The Minnesota Timberwolves have already been big buyers in the beginning of the 2013 NBA Free Agency period. After Andrei Kirilenko opted out of the second year of his contract to become a free agent, the Wolves went out and landed two solid wings in Chase Budinger and Kevin Martin.
The main motive behind signing both Budinger and Martin is both players’ offensive prowess that will help address Minnesota’s enormous issues from last season of poor outside shooting. Considering that serious need, the Wolves obviously were going to be looking for those players in free agency and ended up landing two of the better options for their needs.
However, they still have work to do. One of the things that Kirilenko’s departure and Budinger and Martin coming in means is that the Wolves are a bit worse defensively than they were on the wings last season. Given that, Minnesota still has a little bit of work to do in free agency, namely finding and locking up a wing defender.
For them to get a guy of the caliber that they would like to, the Wolves are likely going to have to work out a trade, possibly sending away J.J. Barea, which will help them dump some salary. It’s not 100 percent necessary, but it would give them more options and more flexibility in negotiations.
As for their options of who to target, their ideal situation would likely be bringing back Kirilenko. Kirilenko is an elite defender who shows great instincts on that side of the ball and whose length causes real problems for opposing teams. However, there’s no telling if Kirilenko will want to re-sign in Minnesota.
Another option that the Wolves will possibly consider is free agent Corey Brewer. Brewer just finished his sixth season in the league and has established himself as a solid role player and a pesky on-ball defender. Sometimes his over-aggressiveness defensively causes him to make mistakes or make stupid fouls, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s a more than capable defender on the wings.
Timberwolves draft pick Shabazz Muhammad is believed to have a ton of defensive potential, but there will obviously be a big learning curve in the pros. The Wolves will likely have to make a move to address their perimeter defense and it will be interesting to see how they pull it off.