Minnesota Timberwolves Owner Glen Taylor says that the team is prepared to offer Andrew Wiggins a max contract extension, but there’s a condition attached. Wiggins must first say that he’s committed to improving; the player that he is right now isn’t worth max money, but the player that he could become is. From Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press:
Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said Monday that he is ready to commit nearly $150 million to Andrew Wiggins with a max-level extension of his rookie contract. Before he does so, Taylor wants to sit down face-to-face with Wiggins to hear the former No. 1 overall pick commit to the franchise in a similar fashion.
To me, by making this offer, I’m speculating that his contribution to the team will be more in the future,” Taylor told The Associated Press. “We’ve got to be better. He can’t be paid just for what he’s doing today. He’s got to be better.
“So when you’re talking about negotiations on his part, I’m already extending to him that I’m willing to meet the max. But there are some things that I need out of him, and that is the commitment to be a better player than you are today.”
Taylor spoke with Wiggins when the two attended assistant coach Ryan Saunders’ wedding in July, but the owner is looking for a little more substance before they close the deal. Wiggins’ agent, Billy Duffy of BDA Sports, is expected to arrive in town next week to continue the discussions, and a five-year, $148 million extension could happen soon after.
Taylor said he wants to hear a commitment from Wiggins to work out often in the Twin Cities in the summer and improve all areas of his game to fulfill the obligations that come with a max deal.
“I just think it’s important,” Taylor said. “If a guy is a real star and he really cares about it, which I think he does, I think it’s a commitment. I’m not sure that he wouldn’t do it anyway. But I think that’s part of the negotiations.”
Wiggins is a terriffic talent, but certainly has a lot of room to improve. Still just 22 years old, Wiggins had a great season from an offensive standpoint last year, averaging 23.6 points and four rebounds per game while shooting 45.2 percent from the field and a career-high 35.6 percent from outside.
The area where Wiggins needs improvement the most, though, is on the defensive end. FiveThirtyEight named Wiggins the NBA’s “Least Defensive Player” for this past season, writing the following:
Possession by possession, there are a few defenders who are as bad as Wiggins. When Wiggins contests a shot, opponents have a 56.1 effective field goal percentage; when they are unguarded, they have a 56.4 eFG percentage. Fundamentally, getting a shot up against Andrew Wiggins is the same as getting an open shot.