Report: Minnesota undecided on picking up Derrick Williams’ fourth year

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I think they will do it.

Derrick Williams is entering his third NBA season this fall and Minnesota now has to decide if they want him back for a fourth season. Usually teams keep a player on a rookie deal around unless he was a swing and a miss, or he’s just not in the team’s plans. Williams has not been brilliant but he scored 12 points a game and started 56 games in Minnesota last season.

However the Timberwolves are still thinking about it, mostly for financial reasons. Darren Wolfson of ESPN1500 has the quote.

In a phone conversation earlier this week spanning a few topics, Wolves owner Glen Taylor acknowledged the team isn’t quite sure what to do.

“We’ll evaluate his summer program, and how he looks coming into camp (which starts Oct. 1),” Taylor said. “I heard he is looking good.”

A month before camp everybody is “looking good” or “is in the best shape they have been in five years” or “is finally healthy.” All of that should be taken with a grain of salt.

The issue is really money and value.

Williams would make $6.3 million in his fourth season then become a restricted free agent where the market will set his value (don’t expect Minnesota to extend him). The problem is that $6.3 could push the Timberwolves into the luxury tax, a place the team doesn’t want to go (both because they don’t want to pay it and because it would tie their hands with a smaller mid-level exception).

The question with Williams is fit with the roster — and this is the year we learn how that works. Williams was drafted with the idea that he could be a big, athletic three who played next to Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic on the front line. Williams entered the league in the lockout season, so he never got and off-season and camp to work with those two (and Ricky Rubio) to develop chemistry, it was more a “fly by the seat of your pants” thing. Then last season with Love out Williams was forced to play 40 percent of the team’s total minutes at the four (according to 82games.com). (Zach Lowe broke all this down well at Grantland.)

We don’t know how Williams at the three works with these Timberwolves, but we should have a much better idea by February. Problem is, Minnesota has to decide on the 2014-15 option year on Williams by Oct. 31. They basically get training camp and then have to make the call.

I expect they pick it up, if only to consider trading him down the line should he not fit. But as of right now Minnesota does not have a decision.