Last summer, the Minnesota Timberwolves took a $4 million flier on veteran big man Jordan Hill, hoping he could give them some backup minutes behind Karl-Anthony Towns. Didn’t work out that way, he appeared in just 47 minutes across seven games. Cole Aldrich was better (though not great), and so in the draft the Timberwolves took Justin Patton hoping he can give them some minutes next season.
Which means Hill’s time in Minnesota has come to an end.
This clears $4.1 million off the cap for the Wolves, who plan to do a little free agent spending this summer.
Hill will be 30 years old next season, but I’m not sure that there’s another NBA contract in his future. If so he may have to earn it through a training camp invite.
The bigger question becomes, will Nikola Pekovic ever play serious minutes in the NBA again? Any minutes?
Pekovic played in just 12 games last season (and 31 the season before that) as foot injuries have sidelined him. With Karl-Anthony Towns front and center, the Timberwolves have moved on. Their front court rotation also has Gorgui Dieng, Cole Aldrich, Jordan Hill, and maybe Kevin Garnett if he decides to play and not retire.
Coach Tom Thibodeau doesn’t sound like he’s expecting anything from the 30-year-old Pekovic.
Considering the rotation already in place up front for Minnesota, it’s hard to imagine Pekovic getting any run unless he came back fully healthy, moving very well, and he became a defensive force inside. Which sounds very unlikely.
Pekovic is still owed $23.7 million fully guaranteed this season and next.
Nikola Pekovic played just 12 last season before the Timberwolves shut him down with more right-foot problems.
It’s still an issue for the center.
Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500:
He’s in town. He’s been in town the last few weeks. He worked out in front of Wolves personnel last week. He is still not ready physically.
The Timberwolves have buried Pekovic in their rotation. With Karl-Anthony Towns, Gorgui Dieng and Kevin Garnett already signed, Minnesota added Cole Aldrich and Jordan Hill this summer.
Nikola Pekovic will have to be nearly fully healthy to earn minutes in that crowd. His low-post scoring won’t be enough unless he plays passable defense for Tom Thibodeau – something Pekovic has a chance to do only if he’s moving well.
This latest update doesn’t sound promising for the 30-year-old.
If you looked at the Timberwolves’ roster and saw enough players whose best position is center — Karl-Anthony Towns, Gorgui Dieng, Kevin Garnett and Nikola Pekovic — you’re not Tom Thibodeau.
First, Minnesota signed Cole Aldrich.
Now, Jordan Hill joins.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports
I guess the Timberwolves, well below the salary floor, had a hole burning in their pocket. In that context, Hill is a fine addition. He rebounds well, and he’s effective as an interior scorer when not settling for jumpers.
His effort and awareness are sometimes questionable, though. Thibodeau will fix that and bring out the best in Hill — or be driven crazy by his newest player.
Before that, Thibodeau should keep looking for wings.
We have our first highlight play of the 2016 NBA Playoffs. During Game 1 of the Raptors-Pacers series, we DeMar DeRozan threw down this one-handed reverse dunk after driving baseline past Jordan Hill: