MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Timberwolves’ guard situation is a little clearer after Friday afternoon.
The team waived free agent Othyus Jeffers and 2013 second-round draft pick Lorenzo Brown, trimming the roster to 16 the day after its final preseason game. The Timberwolves have until 4 p.m. CT Monday to announce their final 15-man roster.
Brown’s departure doesn’t come as a surprise. The 52nd overall selection averaged 12.6 minutes in three games this preseason, as coach Rick Adelman gave Ricky Rubio, Alexey Shved, A.J. Price and J.J. Barea the lion’s share of minutes at point guard.
Minnesota retains draft rights for Brown, who now can sign on with the Iowa Energy of the NBA Developmental League or a European team.
Letting go of Jeffers may have been a tougher decision. Starting with the NBA Summer League out in Las Vegas, the undrafted free agent impressed with his tenacious wing defense and ability to slash to the rim. He appeared in all six preseason games, averaging 4.3 points and 3.5 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per contest.
Jeffers, who’s appeared in 31 games with three different NBA teams, scored a team-high 13 points in Minnesota’s exhibition win against Milwaukee in Sioux Falls, S.D.
But Adelman and team president Flip Saunders apparently feel comfortable moving forward with Rubio, Shved, Barea and possibly Price at the point guard spot and using a mix of wings behind Kevin Martin at the two. Center Chris Johnson — who played a total of nine minutes in two preseason games — could be next on the chopping block, as long as Minnesota is fine paying him the $916,099 he’s guaranteed.
That would leave room to sign both Price and small forward Robbie Hummel, who are in Minneapolis on training camp contracts.
If the Timberwolves decide they’d rather not pay Johnson to walk away, one of those two will be the final player cut ahead of the Timberwolves’ opener Wednesday against the Magic.