Timberwolves working on signing Andrew Wiggins to extension
The Minnesota Timberwolves, after making several big splashes this offseason as the organization significantly upgraded its roster, has set its sights on signing Andrew Wiggins to a long-term extension.
“We’re working on it right now,” Wolves coach/president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau said Wednesday, via Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.
The contract is expected to be for five years and in the $150 million range. Under the NBA collective bargaining agreement, the Timberwolves can sign two players on their rookie contracts to five-year maximum “designated” extensions. Karl-Anthony Towns obviously would be the other player the Wolves would like to lock up, presumably ahead of the 2018-19 season.
In the initial year under the contract extension, 2018-19, Wiggins currently would be slated to earn $25.5 million. Should the budding superstar make the All-NBA team or earn NBA Defensive Player of the Year honors — the latter being an extreme long shot — during the 2017-18 season, that annual salary would increase to $30.6 million, per an ESPN report.
The Timberwolves without question upgraded its roster by leaps and bounds this offseason. The draft-day trade for Jimmy Butler highlights the makeover, but the acquisitions of Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford are significant additions as well.
As it stands, Minnesota’s starting lineup looks to be Wiggins, Towns, Butler, Teague and Gorgui Dieng, with Crawford and Gibson being the first guys off the bench. It’s presumably playoffs-or-bust for Minnesota at this point after not reaching the postseason since the 2003-04 season.
Wiggins, who posted a career-high 23.6 points last season still needs to round out his game, especially on the defensive end of the court. Thibodeau, in light of his pedigree, obviously is the right coach for the job in that respect. Butler’s tenacity on defense presumably will rub off on the young Wiggins as well.
Thibodeau previously stated the onus is now on Wiggins to become a “complete player.” It would seem that the Wolves’ desire to lock up Wiggins for the long haul — a deal would need to be finalized by October — indicates the team believes 22-year-old is well on his way to doing just that.