Report: Andrew Wiggins’ contract extension was central to Jimmy Butler’s unhappiness with Timberwolves

David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images
3 Comments

In 2017, Andrew Wiggins signed a five-year, max contract extension with the Timberwolves.

In 2018, Jimmy Butler requested a trade from the Timberwolves.

You can apparently draw a straight line between those two events.

Bobby Marks of ESPN:

Wiggins has failed to live up to expectations, and the extension was at the root of Jimmy Butler’s unhappiness in Minnesota, league sources confirmed.

Wiggins’ contract troubled Butler in a couple ways.

Butler called Wiggins the “most god-gifted player on our team.” The problem: Butler was way better than Wiggins. That clearly bothered Butler, who scraped his way to the top. It’s easy to see how he’d view Wiggins as having more just handed to him and resent Wiggins for it.

When Butler was up for a contract extension with the Bulls, they reportedly told him they’d bury him behind Tony Snell if he didn’t sign. Wiggins’ hurdle for getting a max contract extension? He had to look the owner in the eyes and promise to try really hard.

Wiggins’ has regressed since signing his extension, leaving Minnesota with limited flexibility around his massive contract. Butler felt the brunt of that, too.

Last summer, he reportedly requested a renegotiation-and-extension that would’ve added four years and $155 million to his deal. But the Timberwolves didn’t have the cap space to make that happen – in large part because of Wiggins’ deal.

Of course, Butler knew that. It was unrealistic for Minnesota to trade Wiggins without bringing back salary at that point. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if Butler’s renegotiation-and-extension request were designed to create an excuse for a trade request. He might have wanted out for reasons other than just his own contract status.

Like the Timberwolves being saddled for years to come by an underachieving Wiggins on a max contract.

Butler got away, finding a great fit and a max contract with the Heat. Minnesota is still dealing with the same problem.