The Minnesota Timberwolves checked off the most important item on their 2023-24 offseason to-do list, agreeing with superstar guard Anthony Edwards on a five-year, $217 million designated rookie maximum extension that can escalate up to $260 million if Edwards makes All-NBA at any point during his contract. According to our friend Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, it is a straight five-year deal with no player options — a huge win for the Timberwolves.
Minnesota Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards has agreed on a five-year designated rookie maximum deal that could be worth $260 million, his agents Bill Duffy and Joe Branch of WME tell ESPN. pic.twitter.com/d0UTdqFgD9— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 3, 2023
In a statement, Edwards says: "I'm humbled, appreciative and excited to remain in Minnesota as a part of this incredible Timberwolves organization. It's amazing to see where hard work can take you."— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 3, 2023
As part of his new max contract extension, Anthony Edwards is introducing a new initiative in the Minnesota community called "Don't Follow The Wave." Edwards: "I want to do everything I can to help as many young people as I can and help set them on the right path."— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 3, 2023
Perhaps the best part of this deal is that Edwards is using this landmark as a launchpad to do service for others. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Edwards is introducing “Don’t Follow The Wave,” a new initiative in Minnesota aimed at helping underserved youth in the community.
As part of those efforts, Don’t Follow The Wave will partner with other non-profits, and Edwards himself will contribute financially to the African-American Breast Cancer Alliance. It is something that hits close to home for Ant, who at age 12 tragically lost his mother and grandmother back in 2015.
Woj notes as part of his "Don't Follow The Wave" initiative, which "partners with other non-profits serving young people in the region," Edwards will contribute to the African-American Breast Cancer Alliance.— Canis Hoopus (@canishoopus) July 3, 2023
Ant, at age 12, tragically lost his mom and grandma to cancer in 2015 https://t.co/k3uzzGQdB4
This was a no-brainer for the Wolves. Edwards stamped his ascension into superstardom with a historic playoff series against the eventual champion Denver Nuggets. The first-time All-Star averaged 31.6 points on 48.2/34.9/84.6 shooting splits, 5.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists-to-1.6 turnovers, 1.8 steals and 2.0 blocks across 39.8 minutes per game.
Anthony Edwards' +30.3 on-off mark was the highest in the 2023 NBA Playoffs.— Canis Hoopus (@canishoopus) June 14, 2023
It's impossible to overstate how impressive his play was.
• 31.6 PPG
• 48.2/34.9/84.6 splits
• 5.0 REB
• 5.2 AST to 1.6 TOV
• 1.8 STL
• 2.0 BLK
21 years old.https://t.co/RvkwxAGH0c pic.twitter.com/OOlOyQzxpZ
Edwards became the first player in Timberwolves history to score at least 100 points in a three-game span in the playoffs, and the second-youngest player in NBA history with consecutive games of scoring at least 35 points.
His incredible playoff dominance was built upon a phenomenal regular season, in which the 2020 No. 1 overall pick averaged a career-high 24.6 points per game on 45.9/36.9/75.6 shooting splits, 5.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 36 minutes per game across a career-high 79 games played. Edwards’ unrelenting desire to show up on a nightly basis for his team and leave everything he has on the floor earned the respect of his coach and his teammates, galvanized a team playing short-handed without Karl-Anthony Towns for most of the season, and kept the Timberwolves afloat in an always-competitive Western Conference that is only going to get better from here on out.
The Atlanta native’s contract will start at 25% of the projected $149.6 million salary cap in 2024-25, about $37.4 million, and increase by 8% annually thereafter, unless he earns All-NBA, in which case the total contract value would jump up to $260 million and spread that increased cap hit throughout the remainder of the deal. Either way, his annual cap hit is not tied to a percentage of the salary cap beyond the first season, so the higher the salary cap jumps year-over-year, the better it is for the Timberwolves’ future financial flexibility.
The best possible way to secure an Ant 40 ball courtesy of D-Lo pic.twitter.com/ctyEhsJEYr— Canis Hoopus (@canishoopus) January 22, 2023
With Edwards now locked in for the years leading up to his prime, it’s impossible to prevent your mind from dreaming about just how high Ant can fly. He is already one of the five-to-seven best playoff players in the entire league at just 21 years old, is as durable as any star in the league, has charisma through the roof, and took major strides both as a shooter and on-ball defender in his third season as a pro.
The Timberwolves will be set on the wing for hopefully upwards of a decade-plus with Edwards and fellow 2020 draftee Jaden McDaniels, who is also eligible to sign a five-year contract extension this offseason. That versatile, two-way pairing will serve as the foundation of the team moving forward and affords President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly and the Wolves’ front office tremendous strategic flexibility to build out the rest of the roster in any which way they choose.
Watching Ant (21) and Jaden (22) here is an out of body experiencepic.twitter.com/fSZXZHQFbU— Canis Hoopus (@canishoopus) February 14, 2023
No matter what else happens, the future in Minnesota is incredibly bright because Anthony Edwards is at the center of it.