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.)
Scottie Pippen is a Hall of Famer, six-time NBA champion, 10-time All-Defensive team, 7 time All-NBA, and one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history — and he’s often undervalued.
Too many people think of him as just Michael Jordan’s sidekick, not the guy MJ doesn’t win those titles without.
Which may be why Pippen, appearing on ESPN’s “The Jump,” had Kyrie Irving‘s back in his demand for a trade out of Cleveland.
“I am a very strong supporter of what he’s doing because I’ve watched what has happened to him in his career and how things went for him in Cleveland, and I think he’s at a superstar level now that he can control his own destiny. A lot of players in our game have that opportunity and they don’t take advantage of it. I think it’s the perfect timing, Cleveland didn’t win a championship, they were right there, but there’s been a lot of things going on within that organization. LeBron doesn’t give those guys the security that they need, that the superstar is gonna be there and he’s gonna support us and I see Kyrie looking at the opportunity to run before LeBron runs, because there’s a lot of chatter out there that LeBron’s coming to play with the Lakers.”
I believe Pippen starts to get at the heart of the matter. It’s not as much Kyrie Irving letting LeBron James “son” him or sharing the shots — it’s that Irving sees LeBron not being loyal to the Cavaliers and he decided to take matters into his own hands first. He has tried to control his own destiny (whether he should have or not is another discussion).
Pippen never faced a situation quite like this because Jordan was never leaving the Bulls in his prime (and I refuse to acknowledge the Wizards years as part of this). He admitted he wouldn’t have as many rings without Jordan, but more than most he gets why Irving may want out of the shadow of one of the greatest players ever.
So Lonzo Ball, or maybe Brandon Ingram, is going to have a series of very public breakups then write hit songs about them?
Since taking over as the Lakers’ general manager, Rob Pelinka has had a few interesting analogies. The best was when he compared signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to God feeding the Israelites in the desert (at least he didn’t say “manna from heaven”).
Now that falls into second place, behind this quote from Pelinka while on the Dan Patrick Show on how he tried to explain the future of the Lakers to his 7-year-old daughter.
“It’s kind of like if you go on YouTube and you think about Taylor Swift when she was 16 years old maybe putting her first song. It’s her guitar, it’s her, it’s in a little studio, and you watch it and you listen to it and you say ‘Wow, this is going to be a special thing to follow and a really cool narrative to unfold.’ I have that sense about the Lakers, the way we’re playing in summer league we have this young core of Lonzo Ball, (Kyle) Kuzma, (Josh) Hart and it’s a pass-first system that Luke Walton has designed. I think in an era of guard-play where it’s score, if you look at the great point guards it’s score-score-score, I think we’re switching now into a mode of pass-pass-pass.”
I get where he is going, with Ball and Brandon Ingram at the forefront and a number of guys who could be good rotation players — Julius Randle, Ivica Zubac, Kyle Juzma, Josh Hart, even Jordan Clarkson — there is a real future for the Lakers.
But Taylor Swift comparisons? I just hope they run with a better squad.
Tim Duncan has retired from the NBA.
But if you think that means he’s not still wearing Punisher T-shirts and is not still working out and staying in shape, you should watch the video above.
San Antonio-based kickboxing trainer Jason Echols posted a Facebook video of him and Duncan sparing, and the 41-year-old five-time NBA champ is still kicking a**. Sure, this sparring is at half speed, but if Duncan were going all out he could do some real damage.
He’s probably even got a move called the bank shot in his repertoire.
(Hat tip Eye on Basketball)
I feel LeBron on this one. I have two daughters who play on club soccer teams and I get more frustrated, angrier at referees, and generally am far more emotionally invested their youth games than any NBA game. Over the years I have learned a lot, both from and saw it echoed in Coach David Thorpe’s book, about how to be supportive to them and their experiences, not make it about my feelings and wishes.
But sometimes you need to step in.
LeBron James is in Las Vegas and so far all the stories have been about how he is working out with Derrick Rose, Eric Bledsoe, Chris Paul, and what does that all mean (nothing, NBA guys often work out together all summer, especially teammates and guys who share an agent). But he’s also there for the AAU Adidas Uprising tournament where his son is playing.
And when LeBron saw the score was wrong, he went over to the scorer’s table at a time out to tell them.
I love the way the scorer’s wave him off, like they would any parent who walks up and complains.
Then they corrected the score, because LeBron was right. You knew he would be, the man has an eidetic memory about basketball.