The Leandro Bolmaro Conundrum
Leandro Bolmaro, a 6’7 Argentinian guard/forward who can handle, pass, and plays with tremendous flair, was drafted by Minnesota with the 23rd pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Bolmaro was selected with the intention of stashing him in Europe to develop without using an NBA roster spot. In the summer of 2021, the Wolves and Bolmaro will have to decide if he should continue his development overseas or sign his NBA contract. While that decision seems relatively straightforward, there are several variables to consider.
Bringing Bolmaro stateside in the summer of 2021 would give him an opportunity to work with an NBA and G-League player-development staff. Barcelona is well-equipped for a European team, but they don’t have the same stake in Bolmaro’s future that the Wolves do. Sam Newman-Beck and the Iowa Wolves’ coaching staff have done great work with Naz Reid and Jaylen Nowell, and it’s exciting to think about Bolmaro developing in that environment.
There are also contractual factors to consider. If the Wolves bring Bolmaro to Minnesota in 2021, he’ll start his rookie contract in 2021-2022 making $2,284,800. If they wait another year, they could save valuable space below the 2021-2022 luxury tax.
However, waiting another year also has financial implications. If the Wolves wait until 2022 to offer Bolmaro a roster spot, he’ll be two years removed from his draft date. He could turn the Wolves down and stay in Spain until 2023, at which point he would no longer be limited to the NBA’s rookie scale. We saw this with Bogdan Bogdanovic, and the Kings were forced to pay him $9,000,000 in his rookie season. The affordability provided by the rookie scale is a huge advantage, and the Wolves don’t want to lose that affordability if Bolmaro blows up.
If I were Gersson Rosas, I would offer Leandro Bolmaro a roster spot in the summer of 2021. Bolmaro could choose to stay with Barcelona, but I think he’ll have a hard time turning down NBA-money. The sooner Bolmaro can start developing in Iowa the better, in my opinion. Plus, by bringing him over in 2021, the Wolves avoid the financial risk that comes with waiting until the summer of 2022.