The Timberwolves continued their run on young forwards Wednesday, agreeing to a deal with Portland restricted free agent Jake Layman.
But unlike the deals for Jordan Bell and Noah Vonleh, which were for one year each, Layman is set to sign a three-year, $11.5 million deal with the Wolves, a source confirmed.
The Wolves are acquiring Layman via a sign-and-trade with Portland. Layman’s salary is comparable to Dario Saric’s, meaning the Wolves can use the trade exception they gained on draft night when they sent Saric to the Suns for the No. 6 pick in the draft to sign Layman.
Layman was a useful rotation player last season for Portland after not getting much action in his first two seasons. Layman averaged 7.6 points over 18.7 minutes in 71 games.
A source said the Wolves could execute the deal without using part of their $9.3 million mid-level exception. It all depends on how the rest of free agency goes for the Wolves, who still haven’t resolved the situation with restricted free agent Tyus Jones.
Layman is 6-9 and has ties to Wolves associate head coach David Vanterpool, who was in Portland the past six seasons.
Layman is the latest in a string of forwards who President Gersson Rosas is bringing into the organization. Vonleh and Bell showed promise at various times in their careers, and Layman had his best season a year ago. It’s a different approach from the one former Wolves President Tom Thibodeau took. Thibodeau chose to bring in proven veterans such as Taj Gibson and Anthony Tolliver in the frontcourt while Rosas has let those two sign elsewhere while going younger at those positions.
Unlike with Bell and Vonleh, Layman comes with a little less flexibility of term since he will sign for three years, but locking in his salary at less than $4 million per season will help with cap space in the future if Layman can become someone who earns regular rotation minutes for the Wolves. Layman, who attended Maryland, shot 50% from the floor and 33% from three-point range.
To complete the trade, the Wolves are reportedly sending the rights to 28-year-old European Bojan Dubljevic, whom they drafted in 2013. He hasn’t come to America.