When will the Minnesota Timberwolves extend Jaden McDaniels?

Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /

Optimism, overpay, and the high-wire balancing act

We know that the Minnesota Timberwolves have had plenty of seriously pressure-packed opportunities to off-load forward Jaden McDaniels for the past 18 months. In fact, when the Minnesota Timberwolves front office engages in any trade conversations, the first player named by a prospective trade partner is Jaden McDaniels.

So far, the Timberwolves have insisted in no uncertain terms that Jaden McDaniels is not available, for any price. That is simply due to the level of respect and appreciation that the Timberwolves’ entire organization has for the young man. In fact, the team is so high on the young man that the team created a web page to lobby for McDaniels to make the NBA All-Defense team. That is a whole lot of support.

McDaniels has a strong reputation for playing NBA elite defense.

Assessing the value of  a player blessed with an NBA elite defense

But now comes the difficult part. While McDaniels was not selected for the 2023 NBA All-Defense team, you can bet that he and his agent will be looking for a contract with compensation that looks remarkably similar to a player who was so named. After all, it is far too easy for them to point to the Minnesota Timberwolves’ own webpage to justify the high-end of any compensation package as the starting point.

But before we start clamoring for the Timberwolves front office to simply agree to pay McDaniels as much as he may wish, keep in mind that whatever funds are stuffed into Mcdaniels’ pockets today must come from the pockets of other players tomorrow. What I mean is that a multi-year contract signed by Jaden McDaniels today will overlap the 2024 and 2025 NBA Free Agency market. And the Timberwolves cannot pay future players with money that is already spent.

See the dilemma?