Wolves center Gorgui Dieng, who agreed to a four-year, $64MM extension on Monday, likely could have landed a larger deal on the open market but wanted to remain in Minnesota, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune relays. “I wanted to be here,” Dieng said. “I rather take the money now or just wait and get a different offer. If I go to another team, am I go to be happy? I don’t know. To me, after over $10 million [a season], you can do whatever you want. The money wasn’t an issue. I just wanted to be happy and make sure I’m comfortable where I am…At the end of the day, it’s not all about the money.”
Coach/executive Tom Thibodeau is thrilled the team and Dieng got a deal done prior to the deadline, Zgoda adds. “I think it’s important for the organization,” Thibodeau said. “Obviously, we feel very good about him signing. That’s important for us to move forward. He embodies all the things we’re looking for. He has had a very good start to his career. He continues to improve. He gets better and better, but it’s also who he is: His character, his intelligence, his drive. I think those things are important.”
Here’s more from out West:
- Former Lakers great Kobe Bryant says he’s comfortable in retirement and has no itch to rethink his decision to hang up his sneakers, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com relays. When asked if he regrets his decision, Bryant said, “Not even a little bit. It’s strange to think a couple years ago, to be in this emotional space would be unfathomable. But I mean not even a smidge, which I’m very thankful for, because it’s made my transition seamless and I can really just watch and just enjoy the games.“
- Rudy Gobert, who agreed to a four-year, $102MM contract extension with the Jazz on Monday, weighed in on why he eschewed the chance to test his value on the open market, Mike Sorensen of The Deseret News relays. “It’s great,” said Gobert, who indicated that he knew a few days earlier that the deal was coming. “It was important for me and especially for the team, so we can get a plan and know who we want to be. I love the organization, I love the coach, I like to live in Utah and I like the way the team is building. My goal in my career is to get a championship and I think we’re going in the right direction and I want to be part of that.”
- In response to a reader question, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News opined that the Mavericks‘ deal with Harrison Barnes is likely to play out differently than most big money pacts. In Sefko’s estimation, Dallas will receive better production from the forward in the later years of the arrangement rather than an immediate value.