July 5, 2023
The Minnesota Timberwolves have made it clear: They’re going to build around Anthony Edwards.
The Timberwolves and Edwards agreed on a max extension on Monday — five years, $207 million, with a chance of the deal reaching $260 million, agent Bill Duffy confirmed to The Associated Press.
Edwards’ new contract will begin in the 2024-25 season. He becomes the fourth player to get the maximum rookie-scale extension so far this summer, joining Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton, Charlotte’s LaMelo Ball and Memphis’ Desmond Bane.
His deal would reach the supermax level if he makes an All-NBA team.
Edwards was an All-Star for the first time this past season, and he has gotten better in each of his first three years with the Timberwolves.
His scoring, rebound, assist, steal and shooting numbers have increased each season. Edwards averaged 24.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.6 steals on 46% shooting this past season — while shooting 37% from 3-point range.
Only nine players averaged as many points, rebounds and assists per game as Edwards. Of the nine, he was the youngest at 21. Add the steals per game to that list, and Edwards became the youngest player to have those averages in each of those categories since LeBron James in 2005-06.
The only question regarding Edwards and the extension was how quickly it would happen. By league rule, Minnesota had to wait until July 1 — the deals for Bane and Haliburton, for example, came shortly after midnight EDT in the wee hours of Saturday.
Another couple of days didn’t seem to hurt the Wolves.
Edwards was the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft and turns 22 next month — when he’s scheduled to be part of the USA Basketball roster that’ll play in the FIBA World Cup. He took a significant step this past season toward becoming Minnesota’s true go-to player while two-time All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns missed 52 games with a calf strain.
The Wolves now have three max players on their roster in Edwards, Towns and center Rudy Gobert. Last year, the Wolves and Towns agreed to a $224 million contract extension as soon as the negotiation period opened. Gobert, whose first season with Minnesota after the whopper trade with Utah was filled with growing pains between him and his new team, has three years left on his deal. Towns has five.
The Wolves made the playoffs in each of the last two years, falling in the first round both times. They’ll try for a third consecutive winning record this coming season, a streak the likes of which the franchise hasn’t enjoyed since six straight years over .500 from 1999-00 through 2004-05.