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.)