MINNEAPOLIS (AP) New Minnesota Timberwolves brass Tom Thibodeau and Scott Layden sat on the sideline through the first two days of free agency as the big money players flew off the market. They dipped their toes into the waters on Day 3 by making a value play for hometown boy Cole Aldrich.
The Timberwolves agreed to a three-year, $22 million contract with Aldrich, a native of the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Sunday. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the contract cannot be signed until Thursday.
Aldrich was a high school star in Bloomington before attending college at Kansas. He was the 11th overall pick in 2010 and has played for Oklahoma City, Houston, Sacramento, New York and the Clippers.
The journeyman is coming off his best season as a pro, when he was a valuable defensive presence off the bench for the Clippers.
He will slide into the big-man rotation in Minnesota with Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng.
The Timberwolves were in search of a backup big man with Nikola Pekovic's foot issues derailing his career and Kevin Garnett's future still up in the air.
After other teams splurged on the likes of Bismack Biyombo, Ian Mahinmi and Timofey Mozgov, the Wolves went for a value play with Aldrich.
The 7-foot Aldrich will give the Wolves some muscle, defense and rebounding, which is exactly what Thibodeau was looking for as he starts to install a culture built on defense and toughness in Minnesota.
The Timberwolves also were in talks with Pau Gasol, but signing Aldrich as another big could have an affect on that prospect. Gasol was also talking to San Antonio, Portland and Toronto, among other suitors.
The Wolves also started free agency looking for shooting and could still address that need, perhaps with a backup to shooting guard Zach LaVine, in the coming days.