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Wolves sign Keita Bates-Diop to 3-year deal

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They will use a portion of the Mid-Level Exception to sign the second round pick out of Ohio State

Image credit: @keitabd (IG)

After playing in his first Las Vegas Summer League game last night, rookie Keita Bates-Diop has agreed to terms on a 3-year contract with the Wolves.

I wrote about KBD’s contract options yesterday and was hoping for the 4-year deal with a team option in the final year, similar to the deal Semi Ojeyele (pick #37 in 2017) received from the Celtics a season ago. Still, getting KBD to sign a deal that exceeded two seasons was the most important thing and they did that.

This will use a portion of the Wolves remaining MLE and ideally the first year of the deal will be the rookie minimum cap hit of $838,464 to give the front office more wiggle room to fill out the rest of the roster. (They need all the space they can get.)

Jonny Athletic says the first two years are fully guaranteed, which makes perfect sense.

Bates-Diop’s contract will most likely mirror the deal Sindarius Thornwell — the 48th pick in the 2017 draft, ironically enough — signed with the LA Clippers last season. The only difference will be a slight bump in the minimum salary he receives per year (given the cap increase).

My best guess is KBD’s deal looks close to this, with potentially more than the minimum salary figure in any of the years:

Year 1: $838,464 (Minimum, Guaranteed)
Year 2: $1,416,852 (Minimum, Guaranteed)
Year 3: $1,663,861 (Minimum, Team Option)

By using a portion of the Mid-Level Exception, the Wolves will have full Bird Rights at the end of the contract when KBD hits restricted free agency. Full contract details should be available soon enough.

Below is the official Press Release from the team:

Minneapolis/St. Paul – The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed rookie forward Keita Bates-Diop, who the team selected with the 48th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft on June 21. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released.

Bates-Diop was named the 2017-18 Big Ten Player of the Year after averaging 19.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks over his redshirt junior season at Ohio State. A 2017-18 consensus Second Team All-American, Bates-Diop raised his scoring average 10.1 points per game from his redshirt sophomore (9.7 ppg) to his redshirt junior year (19.8 ppg). This season, Bates-Diop paced the Big 10 in scoring, finished second in rebounds (8.7 per contest) and fifth in blocked shots (1.6 blocks per game). He shot 47.2 percent from the floor, including a 35.9 percent mark (66-for-184) from deep.

The Bloomington, Ill. native was a top-five finalist for the 2017-18 Julius Erving Award, honoring the top small forward in the nation. He was also a finalist for the Wooden Award and a semifinalist for the Naismith Player of the Year.