LAS VEGAS — Noah Vonleh saw opportunities when he looked at the Timberwolves. That’s why he’ll be playing in Minnesota next season.
The 6-foot-9 forward agreed to a one-year deal worth $2 million last week, though it hasn’t yet been made official. Vonleh joins Jordan Bell, whose one-year deal also has yet to be announced, as the only two true power forwards on the roster after Dario Saric was traded to Phoenix and Taj Gibson left to sign with the Knicks in free agency.
Playing time should be available.
When paired with the Wolves’ youthful roster, Vonleh — who’s entering his sixth NBA season, but is still just 23 years old — saw a match.
He mentioned Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins — “I know they want to build around those guys,” he said — when noting the Wolves are flush with “a lot of young talent,” including other good players such as Robert Covington.
Vonleh sees himself as “a great fit” with the roster, particularly as a complement to Towns.
“He’s a great scorer and rebounder and he’s going to demand a lot of attention, so putting me out there with him on the court, it’s going to be great,” Vonleh said. “I’ve just got to keep trying to stretch the floor, do different things to try to complement him.”
Vonleh shot 34 percent from 3-point range last season, adequate for a player his size, and was strong on the glass, averaging 7.8 rebounds a game with the Knicks. He’s also a strong defender, and everyone knows the Wolves need more of those.
Vonleh called his chance in Minnesota “another opportunity.” The Wolves mark his fifth different team in six seasons. Still, there will be a sense of familiarity here.
“We’ve basically got the whole Portland family coming to Minnesota,” Vonleh said.
He’s not wrong there. From new assistant coach David Vanterpool to fellow free-agent signing Jake Layman to Shabazz Napier, acquired in a trade, Minnesota has added a slew of guys with a recent history in Portland.
“You’ve got familiar faces, you know who those guys are, you get more comfortable because those guys have been through a lot together,” Vonleh said. “Now that we’re back together again, we’re going to keep trying to grow as a unit.”