NBA offseason 2024: Guides for every eliminated NBA team


With the end of the 2023-24 NBA regular season, we're turning our attention to how each team should approach the offseason, including through the draft and free agency.

The Atlanta Hawks, 36-46 this season for a 10th-place finish in the Eastern Conference, rocketed up the lottery board to grab the No. 1 pick in this year's NBA draft.

While the 2024 NBA playoffs continue to narrow to an eventual champion, we're breaking down the potential moves for each eliminated franchise, including a look at the state of each roster, finances, priorities for each front office, extension candidates to watch, team needs and future draft assets.

Key: ETO = Early Termination Option | P = Player Option | R = Restricted | T = Team Option

Jump to a team:


Eliminated in the conference finals

Minnesota Timberwolves

2023-24 record: 56-26

Draft picks in June: No. 27 (own) and No. 37 (via MEM)

Free agents: Kyle Anderson, Jordan McLaughlin, Monte Morris, T.J. Warren, Luka Garza (R) and Daishen Nix

State of the roster: Do not let the embarrassing Game 5 loss to Dallas change the narrative on this season. There is a strong foundation to build on considering Minnesota won 56 games (the second most in franchise history) and reached the conference finals for the first time since 2004. The Timberwolves return the same starting five, NBA Sixth Man of the Year Naz Reid and key reserve Nickeil Alexander-Walker. All-NBA and future MVP candidate Anthony Edwards is set to begin Year 1 of a five-year contract and is not a free agent until 2029. The same goes for 23-year-old Jaden McDaniels, who is on a five-year deal, while All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns and NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert have four years and two years left on their contracts, respectively.

The top-five roster that president of basketball operations Tim Connelly inherited and then added to is overshadowed by the biggest question in franchise history: Which ownership group will be in charge when next season starts? Will it be current owner Glen Taylor or minority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez? The two sides are headed to arbitration over a disagreement in ownership control.

The resolution could play a significant role in how Connelly conducts business moving forward.

The Timberwolves are projected to exceed $200 million in salary, the largest in franchise history and are expected to pay the luxury tax for only the second time since 2007-08. The penalty is expected to exceed $75 million. They are one of three teams (Denver and Phoenix are the others) to have three players on max contracts. Minnesota is also in the second apron and restricted in how it can address the roster outside of retaining its own free agents and two draft picks. The cost, however, justifies the product on the court considering Minnesota ranked first in defensive efficiency and its starting five were a plus-9.5 points per 100 possessions this season. The Timberwolves return 10 players from this year's roster, including seven who are 26 years old or younger. Even in the scenario in which Minnesota wanted to make a roster change, trading the $221 million owed to Towns for example is extremely difficult under the current CBA. His $49.4 million salary next season is one of the largest in the NBA and would trigger the first apron hard cap for teams looking to acquire the forward. Towns was benched for the last nine minutes in the Game 2 loss to Dallas and shot 27.8% from the field in the first three games.

As one team executive told ESPN, "only dysfunctional ownership can break up this team."

Offseason finances: The Timberwolves are operating as a team below both aprons but must take into consideration their 2024-25 finances if they make any trades. Minnesota currently is allowed to take back more money or send cash in a trade, and aggregate contracts sent out. However, using any of the three strategies starting prior to July 1 triggers the second apron restriction for next season. Because of the Towns, Edwards, McDaniels and Mike Conley extensions, Minnesota -- starting on July 1 -- is $6.7 million over the second apron. Despite a payroll of $205 million in 2025-26, Minnesota is expected to receive a financial boost. The luxury tax and apron levels are expected to increase by 10%, the maximum allowed, according to ESPN's sources.

Top front-office priority: Minnesota can get away with playing an eight-man rotation in the playoffs, but will need to address its regular-season depth in the offseason. Not including Alexander-Walker and Reid, the Timberwolves' reserves are Wendell Moore Jr., Leonard Miller and Josh Minott. The three former draft picks played a total of 219 minutes this season. Minnesota does have two draft picks in the top 40 and Bird rights on free agents Anderson, Morris and McLaughlin. The Timberwolves are allowed to exceed the luxury tax and apron to re-sign each but would pay a significant financial penalty if the contract is for more than the veteran minimum exception. Anderson had his minutes decrease in the postseason (from 22.6 to 14.2) and averaged only 3.8 points. He was productive, however, in the conference finals, averaging 20 minutes, 7.5 points and 3.5 assists.

Extension candidate to watch: The Timberwolves were active since last June, signing four players (Reid, Edwards, McDaniels and Conley) to extensions. The two players to focus on this offseason are Gobert and Morris. Gobert was named Defensive Player of the Year for the fourth time in his career. According to Second Spectrum, 21.6% of shots the Timberwolves defend are in the restricted area when Gobert is on the floor. That would be the lowest percentage faced in the NBA. The percentage jumped to 26.8% when Gobert was off the court, sixth highest in the NBA. Gobert has two years left on his contract and can become a free agent next offseason if he declines his player option. While it is unlikely Minnesota would sign him to a four-year, $243 million extension, Gobert could decline the $46.6 million player option and then extend for a lower salary but with more years attached. Morris is a free agent in July, but is eligible to extend for an additional two seasons until June 30. Minnesota acquired Morris with the goal of providing a playoff-tested bench presence. Morris played 12 minutes in the Game 5 loss to Denver but averaged only 8.7 minutes in the postseason.

Other extension candidates: McLaughlin (through June 30) and Minott (as of July 22)

Team needs: Backup point guard, wing depth and players who can create their own shot.

Future draft assets: The Timberwolves are allowed to trade their 2024 and 2031 firsts, starting the night of the draft. From the Gobert trade, Minnesota owes Utah a 2025 and 2027 unprotected first. It will also send a 2029 top-five protected first to Utah. The Jazz also have the right to swap firsts in 2026. Minnesota has three second-round picks available.

Indiana Pacers

2023-24 record: 47-35

Draft picks in June: No. 36 (via TOR), No. 49 (via CLE) and No. 50 (via NOP)