optimally, if given the two options, we’d always err on the side of patience and continuity. And we’ve been fortunate that ownership has allowed that. After coming off last season, ownership allowed us to see what we had this year. And then we had a pretty successful run,” Connelly said. “We have well-laid theoretical plans but the fluidity of the marketplace changes things rapidly. And we’ll be aggressive and nimble, but again, I think patience is oftentimes most rewarded if you’re allowed to do so.”

It’s clear what the preferred path is of the organization, should Glen Taylor or the tandem of Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez allow them to take it.

“I think we are at a moment where we want to keep pushing forward, and we’re going to do that,” Finch said. “What that looks like, I’m not 100 percent sure.”

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