The following is a list of the the small forward free agents. Some, have early termination options (player & team), others are restricted free agents (any team that makes them an offer, can be matched by their current team) and lastly unrestricted free agents.
This is a look at all the possible small forward free agents and isn’t necessarily a list of players that the Timberwolves need to target, but rather a list of the potential free agents and what they could bring to the table for Minnesota.
-C.J. Miles (TO): C.J. has had an up-and-down career, from starter to bench warmer to D-League to role player and everywhere in between for the Utah Jazz. He has a team option this offseason for the Jazz and I’d expect them to almost definitely pick it up. This is the same player that set a career-high in points at 40 in the UTA-MIN last meeting. If he isn’t re-upped, I wouldn’t doubt the TWolves to be interested. He’s a young-potential and brings athleticism, shooting and above-average defense.
-Mickael Pietrus (PO): Pietrus was involved in that trade that sent Carter, Gortat and himself to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson. I wouldn’t be surprised if Pietrus passes on his player option and at the same time I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides to remain in Phoenix. He got almost no play time when he was traded and at the end of the year suffered and injury. With the CBA lingering I could see him remaining in Phoenix and most likely being traded or he could simply enter free agency and decide himself. Pietrus is a seasoned vet and is a solid swingman on both ends of the floor.
-Sam Young (TO): The Grizzlies are still in playoff contention and since Rudy Gay went down, it’s been Sam Young and Tony Allen at the 2 & 3 and they’ve stepped up big. I would be surprised if the Grizz decided to let Young slip into free agency. He’s still a young player and would be a solid role player on any team.
-Matt Barnes (PO): Matt Barnes has a small player option next season for the Los Angeles Lakers. I’m not certain as to whether he’ll want to return next season. I feel like Matt Barnes has a lot of better options to join teams that are in need of a small forward, unlike the Lakers (who although they’re playoff contenders) who are deep at the 3-spot (Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Luke Walton). If you remember, he was going to sign with the Raptors, before they had some financial troubles and he ended up in LA. I could see him going somewhere where he’ll be able to get a lot more minutes (not necessarily a starter). Barnes is a great lockdown defender and he would be welcomed with open arms to Minnesota. He also has a decent three-point shot.
-James Jones (PO): James Jones of the Miami Heat. Just the other day (in the playoffs) Jones dropped 25 in minimal time off the bench. He’s a great three-point shooter who will almost certainly be back in Miami for another season. Beyond his three-point shooting however, well, there’s not much to say. If he did enter free agency, I could see the Wolves (a team who shot a lot of threes a season ago) at least taking a glance at him.
-Thaddeus Young (R): Beyond Wilson Chandler, this is one of the biggest free agent small forwards out there. Thaddeus Young is only 22 years old and was an integral part of returning the 76ers back to the playoffs. He’s an athletic point forward with a lot of different tools. The Wolves already have a player like Thad-Anthony Randolph. However, Thaddeus is more of a threat all over the court. I’d expect some teams to make a run at him, but the Sixers will likely match any offer to keep Young in Philly.
-Wilson Chandler (R): Probably the ‘best’ small forward free agent on the market this offseason. He was a part of that big 13-player deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks. Chandler, now a member of the Denver Nuggets may or may not be in their future plans. In the Melo deal, the Nuggets also received small forward Danilo Gallinari, who is less talented, but started, bringing Chandler off the bench. Danilo is a big young potential, that I could see being one of the centerpieces of the Nuggets for years to come. Chandler will most definitely get some offers to play for different clubs, but I’d expect the Nuggets to match any (non-ridiculous offer) and keep their sixth man. Chandler is a big body that can play the three and the four. He’s a solid shooter and does all the little things on both ends to help his team be successful.
-Tayshaun Prince: Tayshaun Prince had another season of turmoil in Detroit after years of successful runs to the playoffs. He continually butted heads with head coach John Kuester and is almost certainly looking for a way out. Prince’s name has been linked to a number of different teams this summer, the one most likely: the Dallas Mavericks. Head coach Rick Carlisle was a former Piston assistant during Prince’s rookie season. The veteran-friendly Mavs will be looking for a bit of an upgrade at the small forward: DEFENSIVELY. Prince could be the answer.
