Appearing today at a press conference to introduce newly-signed guard Jamal Crawford, Timberwolves head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau confirmed that his team is working on a contract extension for Andrew Wiggins, tweets Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune.
Wiggins, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft, is one of 21 former first-round picks eligible for a rookie scale contract extension this offseason, as we detailed last month. So far, no players heading into the fourth and final year of their rookie contracts have signed new deals with their respective teams, but they’ll have until the day before the regular season to work out extensions, and most agreements come at the 11th hour.
Wiggins’ contract situation will be an interesting one to watch. A year ago, none of the eight players who signed rookie scale extensions received maximum salary contracts, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, who projects to be a perennial MVP candidate. As such, it’s possible Minnesota’s offer for Wiggins will more closely resemble the four-year, $84MM deal signed by Victor Oladipo, as opposed to something at or near the max.
Wiggins, who has missed just one game in his first three NBA seasons, has shown impressive development as a scorer, increasing his PPG to 23.6 and improving his 3PT% to .356 in 2016/17. Those figures were both career bests by a comfortable margin. However, Wiggins’ abilities as a defender, rebounder, and distributor haven’t grown at the same rate.
At age 22, Wiggins has plenty of time to improve those areas of his game and could turn into a dominant two-way player, but it’s not clear yet how aggressively the Timberwolves are willing to bet on his continued development.
If Wiggins and the Wolves don’t reach an agreement on an extension by opening night, the team would still be in the driver’s seat to keep him for the long term, since he’d be eligible for restricted free agency in 2018.