Timberwolves Make Luka Garza Eligible for NBA Playoffs with Converted Contract

Luka Garza, Minnesota Timberwolves
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves ran the G-League version of the Toronto Raptors out of Target Center on Wednesday night, nearly topping them by a full 50-piece, 133-85. When you’re on the 2nd night of a back-to-back and you’re mopping up your home court with an opponent, bench players are showered with 2nd-half minutes, which is what we saw last night.

Newly acquired Monte Morris got 23 minutes, Jordan McLaughlin 17 minutes, TJ Warren 14 minutes… so on down the line. One guy who did not reach double-digit minutes, though, is Luka Garza, who signed a new two-way contract with the Timberwolves prior to the 2023-24 season, which allows him to go back and forth from G-League Iowa, but doesn’t allow him to play more than 43 games in the NBA and does NOT qualify him for the playoff roster.

Luka Garza shows out vs Raptors in limited minutes

Unlike some of those ahead of him, who got a lot of run on Wednesday night, Luka got just 9 minutes of playing time, as a reserve. In those nine minutes, Garza went 7-for-10 from the field and scored a team-high 16 points off the bench. Nearly every time this dude takes the court, he looks better than the last time you saw him. He is so damn good offensively… and all he does is work.

I was pleasantly surprised this offseason when Luka Garza failed to find a team willing to offer him an NBA contract, forcing him to settle for another two-way deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Is that selfish? Probably, but Garza hits me right in the feels as one of those under-the-radar dudes that we would absolutely regret leaving town.

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He’s a midwest guy who cares more about his basketball career than 99% of the world population cares about anything. When a 7-foot unicorn big man works that hard at his craft and continually shows growth in his game week-over-week, year-over-year, good things happen.

Minnesota Timberwolves convert Garza’s contract to NBA deal

That’s why I was even more elated on Thursday, right along with the rest of Timberwolves nation, when news broke (via Shams – The Athletic) that Minnesota is converting Garza’s two-way contract to a standard NBA deal, something he’s been working his entire NBA career for and a move that makes him eligible for the Wolves’ playoff roster.

This should have happened long ago. Luka Garza does not belong in the G-League and his number show it. In just THREE G-League games this season, Luka is averaging 36.7 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. He is an unfair cheat code at that level. Garza has appeared in 21 Timberwolves (NBA) games this season, averaging 4.2 points, 1.2 rebounds per game.

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