Andrew Wiggins says he doesn’t deserve anything less than a max contract extension.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor agrees with him.
It’s a sign that things will probably get done at some point before the season starts that the man who cuts the checks in Minnesota wants to see Wiggins locked up, as he told Sid Hartman at the Star Tribune.
“First of all, I think he likes it here, we like him, he can get the very best contract from me, better than he can get from anyone else,” Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune, said in Mankato. “I don’t think we have any trouble of offering him the max anyway.”
“We are talking to [Wiggins’] agent right now about extending him out another five years, so we can do that,” Taylor said. “Karl, we won’t do that until next year. Wiggins, we want to sign him to a long-term contract, we want to keep him here, and we’re negotiating with his agent. But we just started that negotiation, and we have quite some time to get that done.”
The sides have until Oct. 16 to reach that deal on an extension. It would be for about $143.5 million if it’s the full five-year with max raises (assuming the salary cap stay flat).
Wiggins has evolved into a powerful offensive player who averaged 23.6 points per game last season, shot 35.6 percent from three, and every few games he puts defenders in posters. However, to live up to this contract he has to become a better defender (ESPN’s defensive plus/minus is a flawed stat, but it still had Wiggins only ahead of Doug McDermott and Shabazz Muhammad as small forwards last season), his ability to involve other teammates on offense has to improve, his rebounding has to get better, and he needs to be a more efficient scorer. All things he can do, he is just 22 and still improving.
Signing an extension does not take Wiggins out of the Kyrie Irving trade discussion. Minnesota and Cleveland have had talks, but unquestionably the Cavaliers will want Wiggins as part of the deal. If Minnesota decides they want to go that route — not a sure thing, notice the owner said: “we want to keep him here” — a max extension would not shake Cleveland off the trail because they would offer the same money. Trading Wiggins for Irving is the kind of big move that Thibodeau would need to get cleared through Taylor to make happen, and the owner may want to build around a Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Jimmy Butler core. (Towns will get his max extension next summer, Butler is a free agent the summer after that.)
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that DeMarre Carroll and the San Antonio Spurs have agreed to a buyout. Carroll will then sign with the Houston Rockets:
ESPN’s Tim McMahon added in a subsequent report that the Rockets will bring in free agent forward Jeff Green:
Green will first sign a 10-day contract with the Rockets, so he can get used to their system and see if there is a fit, Woj reported.
Carroll signed a three-year, $20.65 million contract as part of a sign and trade from the Brooklyn Nets to the Spurs this past summer. That agreement was part of a three-team trade that saw San Antonio send forward Davis Bertans to the Washington Wizards. The 10-year veteran is owed $7 million for this season, $6.65 million for 2020-21 and $1.35 million guaranteed for 2021-22. San Antonio will incur a cap hit for each of the three seasons as part of the buyout process with Carroll. How much of a cap hit will depend on how much money Carroll gave up as part of the buyout agreement.
Carroll was added via sign and trade after Marcus Morris spurned the Spurs in free agency. Morris had originally agreed to sign with San Antonio, but backed out after the New York Knicks offered him $15 million as a free agent. The Spurs moved on to Carroll as a backup plan, but he was never able to crack the rotation. He’s played only 135 minutes over 15 games with San Antonio.
Green was with the Utah Jazz earlier this season, before being waived to create a roster spot for Rayjon Tucker. The 11-year veteran Green averaged 7.7 points per game in 30 appearances with Utah. The Rockets will be the ninth different franchise Green has played for.
In Houston, Carroll and Green will join Mike D’Antoni’s small-ball crew as big man depth. Carroll and Green will likely back up P.J. Tucker and Robert Covington up front. Their experience at both forward spots will give the Rockets additional depth for their playoff run. Carroll and Green are also likely be to asked to play some center, as Houston has downsized dramatically at that position, including trading Clint Capela at the trade deadline.
Better pay. Better working conditions. Not to be treated as disposable parts by their employers.
The players in the G-League want the same thing out of a union that auto workers, teachers, and (most obviously) NBA players do. As had been expected (talks had been going on for a while), on Monday the National Basketball Players Association (the NBA players’ union) voted to support the formation of a G-League union, a story broken by Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The G-League players are expected to support this. Sources have told NBC Sports that team and league officials will not oppose the players unionizing, they believe there will be benefits, too.
The primary issue will be pay. Most players in the G-League earn a $35,000 salary, unless they’re an elite high school prospect, or on a two-way contract (which means they are tied to an NBA team and can be called up for 45 days a season). Some players make more through an Exhibit 10 contract with a team — meaning they go to training camp with a team, then get a bonus ($50,000 or so) if they sign with that team’s G-League team.
Other issues would include freedom of player movement, work benefits, and giving the players a voice in other matters like discipline issues.
The NBA continues to push toward each of its teams having a minor-league affiliate. Right now, only the Trail Blazers and Nuggets do not. As the G-League grows, it’s understandable the players want a larger voice in how things are run.
In other news out of the players’ union meeting, Kyrie Irving was voted in as vice president, replacing Paul Gasol. Via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Chris Paul remains the union president.
CHICAGO — In a weekend filled with spectacular tributes to Kobe Bryant, this one stood out.
Legendary rapper, songwriter, record producer, and businessman Dr. Dre — a guy who grew up in Los Angeles — released a tribute that stood out (and was highlighted on TNT). Dre did this with Gibson Hazard and Jackson Bannon.
Kobe’s public memorial service takes place Feb. 24 at Staples Center.
CHICAGO – James Harden has griped about Giannis Antetokounmpo winning Most Valuable Player last year.
After his team lost to Harden’s in the All-Star game Sunday, Antetokounmpo got in a dig at Harden.
“Offensively, we were just trying to find whoever James Harden was guarding,” Antetokounmpo said of his team’s strategy late. “That’s who we thought we’d have the opportunity to score on.”
Harden is not a good defender. But this is playing right into his hands. He’s at his best in isolation, especially in the post. He faces far more difficulty when run through actions off the ball or trying to keep up in transition.
Down the stretch, Harden defended more effectively than usual. Not great, but above his usual standard. Good enough for LeBron James‘ team to win.
At least, as Giannis previously noted, the MVP trophy is at his house.