Howard will add depth to the injury-ravaged Wolves, who lost Chase Budinger to injury earlier this week. Forward Kevin Love, guards Ricky Rubio, J.J. Barea and Brandon Roy also are sidelined with injuries.
Howard arrived in the Twin Cities on Thursday afternoon and the plan was for him to be in uniform against Golden State on Friday night.
"We need somebody at that spot," coach Rick Adelman said. "We looked around and he seemed to be a good candidate."
The 32-year-old Howard worked out for the Wolves on Monday in Dallas. Howard averaged 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 43 games with Utah last season. He also has played for Washington and Dallas, which drafted him 29th overall in 2003. The Timberwolves passed on Howard, who was a star at Wake Forest, in favor of high schooler Ndudi Ebi, who was a bust.
Howard went on to make an All-Star team in his seven seasons with the Mavericks, emerging as a potent scorer and athletic defender. He has dealt with numerous injuries in recent seasons, but the Wolves are hoping he can take some of the minutes from Andrei Kirilenko, who has played 44 minutes in each of the past two games.
"He's a versatile player. He's long. He's a good defender," Adelman said. "He should fit in and help us."
Howard, a nine-year veteran, will receive the veteran's minimum, according to league sources.
Howard has career averages of 14.5 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.