LAS VEGAS — Entering restricted free agency this summer, Jake Layman simply wanted to go where he was wanted.
“It was all about going to a team that just wanted me, wanted me there, wanted me to be a part of their organization,” Layman said.
Minnesota wanted just that.
“That’s really what it was all about,” Layman said.
Thus, Layman agreed to a 3-year, $11.5 million contract with Minnesota via a sign-and-trade deal with Portland. The deal was made official Monday.
Layman described himself as a guy “who can really complement guys well.” He proved that to be true during his time in Portland. Playing in 71 games last season, and starting 33 of them, Layman averaged 7.6 points and 3.1 rebounds while shooting 51 percent from the floor.
He played well alongside the likes of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, and looks to do the same with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
“I’m really just looking, with KAT and Wiggins, just to really go out there and complement them, do whatever I need to do to elevate their game and elevate my game,” Layman said.
Layman’s natural position is at small forward, and the Wolves seem to have a glut of wings at the moment. But, at 6 foot 9, the 25-year-old could play power forward in a small-ball lineup, much like the Wolves have discussed doing with Robert Covington.
Whatever position he plays, Layman said he feels like “there is some opportunity for me to go out there and do some good things.”
Layman was described as a good locker room presence in Portland, which could be another reason the Wolves were interested in bringing him to Minnesota as it continues to change the culture under a new regime under president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas and coach Ryan Saunders.
Layman said he can sense positive vibes.
“It sounds like everyone is really excited for what’s to come next year. I think it kind of feels like a fresh start for everybody,” he said. “I think the culture they’re trying to build is obviously a winning culture, and I think everyone just wants to win. And I think if everyone just has that mentality, that winning is the No. 1 thing, everything else should all work out.”