-Caron Butler: Butler saw his season cut short after a season-ending injury that’s kept him sidelined now, for almost 4 months. Butler does hope to return for the playoffs, however it’s seeming less likely. As I write this the Mavs are, however, currently up against the Lakers leading the series 2-0. Butler is a great veteran small forward that’ll bring a lot of intangibles on both ends that any team needs to be successful. I’m not 100% certain he’ll be back with the Mavs next season, he may be a bit out of their price range. However, with his injury-plagued season, he may have to lower his price or get no offers whatsoever, a lot of teams will certainly be hesitant because of that injury.
-Shane Battier: Battier was traded just before the deadline in a deal that sent the Grizzlies Hasheem Thabeet to the Houston Rockets for swingman and ex-Grizz Shane Battier. Battier is actually a name that the Wolves community has been saying in a recent weeks. Battier is the kind of veteran swingman that won’t demand a lot of play time, who would be happy as a role player, but at the same time is a very talented player. He’s a great defender (something/one the Wolves REALLY need) a solid shooter and a capable player on both ends. I can only hope the Wolves will get a chance to make him an offer or rather that they actually will!
-Andrei Kirilenko: Lifelong Jazz(er) Andrei Kirilenko is a free agent this offseason. He’s been a fixture on the Jazz for quite some time now, however this past season may have been his last in Utah. Since trading away all-star Deron Williams the Jazz are in a bit of a rebuilding stage (not really though, with players like: Al Jefferson, Devin Harris, Paul Millsap & Derrick Favors), There’s been talk that Paul Millsap will be working this summer to become a small forward player. To me, indications seem strong that Millsap will be the new starting small forward with Favors at the 4 and Big Al at the 5. Kirilenko will certainly garner some interest as a long lanky defender who is will also get involved on the offensive end. This could be another potential look for the TWolves. However, my money is on the New Jersey Nets. There Russian billionaire owner (I say that, cause I didn’t want to look up how to spell his name) is a good friend of fellow-Russian Kirilenko, they Nets are in need of a defensive presence and a solid starting small forward: there you go!
-Grant Hill: The Phoenix Suns have apparently found the fountain of youth with old superstars like Hill and Steve Nash. Hill is 38 years old, but does he look it? More importantly does he play like it? Absolutely not! Hill is a great wing and could get certainly get some offers this offseason. One interesting team I could/would like to see him play for, is the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are in dire need of a starting small forward (Ryan Gomes just won’t cut it). Beyond that, like a lot of these old veteran swingmen, I’d expect him to look to play for a championship contender.
-Peja Stojakovic: Peja-possibly the best shooter in the NBA? I could go along with that. He’s one of the best three-point shooter I’ve ever seen. Peja is a great vet, who brings both veteran leadership and an incredible touch from almost anywhere on the court. Peja was traded from New Orleans to Toronto, he was later ‘waived’ and eventually signed with the Dallas Mavericks. He has gotten a few starts at the small forward next to Dirk Nowitzki. He’ll definitely garner some interest from some of the championship contenders around the League.
-Jason Kapono: Kapono is a solid three-point shooter and beyond that, well, no, that’s it. If any team is looking for a floor-spreader who can knock down tough shots he’s your guy. I don’t expect the Wolves to be looking to JK though.
-Jamario Moon: Moon was traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Los Angeles Clippers in a deal that also featured Mo Williams and Baron Davis. Moon is a role player, nothing more. He’s an athletic player who can knock down some shots as well. He should hook up with someone this offseason, I’m just not sure who.
-Al Thornton: Al Thornton was surprisingly waived by the Washington Wizards around the NBA Trade Deadline, he later signed with the Golden State Warriors and got some substantial minutes behind Dorell Wright. Thornton will get plenty of offers this offseason, he’s a valuable reserve with a lot of athleticism. He’s a versatile player, but he isn’t someone I see the Wolves going after.
-Earl Clark: Earl Clark was a small-part of the Phoenix-Orlando deal earlier this year (Vince Carter/Marcin Gortat/Mickael Pietrus for Jason Richardson/Hedo Turkoglu/Earl Clark). He didn’t get a lot of play time with the Orlando Magic. He’s a versatile young forward with upside. The Magic are uncertain as to whether he’ll be back in Orlando this offseason.