ASSESSING THE TEAM: THE CORE
KEVIN LOVE Contract: Four-year, $61 million extension begins next season, but he can opt out after three years -- in 2015 -- and that's a really big but.
Comment: He might not be a true franchise player who can win a game by himself at the end -- at least not yet -- but he is incredibly unique, still only 23 and the player around whom to build this team. Will the Wolves regret not giving him that five-year maximum deal that could have kept him in Minnesota through 2017? And if so, just how much?
RICKY RUBIO Contract: Rookie contract runs through 2015, which, coincidentally, is same summer Love can opt out.
Comment: He will be back from knee surgery at least by Christmas, but you might not see the real Ricky Rubio you came to know and love until the 2013-14 season. The Wolves still can give him their one five-year "designated player" contract slot in 2015, but it's all moot if Love opts out for warmer pastures, isn't it?
NIKOLA PEKOVIC Contract: First NBA contract expires after next season, when he will become an unrestricted free agent. Expect contract negotiations on new deal sooner rather than later.
Comment: Emerged this season as this team's third core piece and a nightly double-double threat who makes life easier for Love. Gives the Wolves something they desperately lack: toughness. But as promising as his future is, he's still not the kind of rim protector the Wolves need beside Love if they expect to become a serious playoff contender.
LUKE RIDNOUR Contract: Has two more seasons and $8.3 million left on four-year deal he signed in July 2010.
Comment: He's not the starting shooting guard on any serious contending team, but he's an underrated role player who proved his toughness by playing through injuries and personal matters all season until a sprained ankle finally knocked him out in the season's final weeks.
J.J. BAREA Contract: Has three more seasons and nearly $14 million left on the four-year, free-agent deal he signed in December.
Comment: He stepped forward as an iron man point guard and veteran locker-room voice when Rubio and then Ridnour were lost for the season. Still, he is what he is: the world's smallest shooting guard and a fiery, productive player who is best when used in a defined role off the bench.
DERRICK WILLIAMS Contract: Rookie contract expires in 2015, although team, in theory, could opt out in 2013 or 14.
Comment: Question that puzzled scouts last summer still remains: Where does he play? He intends to lose 10 pounds or more this summer to prove he really is an NBA small forward. Bigger concern: He had every opportunity to step forward and produce with Love out in season's final weeks and instead struggled as much as he has all year. Still the prime trade candidate to balance the roster, although disappointing rookie season makes it more likely the team works with him all summer and hopes he comes back much improved.
MARTELL WEBSTER Contract: Team can buy out his deal for next season at a fraction of its $5.7 million salary.
Comment: He's a proven NBA player and willing defender who still is only 25, but his salary slot probably is better spent on a higher impact player.
JURY'S WAY OUT
WES JOHNSON Contract: Rookie contract expires in 2014, team has an option in 2013.
Comment: Given every conceivable opportunity to prove himself worthy of the 2010 draft's fourth overall pick, he started every game but one and alarmingly regressed from a promising rookie season. Wolves brass doesn't appear ready to give up on him yet, but this is a BIG development summer in which he needs to dramatically improve his ball-handling, find confidence in his shot and come back ready to grasp some kind of role in Rick Adelman's offense.
JURY'S WAY, WAY OUT
MICHAEL BEASLEY Contract: He will become an unrestricted free agent if the Wolves don't make him an $8.1 million qualifying offer -- quite unlikely -- to retain the right to match any other team's offer.
Comment: He's the most talented player on the team who still might be years away from figuring it all out, if he ever does. He's able to create his own shot and score from anywhere on the floor. So don't absolutely assume he won't be back next season, but it's going to have to be at the right price, considerably less than that $8.1 million qualifying offer.
ANTHONY RANDOLPH Contract: See Beasley's situation above, except his is a $4 million qualifying offer.
Comment: He finished this season just like the last one, putting up some impressive numbers when the season was lost and Love was out of the lineup. Three pretty good coaches now -- Don Nelson, Mike D'Antoni and Adelman -- have concluded he doesn't know how to play consistently with four other guys. He won't turn 23 until July and very well still could be an All Star when he's 26 or 27. But can -- and will -- the coach and the team wait for him?
MALCOLM LEE Contract: He has two more seasons and $1.6 million left on a fully guaranteed three-year deal -- unusual for a second-round draft pick -- he signed in December.
Comment: Combo-guard rookie who is an NBA-ready defender, but not yet prepared to fulfill a point guard's role vacated when Rubio and Ridnour were injured. Could develop into a lockdown perimeter defender, the kind of guy the Wolves seemingly have lacked forever.
WAYNE ELLINGTON Contract: Team picked up his $2 million option for next season.
Comment: Streaky shooter and prepared pro who's always ready when called upon, but it's probably best if he isn't called upon more than spot duty.
ANTHONY TOLLIVER Contract: He will be an unrestricted free agent in July after the two-year, $4 million-plus contract he signed in 2010 expired.
Comment: Limited but potentially valuable role player if used correctly could return next season, at the right price. He said his agent has had some discussions with the team and wants to return, but "you never know how those things are going to turn out" depending on what other moves the team makes.
Comment: This will end just as it has with four other NBA teams -- badly. Don't expect him to play another game as long as Rick Adelman is coach. The question is whether the team will use its one-time-only amnesty clause to get his $5.2 million salary off their cap books next season or just send him home, hoping to use his contract in a trade down the road.
BRAD MILLER Comment: Plans to officially retire after this season following a 14-year NBA career and settle down back in Sacramento, where he played nearly six of those seasons.