The Minnesota Timberwolves have reached an agreement on a two-way contract with former Villanova standout and Utah Jazz forward Eric Paschall, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski oath Darren Wolfson of KSTP.
As a reminder, players on two-way contracts can only be active for 50 of the 82 NBA regular season games and are ineligible to suit up for postseason games unless their contracts are upgraded to standard NBA contracts. Their deals do not take up a roster spot — the Wolves do not have any currently — and do not count against the salary cap.
Now that the team has filled 15 roster spots and both two-way slots, the Wolves’ roster is now finalized, presuming there will be no other moves.
If you were surprised to see the Jazz last season trade a protected 2026 second-round pick for Paschall — one of Donovan Mitchell’s closest friends — to get his rights ahead of Paschall entering restricted free agency just to renounce those rights and blow up the team, you are not alone.
I was even more surprised to see Paschall accept a two-way offer with Minnesota, considering he shot 37% from 3 on 108 attempts across 58 games for Utah.
Eric Paschall long midrange attempts by season
19-20 (GSW): 108
21-22 (UTA): 3
Eric Paschall overall points per shot attempt by season
Paschall’s corner 3 shot frequency went up by ~6x in Utah compared to Golden State.
— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) July 29, 2022
He scored 5.8 points per game on 48.5/37.0/76.7 shooting splits, 1.8 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.2 steals and 0.1 blocks in 12.7 minutes per game in Salt Lake City last season.
Signing Paschall is yet another example of the almost unbelievable impact new President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly has made in his first nine weeks at the helm of the Timberwolves.
First, the new money Wolves have assembled a front office super team in Connelly, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Sachin Gupta and Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations Matt Lloyd, plus key additions in Assistant General Manager Steve Senior and former Pelicans General Manager and Jazz Assistant Coach Dell Demps.
Since then, Minnesota has now signed three players in the wake of those hirings and executing the Rudy Gobert trade — Austin Rivers (60), Bryn Forbes (42), and Paschall (4) — that have played in a combined 106 playoff games for less than 3.0% of the team’s salary cap. That’s impressive value for a team looking to mature and take the next step in the playoffs.
This move also bolsters the notion that veterans, as well as players looking to get their careers on track, often entrust teams with strong playoff capabilities to play for, even if it may be at a bit of a discount.
Paschall is entering his fourth season in the NBA, and two-way contracts are restricted to players with less than four years of experience, so this is a one-year contract.
That also signals this career move is him betting that the Wolves’ system will help him get back on track after averaging 14.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in 27.6 minutes per game as a rookie for the Golden State Warriors. He has regressed in each of the two seasons since, largely as a result of the Warriors’ stars returning and the Jazz employing one of the deeper power forward rotations in the league last season. His bet on the Wolves is an interesting one, considering Karl-Anthony Towns, Jaden McDaniels, Kyle Anderson, Taurean Prince and Naz Reid could all see minutes at the 4 this season, too.
However, he’ll have ample opportunity to see time in a featured role in Iowa alongside fellow two-way player AJ Lawson, whom the Wolves signed on Wednesday.
Additionally, he played alongside Gobert last season in Utah, Demps was on the bench as an Assistant Coach. The familiarity there likely played a factor into Paschall choosing Minnesota over other options and also signals there must be a plan in place for Paschall’s development that he believes in.
Don’t remember a ton of Paschall in Utah last season. But watching some of his offensive clips, he’s pretty fun on that side of the ball. pic.twitter.com/ek2LaNypLj
— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) July 29, 2022
A big plus for the Wolves in this move is that Paschall has plenty of NBA playing experience. He has played more than 3000 career minutes across 158 regular season games and certainly could capably fill in if guys like Prince or Anderson need a night off. He certainly has the offensive ability to stick in the league, but will need to bring his defense up to that same level if he wants to make it as a consistent rotation guy in the league.
The good news for Paschall is that Minnesota provides the infrastructure where he can focus on bringing what he’s good at to the NBA club, while working on what needs improvement in the G-League. This is another low-risk move that has a very good chance of becoming a positive return on investment for a team that is seemingly getting richer in both front office talent and roster talent by the day.