Mo Williams' sixth NBA franchise will be the Minnesota Timberwolves. Williams and Minnesota agreed on a one-year, $3.75 million contract on Monday as Minnesota continues rounding out its bench depth with veteran pieces.
The team announced the deal:
The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed guard Mo Williams. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
"We are excited to bring Mo into the fold this season," said Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders. "His veteran leadership and excellent three-point shooting ability will be a valuable addition to our team."
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports was first to report the agreement:
The veteran took to Twitter to talk about his new team:
Williams spent last season with the Portland Trail Blazers. He averaged 9.7 points and 4.3 assists per game on 41.7 percent shooting, failing to make a single start for the first time since his rookie year. Looking for a pay raise over the $2.77 million he was owed for 2014-15, Williams exercised his player option and became an unrestricted free agent.
While securing a raise proved difficult—Williams was among the veterans who felt the financial squeeze as free agency wore on—signing with Minnesota provides him more long-term security. At age 31 and 11 seasons into his NBA career, this may be one of the last stops in Williams' career.
The Timberwolves are Williams' fifth franchise in as many seasons. He spent 2012-13 with the Utah Jazz before going to Portland last season. He previously played for the Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks. Although mostly successful in every stop, Williams has never lasted more than four seasons with any team.
"He's someone who I can say will be a friend forever," Blazers guard Damian Lillard told Chris Haynes CSN Northwest. "We got that close in a year. He's was the one guy I wanted back the most but that's not in my power and I understand that. We still talk and plan to link up down the road but it's tough to know he's not coming back."
Part of Williams' nomadic professional lifestyle can be attributed to his position. Point guard is the deepest well in the NBA's recesses, and Williams is in that strange strata above replacement level but not quite good enough to start.
He's a career 38.5 percent three-point shooter who has proved he can work with other point guards off the ball. The Blazers scored 109.3 points per 100 possessions when Williams and Lillard shared the floor last season, per NBA.com. Overall, though, Williams was tasked with propping up a Portland bench unit that often struggled to stay afloat when the starters left the floor. Portland was on average 6.2 points worse on a 100-possession basis with Williams in the game.
Part of the reason the Blazers signed Steve Blake rather than working to re-up with Williams was an effort to prop up the bench unit. Minnesota will hope Williams' performance mirrors his previous stops.
Given the way shooting has been upsold all summer, though, Williams should be a bargain regardless. Every team needs floor spacers, and he was one of the best remaining on the market. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.
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