MINNEAPOLIS — Robbie Hummel’s rookie emergency contributions weren’t enough to net him another contract with the Timberwolves.
But that doesn’t guarantee he or teammate Othyus Jeffers, who will become unrestricted free agents at 11 p.m. Monday, won’t be back in a Minnesota uniform at some point this summer.
The Wolves announced Monday they won’t be extending qualifying offers to Hummel or Jeffers, officially rendering them free agents when the NBA’s annual negotiation period begins Tuesday at midnight in the Eastern Time Zone. Hummel and Jeffers could re-sign with Minnesota, even if it’s just for Summer League and/or training camp, but they’re free to look at other options, too.
Each padded his resume to some degree in 2013-14.
Drafted 58th overall in 2012 and held over from training camp, Hummel averaged 3.4 points per game and 2.5 rebounds per game in 53 appearances. The 6-foot-8, 215-pound small forward started five games due to injury, twice scoring in double figures.
But Hummel’s shooting, long considered a strong suit of his game, suffered during his transition to the NBA. While he proved a valuable asset on the glass (9.7 boards per 48 minutes) and exhibited maximum defensive effort, his 37.9 field-goal percentage made it tough for coach Rick Adelman to rely on him consistently.
After spending 2012-13 in Spain bouncing back from two college ACL tears in the same knee, Hummel made $490,180 on his one-year, rookie deal which didn’t become fully guaranteed until the Jan. 10 deadline.
Minnesota used a second-round pick Thursday to draft Glenn Robinson III, another small forward considered more athletic than Hummel with more NBA-level upside. The Wolves also have swingmen Corey Brewer, Chase Budinger and Shabazz Muhammad under contract through 2016 (Muhammad’s salary for 2015-16 is a team option), leaving little room for Hummel in the rotation if Robinson ends up being as good as advertised.
Jeffers finds himself in a similar situation.
The 28-year-old hoops wanderer spent the final six games of the season in Minneapolis following a late call-up from the NBA Developmental League’s Iowa Energy. Jeffers appeared in just two games for the Wolves, who signed him to a training-camp deal last season but cut him shortly before the regular season commenced.
That sent Jeffers back to Des Moines, where he’s spent five seasons among brief NBA stints with Utah, San Antonio, Washington and Minnesota. In 2013-14, the 6-5, 200-pound shooting guard earned D-League MVP honors after averaging 20.9 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.2 steals per game.
In two games with the Wolves, though, Jeffers played a total of 13 minutes and attempted one field goal.
There’s no room for him on the roster, either, after coach and president of basketball operations drafted 19-year old combo guard Zach LaVine 13th overall Thursday. Kevin Martin also remains with the franchise, though he could be displaced by Klay Thompson or another outside two-guard in a potential trade involving Kevin Love.
With 14 players under guaranteed contract for next season, there’s just not enough space to accommodate the efforts of Hummel and Jeffers. Minnesota also has a $5.3 million midlevel salary cap exception it could spend on a more proven free agent if it so chooses, so the chances either player makes the team’s final roster next season look bleak.