Northwest Notes: McDaniels, Simons, Henderson, Jazz

Timberwolves forward Jaden McDanielsfive-year, $131MM+ extension features an ascending structure, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). McDaniels will make $22,586,207 in 2024/25, when the extension begins, and his salary will rise to $29,813,790 by ’27/28, the final season of the deal.

McDaniels’ extension also features a total of $5MM in bonuses that are currently considered unlikely. Those incentives are tied to making one of the two All-Defensive teams or winning Defensive Player of the Year, according to Marks.

As Chris Hine of The Star Tribune writes, McDaniels celebrated his new contract by eating a “whole basket” of breadsticks at Olive Garden.

I was just super excited and just happy that it was able to get done,” McDaniels said. “I just thank (president of basketball operations) Tim (Connelly) and all the owners for the opportunity and believing in me. It’s a life-changing thing. It’s hit me, but it hasn’t hit me all the way yet. I’m just excited to be able to stay here longer and continue to play as a Timberwolf.”

Unfortunately, McDaniels will miss Minnesota’s season opener on Wednesday in Toronto due to a left calf strain suffered in preseason, the Wolves announced in a press release. The 23-year-old is considered day-to-day with the injury.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Anfernee Simons now has an esteemed spot in the Trail Blazers‘ locker room and it’s a position he doesn’t take for granted, he tells Jason Quick of The Athletic, who profiles the young guard’s journey to reach this point. “I don’t want to think too much about it, but at the same time, I have a sense for what it means,” Simons said. “Now I’m up in that pecking order, so there is a sense of confidence that comes with that.” Simons has taken on the challenge of becoming a better and more consistent defender in 2023/24, Quick writes.
  • Scoot Henderson, the third overall pick in June’s draft, has made an immediate impact on the Trail Blazers, and he has lofty goals for the future, according to Quick of The Athletic. “I’m on a different mission than anybody else,” Henderson said. “My mission is to create something huge here. Create something really special with the talent here, and the talent that hopefully stays, especially with the young group we have with Anfernee. I’m trying to build something special here.”
  • Oddsmakers have only given the Jazz a projected win total of 35.5 games this season, though 55.5% of our readers took the over on that figure. What will it take for them to reach the postseason? Tony Jones of The Athletic explores that topic, listing four things to watch for Utah to achieve that goal, including the emergence of a reliable point guard.
  • In a pair of similar articles for The Deseret News, Sarah Todd writes that 2023/24 should be viewed as a failure if the Jazz don’t at least make the play-in tournament. All-Star forward Lauri Markkanen has made it clear that he wants to reach the playoffs for the first time in his career, and CEO Danny Ainge is on board with that goal, according to Todd. “We want to be in the playoffs,” Ainge said on Tuesday. “Let’s get there. I want to be in the playoffs too, Lauri. Let’s go.”
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