After Shams Charania of The Athletic reported earlier this week that the Timberwolves have engaged in talks with center Naz Reid and guard Jaylen Nowell about possible contract extensions, Keith Smith of Spotrac decided to examine what extensions for the two 23-year-olds might look like.
As our Luke Adams wrote on Monday, veteran extensions for players on minimum-salary contracts like Reid and Nowell can begin at 120% of this season’s estimated average salary of $10,792,000, so 120% of that amount is $12,950,400. Therefore, a maximum four-year extension that includes 8% raises would be worth about $58MM.
It would behoove Nowell to wait until unrestricted free agency next summer rather than sign an extension, according to Smith, who believes Nowell could receive $15-20MM in annual average salary on a new contract if he has a breakout fourth season, as several teams are expected to have a significant amount of cap room in 2023 (it’s worth noting that Charania reported that Nowell was likely to opt for unrestricted free agency). Smith compares Nowell’s situation to Jalen Brunson‘s, who wound up signing a four-year, $104MM contract with the Knicks in free agency after a big season with Dallas in ’21/22.
As for Reid, Smith thinks a three-year, $22MM descending contract makes sense for the Wolves and Reid, comparing it to the three-year, $18.5MM extension Dean Wade received from the Cavaliers. Since Minnesota will be over the salary cap for the next handful of years, Smith says the Wolves should aggressively pursue extensions for both Nowell and Reid.
Here’s more from the Northwest:
- Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. explained what happened when he suffered a back spasm during Monday’s game vs. Portland, which caused him to miss Wednesday’s game against the Lakers, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post (subscription required). “I couldn’t really move the same as I wanted to in the second half, so that’s when we were just like, ‘Let’s just calm it down for a couple of days,’” Porter said on Friday. “But it was just a little tweak in a muscle. It wasn’t anything related to a prior injury.” Despite the minor setback, Porter says he still expects to play the “vast majority” of Denver’s games in ’22/23 after appearing in just nine contests last season after undergoing a third back surgery.
- Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups says that Damian Lillard missing most of last season after undergoing core muscle surgery forced Portland to acknowledge that the team around the star guard wasn’t good enough. The Blazers revamped their roster over the past year, adding Josh Hart, Jerami Grant, Gary Payton II, Justise Winslow and No. 7 overall pick Shaedon Sharpe, among others. “He’s the guy,” Billups told Sam Amick of The Athletic. “He’s our guy. We’re always gonna play through him. But we want to be good enough that when he goes 5-for-18 (from the field), that we can win a game. They’ve never been able to do that, you know what I’m saying? So it gives him confidence to know that (he doesn’t) have to be the best player in the league every night.” Lillard is currently sidelined with a right calf strain and will be reevaluated in one-to-two weeks, though he said he didn’t think the injury was serious.
- The Jazz have gotten off to a surprising 4-1 start, but the “general consensus around the league” is that opposing teams will take them more seriously going forward, writes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. Head coach Will Hardy is telling his players to keep proving people wrong. “He’s tired of looking at media or even his friends telling him, ‘Wow, you guys are winning, this is crazy,’” Malik Beasley said of Hardy’s message. “It’s not crazy. We’re not even playing well and we’re still winning.”