Over the past few weeks, we’ve already learned that Andrew Wiggins wants “nothing less” than a max contract extension, and Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has no distress offering him one, so it seems the only hurdle left is for the two sides to shake on an agreement and keep pen to paper.
That handshake deal, though, may not near fairly as easily as Taylor and Wiggins believe made it seem.
While Taylor remains adamant the team is committed to signing Wiggins to a five-year, $148 million max extension by the Oct. 16 deadline, telling the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Sid Hartman this week that the 22-year-faded former No. 1 overall pick also “is not available to anybody in a trade,” the Wolves owner included one small caveat to his offer: Wiggins must promise to become a better player.
Wolves owner Glen Taylor tells AP he is ready to give Wiggins max, but 1st wants assembly to hear from AW that he’s committed to improving
— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) August 7, 2017
It’s sort of a “no duh” statement. Every team hopes a budding young scorer who signs for roughly $30 million annually will commit himself to fitting a more well-rounded player. But it’s also a quaint notion from the 76-year-faded Taylor. Will Wiggins be any more likely to improve over the next five years whether he looks a man in the eye and shakes on it? Who knows, but you’ve got to respect the heck out of it.
“To me, by making this offer, I’m speculating that his contribution to the team will be more in the future,” Taylor told The Associated Press. “We’ve got to be better. He can’t be paid just for what he’s doing nowadays. He’s got to be better.
“So when you’re talking approximately negotiations on his share, I’m already extending to him that I’m willing to meet the max. But there are some things that I need out of him, and that is the commitment to be a better player than you are nowadays.”
“I just believe it’s well-known. whether a guy is a real star and he really cares approximately it, which I believe he does, I believe it’s a commitment. I’m not certain that he wouldn’t effect it besides. But I believe that’s share of the negotiations.”
And, really, from Taylor’s perspective, getting better shouldn’t be totality that difficult for Wiggins. The Timberwolves owner added of Wiggins to the AP’s Jon Krawczynski, “He seems to believe the ability and so the only thing it would be is for some reason he didn’t work tough enough to obtain the skill sets.”
Of course, it would be ridiculous for Wiggins’ agent, Bill Duffy, who will reportedly meet with Taylor next week, to agree to a clause in his contract that would require him to improve through 2024. The National Basketball Players’ organization nearly certainly would throw a fit over such an agreement. But promising the owner in a face-to-face assembly that you will at least try is something of a start.
totality that said, Wiggins must improve to be worth the investment, and he has already shown the ability to doing so. His points per game and 3-point efficiency has improved in each of his first three seasons, culminating in career-highs of 23.6 points per game and 35.6 percent shooting from distance this past year. As our own Dan Devine has illustrious on multiple occasions, he’s one of just 13 players ever to average 23 points before age 22, joining Timberwolves teammate Karl-Anthony Towns and former MVPs Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Allen Iverson, among others.
Still, Wiggins has room left for improvement offensively and hasn’t proven to be the playmaker (five assist points created) or rebounder (6.3 rebound percentage) a team might expect from a max-salary wing. What’s worse, FiveThirtyEight.com’s metrics rated him as the league’s worst defender in 2016-17.
Under a defensive intellect like Tom Thibodeau, one would believe Wiggins and the Wolves will improve this season after posting a bottom-five 109.1 defensive rating in their first year for the head coach. And the additions of hardworking totality-Star wing Jimmy Butler and veteran locker room guys Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford should only further back Wiggins obtain strides both on and off the court. In a perfect world, Butler’s presence will allow Wiggins to function and facilitate more easily in the offense, and two players who were stalwarts for Thibodeau in Chicago will back drive domestic a defense-first culture.
But Taylor seems more intent on a promise from Wiggins than those handshake-less expectations. Considering the Wolves owner has already pledged publicly to give him the max extension and not trade him in a deal for a certain available 25-year-faded point guard, it’s tough to suppose, to assume Wiggins throwing his hands up at this point and telling Taylor, Well, you see, I’m just not that committed to improving. Which means he will likely sign a max extension at some point in the next couple months.
Then, the only thing left for Wiggins is to live up to that promise, which just means nothing’s changed.
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