Per Darren Wolfson on his ESPN1500 podcast The Scoop, Minnesota has offered an extension to Andrew Wiggins. His report includes the detail that Wiggins’ agent, Bill Duffy, will be in Minneapolis later this month to discuss it. Provided the deal meets the standards of Wiggins and his camp it can be assumed that when Duffy arrives the extension will be signed.
But the key question remains, how big is the contract extension?
If the full five-year and $148 million “max” extension is offered, Wiggins will almost certainly pen his name to the dotted line. “Players do not pass on five-year maximum extensions,” said Wolfson via tweet.
Again, the max deal would start at $25.5 million in 2018 and would come loaded with eight percent raises year-over-year. The maximum deal, in its entirety, looks like such:
Andrew Wiggins Max Contract Extension
|Year||Max Contract Extension w/ Wolves|
|Year||Max Contract Extension w/ Wolves|
|Contract extension kicks in 2018-19|
|Five-Year Extension Total||$147,900,000|
Taylor did not definitively say they have offered the max deal, but did not dispute when Wolfson implied it.
In what is becoming a very expensive financial future between Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Jimmy Butler, the Wolves would certainly like the price tag of retaining Wiggins to be lower. Even if just slightly so. As we have learned this offseason, every dollar of financial flexibility is key.
However, in many ways, he has the team over a barrel. Wiggins has been clear in his belief that he is worth “nothing less” than the maximum extension. If the team does not agree, instead believing that their young franchise cornerstone is not (yet) worth the price, they have a bit of an awkward situation on their hands.
If the Wolves front office opts to draw a line in the sand — offering a contract less than 5 years and $148 million — and Wiggins remains adamant about receiving a max the two sides would be destined for restricted free agency the following season. That path leads to a few different options that I laid out here, but appears very unlikely at this point.
However, Wiggins could receive an extension and still be traded. Veteran extensions prohibit the new signee from being traded for six months following the date of the signing but rookie scale extensions have no such provision. The newly extended Wiggins contract would be immediately tradable but it would be “poison pilled.”
The poison pill, as it is referred to, is in place to make extending and trading a rookie more difficult but not impossible. The difficulty comes from the change in the amount of outgoing salary from the extended rookie. In the case of Wiggins, his current outgoing salary, without being extended, is the $7.5 million he is owed next season. The poison pill juices the amount of outgoing salary. Wiggins outgoing salary becomes the sum of his final year ($7.5 million) plus the total of the extension ($148 million, assuming a max extension) divided by the total number of years (now six with the final year of his rookie deal plus the five years of his extension). This is all to say, Wiggins’ outgoing salary becomes $25.9 million making a deal more difficult but, again, not impossible.
For a deal that centers around Wiggins and Kyrie Irving, more players would need to be added to balance out the additional $18.4 million. Another route would be to include a third team, with cap space, so as to absorb the additional cash. The third team scenario is the most likely and not extraordinarily difficult. For example, Cleveland has $19 million of dump-able contracts through Iman Shumpert ($10.3 million), Channing Frye ($7.4) and the non-guaranteed contract of Kay Felder ($1.3 million).
The Irving dream or annoyance, dependent on your personal stance, remains even if Wiggins is extended. So long as Irving remains firm on his desire to be traded and Minnesota’s name continues to be bantered about as a potential destination, this trade will continue to receive speculation. Buckle up.
Other Free Agency Point Guard Notes
- The Wolves signed Melo Trimble — former standout at Maryland — to a partially guaranteed contract. The details of that guarantee are not yet clear, but this move profiles as more of a signing for training camp and not a solution to the lack of depth at the guard position. The Wolves will be traveling to China this preseason and an additional body will, at the very least, be helpful in easing the load of minutes from Jeff Teague and Tyus Jones.
- In other point guard news, Ian Clark was signed by the New Orlean Pelicans. He will be paid $1.6 million on his one-year contract. As Steph Curry’s back up the past few years, Clark was a sexy name in a free agent marketplace that is slowly beginning to dry up. At that price, Clark was out of the Wolves range as they can only offer minimum contracts.
- Another lead ball handler who stood out to me at Summer League was Quinn Cook. The former Duke product was the leader of the Pelicans squad in Vegas and his distribution along with shot making from distance made Cook one of the players who “popped.” Cook would probably be looking for a guaranteed deal but with his relatively young age, he may be willing to fill the Wolves second two-way contract slot. The more likely answer for the third point guard role — or the John Lucas III slot — would be a player who has experience with Thibs. Here at Canis, we are eyeing Aaron Brooks and C.J. Watson who both played full 82 game seasons with Thibs while he was in Chicago.